New Books in 2016 – Part I – Tor (1)
It’s that time of the year again! Yes, the Christmas trees, the ridiculous amounts of food, the carols, the fireworks, the presents, the melancholia… But also looking ahead to the new year in books! This is always one of the most exciting times of the year for me, because I love to browse through the publishers’ catalogues and discover what the new year will bring. One of the first catalogues I went through was the one from Tor. It’s quite an impressive catalogue with a massive amount of interesting books. I can’t wait to get my hands on all of these! Have a look below at the first part of the books that caught my attention in the Tor (UK & US) catalogue for next year.
Truthwitch – Susan Dennard (05/01)
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.
In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
Doom of the Dragon – Maragert Weis & Tracey Hickman (05/01)
In three previous novels, Skylan Ivorson overcame obstacles that would have defeated a lesser man, rising from obscurity to become the Chief of Chiefs of the fearsome Vindrasi who sail their living dragonships far and wide to raid and plunder for the glory of the gods. However, a cruel twist of fate struck him down before he and his beloved could complete their quest for the five sacred dragonbones that would summon the great dragon Ilyrion and save their people from destruction at the hands of an evil god. But even true death is denied him, and his destiny is unfulfilled.
Caught between life and death, he must lead those who journeyed with him to battle the evil god and the vast army of the god and his human emperor. Skylan must fight as he never has before to win back his life and his love, while seeking the last Spiritbone–the key to summoning the ultimate victory–before it can be snatched away by the forces of evil.
Weis and Hickman have crafted a pulse-pounding fantasy adventure that brings this great saga to a rousing, satisfying conclusion that will stir the passions of their legions of fans.
Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson (26/01)
The #1 New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of Mistborn with the follow-up to Shadows of Self.
With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.
Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders (26/01)
From the editor-in-chief of io9.com, a stunning novel about the end of the world–and the beginning of our future
Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.
But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.
A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.
Riders – Veronica Rossi (16/02)
For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.
Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen–Conquest, Famine, and Death–are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.
Now–bound, bloodied, and drugged–Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for–not to mention all of humankind–he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.
But will anyone believe him?
A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab (23/02)
Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.
Arkwright – Allen Steele (01/03)
Written by a highly regarded expert on space travel and exploration, Allen Steele’s Arkwright features the precision of hard science fiction with a compelling cast of characters. In the vein of classic authors such as Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke, Nathan Arkwright is a seminal author of the twentieth century. At the end of his life he becomes reclusive and cantankerous, refusing to appear before or interact with his legion of fans. Little did anyone know, Nathan was putting into motion his true, timeless legacy.
Convinced that humanity cannot survive on Earth, his Arkwright Foundation dedicates itself to creating a colony on an Earth-like planet several light years distant. Fueled by Nathan’s legacy, generations of Arkwrights are drawn together, and pulled apart, by the enormity of the task and weight of their name.
This is classic, epic science fiction and engaging character-driven storytelling, which will appeal to devotees of the genre as well as fans of current major motion pictures such as Gravity and Interstellar.
Brotherhood of the Wheel – R.S. Belcher (01/03)
A unique new urban fantasy by the author of The Six-Gun Tarot, exploring the haunted byways and truck stops of the U.S. Interstate Highway System
In 1119 A.D., a group of nine crusaders became known as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon–a militant monastic order charged with protecting pilgrims and caravans traveling on the roads to and from the Holy Land. In time, the Knights Templar would grow in power and, ultimately, be laid low. But a small offshoot of the Templars endure and have returned to the order’s original mission: to defend the roads of the world and guard those who travel on them.
Theirs is a secret line of knights: truckers, bikers, taxi hacks, state troopers, bus drivers, RV gypsies–any of the folks who live and work on the asphalt arteries of America. They call themselves the Brotherhood of the Wheel.
Jimmy Aussapile is one such knight. He’s driving a big rig down South when a promise to a ghostly hitchhiker sets him on a quest to find out the terrible truth behind a string of children gone missing all across the country. The road leads him to Lovina Hewitt, a skeptical Louisiana State Police investigator working the same case and, eventually, to a forgotten town that’s not on any map–and to the secret behind the eerie Black-Eyed Kids said to prowl the highways.
The Lyre Thief – Jennifer Fallon (08/03)
Her Serene Highness, Rakaia, Princess of Fardohnya, is off to Hythria, where her eldest sister is now the High Princess, to find herself a husband, and escape the inevitable bloodbath in the harem when her brother takes the throne.
Rakaia is not interested in marrying anyone, least of all some brute of a Hythrun Warlord she’s never met, but she has a plan to save herself from that, too. If she can just convince her baseborn sister, Charisee, to play along, she might actually get away with it.
But there is trouble brewing across the continent. High Prince of Hythria, Damin Wolfblade, must head north to save the peace negotiated a decade ago between the Harshini, Hythria, Fardohnya, Medalon and Karien. He must leave behind an even more dangerous conflict brewing between his wife and his powerful mother, Princess Marla.
…And in far off Medalon, someone has stolen the music.
Their quest for the tiny stolen lyre containing the essence of the God of Music will eventually touch all their lives, threaten everything they hold dear and prove to be far more personal than any of them can imagine.
The Last Mortal Bond – Brian Staveley (15/03)
The climactic third and final novel in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
The trilogy that began with The Emperor’s Blades and continued in The Providence of Fire reaches its epic conclusion, as war engulfs the Annurian Empire.
The ancient csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies march against the capital; leaches, solitary beings who draw power from the natural world to fuel their extraordinary abilities, maneuver on all sides to affect the outcome of the war; and capricious gods walk the earth in human guise with agendas of their own.
But the three imperial siblings at the heart of it all–Valyn, Adare, and Kaden–come to understand that even if they survive the holocaust unleashed on their world, there may be no reconciling their conflicting visions of the future.
World’s End – Will Elliott (22/03)
Vous has ascended to godhood and Eric and Aziel return to the castle to defeat the Arch Mage. The sky dragons offer Eric a throne, and objects of great power; but what do they want in return? Meanwhile, at World’s End, the new people have made contact. The haiyens say they have come to help, but do they have another agenda?
Transgalactic – James Gunn (22/03)
Transgalactic: the latest novel in Hugo Award Winner James Gunn’s SF Grandmaster Career!
When Riley and Asha finally reached the planet Terminal and found the Transcendental Machine, a matter transmission device built by an ancient race, they chose to be “translated.” Now in possession of intellectual and physical powers that set them above human limitations, the machine has transported them to two, separate, unknown planets among a possibility of billions.
Riley and Asha know that together they can change the galaxy, so they attempt to do the impossible–find each other.
Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire (05/04)
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.
Death’s End – Cixin Liu (05/04)
With The Three-Body Problem, English-speaking readers got their first chance to experience the multiple-award-winning and bestselling Three-Body Trilogy by China’s most beloved science fiction author, Cixin Liu. Three-Body was released to great acclaim including coverage in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It was also named a finalist for the Nebula Award, making it the first translated novel to be nominated for a major SF award since Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities in 1976.
Now this epic trilogy concludes with Death’s End. Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.
Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?
In the Labyrinth of Drakes – Marie Brennan (05/04)
The thrilling new book in the acclaimed fantasy series from Marie Brennan, as the glamorous Lady Trent takes her adventurous explorations to the deserts of Akhia.
Even those who take no interest in the field of dragon naturalism have heard of Lady Trent’s expedition to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia. Her discoveries there are the stuff of romantic legend, catapulting her from scholarly obscurity to worldwide fame. The details of her personal life during that time are hardly less private, having provided fodder for gossips in several countries.
As is so often the case in the career of this illustrious woman, the public story is far from complete. In this, the fourth volume of her memoirs, Lady Trent relates how she acquired her position with the Royal Scirling Army; how foreign saboteurs imperiled both her work and her well-being; and how her determined pursuit of knowledge took her into the deepest reaches of the Labyrinth of Drakes, where the chance action of a dragon set the stage for her greatest achievement yet.
A Shadow All of Light – Fred Chappell (12/04)
In the province of Tlemia, where human shadows are powerful commodities, an apprentice shadow thief embarks on an extraordinary adventure.
This stylish, episodic fantasy novel, in the mode of classic Jack Vance, follows the exploits of Falco, a young man from the country, who arrives in the port city of Tardocco with the ambition of becoming an apprentice to a master shadow thief. Maestro Astolfo, whose mysterious powers of observation would rival those of Sherlock Holmes, sees Falco’s potential and puts him through a gruelling series of physical lessons and intellectual tests.
Falco’s adventures coalesce into one overarching story of con men, monsters, ingenious detection, cats, and pirates. A wry humor leavens this fantastical concoction, and the style is as rich and textured as one would hope for from Chappell, a distinguished poet as well as a World Fantasy Award-winning fantasy writer.
The Stars Askew – Rjurik Davidson (19/04)
The stunning adventure begun in the critically acclaimed debut Unwrapped Sky continues
The Stars Askew is the highly anticipated sequel to the New Weird adventure begun by talented young author Rjurik Davidson. With the seditionists in power, Caeli-Amur has begun a new age. Or has it? The escaped House officials no longer send food, and the city is starving.
When the moderate leader Aceline is murdered, the trail leads Kata to a mysterious book that explains how to control the fabled Prism of Alerion. But when the last person to possess the book is found dead, it becomes clear that a conspiracy is afoot. At its center is former House Officiate Armand, who has hidden the Prism. Armand is vying for control of the Directorate, the highest political position in the city, until Armand is betrayed and sent to a prison camp to mine deadly bloodstone.
Meanwhile, Maximilian is sharing his mind with another being: the joker-god Aya. Aya leads Max to the realm of the Elo-Talern to seek a power source to remove Aya from Max’s brain. But when Max and Aya return, they find the vigilants destroying the last remnants of House power.
It seems the seditionists’ hopes for a new age of peace and prosperity in Caeli-Amur have come to naught, and every attempt to improve the situation makes it worse. The question now is not just whether Kata, Max, and Armand can do anything to stop the bloody battle in the city, but if they can escape with their lives.
The House of Daniel – Harry Turtledove (19/04)
A picaresque tale of minor league baseball–in an alternate Great Depression America full of wild magic
Since the Big Bubble popped in 1929, life in the United States hasn’t been the same. Hotshot wizards will tell you nothing’s really changed, but then again, hotshot wizards aren’t looking for honest work in Enid, Oklahoma. No paying jobs at the mill, because zombies will work for nothing. The diner on Main Street is seeing hard times as well, because a lot fewer folks can afford to fly carpets in from miles away.
Jack Spivey’s just another down-and-out trying to stay alive, doing a little of this and a little of that. Sometimes that means making a few bucks playing ball with the Enid Eagles, against teams from as many as two counties away. And somethimes it means roughing up rival thugs for Big Stu, the guy who calls the shots in Enid.
But one day Jack knocks on the door of the person he’s supposed to “deal with”–and realizes that he’s not going to do any such thing to the young lady who answers. This means he needs to get out of the reach of Big Stu, who didn’t get to where he is by letting defiance go unpunished.
Then the House of Daniel comes to town–a brash band of barnstormers who’ll take on any team, and whose antics never fail to entertain. Against the odds Jack secures a berth with them. Now they’re off to tour an America that’s as shot through with magic as it is dead broke. Jack will never be the same–nor will baseball.
Hex – Thomas Olde Heuvelt (26/04) (US release)
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenthcentury woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s beds for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.
The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using hightech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated by being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.
This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.
Dancer’s Lament – Ian C. Esslemont (26/04)
Taking Malazan fans back to that troubled continent’s turbulent early history. the opening chapter in Ian C. Esslemont’s epic new fantasy sequence, the Path to Ascendancy trilogy.
For ages warfare has crippled the continent as minor city states, baronies, and principalities fought in an endless round of hostilities. Only the alliance of the rival Tali and Quon cities could field the resources to mount a hegemony from coast to coast — and thus become known as Quon Taili.
It is a generation since the collapse of this dynasty and regional powers are once more rousing themselves. Into this arena of renewed border wars come two youths to the powerful central city state that is LiHeng. One is named Dorin, and he comes determined to prove himself the most skilled assassin of his age; he is chasing the other youth — a Dal Hon mage who has proven himself annoyingly difficult to kill.
Li Heng has been guided and warded for centuries by the powerful sorceress known as the “Protectress” and she allows no rivals. She and her cabal of five mage servants were enough to repel the Quon Tali Iron Legions — what could two youths hope to accomplish under their stifling rule?
Yet under the new and ambitious King Chulalorn the Third, Itko Kan is on the march from the south. He sends his own assassin servants, the Nightblades, against the city, and there are hints that he also commands inhuman forces out of legend.
While above all, shadows swirl oddly about Li Heng, and monstrous slathering beasts seem to appear from nowhere to run howling through the street. It is a time of chaos and upheaval, and in chaos, as the young Dal Hon mage would say, there is opportunity.
Strife’s Bane – Evie Manieri (26/04)
Still reeling from the events in Norland, the Shattered Kingdoms series returns to the Shadar, but danger and death are on the same path…
Lahlil–once known to all as the Mongrel, a feared, nameless warrior–has tried to escape the horror and blood strewn about her past, but now, faced with even greater recent destruction, she is at a loss. Hoping to save the life of the one she loves most, she once again must take refuge with the Nomadic Nomas tribe–bringing her full circle to her childhood spent just outside the Shadar.
And, in the Shadar, unrest reigns supreme. Though the Shadari managed to oust the Norlander regime through uprising, internal strife and rumors of an approaching plague are lending new terror, and their old enemy’s ships have been seen back on the horizon. A leader is denounced for his failures, and an old Asha is installed in place–but is she planning on using her powers to help the Shadari, or just in service of an old, hidden vengeance…
In this stirring conclusion to the Shattered Kingdoms series, battles will be fought, relationships severed, and the wildest dreams of power are at stake–can Isa, Lahlil, Daryan, and Rho manage to bring peace without destruction of all they know and love?
The Affinities – Robert Charles Wilson (03/05)
In our rapidly changing world of social media, everyday people are more and more able to sort themselves into social groups based on finer and finer criteria. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson’s The Affinities, this process is supercharged by new analytic technologies: genetic, brain-mapping, behavioral. To join one of the twenty-two Affinities is to change one’s life. It’s like family, and more than family. Your fellow members aren’t just like you, and they aren’t just people who are likely to like you. They’re also the people with whom you can best cooperate in all areas of life, creative, interpersonal, even financial.
At loose ends both professional and personal, young Adam Fisk takes the suite of tests to see whether he qualifies for any of the Affinities and finds that he’s a match for one of the largest, the one called Tau. It’s utopian–at first. His problems resolve themselves as he becomes part of a global network of people dedicated to helping one another, to helping him, but as the differing Affinities put their new powers to the test, they begin to rapidly chip away at the power of governments, of global corporations, and of all the institutions of the old world; then, with dreadful inevitability, the different Affinities begin to go to war with one another.
Corsair – James L. Cambias (10/05)
In the early 2020s, two young, genius computer hackers, meet at MIT. One, Elizabeth Santiago, dreams of technology and space travel. The other, David Schwartz, is just looking to make a quick buck.
Nearly ten years later, David is setting himself to become a billionaire by working in the shadows for international thieves, while Elizabeth works in intelligence preventing international space piracy. With robotic mining in space becoming a lucrative part of Earth’s economy, her job has become increasingly stressful.
David and Elizabeth fight for dominance of the computer systems controlling ore drop placement in international waters. If David can nudge a shipment 500 miles off its target, his employers can get there first and claim it legally in the open sea. Each one intuits that the other is their real competition but can’t prove it. When Elizabeth loses a major shipment, she leaves government employ to work for a private space company to find a better way to protect shipments. But international piracy has very high stakes and some very evil players, and both Elizabeth and David are in for a world of trouble.
Too Like the Lightning – Ada Palmer (10/05)
The first book of Terra Ignota, a four-book political SF epic set in a human future of extraordinary originality
Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer–a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.
The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competion is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.
And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destablize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…
Dark Orbit – Carolyn Ives Gilman (10/05)
A compelling debut featuring alien contact, mystery, and murder. “Intellectually daring, brilliantly imagined, strongly felt. This one’s a winner.”—Ursula K. Le Guin
Reports of a strange, new habitable planet have reached the Twenty Planets of human civilization. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate this world, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate. Thora was once a member of the interplanetary elite, but since her prophetic delusions helped mobilize a revolt on Orem, she’s been banished to the farthest reaches of space, because of the risk that her very presence could revive unrest.
Upon arrival, the team finds an extraordinary crystalline planet, laden with dark matter. Then a crew member is murdered and Thora mysteriously disappears. Thought to be uninhabited, the planet is in fact home to a blind, sentient species whose members navigate their world with a bizarre vocabulary and extrasensory perceptions.
Lost in the deep crevasses of the planet among these people, Thora must battle her demons and learn to comprehend the native inhabitants in order to find her crewmates and warn them of an impending danger. But her most difficult task may lie in persuading the crew that some powers lie beyond the boundaries of science.