Today is a very good day, although also a very difficult day. How do you choose between such brilliant books?
Blackwing by Ed McDonald
You think you know Misery? You’ve not seen anything yet . . .
The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow’s Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard’s paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost.
The war with the Eastern Empire ended in stalemate some eighty years ago, thanks to Nall’s ‘Engine’, a wizard-crafted weapon so powerful even the Deep Kings feared it. The strike of the Engine created the Misery – a wasteland full of ghosts and corrupted magic that now forms a No Mans Land along the frontier. But when Galharrow investigates a frontier fortress, he discovers complacency bordering on treason: then the walls are stormed, and the Engine fails to launch. Galharrow only escapes because of the preternatural magical power of the noblewoman he was supposed to be protecting. Together, they race to the capital to unmask the traitors and restore the republic’s defences. Far across the Misery a vast army is on the move, as the Empire prepares to call the republic’s bluff.
Blackwing is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky.
‘I bloody loved it and I am officially an Ed McDonald fan. He deserves to go far’ Elspeth Cooper, author of The Songs of the Earth
‘One of the best books of the year’ Fantasy Book Review
Princess of Blood by Tom Lloyd
It’s not easy being an honest man in a lawless world. Brand new heroic fantasy from the bestselling author of the TWILIGHT REIGN series
There’s a new Card in the Mercenary Deck – one Lynx isn’t sure if he’s happy to see or not. The assassin Toil now wears the Princess of Blood on her jacket and even Lynx would admit she’s a woman cloaked in chaos and bloodshed.
Their new mission is to escort a dignitary to the pious and ancient city of Jarrazir – beneath which lies a fabled labyrinth. Having barely survived their last underground adventure the mercenaries aren’t keen for another, but Toil has other plans.
Under threat of siege and horrors rising from the labyrinth, even the Mercenary Deck may have to accept that Jarrazir’s prohibition laws aren’t their biggest problem.
Runelight by Joanne M. Harris
A chilling prophecy from the Oracle. A conflict between two girls. And with just twelve days to stave off the Apocalypse, carnage is about to be unleashed . . .
The next gripping tale of magic, adventure and Norse mythology from the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of CHOCOLAT and THE GOSPEL OF LOKI.
The squabbling Norse gods and goddesses of Runemarks are back! And there’s a feisty new heroine on the scene: Maggie, a girl the same age as Maddy but brought up a world apart – literally, in World’s End, the focus of the Order in which Maddy was raised. Now the Order is destroyed, Chaos is filling the vacuum left behind… and is breaching the everyday world.
Six hundred miles apart, two girls each bear on their skin a runemark: a symbol of the Old Days when the known Worlds were ruled by the gods from their sky citadel, Asgard.
Now Asgard lies in ruins, and the power of the gods has long since been destroyed.
Or so everyone thinks.
But nothing is lost for ever, and the gods haven’t given up yet (nor stopped squabbling!) and they want the power of the runes borne by Maddy and Maggie – these new runes, which carry huge potential, their runelight shining out as a portent to the future.
Soon both girls are swept into a maelstrom of cataclysmic events that are to draw them closer and closer to each other, and nearer and nearer to a horrific struggle where each must prove where their loyalty lies . . .
Filled with inventive and humorous detail, trickery and treachery, carnage and lunacy, Runelight is the second title – following Runemarks – in a series of gloriously imaginative and dramatic tales about the Norse gods.
‘Especially enjoyable are Harris’ aphorisms, her satire of joyless piety and the comically irreverant vernacular spoken by a dissolute goblin and the trickster god Loki’ Sunday Times
‘The author is one of my favourites . . . The author’s wonderful imagination is showcased to great effect’ Sun
‘Harris creates a glorious and complex world replete with rune-based magical spells, bickering gods, exciting adventures and difficult moral issues’ Publishers Weekly
Infernal Machines by John Hornor Jacobs
Fisk & Shoe return in this explosive conclusion to their adventures, begun in THE INCORRUPTIBLES.
The world is burning.
Rume is under attck. The Autumn Lords, rulers of the Tchinee empire, have had their true nature revealed. The Emperor descends into madness. And Fisk and Shoe – unlikely heroes, very likely mercenaries – must find their way to Fisk’s wife and child, who he has never seen.
There might be quite a lot in their way. A war, for one thing. But Livia is as determined as Fisk to be reunited. And Shoe may have a plan . . .
‘One part ancient Rome, two parts wild west, one part Faust. A pinch of Tolkien, of Lovecraft, of Dante. This is strange alchemy, a recipe I’ve never seen before. I wish more books were as fresh and brave as this’ Patrick Rothfuss
‘Fantasy needs writers who push the envelope, and Jacobs finds the edge and tears right through it. If you want original, you’ve picked up the right book’ Myke Cole
The Doomed City by Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky
From the acclaimed Soviet authors of ROADSIDE PICNIC comes a novel so incendiary that it could not be published until the freedom of perestroika came to the USSR
It is a mysterious city whose sun is switched on in the morning and switched off at night, bordered by an abyss on one side and an impossibly high wall on the other. Its inhabitants are people who were plucked from twentieth-century history at various times and places and left to govern themselves, advised by Mentors whose purpose seems inscrutable. This is life in the Experiment.
Andrei Voronin, a young astronomer plucked from Leningrad in the 1950s, is a die-hard believer in the Experiment, even though his first job in the city is as a garbage collector. As increasingly nightmarish scenarios begin to affect the city, he rises through the political hierarchy, with devastating effect.
‘This publication of The Doomed City reveals the Strugatskys’ great lost masterwork, an allegorical nightmare metropolis fit for the special atlas that gives home to Kafka’s Castle, Charles Finney’s The Unholy City, Rex Warner’s Aerodrome, and a very select handful of others’ Jonathan Lethem
‘The best Soviet SF writers’ Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
And from our sister imprint, Orion Fiction . . .
Maria King knows a secret London. Born blind, she knows the city by sound and touch and smell but now that surgery has restored her sight, the world seems a scarier place and she doesn’t want to see it.
DCI Jonathan Dark also sees a different side to the city. He’s in the shadows, haunted by his failure to save a woman from the hands of stalker, and he won’t let it happen again.
Now a killer has set his sights on Maria, and Jonathan must find a way to stop him.
But when gathering evidence, you can’t choose your source.
Can you save the living by talking to the dead?
‘This haunting supernatural thriller is full of hidden treasure that will delight you long after you’ve turned the last page’ Sarah Pinborough, bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes