Jul 5, 2010

Books Received: Late June

It's about time I started mentioning the books I've sent for review. I've reached the point where I am getting them at a faster rate than I can read them (and that's not counting the books I still buy for myself). I want to read them all (or at least 90% of them, I've gotten some strange books) but unfortunately, I just don't have the time.

So I'm going to put together a brief biweekly post to make sure the books I receive get at least some coverage here at Stomping on Yeti.

Title: The Way of Kings
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor
Edition: ARC
Release Date: August 31st, 2010
Blurb: Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Brandon Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own, one every bit as ambitious and immersive.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.
One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths,

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore. The Knights Radiant must stand again.

Title: The Last Song of Orpheus
Author: Robert Silverberg
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Edition: ARC
Release Date: September 2010
Blurb: In the course of his extraordinary--and prolific--career, Robert Silverberg has made an enormous contribution to imaginative literature. In The Last Song of Orpheus, his longest story in more than a decade, Silverberg has given us one of his most remarkable accomplishments, a resonant recreation of one of the central myths of western civilization.

In this mesmerizing narrative, Orpheus--wanderer, demigod, and master musician--recounts his own astonishing story. That story ranges from the depths of the Underworld, where he attempts to rescue his beloved but doomed Eurydice, to the farthest, most dangerous corners of the ancient world, where he journeys in search of the legendary Golden Fleece. It is a tale of men and gods, of miraculous encounters, of the binding power of inescapable Fate. More than that, it is a meditation on the power of the creative spirit, and on the eternal human search for balance and harmony in a chaotic universe. Beautifully constructed and masterfully written, The Last Song of Orpheus is Silverberg at his incomparable best, showing us a deeply familiar series of scenes, themes, and characters from a fresh, wholly original perspective.

Title: Strange Wonders: A Collection of Rare Fritz Leiber Works
Author: Fritz Leiber
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Edition: ARC
Release Date: October 2010
Blurb: In regards to Fritz Leiber, I believe that publication of such unpublished and uncollected works only strengthens his literary greatness. Through fragments, drafts and practice writings, we can clearly see the evolution from Leiber, the amateur, to Leiber, the professional. We are exposed to the clear way in which he dedicated his life to the written word and trained his abilities to produce the award-winning masterpieces that we read even today. While some may object to such a volume, I ask them this—is not the dream just as important as the empire that had been built from it? Are not the blueprints and sketches as impressive as the buildings and the artwork? We must place all this into perspective, and see that publishing such works is not a smear upon Leiber’s legacy. Rather, it completes a full circle. If we are asked to be thorough in the biography of an individual, then we must also do so for their bibliography.

— Benjamin Szumskyj, from his Introduction

Title: Out of the Dark
Author: David Weber
Publisher: Tor
Edition: ARC
Release Date: September 28th, 2010
Blurb: Earth is conquered. The Shongairi have arrived in force, and humanity’s cities lie in radioactive ruins. In mere minutes, over half the human race has died.

Now Master Sergeant Stephen Buchevsky, who thought he was being rotated home from his latest tour in Afghanistan, finds himself instead prowling the back country of the Balkans, dodging alien patrols and trying to organize the scattered survivors without getting killed.

His chances look bleak. The aliens have definitely underestimated human tenacity—but no amount of heroism can endlessly hold off overwhelming force.

Then, emerging from the mountains and forests of Eastern Europe, new allies present themselves to the ragtag human resistance. Predators, creatures of the night, human in form but inhumanly strong. Long Enemies of humanity…until now. Because now is the time to defend Earth.

Title: The Dervish House
Author: Ian McDonald
Publisher: Pyr
Edition: Final Copy
Release Date: July 27th, 2010
Blurb: It begins with an explosion. Another day, another bus bomb. Everyone it seems is after a piece of Turkey. But the shockwaves from this random act of 21st century pandemic terrorism will ripple further and resonate louder than just Enginsoy Square.

Welcome to the world of The Dervish House; the great, ancient, paradoxical city of Istanbul, divided like a human brain, in the great, ancient, equally paradoxical nation of Turkey. The year is 2027 and Turkey is about to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its accession to the European Union; a Europe that now runs from the Arran Islands to Ararat. Population pushing one hundred million, Istanbul swollen to fifteen million; Turkey is the largest, most populous and most diverse nation in the EU, but also one of the poorest and most socially divided. It's a boom economy, the sweatshop of Europe, the bazaar of central Asia, the key to the immense gas wealth of Russia and Central Asia.

Gas is power. But it's power at a price, and that price is emissions permits. This is the age of carbon consciousness: every individual in the EU has a card stipulating individual carbon allowance that must be produced at every CO2 generating transaction. For those who can master the game, who can make the trades between gas price and carbon trading permits, who can play the power factions against each other, there are fortunes to be made. The old Byzantine politics are back. They never went away.

The ancient power struggled between Sunni and Shia threatens like a storm: Ankara has watched the Middle East emerge from twenty-five years of sectarian conflict. So far it has stayed aloof. A populist Prime Minister has called a referendum on EU membership. Tensions run high. The army watches, hand on holster. And a Galatasary Champions' League football game against Arsenal stokes passions even higher.

The Dervish House is seven days, six characters, three interconnected story strands, one central common core--the eponymous dervish house, a character in itself--that pins all these players together in a weave of intrigue, conflict, drama and a ticking clock of a thriller.

Title: Passion Play
Author: Beth Bernobich
Publisher: Tor
Edition: ARC
Release Date: October 12th, 2010
Blurb: The daughter of one of Melnek’s more prominent merchants, Ilse Zhalina has lived most of her life surrounded by the trappings of wealth and privilege. She has wanted for nothing and many would consider her lot a most happy one. But there are dark secrets even in the best of families and Isle and the women in her family have learned that to be beautiful and silent is the best way to survive.

However, when Ilse fianlly meets the colleague of her father’s selected to marry her, she realizes that this man would lock in her a gilded cage. In her soul, she knows he is far crueler and more deadly than her father could ever be.

Ilse chooses to run from this life. Her choice will have devastating consequences and she will never be the same.

But she will meet Raul Kosenmark, a man of mystery who is the master of one of the land’s most notorious pleasure houses…and who is, as Ilse discovers, a puppetmaster of a different sort altogether. Together they will embark on a journey that will reshape their world.

Lush fantasy. Wild magic. Political intrigue and the games of seduction and treachery to gain control of a kingdom. PASSION PLAY is all of these and more. It is the journey of a woman who must conquer her passions in order to win all that she desires.

Title: Blood Song
Author: Cat Adams
Publisher: Tor
Edition: Final Copy
Release Date: June 8th, 2010
Blurb: In this fast-paced urban fantasy, Adams (Magic's Design), the joint pseudonym for C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp (the Sazi series), introduces readers to a new world full of treachery and action. Tough-as-nails bodyguard Celia Graves protects the rich and famous from ghosts, demons, and other supernatural entities. While guarding the prince of a tiny European country, Celia is caught in a vampire ambush that leaves her wounded and partially transformed. Now she has to figure out her new limits and powers, destroy her sire before he can control her, and put together the pieces of a larger plan in which she's just a pawn. The story line and setting will draw in readers from the start, but late revelations may have them paging backwards to pick up on clues, and some answers will just have to wait for the sequels.

Title: The Office of Shadow
Author: Matthews Sturges
Publisher: Pyr
Edition: ARC
Release Date: June 3rd, 2010
Blurb: If 2009's Midwinter was the Dirty Dozen in Elfland, this thrilling sequel is Magical Mission Impossible. Former lothario Silverdun becomes a priest, but finds himself bored. When his government recruits him as a spy, he takes the offer and is shocked when they demand he learn extraordinary physical and magical skills. Silverdun, scholarly former soldier Ironfoot, and deadly empath Sela are assigned to discover the origin of Einswrath, the city-killing weapons unleashed in the previous Seelie/Unseelie war. Standard spy tropes—training sequences, double agents, betrayals from within—take on new life when melded with high fantasy, and Sturges has an easy ear for dialogue and character. Silverdun's backstory is nicely fleshed out in the process, though fans of the first book should be warned that the other characters appear briefly or not at all.

Title: Deathbird Stories
Author: Harlan Ellison
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Edition: ARC
Release Date: December 2010
Blurb: Ellison. Harlan Ellison. He wrote this book midway toward the earliest acclaim of a career that now goes into sixty years. He’s still with us. the enfant terrible has become an eminence gris but the tongue remains sharp, the wit unpredictable, the manner still singular. He has outwritten and outlived his caste, and the words in this book carry the fire and truth of his career.

Title: The Neutronium Alchemist
Author: Peter F. Hamilton
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Edition: Final Copy
Release Date: July 27th, 2010
Subterranean Press is proud to announce volume two of The Nights Dawn trilogy, one of modern space opera’s classic series.

Now the primeval evil has left Lalonde behind to spread its malign presence across the unsuspecting worlds of the Confederation. The possessed have acquired a chilling range of superhuman powers that can defeat most conventional weapons. Technology cannot defeat them. Fear multiplies like wildfire across the planets and asteroid settlements which make up the Human Confederation, the precursor to conquest and surrender. But even surrender fails to bring an end to the torment, for the possessed will not stop their campaign until their victory is absolute, with every living human taken.

Against this force the Confederation Navy is struggling to contain the threat, a battle it will ultimately lose. It seems as if individuals can make very little difference. Then out of history, Dr Alkad Mzu returns with the Neutronium Alchemist, the single most destructive weapon ever built. And she is determined to use it to avenge the death of her homeworld. It falls on Captain Joshua Calvert to try and stop her, but he’s not the only one hunting her down in an increasingly lethal universe. And not everyone thinks the doomsday device should be neutralized.

Ten books in two weeks. Now you see what I said about more books than I can read? You can see the historical list of books received here.

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