New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for April
From a high-tech fable to a contemporary noir fantasy, with the colonisation of distant planets to battles for galactic freedom, this month’s selection of new science fiction and fantasy novels has it all.
Rise of the TaiGethen / James Barclay.
“The Elves have been driven out of their capital. The invading forces of Mankind, backed by the terrifying power of their mages have taken hundreds of elves as hostages and have now begun to plunder the sacred jungles of Calaius. Those few elves that remain free are fragmented, in squabbling factions, and they must unite before they can take a stand against Man. Many believe that the battle is already lost, but Auum is not one of them. He knows Men’s numbers are great but their tactics are weak; he knows Men think the Elves are already beaten; he is convinced that his people must fight now, or see their race destroyed.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
Dark Eden / Chris Beckett.
“You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of two marooned explorers. You huddle, slowly starving, beneath the light and warmth of geothermal trees, confined to one barely habitable valley of a startlingly alien, sunless world. After 163 years and six generations of incestuous inbreeding, the Family is riddled with deformity and feeblemindedness. Your culture is an infantile stew of half-remembered fact and devolved ritual that stifles innovation and punishes independent thought. You are John Redlantern. You will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. You will be the first to abandon hope, the first to abandon the old ways, the first to kill another, the first to venture in to the Dark, and the first to discover the truth about Eden.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
The house on Durrow Street / Galen Beckett.
“Ivy, the eldest of the Lockwell sisters, is now Mrs. Quent, and her life has gone back to that of polite society. But she soon finds out that dark powers are once again gathering and she must decide if her place is that of a woman of station or that of a magician’s wife.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Moxyland / Lauren Beukes
“A frighteningly persuasive, high-tech fable, this novel follows the lives of four narrators living in an alternative futuristic Cape Town, South Africa. An art-school dropout, and AIDS baby, a tech-activist and an RPG-obsessed blogger live in a world where your online identity is at least as important as your physical one. Getting disconnected is a punishment worse than imprisonment, but someone’s got to stand up to Government Inc., whatever the cost.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Aloha from Hell / Richard Kadrey.
“The third Sandman Slim contemporary noir fantasy. Lucifer has returned to Heaven, leaving a power vacuum in Hell. Mason, the magician whom half-angelic antihero James Stark recently killed, is more than willing to step into the breach, and soon he’s massing demonic forces to attack Heaven and possibly destroy the universe. Manipulating angels, demons, and the monstrous Kissi, Stark must head off a full-scale war, and if that means returning to Hell, he might as well do the Orpheus thing and rescue his dead girlfriend while he’s there. Fittingly, perhaps, Hell turns out to look a lot like Stark’s hometown, Los Angeles, on a very bad day.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The agent gambit / Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.
“Once a brilliant First-in-Scout, Val Con yos’Phelium was “recruited” by the shadowy Liaden Department of Interior and brainwashed into an Agent of Change, a ruthless covert operative who kills without remorse. Val Con has been playing a deep game, far from the orderly life of clan and kin. Fleeing his latest mission, he saves the life of ex-mercenary Miri Robertson, a Terran on the run from interplanetary assassins. Thrown together by circumstances, Val Con and Miri struggle to elude their enemies and stay alive without killing each other-or surrendering to the unexpected passion that flares between them. ” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
Korval’s game / Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.
“Val Con yos’Phelium is a fugitive, an heir of Clan Korval, and wanted by the covert Liaden agency known as the Department of the Interior, whose rulers have declared unofficial war against the entire clan! With only his love, Miri Robertson, by his side, Val Con plans a desperate gamble by forming an alliance with Clan Erob on the planet where Miri was born.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
In the mouth of the whale / Paul McAuley.
“Fomalhaut was first colonised by the posthuman Quick, who established an archipelago of thistledown cities and edenic worldlets within the star’s vast dust belt. Their peaceful, decadent civilisation was swiftly conquered by a band of ruthless, aggressive, unreconstructed humans who call themselves the True, then, a century before, the True beat back an advance party of Ghosts, a posthuman cult which colonised the nearby system of Beta Hydri after being driven from the Solar System a thousand years ago. Now the Ghosts have returned to Fomalhaut, to begin their end game: the conquest of its single gas giant planet, a captured interstellar wanderer far older than the rest of Fomalhaut’s system. At its core is a sphere of hot metallic hydrogen with strange and powerful properties based on exotic quantum physics.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
Theft of swords / Michael J. Sullivan.
“Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn are a pair of thieves and mercenaries, they are just criminals who happen to have hearts of gold. Going by the inexplicably pretentious shared name of “Riyria,” they steal incriminating letters from a blackmailer, kidnap a young king to save his life, and protect a village menaced by a terrible monster. Along the way, they meet a clever princess, an unlucky monk, a 1,000-year-old wizard with no hands, and a naive but heroic farm girl, all while the powerful Church of Nyphron is secretly schemes to control the world.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
A rising thunder / David Weber.
“After a brutal attack on the Manticoran home system, Honor Harrington has discovered plan designed to enslave the entire human species. Behind that plans lies the shadowy organization known as the Mesan Alignment. Task #1 for Honor is to shut down and secure the wormhole network that is the source of the Star Kingdom’s wealth and power, but also its greatest vulnerability. Yet this is an act that the ancient and corrupt Earth-based Solarian League inevitably takes as a declaration of war. Once again Honor Harrington is thrust into a desperate battle that she must win if she is to survive to take the fight to the real enemy of galactic freedom.” – (adapted from Book cover description)