Lots of magic and mystery awaits you in the SFF BOOK RELEASES THIS WEEK! Let’s take a look.
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The entries that follow have been copied or adapted from their original publisher descriptions.
All Fixed Up
by Linda Grimes
Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire, has a lot of experience filling in for her clients–as them. A rare genetic quirk gives her the ability to absorb human energy and project it back out in a flawless imitation. She’s hard at work, posing as a well-known and celebrated astronaut, about to make a stunning announcement on behalf of the space program…when the photographer documenting the job sees right through her aura. Worse, it soon becomes apparent that he not only knows Ciel’s not who she’s supposed to be, but means her harm.
When Ciel’s elderly Aunt Helen―also an aura adaptor―is murdered in Central Park, and the same photographer shows up at the funeral, Ciel starts to feel even more exposed. Then more adaptors are killed in the same way, and she becomes terrified her friends and family are being systematically exterminated … and it’s starting to look like she’s the ultimate target. She turns to Billy Doyle, her best-friend-turned-boyfriend, for help, but when an unexpected crisis causes him to take off without a word, she’s left to rely on her not-so-former crush, CIA agent Mark Fielding.
A Blade of Black Steel
by Alex Marshall
After five hundred years, the Sunken Kingdom has returned, and brought with it a monstrous secret that threatens to destroy every country on the Star.
As an inhuman army gathers on its shores, poised to invade the Immaculate Isles, the members of the Cobalt Company face an ugly choice: abandon their dreams of glory and vengeance to combat a menace from another realm, or pursue their ambitions and hope the Star is still there when the smoke clears.
The City of Mirrors (The Passage Trilogy 3)
by Justin Cronin
The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future.
But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.
One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.
Time Rep: Continuum (Time Rep 2)
by Peter Ward
Imagine you just saved the world from an alien invasion. If it wasn’t for you, everyone would be dead.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
That’s exactly what happens to Geoffrey Stamp, but there’s just one problem―he can’t tell anyone. You see, Geoffrey is a Time Rep―a tour guide for the 21st Century, meeting people from the future who travel back in time for their vacation. Everything he does needs to be kept a secret from the people in his own time, otherwise he risks changing the course of history.
And that caused enough trouble in the last book.
But now a new company called Continuum is offering holidays to the past, and they allow people to go back and change whatever they like. For Geoffrey, this sounds like a dream come true, until a future version of himself appears out of nowhere with no memory, a bullet in his back, and a Continuum business card in his pocket. Geoffrey soon finds himself in a race to solve his own attempted murder, but begins to wonder if his investigation is the very thing that nearly got him killed.
What is the truth behind Continuum, and after saving the planet, why would anyone want him dead?
Curse (Blur 3)
by Steven James
As Daniel Byers prepares to attend a basketball camp before his senior year of high school, the terrifying blurs that have plagued him for the last nine months return.
Dark images begin to haunt him—creatures crawling from the deepest pits of his nightmares, glimmers of chilling memories from his early childhood. But before he can unearth the meaning behind his mysterious hallucinations, Daniel must team up with two other extraordinary teens to save a young woman who has been abducted by a scientist obsessed with enacting his own warped form of justice.
Fall of Light (Kharkanas Trilogy 2)
It is a bitter winter and civil war now ravages Kurald Galain, as Urusander’s Legion prepares to march upon the city of Kharkanas.The rebels’ only opposition lies scattered, bereft of a leader since Anomander’s departure in search of his estranged brother, Andarist. The last brother remaining, Silchas Ruin, rules in Anomander’s stead. He seeks to gather the Houseblades of the Highborn Noble families and resurrect the Hust Legion in the southlands, but is fast running out of time.
The officers and leaders of Urusander’s Legion, led by Hunn Raal, want the Consort, Draconus, cast aside and Vatha Urusander wedded to Mother Dark, taking his place on a throne at the side of the Living Goddess. But this union will be far more than political, as a sorcerous power has claimed those opposing Mother Dark — given form by the exiled High Priestess Syntara, the Cult of Light rises in answer to Mother Dark and her Children.
Far to the west, an unlikely army has gathered, seeking an enemy without form, in a place none can find, and commanded by a Jaghut driven mad with grief. Hood’s call has been heard, and the long-abandoned city of Omtose Phellack is now home to a rabble of new arrivals. From the south have come Dog-Runners and Jheck warriors. From the Western Sea strange ships have grounded upon the harsh shore, with blue-skinned strangers arriving to offer Hood their swords. And from the North, down from mountain fastnesses and isolated valleys, Toblakai arrive, day and night, to pledge themselves to Hood’s impossible war. Soon, all will set forth — or not at all — under the banners of the living. Soon, weapons will be drawn, with Death itself the enemy.
Beneath the chaos of such events, and spanning the realm and those countless other realms hidden behind its veil, magic now bleeds into the world. Unconstrained, mysterious and savage, the power that is the lifeblood of the Azathanai, K’rul, runs loose and wild. Following its scent, seeking the places of wounding where the sorcery rushes forth, entities both new and ancient are gathering. And they are eager to feed.
Comprehending the terrible risk of his gift of blood, a weakened, dying K’rul sets out, in the company of a lone guardian, to bring order to this newborn sorcery — alas, his choice of potential allies is suspect. In the name of order, K’rul seeks its greatest avowed enemy.
Ghosts of Karnak (Ghost 3)
by George Mann
A woman is found dead on the streets of New York, ancient Egyptian symbols carved into her flesh. A ghostly figure is seen floating over the rooftops of the city. And an expedition returns from Cairo to exhibit their finds at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gabriel’s old friend and lover, Ginny Gray, was part of the expedition, but when Gabriel goes to meet the ship, Ginny is not on board.
Ancient forces are stirring and the Ghost, Ginny and Gabriel’s friend Donovan are caught right in the middle.
Independence Day: Crucible
by Greg Keyes
Cities were crushed by the falling spacecraft—but one ship didn’t crash. It remained intact, and disgorged hordes of alien soldiers determined to fight to the death.
The abandoned vessels also contained a wealth of advanced technology. Led by David Levinson, the greatest minds of our world developed deadly new hybrid weapons. Bases were built on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
A new generation of defenders had to be trained, for the invaders would return. In the headlong rush to prepare, however, not everyone would survive.
Haunted Destiny (Krewe of Hunters 18)
by Heather Graham
A historic cruise ship, a haunted ship, the Celtic American Line’s Destiny sets sail from the Port of New Orleans—with a killer on board. He’s known as the Archangel because of the way he displays his victims in churches. And the way he places a different saint’s medallion on each one. No one knows exactly who he is or why he’s doing this.
Jackson Crow—head of the FBI’s Krewe of Hunters, a special unit of paranormal investigators—is assigned to the case, along with local agent Jude McCoy. Then Alexi Cromwell, who works in the ship’s piano bar, is drawn into the situation when a victim’s ghost appears to her—and to Jude. A victim who knows only that the man who killed him and his fiancée had boarded the Destiny.
There are many suspects, but one by one they’re ruled out… Or are they? In the end Jude and Alexi have to rely on each other to catch the killer and to escape his evil plans for her.
by Basma Adel Aziz
In a surreal, but familiar, vision of modern day Egypt, a centralized authority known as ‘the Gate’ has risen to power in the aftermath of the ‘Disgraceful Events,’ a failed popular uprising. Citizens are required to obtain permission from the Gate in order to take care of even the most basic of their daily affairs, yet the Gate never opens, and the queue in front of it grows longer.
Citizens from all walks of life mix and wait in the sun: a revolutionary journalist, a sheikh, a poor woman concerned for her daughter’s health, and even the brother of a security officer killed in clashes with protestors. Among them is Yehia, a man who was shot during the Events and is waiting for permission from the Gate to remove a bullet that remains lodged in his pelvis. Yehia’s health steadily declines, yet at every turn, officials refuse to assist him, actively denying the very existence of the bullet.
Ultimately it is Tarek, the principled doctor tending to Yehia’s case, who must decide whether to follow protocol as he has always done, or to disobey the law and risk his career to operate on Yehia and save his life.
by Dan Vyleta
England. A century ago, give or take a few years.
An England where people who are wicked in thought or deed are marked by the Smoke that pours forth from their bodies, a sign of their fallen state. The aristocracy do not smoke, proof of their virtue and right to rule, while the lower classes are drenched in sin and soot. An England utterly strange and utterly real.
An elite boarding school where the sons of the wealthy are groomed to take power as their birthright. Teachers with mysterious ties to warring political factions at the highest levels of government. Three young people who learn everything they’ve been taught is a lie—knowledge that could cost them their lives. A grand estate where secrets lurk in attic rooms and hidden laboratories. A love triangle. A desperate chase. Revolutionaries and secret police. Religious fanatics and coldhearted scientists. Murder. A London filled with danger and wonder. A tortured relationship between a mother and a daughter, and a mother and a son. Unexpected villains and unexpected heroes. Cool reason versus passion. Rich versus poor. Right versus wrong, though which is which isn’t clear.
The Sorcerer’s Daughter (The Defenders of Shannara 3)
by Terry Brooks
The mysterious, magic-wielding Druid order has existed for long ages, battling any evil that threatens the Four Lands—and struggling to be understood and accepted by outsiders. But their hopes of building goodwill are dashed when a demon’s murderous rampage at a peace summit leaves their political opponents dead—casting new suspicions upon the Druids and forcing them to flee from enemies both mortal and monstrous.
Paxon Leah, the order’s appointed protector, knows that blame lies with Arcannen Rai, the vile sorcerer he has battled and defeated before. But there’s no time to hunt his nemesis, if he is to lead the wrongfully accused Druids to their sanctuary. It is a quest fraught with danger, as a furious government agent and his army snap at their heels, and lethal predators stalk them in the depths of the untamed wilderness.
But Arcannen is playing a deeper game than Paxon realizes. Paxon’s sister possesses a powerful magic that the sorcerer longs to control—but Arcannen has not reckoned with the determination of his own estranged daughter, Leofur, who is also Paxon’s devoted lifemate. Leofur sets out on a perilous quest to thwart her father’s desires—while the vengeful Arcannen conjures his blackest magical skills, determined to destroy them all, and claim the most powerful of magics for his own.
Byron Dunn is an AISFP contributor, a friend to werewolves, and has cookies instead of blood in his body.