Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Cliff Road Chronicles: Tales of the Brotherhood of Darkness
Anne Fraser, Inanna Arthen (editor)
By Light Unseen Media, Sep 21 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9781935303275

The Cliff Road Chronicles is a fitting tribute to the late Anne Fraser whose take on the 1990s urban fantasy is extremely refreshing and showcases how ahead of the sub-genre she was (and still is). Filled with amusing puns, these contributions provide intriguing relationships and personal tsuris that vamps, mages, druids, werewolves, fairies and humans confront.

“Gideon and Joshua: A Love Story” consists of eleven shorts that start in the mid 1990s to 2006 mostly in Maine in the chronological order they occur; while simultaneously matching when they were released. They are a direct follow-up to the superb vampire novel Gideon Redoak. The key to these entries is that the pair has relationship issues as mortal couples have, but also has additional issues. With Gideon the baron so tense over several crises, his human lover Joshua books them for a few days at Club Undead in the Caribbean. Over their time together, the lovers admit their love for one another, become engaged and marry, but face problems like any couple compounded by the Pope’s condemning gay couples “To Burn In Hell”. The tales end with the stunning twist of “The Lost Boy.”

“The Adventures of the Brotherhood of Darkness” focuses on other members of the "Cliff Road Crowd" with the same concepts in time (from 1998 to 2007) as the Gideon-Joshua tales. In “Daven’s Stream”, Ray Griffin the mage is asked to sit for a spell. While driving Vampire widow Alex Goldanias almost suffers a cardiac even without a heartbeat when his “Fairy Godmother” appears out of nowhere to lecture him. The other four tales range from jocular inanity to taut suspense.

Harriet Klausner

The Alloy of Life
Brandon Sanderson
Tor, Nov 8 2011, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765330420

In the last few decades a steel based technology boom has come to Scadrial. The new Steel Age has led to railroads traversing the surface, electric lights on streets and skyscrapers. At the same time, the ancient magical system of Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy remains potent though more so in the perilous Roughs than in the urban centers.

For twenty years Waxillium Ladrian has enforced the law in the Rough using his Twinborn skill of deploying Allomancy to Pull metal and employing Feruchemy to change his weight. However, his time in the Rough is over as he must return home to the modern city of Elendel to replace his recently deceased uncle as Lord Ladrian. However, he learns upon coming home that a ruthless gang of thieves the Vanishers are abducting women and stealing cargo from the railcars. His sense of justice and honor has Wax, along with his friend depraved Wayne and genius Marasi, on a mission to rescue the kidnapped and to end the Vanishers reign of robberies.

The Alloy of Law is a stand alone urban fantasy that occurs in the lands of the Mistborn Trilogy, but in the future three centuries after the heroes of the previous tales are alive only as legends. The brilliant story line can be read without the perusing the trilogy though those who do so will miss out on a fabulous magical fantasy series. The key to this strong action adventure is the emerging competition between magic and technology except when a rare practitioner combines them. Wax and his two compatriots add amusing banter to a brisk High Noon in Mistborn guns and sorcery thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Mirror Maze
Michaele Jordan
PYR, Oct 25 2011, $16.00
ISBN 9781616145293

In 1882 London Jacob Aldridge grieves the death of his beloved fiancée Rhoda Carothers. Everything he does requires him to push himself as he just wants to lie down and die. His kind landlady Mrs. Florence tries to help him with his depression, but neither her or his twin sister Cecily can do much for him.

After being soaked by a carriage, Jacob comes home to find a woman sitting in his least favorite chair in his flat. She looks exactly like his beloved Rhoda; he becomes euphoric when she explains she came to haunt him. Concerned Mrs. Florence sends for Cecily because her renter was rude, filthy and profane. Cecily makes her sibling wash up and take a walk with her. They meet Livia Aram, who looks like the late Rhoda’s identical twin. He obsesses over her, which frightens her. However, they learn the truth about their late respective fathers who were wizards who dabbled in the paranormal leading to a curse upon their families. Now the twins, Livia and her guardian Dr. Chang confront a demon who thrives on human suffering with Jacob his current sustenance.

This is a superb Victorian fantasy in which no one is quite like they seem except in the dangerous Mirror Maze that connects the realms. The lead quartet are solid players who must face truths that are impossible for their rationale minds to grasp (except for Dr. Chang); while each step brings them closer to an all or nothing soul-saving vs. dying confrontation against a demon abetted by the horrific curse. Although the audience can become lost in the convoluted Mirror Maze, fans will still relish joining the fearsome foursome as they traverse a London filled magical horror.

Harriet Klausner

Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans
Robert Louis Smith; Geof Isherwood (illustrator)
Medlock Publishing, Oct 1 2011, $19.00
ISBN: 9780615460475

Fifteen year old Elliott worries about his mom Mary who he believes his dying. They moved to New Orleans to live with her elderly father in his home built in 1796. The kind old man tells him about the house’s history and sadly informs his grandson that his mother has breast cancer.

Hi grandfather sounds as crazy as his dad claimed him to be with talk of the cause of the cancer and artifacts in the basement. Elliot explores the basement where he finds strange paintings and hears whispers. He soon finds himself in the Forest of Ondor in war wracked Pangrelor where two tiny gimlets (Marvus and Jingo) believe he is a Shamalan. They explain his species once ruled the realm, but due to ethnic cleansing are down to Princess Sarintha, prisoner of the Serpans at war with the Shamalans, Gimlets and the Grayfarers. They take him to the ruling council who plan to execute Elliot and Hooks the Susquatanian, but Jingo and Marvus rescue both. The quartet tries to prevent a Serpan attack, rescue the princess and elude the Council; while the hero needs to be with his mom.

This is an entertaining quest fantasy with unique species that bring a brisk freshness to the tale. The story line is fast-paced with vivid illustrations enhancing the good vs. bad guys plot. The Serpans who seem to be winning the war come across as incompetent in battle scenes (even their pictures make them look like losers). Mindful of the NeverEnding Story, young adult readers will appreciate this engaging thriller starring heroes with histories and allies with nebulous motives not as lucid as they first appear.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 30, 2012

Harriet's Reviews

Robert J. Sawyer
Tor, Dec 6 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765329905

In 2018 in Port Credit near Tornado, brewery owner Cliff Sullivan is rushed to the hospital. Dr. Thanh explains to his wife and son that Cliff suffers from Katerinsky Syndrome, which leaves him a vegetable until he dies. Since this is hereditary, he suggests Jake take an MRI.

Jake knew he was dying so he chose Immortex to make a Mindscan copy of his brain placed inside an android. He relocates to the moon where he expects to die in High Eden, a pleasant assisted living facility.

In 2045, Jake the robot on earth has faced rejection from all of the human Jake’s loved ones. He is bored with nothing to do until he meets the mindscan Karen Bessarian. Her biological body had been that of an octogenarian children's book author; but this model is in her thirties as opposed to Jake in his forties. As the two mindscans fall in love, the original Karen dies. Her son sues for ownership of his late mom’s estate insisting a mindscan has no rights; at the same time the original Jake finds a cure for his illness and demands his former life returned to him.

This discerning exciting look at future ethics questions asking what a human is and what rights does a mindscan have. The story line is fast-paced while the setting plays a key role as Americans flee their fundamentalist Christian kingdom homeland to reside in tolerant Canada; enhancing the rights argument. Readers will relish this profound extrapolation of current medical technology in which Robert J. Sawyer argues that medical advances are way ahead of legal advances. Harriet Klausner

The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow Plus
Cory Doctorow
PM Press, Nov 1 2011, $12.00
ISBN: 9781604864045

“The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.” The world ended not with a bang but with a wumpus; as everyone wanted control of technological change leading to the Mecha Wars. In Detroit, Jimmy Yensid, his dad Robin and the pack reside in abandoned Comerica Park. Dad restored the classic Carousel of Progress; currently he recommends preservation of this last standing city as a heritage site. Being transhuman Jimmy ages slowly so though he has lived for decades he remains preadolescent. He spots a wumpus near a crumpled Ford factory. Riding his dad’s mecha and accompanied by his canines packs piloting air drones, he attacks the wumpus. A gang riding eight smaller mechas attacks Jimmy. He fights back feeling like a murderer as life in abandoned Detroit is never dull.

"Creativity vs. Copyright." This fascinating essay/presentation focuses on proposed copyright laws in the electronic publication age. The impact on corporate profits has been discussed many times. Mr. Doctorow provides a fresh focus on the digital rights management (including monetary – how an author makes a living from Net sales is beyond my comprehension) of intellectual property in a world in which many users assume “information is free.”

The thought provoking novella is a dark thriller that turns upside down the “future” as progress does not necessarily mean better. The exciting storyline looks deeply at change as everyone insists implementation of theirs; and customized technology may just lead to a wasteland. The well written essay/presentation provides the audience with insight into Mr. Doctorow’s views especially on intellectual property ownership in an on demand digital world. Finally there is also included “Look for the Lake” Cory Doctorow Interviewed by Terry Bisson.
Harriet Klausner

Dust of the Damned
Peter Brandvold
Berkley, Jan 3 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425245170

To preserve the Union, President Abraham Lincoln recruits European werewolves and vampires to fight against the Confederacy. His plan was to rip out the hearts of the rebels at Gettysburg and then send the paranormal back to East European homes. However, the paranormal unit achieves step one tearing the guts out of the Rebel army as Lee chooses a silver bullet rather than conversion and Lincoln after seeing what he wrought followed suit; the illegal immigrants ignore part two of the late president’s plan.

Instead of re-crossing the Atlantic, the Hell’s Angels werewolf brigade escape from Hellsgarde Penitentiary heeding Greely and head west young beast. Alpha shape-changer Charlie Hondo leads the howling pack partnering with dragon-riding Ravenna the witch as they search for the key to the eternal fountain of youth and world domination. Bounty ghoul hunter Uriah Zane and deputy marshal Angel Coffin lead the opposition.

This paranormal alternate historical thriller is a gory action-packed tale summed up nicely by Jesse James when he insists Zane is a trouble magnet. Although the story line never veers from its straight-lined bloody but fast-paced course from the first massacre to the final confrontation. Fans will enjoy the heroes in combat against deadly werewolves, vampires and witches, Oh! My! as the Dust of the Damned seek manifest destiny. Harriet Klausner

Dark Victory
Michele Lang
Tor, Jan 17 2012, $25.99
ISBN: 9780765330451

On September 1, 1939 Hitler begins the blitzkrieg destruction of Poland. In Budapest, Gisi the Jewish seer saw the Nazis’ deadly march over a month ago. Her sister Magda the Lazarus Witch tries to bind Asmodel the demon to her will while Gisi fears the repercussions. Magda’s beloved fallen angel Raziel supports her efforts as he knows the allies will need magic on their side to counter the dark forces allied with Hitler in order to save the Polish Jews from the Final Solution incantation sacrifice.

Magda leads her small troupe into Poland. However, she finds her cause in dire straits as Nazi werewolves and demons attack her and anyone in their path. Worse, the camps concentrate more evil power into the hands of Hitler and his demonic master by channeling death and torture. Hitler supporter Vampirrat orders Magda’s leader anti-Nazi Count Bathory the vampire to Berlin for a public staking. Magda may be too late to stop Hitler, but her hopes reside with finding the Book of Raziel arcane spells.

The sequel to super Lady Lazarus is an engaging urban alternate historical fantasy in which World War II is fought by mortals and paranormal. The story line is fast-paced with the various supernatural species (fighting on both sides) seemingly real and the combat with them and mortals vivid. As a master manipulator that Machiavelli would have admired, Asmodel somewhat steals the plot from the inexperienced heroine who logically works through her options to the best course only to impulsively act otherwise. Raziel and Bathory provide little to the mix except limited support and Gisi trembles in fear as WWII explodes on the continent.
Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Harriet's Reviews

The Departed
Shiloh Walker
Berkley, Jan 3 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425245217

For fifteen years, psychopath Keaton Weiss preyed on lonely females who he kidnapped and then sadistically tortured them in his house of horrors before murdering his victims. That changed when Tawny Lawrence a mother incarcerated for seven years by the maniac escaped. Obsessed FBI Special Agent In Charge of a unique unit Taylor Jones arrests Weiss before escorting his psychic Desiree "Dez" Lincoln in to the torture chamber. She takes him to a field of horror in Iowa.

In Virginia, Taylor, thanks to Dez, traps young girl rapist and murderer Edward Mitchell, but the predator fires a shot that hits the psychic. As she is rushed to the hospital, Taylor realizes how much he cares for his employee. After she heals, they make love, but he believes this was an inappropriate mistake. Hurt by his attitude, Dez heads to French Lick, Indiana alone to help a dismayed spirit; Taylor follows her to his hometown where his then six years old kid sister Anna vanished so long ago, but still drives him to help the unprotected.

The Departed is an entertaining romantic urban fantasy police procedural. The storyline is fast-paced, but as Shiloh Walker admits in the forward requires acceptability of the special FBI cell. The cases are fun to follow but accelerate even faster once the lead couple enters Larry Bird territory. Readers will enjoy this exciting paranormal FBI romance. Harriet Klausner

Janet Lee Caret
Dial/Penguin, Jan 5 2012, $17.99
ISBN: 9780803735040

In 1192 Pendragon King Kadmi is dead, but the heir Prince Arden has not yet returned from a Crusade to Wilde Island to become ruler of the dragons, fairies and humans who reside there. Instead the regent Lord Sackmoore rules for now even as species civil war seems imminent.

When thieves stole the royal treasure from Pendragon Castle, a search led by Arden’s younger brother Price Bion finds nothing. Blaming the hybrid abominations, Sackmoore sends the witch hunter to burn the evil ones at the stake. Abused by her dad the blacksmith, seventeen year old Tess is shocked when she is accused of being half-fae. Having gained experience with flight from her violent father, she flees with two also accused friends into the forbidden Dragonswood. There warden Garth Huntsman offers Tess sanctuary. When the fairies plead with her for help, Tess learns why her father loathed her and who her protector truly is.

This dark epic romantic fantasy is an exciting fast-paced sequel to Dragon's Keep. Fast-paced from the moment the heroine flees and never slowing down until the final altercation, the storyline on the surface seems similar to most quest fantasies. However, Tess brings freshness as a victim who remains optimistic about her future but unforgiving of those like her father who have harmed her and made her wary of males even caring Garth. With several super twists, and filled with gore, vivid beatings and on-page torture, readers with strong stomachs will appreciate this terrific tale that targets teens and up. Harriet Klausner

The Mortal Bone
Marjorie M. Liu
Ace, Dec 27 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781937007188

Like her bloodline going back ten millennia, demon hunter Maxine Kiss carries her five “boys” as tattoos on her body, which serves as prison for these Reaper Kings who if freed would devour the world. She and her soulmate Grant the Lightbringer escort Bryon the teenage to a “safe house” once belonging to Maxine’s mom in Texas.

However, a possessed woman arrives giving Maxine a plastic bowling bag of which the visitor says someone in her dream told her to deliver it. Inside is a crystal skull that has the demon within the woman and the five on Maxine’s skin clamoring to go to it. The connection between her boys and her is severed; they are totally free to bring hell on earth unless Maxine can somehow reconnect with them.

The fourth Hunter Kiss urban fantasy (see A Wild Light, The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls) is a great thriller that is action-packed but driven by the aftereffect of the broken link as Marjorie M. Liu gets deep into the psyche of the heroine. Maxine has mixed emotions of being liberated but in some ways misses the bond that has been part of her for a long time. She also feels guilt and responsibility to prevent her boys from returning to their Reaper King days; as nothing short of the end of the world is at stake. Harriet Klausner

Raven Cursed
Faith Hunter
Roc, Jan 3 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451464330

Rogue vamp hunter and Cherokee skinwalker with Beast the mountain lion spirit inside her, Jane Yellowrock is considered the best security expert around. Her current assignment is to secure Asheville and the surrounding Appalachian Mountains for a big parley between the envoy and heir Katie of Blood Master of New Orleans Leo Pellissier and local fanghead chief Lincoln Shaddock. For six decades Shaddock has petitioned Pellissier to allow him to establish an independent vamp clan in the area; currently his group owes allegiance to the New Orleans chief fanghead.

Instead of Katie arriving, Pellissier sends his number two Mithran vamp, Gregoire, who he wants to mate with Jane. However, on the cable news is a report of a vicious bloodbath of a couple in Cocke County. Leo calls Jane to tell her to kill the rogue and make it go away. Jane heads to the Pigeon River site of the massacre to begin her inquiry. Beast tells her the smell is not vamp or Pigeon, but that of the mythical Grindylow. Jane realizes werewolves killed the couple with the Grindylow as the were-enforcers in pursuit.

The latest Yellowrock urban fantasy (see Mercy Blade, Blood Cross and Skinwalker) is a super thriller as the kick butt heroine investigates the murders with the eyes of humans, vamps and werewolves upon her. The Grindylow believe in taking care of their own kind with lethal punishment, but objects to outside intrusion. Fast-paced, Raven Cursed is an exhilarating paranormal whodunit with several thriller spins as the heroine muses that vamps and guns suck but though make for a crappy life are energizing. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Harriet's Reviews

Wolf Whisperer
Karen Whiddon
Harlequin Nocturne, Dec 20 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373618750

Pack protector Mac Lamonda is grieving and raging as his wife Maggie recently died in a car crash and her birth clan claimed and abducted his twin children while he mourned his loss. He wants his kids back so he has come to Wyoming to abduct a distant cousin Kelly McKenzie of his late spouse to force an exchange with this Tearlach clan that vanished years ago except for his target as she runs a canine rescue mission.

He arrives just after she learns her sister Bonnie has been abducted. They are attacked, but thwart the adversaries as her Tearlach skills save his life. Each distrusts the other as her clan took his kids and his Protectors failed to investigate who murdered her father and now her sibling is missing. Failure to combines forces proves not an option as a clever diabolical manipulator is putting the pair and their loved ones in jeopardy.

The latest Wolf Pack urban romantic fantasy (see Lone Wolf) is an exhilarating thriller due to the strong lead couple who loath the other’s clan and the expansion to the already powerful Whiddon mythos with the Tearlach talents. Mac and Kelly complement one another especially in a fight and at love. Readers will relish this entertaining tale as united the protagonists may save their loved ones; divided their loved ones will die. Harriet Klausner

Claim The Night
Rachel Lee
Harlequin Nocturne, Dec 20 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373618743

Messenger Investigations, Inc. private investigator Jude Messenger saves the life of medical examiner Terri Black from a gang rape. Jude is stunned to find himself attracted to Terri and the smell of her blood. However, the private investigator knows he has no time for a female even if her blood has him stirred; since he must focus on ending the spread of a demon infestation. Thus he escorts her to his office and his assistant Chloe Crandall.

Teri is as shocked as her savior with her desire for Jude who tries to drive her away just like he did the four punks who he mentally sent home. She assumes her wanting him is a form of hero worship. However, she reconsiders her first inclination of adulation when she remains attracted to Jude even after learning that he is a demon hunting vampire. She insists on helping him with his mission as he realizes why her blood makes his boil; and to keep her safe from a demonic stalker he accepts her offer.

This Claiming urban romantic fantasy is an action-packed thriller that never decelerates from the moment that Jude and Chloe meet until a final confrontation with a nasty demon. Fast-paced, readers will relish Claim the Night as the dedicated demon hunter learns one taste of her blood will never be enough while M.E. never blinks re his race and his occupation; love will do that and more. Harriet Klausner

A Bridge of Years
Robert Charles Wilson
Orb/Tor, Dec 6 2011, $16.99
ISBN: 9780765327420

Following a divorce and a desperate need to start over, alcoholic Tom Winter leaves Seattle to return home to Belltower where he buys a three decade old house not occupied for over ten years, but maintained in pristine condition by an apparent phantom housekeeping service. The previous occupant Ben Collier lived there from 1964 until he vanished in 1980. Tom thinks his luck has changed as there is not one iota of dust anywhere and everything works.

However, he wonders if he is having the DTs when the “Tidiness Elves” clean his dishes. He soon meets his ghosts the cybernetic caretakers who plead with him to repair the abode as Tom learns the basement contains a tunnel that on the other end takes a traveler to Greenwich Village circa 1962. Ignoring the custodians’ warning not to enter the tunnel, Tom lands in May 1962 where he meets Joyce Casella in Washington Square Park. They are attracted to one another, but she fears he lost his mind to LSD or something similar. However, a marauder Billy Gargullo who killed Ben targets Tom and Joyce.

This is a reprint of a 1991 classic time traveler relationship drama. The exciting story line is filled with action, a vague future filled with war and horrific climate change, and a purposely not fully developed bittersweet romance. Character driven, fans who appreciate a complex somewhat convoluted thriller will want to read Robert Charles Wilson’s terrific time travel treatise as the protagonist struggles to cope psychologically (accentuated with the right on target climax) even more than the physical stalking by a killer. Harriet Klausner

Haunted Warrior
Allie Mackay
Signet, Jan 3 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451235480

The historical restoration group Scotland’s Past hires Ghostcatchers International ghost whisperer Kendra Chase to assist with the troubled spirits disturbed by a dig in Pennard, Scotland. When she arrives from Edinburgh at the coastal fishing village, she sees mysterious seal expert Graeme MacGrath and his rowdy companion Jock the dog.

Kendra and Graeme want one another, but each for differing reasons is reluctant to see where their attraction leads. While Kendra tries to conceal her paranormal skill; Graeme tries to protecting the villagers from an evil threatening to break through barrier separating two realms. However, he concludes for him to keep the residents and their village safe, he needs Kendra’s paranormal skills.

The lead protagonists (to include jocular Jock) bring energy to an engaging urban romantic fantasy as each of the lead couple is falling in love but know their respective mission comes first. Ironically, while hiding their particular cause, neither realizes their respective mission is the same. Sub-genre fans will appreciate Haunted Warrior as Allie Mackay makes the save the village and perhaps Scotland and the world come before the love though their feelings are always everywhere. Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 27, 2012

Harriet's Reviews

Living Violet
Jaime Reed
K Teen/Dafina, Dec 27 2011, $9.95
ISBN: 9780758269249

Samara Marshall goes to school and works at Buncha Books. She likes working there, but cannot understand why women make fools of themselves over the music department assistant manager Caleb Baker, the man with the "intense violet eyes’" whom females have heart attacks over. Her weekend partner exchange student Nadine Petrovsky has the same effect on men.

Caleb is attracted to Samara who somehow resists his lure. At a seniors’ party, Samara serves as referee to her BFF Mia and her boyfriend Dougie, and chaperone to her younger friend Alicia the sophomore who should not be at the party but came with Garrett. When Samara sees Garret on top of Alicia, she kicks him in the face. When he recovers he calls her a name and attacks Samara. Raging Caleb kills the serial rapist. Caleb admits that he is a Cambion, whose body possesses two souls; that of his own and an incubus who lures women to dine on their essence.

This is an engaging romantic urban fantasy with a strong cast especially at the bookstore, who affirms Virginia is for lovers. The story line starts off fast as the audience meets the cast; but slows down in the middle with the moral heroine taming the beast; before accelerating with a tense finish involving Samara’s family. Although the first Cambion Chronicles at times especially in the middle section focuses too much on values that seem demeaning dumbed down, young teen readers will enjoy meeting the strange crew at Buncha Books. Harriet Klausner

Devil’s Kiss
Zoe Archer
Zebra, Dec 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420122275

In 1762 Earl of Whitney James Shelbourne is a blue blood Hellraiser as he, like his four friends, loves the thrill of a high stake risk in which the ante is him. Whit visits a Romany camp where he meets intriguing mysterious Zora Grey, an adept card player. Used to always winning even against insurmountable odds, Whit loses to his skilled opponent while being distracted by her hands working the cards rather than his fantasy.

Attracted to James, Zora knows she must help her beloved overcome the devil deal he and the other Hellraisers made in which they gave away their respective souls to obtain their heart’s desire. As they fall in love, Whit realizes the paradox of Zora being his heart’s desire but if they overcome the pact he fears she will no longer be his heart’s desire; however he also knows if he fails to fight back, he loses her anyway and evil will be even further entrenched in the mortal plane.

The first Hellraisers Georgian romance is a terrific tale paradoxical Faustian thriller starring a bad boy hero who sold himself to the devil and the tough passionate female who prays she can rescue his soul though his heart. The storyline is fast-paced from the opening piquet game of cards to the final confrontation as love may not be enough even with a Friend and Lover to Reach Out Of The Darkness. Harriet Klausner

Bound by Darkness
Alexandra Ivy
Zebra, Dec 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420111361

The recent death of malevolent Morgana le Fey has freed the Sylvermyst from the evil one who enslaved and tortured them. However used to being liberated to make decisions, the clan reacts differently. Prince Ariyal will do anything to keep the Dark Lord from finding a new vessel to return to while Tearloch insanely obsesses over bring back their former master. He kidnaps a baby that will serve as the vessel for a mage to perform the rite of passage. Ariyal plans to kill the innocent infant so that the Dark Lord cannot return.

The Commission assigns vampire warrior Jaelyn to capture Ariyal to take to the Oracles and to protect the baby. However he stuns her when he takes her prisoner instead; he takes her to the Avalon. As an Oracle proclaims they must work together to prevent global destruction, he asks her to assist him in hunting down his rogue kin controlled by evil.

The latest Guardians of Eternity romantic fantasy (see Devoured by Darkness) is an excellent entry; starring two intrepid souls who are natural enemies though share the bond of love. The storyline is action-packed but driven by the lead couple who go from antagonists to protagonists as their respective missions intertwine on an increasingly deadlier wider scale. Bound by Darkness is a strong thriller. Harriet Klausner

The Demon Lover
Juliet Dark
Ballantine, Dec 27 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345510082

Dr. Cailleach “Callie” McFay feels her lifelong love of gothic literature and folklore has come together with her recently published "The Sex Lives of the Demon Lovers" and her accepting an instructor’s position at Fairwick College. She was hesitant about accepting the job of teaching folklore until she saw Honeysuckle House. The Victorian seemed to whisper her name so she bought the home and took the position.

The house once belonged to historical romance writer Dahlia LaMotte. Her notes, journals and unpublished books can be read by Callie, but must never leave the premises. Each night Callie dreams of a shadowy male having sex with her; each morning she wakes up sexually satiated. Though she knows something is not right with these nocturnal fantasies and LaMotte’s writings affirm her belief, she begins to accept that she has a Demon Lover; of whom she obsesses over in spite of this incubus draining her life essence.

Demon Lover is a strong urban romantic fantasy starring an intrepid heroine who uses her intelligence to fight for her life. The storyline is fast-paced yet ensures that the witches and other paranormal residents of the town of Fairwick seem real. Readers will relish the entertaining tale of the professor and the incubus. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Harriet's Reviews

All That Bleeds
Kimberly Frost
Berkley, Jan 3 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425245804

The demonic slaughter occurs at the Arts & Innovation Benefit held at the House of North. Body guard Mr. Clark takes his charge, Alissa the last heiress muse to a safe location, but she insists they return to rescue the human hostages. He refuses saying unless the Etherlin Council president Dimitri Xanakis orders him to do so she will remain safe. Mr. Clark reminds her that the damned cannot resist the smell of the blood of a muse like she is. Furthermore he blames the ventala hybrid vampires for failing to kill the demon in Varden. Merrick the ventala arrives and easily kills Corthus the demon, who had slaughtered many. Over Mr. Clark’s objection, Alissa thanks Merrick.

Five years later, Alissa and Merrick remain attracted to one another, but each knows that is taboo. However, everything changes when someone abducts the muse and removes her from the safety of the House. Merrick vows to use every tool in heaven, hell and earth to rescue the forbidden female he has loved since she bravely shook his hand after he killed Corthus.

The first Etherlin romantic fantasy is a terrific ultra dark (due to constant violence that lives up to the title as even demons bleed) thriller. The vivid story line is action-packed but it is the forbidden relationship between the muse and the ventala that is at the heart of Kimberley Frost’s turn from the lighthearted frolics of the Southern Witch saga to this dark tale. Harriet Klausner

Gift of Magic
Lynn Kurland
Berkley, Jan 3 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425245200

Not wanting to follow in the footsteps of his evil sire Gair, Ruithneadh of Ceangail hesitates becoming a mage. However, he has no choice but to undo what his notorious father wrought. Thus Ruith and dreamweaver Sarah of Doire, who uncannily can see the deadly spells on a map of sorts, follow the spell trail to destroy them though she believes someone purposely set this up to bring the pair to whoever this individual is.

As the pair find and destroy spells, other Nine Kingdom mages want control of Gair’s legacy and will kill anyone, even innocent civilians, to obtain the enormous but dangerous power. Sarah and Ruith know failure is not an option as that would plunge the world into eternal darkness as each wonders what awaits them at the end of the enchanted trail.

The final tale in the latest Nine Kingdoms quest fantasy (see A Tapestry of Spells and Spellweaver) is a great finish to a strong trilogy. The exciting story line is fast-paced from the onset until the final confrontation against evil. Although readers will know who awaits the lead heroes at the end of the spell trail, it does not matter as Lynn Kurland spins another fabulous fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Kiss Of Frost
Jennifer Estep
K Teen/ Kensington, Dec 1 2011, $9.95
ISBN: 9780758266941

Gwen Frost the Gypsy possesses psychometric power. In her second year as a warrior in training at the Mythos Academy, she still feels like the proverbial outside newcomer who does not belong although Gwen has a few friends. However, she is attracted to Logan Quinn the Spartan, who ignores her entirely as if Gwen does not exist except in swordplay.

However, Gwen has a bigger than life problem other than an unrequited teen crush as Reapers and werewolves want her dead with two failed attempts including an invisible archer at the Library of Iniquities. A third try at the Winter Carnival also is thwarted as Gwen with Vic the sword realizes she needs to uncover the identity of the Reaper stalking her before the adversary finally succeeds.

With a nod to Greek mythology in a high school setting, the second Mythos Academy young teen fantasy (see Touch of Frost) is a charming tale filled with a strong cast especially Gwen’s archenemy Savannah Wren the Amazon and her BFFs. The fast-paced twisting story line contains misdirection as to who wants the heroine dead while is also filled with comedic moments, but avoids exploring the darker side of Gypsies. Still readers will enjoy Gwen’s non-academic adventures at school in which someone wants her as dead as her late mom. Harriet Klausner

Blood of Eden
Tami Dane
Kensington, Dec 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780758267092

In Baltimore, twentyish FBI intern agent Sloan Skye is assigned to the newly formed Paranormal Behavioral Analysis Unit. She has no idea that the human Resources Division erred but PBAU chief Alice Peyton takes her on her scorned X-Files-like cell.

Peyton calls for a team meeting attended by Agents Jordan Thomas, Chad Fletcher and Brittany Hough, and Sloan. Baltimore PD asked for assistance with a murder in which the suspect appears to be a vampire. Although her late father the professor insisted vampires were real, Sloan does not believe even when her team assumes she is an expert due to being a chip off the paternal block. While she and her teammates work the case, Sloan, ignoring her mother’s zillion calls to her cell, is attracted to Jordan.

This is an engaging police procedural paranormal starring a likable heroine. The fast-paced story line engages the reader although the investigation is more Noir than urban fantasy. Still with a touch of romance in the air and some comedic relief, fans will enjoy Tami Dane’s Baltimore murder mystery. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Anthology

International best-selling author Audrey Niffenegger is to pen her first ever story for a commercial trade anthology, after signing to Solaris’ forthcoming short story collection, Magic.

Solaris are proud to announce that Niffenegger, whose novel The Time Traveller's Wife has sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide, is to produce a story for the themed anthology of the occult and arcane, due for release in November 2012 in North America and the UK, in both paperback and ebook.

The story marks Audrey’s first ever appearance in any commercial trade anthology and is the third themed collection from Solaris editor-in-chief Jonathan Oliver. The previous critically-acclaimed anthologies include The End of the Line, which featured stories set on the Underground, and House of Fear, which rebooted the haunted house for the 21st Century. The titles garnered ecstatic reviews, with The Times describing End of the Line’s stories as “exceptionally good”.

“I'm delighted to be involved in this project,” said Audrey Niffenegger. “My story is called The Wrong Fairie and is about Charles Altamont Doyle. He was a Victorian artist who was institutionalized for alcoholism. He was also the father of Arthur Conan Doyle, and he believed in fairies.”

Niffenegger became a publishing sensation thanks to The Time Traveller’s Wife, published in 2003 and made into a Hollywood movie in 2009, and her subsequent novel was the subject of intense bidding by publishing houses.

“It's really very exciting to be working with Audrey, whose novels The Time Traveller's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry show an author with a great talent for subverting genre norms and delivering the unexpected,” said Jonathan Oliver. “Audrey's story is sure to make a great addition to Magic.”

The line-up for Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane is set to include other high profile authors, including Richard and Judy Book Club-choice Alison Littlewood, NYT Bestseller Dan Abnett, and celebrated authors such as Christopher Fowler, Storm Constantine, Robert Shearman, Paul Meloy, Sophia McDougall, Will Hill, Gemma Files, along with new writers such as Sarah Lotz, Lou Morgan and Thana Niveau and more.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New ebook from Abaddon

The Twilight of Kerberos:

The Wrath of Kerberos
by Jonathan Oliver

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-35-3

$9.99/12.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907992-36-0

An ebook-only release from Abaddon Books

Suddenly stranded in a desert by a magical storm, Silus Morlader must lead the crew of the Llothriall across the harsh landscape in search of civilisation. What they find will change their view of the world forever.

A new race reveals to Silus that his god, the planet-deity Kerberos, is not all he appears to be; that everything they understand about life on Twilight may be wrong.

The ninth and latest in the Twilight of Kerberos series, The Wrath of Kerberos is the first time Abaddon Books has published a brand new title onlyas an ebook.

And with the success of the recent series omnibuses – including the The Best of Tomes of the Dead and Afterblight: America – and capitalising on the growing US readership who are discovering Abaddon’s startlingly fresh shared-worlds, Abaddon Books has decided to focus the Twilight range on this format.

The long-awaited third book of the Lucius Kane Trilogy by Matthew Sprange, Legacy’s Price, will see print this March as part of the first Twilight of Kerberos Omnibus, with two more omnibuses in the series to collect the titles by Mike Wild and Jonathan Oliver.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

News from Abaddon

Chuck Wendig returns to Abaddon

The author behind Abaddon’s fastest-selling title of 2011 is set to return with a follow-up novella and a brand new series.

Abaddon is delighted to announce that Chuck Wendig has signed up to write an ebook sequel to the popular Double Dead, as well as create a brand new series for Abaddon in 2013.

An October 2011 release from Abaddon, Double Dead was Wendig’s first original novel and became the fastest-selling Abaddon title to date, with a particularly strong showing as an ebook.

The freshest take on the undead for years, Double Dead saw the vampire Coburn awaken during the zombie apocalypse, only to realise that if he wants to survive he has to protect his food source from the undead hordes.

Now Wendig is set to return to the world of Coburn later this year with Double Dead: Bad Blood, an ebook-only novella sequel. It will be released on May 14th on all e-platforms.

Wendig is also working on an exciting new urban fantasy series for Abaddon Books, bringing gods and monsters onto the city streets in a thrilling new-take on classic genre tropes. The first in this new series is due for release in 2013.

With his prominent online presence, including his popular blog on which he is not afraid to give his opinions on the process of writing and the industry at large.

“It’s wonderful to be welcoming Chuck back to the Abaddon team,” said Jon Oliver, editor-in-chief of Abaddon Books. “He’s certainly one of the most exciting new writers around and Chuck is going to build on the success of Double Dead while bringing a brand new series to Abaddon.”

"The vampire Coburn kicked his way out of my skull and onto the pages of Double Dead,” said Wendig, “so it's great to be revisiting that cantankerous old bloodsucker. And I'm utterly geeked to be working with Abaddon to help birth this brand new series of gods and monsters."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gideon's Angel

Figure the English Civil War is all about dashing Cavaliers and dour Roundheads?

Think again…

Solaris is proud to announce it has acquired Gideon’s Angel by Clifford Beal, due for publication in 2013, which takes the seemingly familiar history of the mid 17th Century but introduces an infernal plot that makes this much more than just a history lesson!

Described as The Day of the Jackal meets The Devil Rides Out, this swashbuckling historical fantasy set in the aftermath of the terrible English Civil War sees science and alchemy as strange bedfellows with witchcraft and magic.

An epic adventure in the tradition of Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane, it is set in England in 1653. Colonel Richard Treadwell, an exiled Royalist officer in the service of Cardinal Mazarin, returns home in secret from France on a self-appointed mission to assassinate Oliver Cromwell, now king in all but name. He quickly learns however, that his is not the only plot in motion.

A secret army run by a deluded Puritan is bent on the same quest, guided by the Devil’s hand. When demonic entities are summoned, Treadwell finds himself in a desperate turnaround: he must save Cromwell to save England from a literal descent into hell. But can he convince the man sent to forcibly bring him back to the Cardinal? A young king's musketeer named d'Artagnan.

“Not only is Clifford’s novel a rip-roaring blood and thunder horror fantasy,” said Jon Oliver, editor-in-chief of Solaris, “it is also a brilliant historical thriller. His sense of history and depth of narrative really transports you deep into a post-civil war London. It’s always a real joy to discover an accomplished debut novelist, and I know that Gideon’s Angel is really going to make its mark on the genre.”

About the Author

Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Clifford Beal is an award-winning journalist and the former Editor of the authoritative London-based international news magazine Jane’s Defence Weekly. He worked as a defence journalist for over 20 years in both the US and the UK before he began writing books.

Beal is the author of Quelch’s Gold, the true story of a little-known but remarkable Anglo-American pirate of the 18th century who was the first man to be tried in a British Admiralty court outside of England (Praeger Books, 2007).

And writing realistic sword fighting scenes in fiction is second nature to Beal. He began medieval style armoured combat at the age of 17 in the US and later, in the mid-1990s, he organised a group of friends to begin the practical study of renaissance rapier and dagger techniques. This became the Sussex Rapier Society and is now the Sussex Sword Academy in Brighton. Gideon’s Angel is his debut novel.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

THE WOMAN by Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee

THE WOMAN, Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee, Cemetery Dance, $35, 208 pages, 9781587672538, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Jack Ketchum has surprised me before with his writings, but this time he has caused me to move his name up several notches on my list of horror writers. This is one novel (and bonus novella) that will cause you to question the inhumanity of man and his treatment of his family and others.

THE WOMAN is a feral creature that has survived by her wits and her careful nature. Christopher Cleek is a husband, father, and lawyer that rules all aspects of his life with an iron hand. Cleek is out hunting one day and comes across THE WOMAN bathing in a stream and develops a plan that will affect his entire family.

Cleek captures THE WOMAN and shackles her in his root cellar. He gives each member of his family – his wife Belle, his son Brian, and his daughters Peg and Darlin’ – a chore in her keeping. There are many secrets in the Cleek household and he has managed to buy out his neighbors in order to continue his amoral and savage longings.

The presence of THE WOMAN causes Belle to question some of her choices; Brian starts behaving more like his father; and, Peg, keeping her own secret, tries to shield Darlin’ from what is happening. Cleeks brutality and unstable behavior comes to a head in a final battle where his secrets are revealed and few are left standing.

THE WOMAN is a story that shows that the savage may not be as savage as the human who is in control. Also included is a novella, “Cow”, which shows us what is happening a year after the grand finale of THE WOMAN. Be prepared for this dark work. I would love to say more, but I don’t want to spoil the surprises that lie between the covers of THE WOMAN.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reviews from Barry

After too long a wait, her are some new reviews from me.

Hopefully, I'm starting to get back in the groove.

GULAG MOON, Tom Ciolli, Amazon Kindle, $2.99, 57 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Tom is the author of the exciting Chronos Series and this too brief novella is a prequel to the earlier books. This is the story of the meeting of Zep Hedgewick and Zach Murphy who are major characters in the other books of the trilogy.

Zep and Zach meet during high school and seem to be on different paths until the machinations of the Mining Syndicate starts transporting older factory workers to a forest moon and leaves them to fend for themselves. They must learn to survive and prepare for an eventual showdown with the Syndicate.

Zach recruits Zep into an underground movement against the Syndicate and this story of their adventures shows their growth and experiences as they mature into the characters of the other works in this series.

This is an enjoyable, although, short adventure that will help you learn more about the characters and their motives. Check all of the books in the series on Amazon.com.

SENSE AND SENSUALITY, Erotic Fantasies in the World of Jane Austin, edited by J Blackmore, Circlet Press, www.circlet.com, $5.99, 159 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

It seems that Jane Austen’s works have been zombified and vampirised in the recent past. Now J Blackmore has taken it to the next level and sexualized the various characters that have inhabited a rather chaste world and has now filled it with passion.

The writers have taken some of the lesser known characters and given them a different path than expected by their actions in the original books. Who would have thought that Mary Bennet would lean to the world of witchcraft? Read “A Woman of Uncommon Accomplishment” by Elizabeth Reeve for all the details. Emma Woodhouse lends her matchmaking ability to aid Lord Rigby end up with her cousin Nate in “Lord Rigby’s Scandalous Secret” by Jack Dickson.

Wickham makes an unusual pact with a woman that affects the rest of his life in “The Lamia’s Proposal” by Kaysee Renee Robichaud. Darcy makes a too brief appearance as Heath is perplexed with the thoughts of marriage as Jay Starre relates in “The Page of Wands”. “The Amber Cross” by MeiLin Miranda features Fanny Price in an adventure that shows that, she too, has feelings.

J Blackmore shines again with this volume of unusual erotica that proves again that she knows how to bring out the best in her writers and present the reader with a well done volume.

WHISPERS IN DARKNESS, Lovecraftian Erotica, edited by J Blackmore, Circlet Press, www.circlet.com, $5.99, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Everyone knows Lovecraft was raised with Puritanical values and the last thing you would expect from him is something erotic. With this in mind, J Blackmore has delivered eight tales that use the ideas and settings of Lovecraft. This is a volume that will surprise you.

In “Ink” by Bernie Mojzes, a private eye looking for a missing girl finds the Eldrich Sam who is selling experiences to all comers. “Koenigsberg's Model” by Peter Tupper is a quest story that turns into a fixation as Rick seeks to solve a mystery and finish his thesis. In “A Reflection of Kindness” by Kannan Feng, a young bride finds true happiness, but is it really her husband.

Other stories take on other aspects of the mythos and Lovecraft’s peculiarities. “The Artist's Retreat” by Annabeth Leong; “The Dreams in the Laundromat” by Elizabeth Reeve tells of Miskatonic’s students; “Sheik” by Angela Caperton features Nyarlathotep the Great; “The Flower of Innsmouth” by Monique Poirier; and “When the Stars Come” by Alex Picchetti features Lavinia Whatley and Yog-Sothoth.
This is an interesting and unusual collection that leaves you wanting more and makes you look at The Great Old Ones in a different way.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Book One of the Dragon Apocalypse


by James Maxey

Arriving 31st January (US & Canada) and 2nd February (US)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-73-5

$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1907992-72-8

Available as an ebook

Solaris is proud to present the first in a breathtaking new trilogy by one of its most popular authors: Greatshadow is the first book in the Dragon Apocalypse series by James Maxey, author of the Dragon Age series.

The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay Greatshadow, the evil elemental dragon who spies through every candle flame, once and for all.

But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view the mission as a holy duty and the superpowered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who view this as a chance to claim Greatshadow’s vast treasure. If the warriors fail to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire?

A striking mix of adventure, fantasy and lurking menace, Greatshadow promises to be the beginning of a stand-out new series in 2012, written by a real master of the genre.

“…a book that feels like fantasy but is, at core, smart science fiction. It feels like — and is — a magnificent hero story.”

– Orson Scott Card on James Maxey’s Bitterwood

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Wind Through the Keyhole, A Dark Tower Novel

Welcome to issue #76 of the Donald M. Grant Newsletter

11 January 2012

We hope you all had a good Holiday Season and a Happy New Year. May 2012 be better for all of us.





We have added another of Jae Lee’s color illustrations to the web page.

Since we began accepting advance orders on December 19 we have received over 3,000 orders. We are accepting advance orders for both the Deluxe and Artist Editions of THE DARK TOWER: THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE at:


Please read the rest of this Newsletter before placing your order.


We will be producing a slipcase for the Scribner Trade Edition which will match the three slipcases we produced for the first seven Dark Tower books:


This will not be shipped until 6-8 weeks after the Trade Edition is released so that we can be sure it will fit properly. Cost is $30.00 plus a $1.00 shipping charge. We will not be charging the $5.00 order fee on orders where the slipcase is shipping by itself.


If you send a check and the check is cashed we have received your order. If you sent an order via our website you will receive as confirmation an email titled “RE WWW Form Submission”. We have received over 3,000 email orders but are now sending
confirmations within 3 or 4 business days. If you call or email us this will only delay getting orders ready but if you sent in your order in December and did not receive an order confirmation please send us an email with the subject NO ORDER CONFIRMATION to karenf@grantbooks.com.

We have a small staff and will be hiring extra help but it will take time to process orders, especially for people expecting a specific numbered copy. We appreciate your patience.

Please do not call or email us for further details as we will just refer you to our web site and suggest you remain subscribed to our email newsletter.


Our usual full-color printed flyer will be in the mail next week.


Due to financial considerations at the time many of our customers who bought the Deluxe Edition of LITTLE SISTERS OF ELURIA chose not to purchase the matching numbered Gift Edition. As we have been shipping copies from the higher number down we still have many of the Gift Editions up to number 690. If you would now like to match your Deluxe Edition with the same numbered Gift edition please email Karen French at karenf@grantbooks.com under the subject title “Little Sisters Gift Number” with your number and Karen will confirm if we still have that number.

We will send out another Newsletter when we know when shipping THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE will begin.

Thank you.

Robert K. Wiener, President
Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Small Town horror

The Faceless

by Simon Bestwick


£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978- 1-907992-74-2

$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978- 1-907992-75-9

Available as an ebook

In the Lancashire town of Kempforth, people are vanishing.

When two-year-old Roseanne Trevor disappears, the local kids blame ‘The Spindly Men’. But even as Detective Chief Inspector Renwick vows to stop at nothing until she finds her, terrifying visions summon TV psychic Allen Cowell and his sister Vera back to the town they swore they’d left forever and local historian Anna Mason pieces together a history of cruelty and exploitation almost beyond belief.

Meanwhile, in the decaying corridors and lightless rooms of a long abandoned hospital, something terrible is waiting for them all.

In a chilling tale of contemporary small-town horror, Bestwick has truly evoked the terror of films such as The Orphanage and the writing of James Herbert, Adam Nevill and M R James.

“Simon Bestwick writes with great imaginative flair and an excellent grasp of colour and narrative pace.'”

– Daily Telegraph

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Babylon Steel available now

Babylon Steel
by Gaie Sebold

OUT NOW in the UK, US and Canada

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-37-7
$7.99 (US & Canada) ISBN 978-1-907992-38-4

Also available as an eBook

Hello boys! What’s your kind of fantasy…?

Ex-sword-for-hire Babylon Steel runs the best brothel in the city. She’s got elves using sex magic upstairs, S&M in the basement, a green troll cooking breakfast in the kitchen, and she’d love you to visit, except…

She’s not having a good week. The Vessels of Purity are protesting against brothels, her girls are disappearing, and if she can’t pay her taxes she’s going to lose her business. Despite giving up the mercenary life, when the mysterious Darask Fain pays her to find a missing heiress, she has to take the job. And then her past starts to catch up with her in other, more dangerous ways.

Babylon Steel
sees the start of an exciting new fantasy series. Witty and fresh, debut author Sebold delivers the most exciting take on the fantasy genre in years.

"A unique and richly realised setting, a vivid cast, a plot that coils and divides and fakes and deceives... Ingenious, gripping, and full of pleasures on every level. Exceptional."

– Mike Carey, author of NYT Best Seller The Unwritten and the Felix Castor novels

About the Author

Gaie Sebold was born in the US but has lived in the UK most of her life. She grew up in a country village near Oxford and now lives in a moderately dodgy bit of South East London. She works for a charity, reads obsessively, grows vegetables and sometimes runs around in woods hitting people with latex weapons. She has won a few awards for poetry (her collection, Urban Fox, was published by Tall Lighthouse), has sold some short stories and has been known to commit performance poetry.

Gaie is a member of T Party Writers, a London-based genre critique group; she has the standard cat apparently issued to most fantasy writers, a very understanding boyfriend, and a large desk full of undone paperwork.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Horror Title

Out now in the UK and North America!

Hell Train by Christopher Fowler

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-9-07992-43-8

$8.99/$9.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907992-44-5

Available as an ebook

At its peak in the 1960s, the legendary Hammer Films embarked upon an ill-fated new horror movie that was Dracula, Frankenstein and Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors all rolled into one…

Christopher Fowler, who created some of the most memorable taglines in movie history – including Alien’s “In space, no-one can hear you scream” – and whose company designed the iconic Trainspotting and Reservoir Dogs film posters, has crafted a terrifying tale set in the halcyon days of British horror cinema.

In his first book for Solaris, the multi-award winning author of the Bryant & May mysteries conjures up bizarre creatures, satanic rites, terrified passengers and the romance of train travel, all in a classically-styled horror novel that evokes the real-life spirits of this most British of movie studios.

When American screenwriter Shane Carter is asked to revive the classic studio’s fortunes and, inspired by an old board game, writes a script where four strangers who meet on a train journey through Eastern Europe during the First World War must solve a terrifying mystery if they are to survive.

As they race through the war-torn countryside, they must uncover the secrets of a locked casket and of the veiled Red Countess who travels with them. And what exactly is the devilish riddle of the train itself?!

“The very British spirit of Hammer Horror rises from the grave in Christopher Fowler’s rattling, roaring yarn” – Kim Newman, author of Anno Dracula

Friday, January 6, 2012

Free Ebook

PRESS RELEASE - London/New York.
Thursday 5th January 2011

Genre author Stephen Hunt has made the first novel of his two-book 'Six Against The Stars' science fiction series free for readers to download on the Amazon Kindle. The free download offer is running from now until the end of Sunday 8th December.

Here’s the book’s blurb…

As the self-proclaimed biggest coward in the galaxy, Horatio has it easy on what passes for 40th century America. A much-favoured sycophant in the court of the King of Earth, Horatio lives in a genetically engineered paradise where there’s a vat-grown slave waiting around every marble column with a bunch of grapes to drop into his oh-so perfectly designed mouth.

Unfortunately for Horatio, the artificial intelligence that rules the great mass of humanity spread across the stars has other plans for this feckless seducer. So, if you ever wonder how the galaxy’s biggest coward finds himself actually trying to save it, you’re not alone… but then, unfortunately, neither is our hero!

His misadventures are abetted by a psychotic Martian warrior, a robot who thinks it’s related to Sherlock Holmes, a beautiful genetically enhanced assassin, a scientist with a computer for a brain, and a millennia-old clone who was alive when the last U.S. President was executed by a firing squad.

It’s six against the galaxy. Six against the stars. They’ll save the universe… but they might damage it first.

And here’s the download links…

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Amazon Germany

Amazon France

Amazon Italy

Amazon Spain

A cover graphic of the novel can be found at http://stephenhunt.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/SIXagainstthestars_volume1_amazon.jpg


Stephen Hunt is a fantasy, science fiction and thriller/crime author, currently living and working in the UK. His fantasy/SF books are written as Stephen Hunt, while his crime/thrillers are published as Stephen A. Hunt. His web site can be found at www.StephenHunt.net

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Press Release

To kick off 2012 here at Solaris, we’re happy to announce that we have acquired Serene Invasion, a brand new novel by award-winning SF author Eric Brown.

The novel will be delivered at the end of 2012 for a summer 2013 publication. The agent was John Jarrold, and the deal was for UK/US rights.

Serene Invasion spans the first twenty-five years following an entirely peaceful invasion of Earth by aliens who believe they are saving humanity from self-destruction. The novel opens in 2025, with the world plagued by war, terrorist attacks, poverty and increasingly desperate demands for water, oil, resources. The West and China are sending forces into Africa and South America in order to 'stabilise' regimes, but in reality to garner precious land on which to farm intensively, mine for resources and drill for oil. Much of the global conflict surrounds the dearth of natural resources in an overpopulated world, with the rich West and China doing nothing to alter their materialistic life-style. And then the Serene arrive…

Eric’s highly-acclaimed Kings of Eternity was published in 2011, going on to top several ‘best of’ lists in the New Year, and the imprint also published his novels Helix, Xenopath, Necropath, Cosmopath, Kethani, Engineman, and Guardians of the Phoenix.

“I'm delighted to be doing The Serene Invasion for Solaris,” said Brown. “It's a book that has been on the back-burner for years, and a project I'm very excited about. Alien invasion with a difference, set in Britain, India and Africa, featuring a varied cast of human characters who each in their own way respond to the coming of the Serene.”

“For me, Eric is up there with the greats – Silverberg, Clarke, Leiber,”
said Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief at Solaris. “So it’s always a delight to bring a new work by this brilliant author to genre fans.”

“Even a collaboration between John Wyndham and Clifford D. Simak at their best would be hard pressed to equal this."

– Peter F. Hamilton on Kings of Eternity

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reviews from Jim

Have been without phone and internet service for almost a week.

Here are some reviews from Jim to introduce you to a couple of good books.

HIMMLERS WAR, Robert Conroy, Baen, $25.00, 368 pages, ISBN: 9781451637618, reviewed by Jim Brock.

HIMMLER’S WAR is one of those exceptional alternate histories that don’t take a big stretch of the imagination to accept the premise. That’s not to say that I’m unwilling to take big stretches or giant leaps of imagination for a good alternate history. You just don’t have to in this case.

Adolph Hitler survived a series of events that could have wiped his evil presence from our planet and possibly prevented at least a part of his murderous rampage. Of all his followers, SS leader Heinrich Himmler was perhaps the best positioned and capable of assuming the role of Reichfuhrer should that have happened.

Conroy postulates that very thing occurring shortly after D-Day when, in a comedy of errors, an American bomber dumps its bombs and unknowingly, at the moment, blasts Der Fuhrer to bits. From this beginning, Conroy takes World War II on a believable and exciting course with a blend of the true historical heroes and villains of the time and a cast of likeable and diverse fictional characters. Their stories set in the backdrop of this great conflict are engrossing. Robert Conroy’s HIMMLER’S WAR is truly excellent.

EXPEDITION BEYOND, Roger Bagg, Fiction Studio Books, $26.95, 404 pages, ISBN: 9781936558223, reviewed by Jim Brock.

This is Roger Bagg’s first novel in what I hope to be a long string of them. EXPEDITION BEYOND establishes “The Anderson Theory” which offers a unique and imaginative idea about what’s inside the Earth. When a rift opens in the Artic and a corresponding rift appears in Australia the doors, so to speak, are opened for the proof of that theory and the discovery of an exciting world ripe for exploration and adventure in future novels.

This first venture into that world focuses on the surface as two rescue operations. The one in Australia is to find the son of a rich and powerful man who disappears in the area when the rift opens. The operation near the North Pole is to rescue the leader of an expedition sent to explore the crevasse who fell in and dropped miles into the Earth.

What really gripped me weren’t the rescue operations as much as it was the adventure of the North Pole leader and the world in which he finds himself. It is a world inhabited by Aztecs, Anasazi and Neanderthals. There he finds love and chaos and fights for his life and that of the people he finds. This world is imaginative and engrossing and this book is difficult to put down. I can’t honestly say Bagg handles the mechanics of storytelling as well as came up with terrific ideas for that story, but that matters little because EXPEDITION BEYOND is one good reading experience.