Books for September and October, 2012

Need a good book to read? Here are a few of the titles we’ve had the pleasure of considering.

Stephen Baxter’s “imaginative [and] bold”* novel Stone Spring drew readers into an alternate prehistoric scenario that now continues with Bronze Summer. Thousands of years have passed. And a wall that was built to hold back the sea, must now hold back the advancing armies of a reviving Troy…

What would have been the bed of the North Sea is now Northland, a society of prosperous, literate and self-sufficient people. They live off the bounty of the land, an area created by the building of the Wall. It began as a simple dam, thousands of years ago. Now, inhabited from end to end, the Wall is a linear city stretching for hundreds of miles, and a wonder of the world.

For millennia, the Wall has also kept the growing empires of the Bronze Age at bay. But decades of drought have destabilized those eastern civilizations. Men—and women—filled with greed and ambition have now turned their eyes toward the fertile West. A new and turbulent age is dawning. For any wall, no matter how strong, can be breached—particularly from within…

Having used unorthodox methods to save a world—and every sentient being on it—Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife is wanted across the galaxy for crimes against humanity. For her own safety, she’s been assigned to a backwater planet where her Fast Patrol Squadron 127 enforces immigration control and smuggler interdiction.

But Kris is a Longknife, and nothing can stop her from getting back to the center of things—not when all hell is breaking loose. Now she’s on the run, hunted by both military and civilian authorities—and since the civilian authorities happen to be her immediate family, Kris soon finds herself homeless, broke, and on trial for her life on an alien world…

Earth, A.D. 2519. Less than a year has passed since the clone military of the Enlisted Man’s Empire toppled the government of the Unified Authority. Now the clones rule Earth, but a new enemy has emerged—and set off civil war…

Formerly trained to fight for the U.A., clone Marine Wayson Harris had led the Enlisted Man’s Empire invasion of Earth and wrested control away from the old regime. He’s now ready to do what it takes to ensure the new balance of power isn’t jeopardized.

When a trio of religious fanatics from Mars attempts to attack Harris, he fears there is more unrest among the colony’s residents. Hoping to stave off an uprising, he leads a troop of Marines to Mars. But once there, they learn the situation is much graver than they first feared.

The red planet’s refugees have decided the clones are their number one enemy, and measures to eradicate them are underway. And when Harris is kidnapped and drugged, he discovers something disturbing about himself.

He can be reprogrammed…

Only the strong will survive. But what does it mean to be strong?

The “Smash” has been building for years—runaway national debt, escalating oil prices—but when order finally breaks down, it happens astonishingly fast. Economic collapse. Government in chaos. Gas shortages. Loss of power. No running water. Martial law. Rioting, looting, and lawlessness…

Security specialist DJ Frost saw the writing on the wall, and he has prepared. He’s planned his bug-out route to escape a city many are now trapped in. With his ATV, night-vision goggles, gear, guns, and enough gas to get him to his retreat home in the country, he ventures out alone under cover of darkness.

For Gabe Horne, the “Smash” is nothing compared to his own moral and spiritual collapse after losing his wife and son. But in this time of crisis, he may not have the luxury of drinking himself to death. There are others at his door, and they will need to help one another to survive.

Each man, in his own way, will face the ultimate challenge of preparedness in this new world order—as both hurtle toward a devastating showdown.…

Two science fiction masters—Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick—team up to deliver a classic thriller in which one man uncovers the secret history of the US space program…

Early in his career, Jerry Culpepper could never have been accused of being idealistic. Doing public relations—even for politicians—was strictly business…until he was hired as NASA’s public affairs director and discovered a client he could believe in. Proud of the agency’s history and sure of its destiny, he was thrilled to be a part of its future—a bright era of far-reaching space exploration.

But public disinterest and budget cuts changed that future. Now, a half century after the first moon landing, Jerry feels like the only one with stars—and unexplored planets and solar systems—in his eyes.

Still, Jerry does his job, trying to drum up interest in the legacy of the agency. Then a fifty-year-old secret about the Apollo XI mission is revealed, and he finds himself embroiled in the biggest controversy of the twenty-first century, one that will test his ability—and his willingness—to spin the truth about a conspiracy of reality-altering proportions…

Welcome to humanity’s new war: silent, high stakes, and unseen. This is a life-or-death mission for ONI’s black-ops team, Kilo-Five, which is tasked with preventing the ruthless Elites, once the military leaders of the Covenant, from regrouping and threatening humankind again. What began as a routine dirty-tricks operation―keeping the Elites busy with their own insurrection―turns into a desperate bid to extract one member of Kilo-Five from the seething heart of an alien civil war. But troubles never come singly for Kilo-Five. Colonial terrorism is once again surfacing on one of the worlds that survived the war against the Covenant, and the man behind it is much more than just a name to Spartan-010. Meanwhile, the treasure trove of Forerunner technology recovered from the shield world of Onyx is being put to work while a kidnapped Elite plots vengeance on the humans he fears will bring his people to the brink of destruction.

London, 1895: Riots in the streets!

Erasmus Croach’s miraculous factory, Ember, has flooded London with steampowered automatons. The already suffering working class take to the streets to protest the jobs lost to these machines, and to quell the riot, Captain Thorn of Scotland Yard calls in Ember’s latest and greatest creation, the automatic police boy, Sky!

Meanwhile, Sally Peppers, Croach’s headstrong and brilliant niece, dreams of a life beyond manners and marriageability. When she escapes her overbearing governess on a motorized velocipede and joins a no-rules road rally through the slums, Croach sends Sky to bring her back, preferably alive.

Together, the impulsive Sally and the naive Sky crash headlong into a mystery involving rogue automatons prowling the sewers, children disappearing without a trace, and a dark secret so big it could overturn all of London. But the biggest mystery of all is why Sky is the first robot who can dream….

An alternate 1895. . .

A world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference Engine. Where steam and Tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive
government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.

It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living. But all is not well. . .

A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. As the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.

Professor Moriarty.

When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.

It’s dwarves versus dragons in this origin story for Enge’s signature character, Morlock Ambrosius!
Before history began, the dwarves of Thrymhaiam fought against the dragons as the Longest War raged in the deep roads beneath the Northhold. Now the dragons have returned, allied with the dead kings of Cor and backed by the masked gods of Fate and Chaos.

The dwarves are cut off from the Graith of Guardians in the south. Their defenders are taken prisoner or corrupted by dragonspells. The weight of guarding the Northhold now rests on the crooked shoulders of a traitor’s son, Morlock syr Theorn (also called Ambrosius).

But his wounded mind has learned a dark secret in the hidden ways under the mountains. Regin and Fafnir were brothers, and the Longest War can never be over. . . .

Welcome to the fractured future, at the dusk of the twenty-first century.

Earth has a population of roughly a billion hominids. For the most part, they are happy with their lot, living in a preserve at the bottom of a gravity well. Those who are unhappy have emigrated, joining one or another of the swarming densethinker clades that fog the inner solar system with a dust of molecular machinery so thick that it obscures the sun.

The splintery metaconsciousness of the solar-system has largely sworn off its pre-post-human cousins dirtside, but its minds sometimes wander…and when that happens, it casually spams Earth’s networks with plans for cataclysmically disruptive technologies that emulsify whole industries, cultures, and spiritual systems. A sane species would ignore these get-evolved-quick schemes, but there’s always someone who’ll take a bite from the forbidden apple.

So until the overminds bore of stirring Earth’s anthill, there’s Tech Jury Service: random humans, selected arbitrarily, charged with assessing dozens of new inventions and ruling on whether to let them loose. Young Huw, a technophobic, misanthropic Welshman, has been selected for the latest jury, a task he does his best to perform despite an itchy technovirus, the apathy of the proletariat, and a couple of truly awful moments on bathroom floors.

In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the Cobb—Lyme’s famous seawall—proved dangerous to a careless young woman. Now it proves deadly.

Following their recent intrigue at Highbury, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy visit the seaside village of Lyme on holiday. Family business also draws them there, to receive the personal effects of Mr. Darcy’s late cousin, a naval lieutenant who died in action.

Their retreat turns tragic when they come upon a body lying at the base of the Cobb. The victim is Mrs. Clay, a woman with a scandalous past that left her with child—a child whose existence threatened the inheritance of one of her paramours and the reputation of another. Did she lose her balance and fall from the slippery breakwater, or was she pushed?

Mrs. Clay’s death is not the only one that commands the Darcys’ attention. When Mr. Darcy discovers, among his cousin’s possessions, evidence that the young lieutenant’s death might have been murder, he allies with Captain Frederick Wentworth (hero of Jane Austen’s Persuasion) to probe details of a battle that took place across the sea…but was influenced by a conspiracy much closer to home.

The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion) is the delightful sixth installment in the critically acclaimed and award-winning Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series by Carrie Bebris.

Despite wars with Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 9/11, the United States’ dependence on foreign oil has kept the nation tied to the Middle East. A scientist has developed a cure for America’s addiction—a slow-acting virus that feeds on petroleum, turning it solid. But he didn’t consider that his contagion of an Iraqi oil field could spread to infect the fuel supply of the entire world…

In Los Angeles, screenwriter Dave Marshall heard this scenario from a retired US marine and government insider who acted as a consultant on Dave’s last film. It sounded as implausible as many of his scripts, but the reality is much more frightening than anything he could have envisioned.

An ordinary guy armed with extraordinary information, Dave hopes his survivor’s instinct will kick in so he can protect his wife and daughter from the coming apocalypse that will alter the future of Earth—and humanity…

After the misadventures of the first two books Lenk and his companions must finally turn away from fighting each other and for their own survival and look to saving the entire human race. A terrible demon has risen from beneath the sea and where it came from thousands could follow. And all the while an alien race is planning the extinction of humanity. The third volume in the Aeon’s Gate trilogy widens the action out dramatically. TOME OF THE UNDERGATES was based mainly on a ship, BLACK HALO moved the action to an island of bones, THE SKYBOUND SEA takes us out into a world threatened with a uniquely imagined and terrifying apocalypse.

 

Concludes the popular, genre-crossing, epic trilogy of a war between vampires and humans. A war to the death.

Empress Adele has launched a grand crusade against the vampire clans of the north. Prince Gareth, the vampire lord of Scotland, serves the Equatorian cause, fighting in the bloody trenches of France in his guise as the dashing Greyfriar. But the human armies are pinned down, battered by harsh weather and merciless attacks from vampire packs.

To even the odds, Adele unleashes the power of her geomancy, a fear- some weapon capable of slaughtering vampires in vast numbers. However, the power she expends threatens her own life even as she questions the morality of such a weapon.

As the war turns ever bloodier and Adele is threatened by betrayal, Gareth faces a terrible choice. Their only hope is a desperate strike against the lord of the vampire clans—Gareth’s brother, Cesare. It is a gamble that could win the war or signal the final days of the Greyfriar.

The Vampire Empire trilogy rushes to a heart-wrenching conclusion of honor and love, hatred and vengeance, sacrifice and loss.

Death is inevitable. Especially when you have an expiration date.

As a replicant, or “techno-human,” Detective Bruna Husky knows two things: humans bioengineered her to perform dangerous, undesirable tasks; and she has just ten years on the United States of Earth before her body automatically self-destructs. But with “anti-techno” rage on the rise and a rash of premature deaths striking her fellow replicants, she may have even less time than she originally thought.

Investigating the mysterious deaths, Bruna delves into the fractious, violent history shared by humans and replicants, and struggles to engage the society that fails to understand her—yet created her. The deeper she gets, the deadlier her work becomes as she uncovers a vast, terrifying conspiracy bent on changing the very course of the world. But even as the darkness of her reality closes in, Bruna clings fiercely to life.

 

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