Quote of the Day

The end of the world as we know it does things to people. Everyone forgets who they were, abandons their past life and tries to align themselves with the new state of things, tries to form new connections with people, tries to unearth some new version of themselves. Some change a little, most change a lot.

Not Nigerians, though, especially Lagosians. The end of the world hasn’t changed them much. They are still unruly, uncouth, unabashedly rude, and disinterested in any sense of community or structure. Or maybe this is just the same way every end-of-civilization is.

- SUYI DAVIES OKUNGBO, David Mogo, Godhunter. Follow this link for more info about this title.

Interesting read thus far by a Nigerian author known for writing stories featuring African gods, starships, monsters, detectives and everything in-between.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

Not sure for how long, but each installment of David Weber's bestselling Safehold series is 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Humanity pushed its way to the stars – and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out. Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild. But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary measures: with mind control and hidden high technology, they’ve built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, a religion designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever. 800 years pass. In a hidden chamber on Safehold, an android from the far human past awakens. This “rebirth” was set in motion centuries before, by a faction that opposed shackling humanity with a concocted religion. Via automated recordings, “Nimue” – or, rather, the android with the memories of Lieutenant Commander Nimue Alban – is told her fate: she will emerge into Safeholdian society, suitably disguised, and begin the process of provoking the technological progress which the Church of God Awaiting has worked for centuries to prevent.

Nothing about this will be easy. To better deal with a medieval society, “Nimue” takes a new gender and a new name, “Merlin.” His formidable powers and access to caches of hidden high technology will need to be carefully concealed. And he’ll need to find a base of operations, a Safeholdian country that’s just a little more freewheeling, a little less orthodox, a little more open to the new. And thus Merlin comes to Charis, a mid-sized kingdom with a talent for naval warfare. He plans to make the acquaintance of King Haarahld and Crown Prince Cayleb, and maybe, just maybe, kick off a new era of invention. Which is bound to draw the attention of the Church…and, inevitably, lead to war. It’s going to be a long, long process. And David Weber’s epic Off Armageddon Reef is can’t-miss sci-fi.

Safehold Series 1. Off Armageddon Reef 2. By Schism Rent Asunder 3. By Heresies Distressed 4. A Mighty Fortress 5. How Firm A Foundation 6. Midst Toil and Tribulation 7. Like A Mighty Army 8. Hell’s Foundations Quiver 9. At the Sign of Triumph.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Musical Interlude

A little shot of Van Halen to brighten up your Victoria Day! =)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Neal Stephenson's excellent Quicksilver for only 4.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Quicksilver is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe, in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight.

It is a chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of "Half-Cocked Jack" Shaftoe -- London street urchin turned swashbuckling adventurer and legendary King of the Vagabonds -- risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox.

And it is the tale of Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent Europe through the newborn power of finance.

A gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive novel that brings a remarkable age and its momentous events to vivid life, Quicksilver is an extraordinary achievement from one of the most original and important literary talents of our time.

And it's just the beginning ...

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download John Gwynne's Malice for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon.

Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage. The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms.

Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars. High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (May 13th)

In hardcover:

George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood maintains its position at number 9. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Nnedi Okorafor's The Book of Phoenix for only 4.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.

Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape.

But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future.

Luna: Moon Rising

If you've been following the Hotlist for a while, you are aware that every single Ian McDonald adult novel I've read since creating this blog has ended up in my Top 10 for that year. Hence, I was pretty excited when I learned that he was taking a break from his foray into the YA market to return to the more hardcore science fiction works that made him an award-winning author. And yet, although Luna: New Moon was another quality read, it wasn't quite as captivating as books such as River of Gods, Brasyl, or The Dervish House. As the first installment in a promising two-book cycle, it wasn't as self-contained and satisfying as those stand-alone novels.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned--after finishing reading Luna: Wolf Moon, it must be said--that this series was now a trilogy. I was expecting a thrilling endgame and a great finale. Not a middle book. Still, McDonald definitely upped the ante and that second volume set the stage for what could be a memorable finale.

Which brings us to Luna: Moon Rising, the final chapter in this series. I had high expectations for this one, it goes without saying. And unfortunately, suffering from the same shortcomings that plagued its predecessor, the book failed to live up to the potential generated by the first two installments. It's a good book, mind you. Trouble is, Ian McDonald has accustomed us to great scifi works, not merely good ones.

Here's the blurb:

The continuing saga of the Five Dragons, Ian McDonald's fast-paced, intricately plotted space opera pitched as Game of Thrones meets The Expanse.

A hundred years in the future, a war wages between the Five Dragons—five families that control the Moon’s leading industrial companies. Each clan does everything in their power to claw their way to the top of the food chain—marriages of convenience, corporate espionage, kidnapping, and mass assassinations.

Through ingenious political manipulation and sheer force of will, Lucas Cortas rises from the ashes of corporate defeat and seizes control of the Moon. The only person who can stop him is a brilliant lunar lawyer, his sister, Ariel.

Witness the Dragons' final battle for absolute sovereignty in Ian McDonald's heart-stopping finale to the Luna trilogy.

Understandably, Tor Books continues to market these novels as Game of Thrones on the moon. With rivalries between families/corporations at the heart of the story, to a certain extent it is an apt description. But it is much more than that. To all ends and purposes, it has more to do with rival mafia families than competing corporate entities, so in many ways it is more The Godfather than Game of Thrones. Like George R. R. Martin's bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire, it's an extremely devious and cutthroat environment where absolutely anything can happen. There is no law on the moon. Everything can be negotiated. And in the end, everything is.

As always, Ian McDonald's worldbuilding is incredible. Using the moon as a backdrop, the author managed to capture the essence of what living and thriving in such harsh conditions entail. His prose once again brought the moon and its inhabiants to life in vivid fashion. His eye for details creates an imagery and an atmosphere that is nothing short of stunning. Whatever the premise of his novels, McDonald's narrative always makes you feel as though you're part of the action. In that regard at least, Luna: Moon Rising features the same kind of superior worldbuilding that made River of Gods and The Dervish House such amazing reads.

Once more, characterization was the aspect of this book that left the most to be desired. The multi-perspective narrative habitually works well for Ian McDonald. Still, one has to wonder if there was need for so many POV characters in Luna: New Moon and Luna: Wolf Moon. Too often in this trilogy, it feels as though lots of scenes and/or points of view turn out to be extraneous material that bring little or nothing to the storylines. The enormous cast of characters is comprised of disparate protagonists and you can never tell how these multilayered plotlines will come together at the end. As always, there is the usual confusion of not really understanding where the author is taking the plot. If you are an Ian McDonald fan, that comes with the territory, no matter what book you're reading. And when the various threads come together and you finally understand what is actually going on, it is usually awesome. Problem is, the Luna novels are a veritable mess of POVs. And since most of the names sound the same, too often was I forced to go to the back of the book to peruse the Dramatis Personae. As a big Malazan fan, numerous protagonists/plotlines have never been a problem for me. But when it's hard to differentiate them from one another, regardless of what family they're from, it becomes a serious issue. Ultimately, I felt that Luna: Moon Rising would have benefited from a more limited amount of perspectives.

In terms of rhythm, Ian McDonald more or less followed the same blueprint he used for the first two volumes. The pace is relatively slow for the first 2/3 of the book, and then things pick up and the endgame turned out to be quite unpredictable. The finale was compelling and closed the show with style. Still, as was the case with its predecessors, a more balanced rhythm would have made Luna: Moon Rising more enjoyable.

Mostly known for his stand-alone science fiction works, given the smaller wordcount Ian Mc Donald has always excelled within a more constraining framework. Writing a trilogy meant that he could really open things up and it appears that the author may have gone a little too over-the-top with the characterization. Which, in the end, certainly didn't work as well as I thought it would.

As I mentioned, the Luna trilogy is a good series, but not as gripping and engrossing as some of his previous works. As such, if you are not yet acquainted with the author, these books may not be the best jumping point for new readers. I'd recommend reading the aforementioned science fiction titles by Ian McDonald before giving his latest series a shot.

The final verdict: 7.5/10

For more info about this title, please follow this link.

Amazon links

Hey guys,

Amazon recently came up with a OneLink process that supposedly works in Canada, the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, and other neighboring countries. Which means that whenever you click on a link on the Hotlist, technically you are supposed to be redirected to the Amazon site of your region.

We'll see how it works, but from now on I'll only post a single link in reviews, giveaways, etc.

Please let me know if it works the way it's supposed to for you. It does for me, as any time I click on an American link I'm redirected to the Canadian Amazon website.



More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Marcus' hero days are behind him. He knows too well that even the smallest war still means somebody's death. When his men are impressed into a doomed army, staying out of a battle he wants no part of requires some unorthodox steps.

Cithrin is an orphan, ward of a banking house. Her job is to smuggle a nation's wealth across a war zone, hiding the gold from both sides. She knows the secret life of commerce like a second language, but the strategies of trade will not defend her from swords.

Geder, sole scion of a noble house, has more interest in philosophy than in swordplay. A poor excuse for a soldier, he is a pawn in these games. No one can predict what he will become.

Falling pebbles can start a landslide. A spat between the Free Cities and the Severed Throne is spiraling out of control. A new player rises from the depths of history, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon's Path -- the path to war.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time, the 2016 winner of theArthur C. Clarke Award, for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Winner of the 30th anniversary Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel.

Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed, stand-alone novel Children of Time, is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet.

Who will inherit this new Earth?

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life.

But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind's worst nightmare.

Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

You can also download Dan Koboldt's The Rogue Retrieval for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Sleight of hand…in another land.

Stage magician Quinn Bradley has one dream: to headline his own show on the Vegas Strip. And with talent scouts in the audience wowed by his latest performance, he knows he’s about to make the big-time.

What he doesn’t expect is an offer to go on a quest to a place where magic is all too real.

That's how he finds himself in Alissia, a world connected to ours by a secret portal owned by a powerful corporation. He’s after an employee who has gone rogue, and that’s the least of his problems. Alissia has true magicians…and the penalty for impersonating one is death. In a world where even a twelve-year-old could beat Quinn in a swordfight, it's only a matter of time until the tricks up his sleeves run out.

Scientist and blogger Dan Koboldt weaves wonder, humor, and heart into this debut novel, The Rogue Retrieval. Fans of Terry Brooks and Terry Pratchett will find this a thrilling read.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Paul Kearney's excellent A Different Kingdom for only 3.03$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Michael Fay is a normal boy, living with his grandparents on their family farm in rural Ireland. In the woods—once thought safe and well-explored—there are wolves; and other, stranger things. He keeps them from his family, even his Aunt Rose, his closest friend, until the day he finds himself in the Other Place. There are wild people, and terrible monsters, and a girl called Cat.

When the wolves follow him from the Other Place to his family’s doorstep, Michael must choose between locking the doors and looking away—or following Cat on an adventure that may take an entire lifetime in the Other Place. He will become a man, and a warrior, and confront the Devil himself: the terrible Dark Horseman...

And the two sequels are also available for the same low price! =)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Kate Elliott's King's Dragon for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Set in an alternate Europe where bloody conflicts rage, the first book of the Crown of Stars epic fantasy series chronicles a world-shaking conflict for the survival of humanity.

It begins with civil war....

For though King Henry still holds the crown of Wendar, his reign has long been contested by his sister Sabella. There are many eager to flock to her banner, and there are ways to make even the most unwilling lord into a weapon pointed at the heart of Henry’s realm.

Torn by internal strife, Wendar also faces deadly raids from the north by an inhuman race, the Eika. And now terrifying portents are being seen; old ruins restored to life under the light of the full moon and peopled by the long-vanished Lost Ones; dark spirits walking the land in broad daylight.

And suddenly two innocents are about to be thrust into the middle of the conflict.

Liath, who has spent her early years fleeing from unknown enemies, is a young woman with the power to change the course of history if she can only learn to master her fear and seize what is rightfully hers.

While Alain, a young man who may find his future in a vision granted by the Lady of Battles, must first unravel the mystery of who he is—whether the bastard son of a noble father, the half-breed child of an elfin lord, the unwanted get of a whore, or the heir to a proud and ancient lineage. For only when he discovers the truth can he accept the destiny for which he was born.

Liath and Alain, each trapped in a personal struggle for survival, both helplessly being drawn into a far greater battle, a war in which sorcery not swords will determine the final outcome, and the land itself may be irrevocably reshaped by the forces unleashed....

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (May 6th)

In hardcover:

Greg Weisman's Magic: The Gathering: War of the Spark: Ravnica debuts at number 5.

George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood is up three positions, ending the week at number 9. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Claudia Gray's Star Wars: Master and Apprentice is down ten spots, finishing the week at number 15.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Ian Tregillis' The Mechanical for 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

My name is Jax.

That is the name granted to me by my human masters.

I am a slave.

But I shall be free.

Set in a world that might have been, of mechanical men and alchemical dreams, the new novel from Ian Tregillis confirms his place as one of the most original new voices in speculative fiction.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Frank Herbert's Children of Dune for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Book Three in the Magnificent Dune Chronicles—the Bestselling Science Fiction Adventure of All Time.

The Children of Dune are twin siblings Leto and Ghanima Atreides, whose father, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, disappeared in the desert wastelands of Arrakis nine years ago. Like their father, the twins possess supernormal abilities—making them valuable to their manipulative aunt Alia, who rules the Empire in the name of House Atreides.

Facing treason and rebellion on two fronts, Alia’s rule is not absolute. The displaced House Corrino is plotting to regain the throne while the fanatical Fremen are being provoked into open revolt by the enigmatic figure known only as The Preacher. Alia believes that by obtaining the secrets of the twins’ prophetic visions, she can maintain control over her dynasty.

But Leto and Ghanima have their own plans for their visions—and their destinies....

Final confrontation between Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader reimagined

Hot damn, that was good!

New Guy Gavriel Kay interview

With Guy Gavriel Kay's A Brightness Long Ago (Canada, USA, Europe) about to be published, I had the chance to have a little chat with the author.


- With its pub date just around the corner, what can you tell us about your newest novel, A BRIGHTNESS LONG AGO?

I never work out good soundbites or elevator pitches for the books, I dislike reducing them that way. But this one is inspired by 15th century Italy, specifically the lifelong enmity between two of the greatest military commanders of their day, but filtering that tension through the lives and perceptions of a number of other people who come into contact with them.

- I once asked you what came first when considering your next novel: themes you wished to explore, a setting you're interested in, or characters you wanted to write about? You replied that in general setting precedes theme (which grows out of learning about time and place), then character, and from this process a narrative emerges. But this isn’t set in stone for you, and different books have had different arcs of emergence.


I think setting came first here, it takes place before Children of Earth and Sky (though it is a standalone) as I realized there were more things I wanted to explore in this time and place. The themes (especially memory, and the issue of how much control we have over our lives and how much ‘randomness’ comes into them) emerged.

- When CHILDREN OF EARTH AND SKY was released, were you already aware that you'd be returning to that same part of the world in your next book? If not, how/when did it dawn upon you that it would be the case?

Not at all. I never know what the next book is. With the Sarantium pair, it was in my mind as a diptych from the start, so I don’t see Lord of Emperors as a ’next book’ I pushed straight on into it. This time, as always, there were many things, many settings, that interested me, but my reading and note taking gradually circled down to this one.

- According to George R. R. Martin, most authors are either architects or gardeners. Which type of writer are you?

A single malt whisky distiller in the Highlands. (Joke, but, actually…)

Everyone has their own metaphors, their way of framing creativity, I don’t personally see it as falling into any neat dichotomy. As between these two, I’d be more an architect because the shape of a novel matters a lot to me (as a reader, too). It is one reason (among others) I don’t write multi-volume, in fact.

- Speaking of Martin and Game of Thrones, in late 2017 it was announced that Boat Rocker Studio’s Temple Street secured television rights to The Fionavar Tapestry. There has also been some interest for THE LIONS OF AL-RASSAN. Is there any progress report you can to share with your fans?

This is, as people have probably learned by now with many projects, a long game. But the people involved at Boat Rocker are seriously smart and experienced, and I have a lot of confidence in them. There are also other projects based on my work being explored, but it is too soon to share anything. As a general note for people, one thing GoT on television did was create a very high level of expectation for budgets, production values. That puts a strain on many possible projects. Have a look at what is being budgeted for the Tolkien adaptation...

- In an interview back in 2014, you said: “I’m still proud of the Fionavar Tapestry. The fact I don’t write the same way is as much as anything else the fact a man in his 50s doesn’t write the way a man in his 20s does – or he shouldn’t. We shouldn’t be interested in the same things, we shouldn’t be artistically frozen in amber at the point that we were when we first appeared on the scene. We should evolve. And that’s what it is for me.”

So what interests a more mature and hopefully wiser Guy Gavriel Kay nowadays?

I‘ll agree with that ‘hopefully’ as to wiser, Pat! Readers of this book will see, I suspect, what is engaging me, and has been for a few years (because I live with a book for years). I’m fascinated by how we examine and remember the past — our own and our culture’s, or the world’s — and shape narratives we need or want from that. We tell ourselves stories, and they are immensely important. That whole subject of storytelling, that a novel you read is a story being told to you by someone …

- All your works since your first trilogy have been described as “history with a quarter-turn to the fantastic.” Are there any plans to ever return to your roots and write a bona fide fantasy book/series, or has this train left the station a long time ago?

No train, no station! Never know what might come up next, or next after that, or ...

- Will you be touring during the course of the spring/summer to promote A BRIGHTNESS LONG AGO? If so, are there any specific dates that have been confirmed as of yet?

American stops so far in Seattle on the 17th of May (University Bookstore), and San Francisco on the 18th (Borderlands) in the afternoon, then the evening of the 19th at a fun gig called SF In SF (which will include the great Simon Vance, who does the audiobook of this one, and has done many of mine in the past).

- Anything else you wish to share with your fans?

I always say this, but I always mean it: I am immensely grateful for the gift my readers give me, of being able to take the time to write the books I want to write. It really is a blessing.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Myke Cole's excellent Shadow Ops: Control Point for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer.

Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the dead, and set everything they touch ablaze.

Army officer Oscar Britton sees the worst of it. A lieutenant attached to the military's Supernatural Operations Corps, his mission is to bring order to a world gone mad. Then he abruptly manifests a rare and prohibited magical power, transforming him overnight from government agent to public enemy number one.

The SOC knows how to handle this kind of situation: hunt him down--and take him out. Driven into an underground shadow world, Britton is about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he's ever known, and that his life isn't the only thing he's fighting for.

The Stand

As I mentioned in my review of It a little over a year ago, I was a huge Stephen King fan during my teenage years. Throughout the 80s, I devoured novels such as Carrie, The Shining, 'Salem's Lot, Christine, Pet Sematary, Cujo, and many more. I first read The Stand in 1986 or 1987 and I loved it. And prior to my It reread, I considered The Stand to be the very best Stephen King title out there. That reread put It back into pole position and I was curious to see if rereading The Stand would push it back to the top of the totem pole. It sure did!

As I've said before, rereading old favorites always comes with a certain sense of apprehension for me. Not every book age well and like It I was wondering if The Stand had survived the test of time. This time I read the complete and uncut edition, which contains restored scenes originally cut for brevity, added and revised certain sections, and changed the setting to 1990. Oddly enough, though the novel features quite a few memorable sequences, I had forgotten pretty much everything that has to do about the plot. In the end, there were only two totally innocuous scenes that I could recall; the one in which Fran tells Stu that there are occasional skid marks on his underwear, and the one in which Nadine gives Harold a handjob. Don't ask me why, but these were the only two scenes that stayed with me over the years. It probably doesn't speak well of me, but keep in mind that I was about 13 years old when I first read the book.

Rereading The Stand after all these years was an awesome experience. As was the case with It a few months back, the novel captured my imagination and grabbed hold of me from the very beginning and I found myself going through this 1400+-page doorstopper in just a few days.

Here's the blurb:

Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and tangled in an elemental struggle between good and evil remains as riveting and eerily plausible as when it was first published.

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.

The book is split into three parts. The first one, titled "Captain Trips," takes place between June 16th and July 4th and focuses on the total breakdown and inexorable collapse of society in the wake of the terrible pandemic triggered by the accidental release of a weaponized strain of influenza known as Project Blue from a secret military laboratory. The narrative features the perspectives of most of the principal protagonists as social order keeps unraveling and they must deal with the emotional impact of witnessing everyone they know dying of the superflu. This portion also shows just how heavy-handed the US military were in their efforts to censor information and in their attempts to contain the threat that brought mankind to near-extinction. The second part is called "On the Border" and occurs between July 5th and September 6th. It focuses on the few survivors gradually finding one another and journeying across the country. Some of them following the dreams of 108-year-old Mother Abagail, who can be found in her home surrounded by corn fields in Nebraska. Others are drawn toward Las Vegas, where the nefarious Randall Flagg has set up shop and is preparing to take over the USA and then the rest of the world. These first two parts are absolutely amazing and just might be Stephen King's best writing ever. I was thoroughly enthralled by this 1150+-page chunk of narrative and to this day it remains some of the most incredible storytelling I have ever read. The last section, "The Stand," takes place from September 7th to January 10th and focuses on the clash between the two communities. The author has always had trouble with endings and this novel is no different. Although the build-up to the endgame was great, the grand finale and its resolution failed to live up to the potential shown earlier. Still, The Stand is a home run. But it could easily have been a grand slam.

The book was originally published in 1978, with a setting date of 1980. The first paperback edition released in 1980 changed the setting date to 1985. And when it was re-released as The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition, the setting of the story was once again pushed back to 1990. King updated the novel and added a number of pop culture references. For the most part, this latest edition has aged well. But moving the timeline forward like that created a certain amount of anachronisms that sometimes feel rather weird. Overall, The Stand retains that late 70s vibe which should have been left alone, methinks. These anachronisms don't take anything away from the overall reading experience, but they can feel a bit discordant at times.

The characterization is by far the most astonishing facet of the book. I know I said the same regarding It, but this one definitely features what could well be the very best character development of King's career. A more interesting bunch of characters I'd be hard-pressed to name. There is so much character growth throughout The Stand, so many memorable protagonists. My heart went out to Nick Andros and Tom Cullen, a more unlikely duo you can never hope to find. Sure, men and women like Larry Underwood, Stu Redman, Frances Goldsmith, Harold Lauder, Lloyd Henreid, and the Trashcan Man take center stage throughout the tale, but the supporting cast is what makes this work such an unforgettable read. Other than Nick and Tom, The Stand would never have been the same without Glen Bateman and his dog Kojak, Ralph Brentner, Nadine Cross, and young Joe.

The Stand is another enormous work of fiction. There is no getting around that. Made even bigger with this complete and uncut edition. Understandably, such a big novel will occasionally suffer from rhythm problems. And while it's true that at times the pace can be slow, The Stand is never boring. Other than the addition of the Kid section, that is, which I feel was unnecessary. I found the Trashcan Man's journey to Las Vegas to be quite compelling, but in my opinion the Kid's storyline added very little to the overall reading experience. Regardless of the slow-moving portions which add layers to an already multi-layered plot for the most part, I went though this book in a matter of a few short days, and for me the rhythm was never an issue.

Read The Stand for the first time, or reread it again! Like It, this novel showcases a Stephen King writing at the top of his game and is a extraordinary read. M-O-O-N, that spells awesome! Laws, yes!

The final verdict: 10/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Peter McLean's Priest of Bones for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

It's a dangerous thing, to choose the lesser of two evils.

The war is over, and army priest Tomas Piety finally heads home with Lieutenant Bloody Anne at his side. When he arrives in the Stink, Tomas finds that his empire of crime has been stolen from him while at war. With his gang of Pious Men, Tomas will do whatever it takes to reclaim his businesses. But when he finds himself dragged into a web of political intrigue once again, and is forced to work in secret for the sinister Queen's Men, everything gets more complicated.

When loyalties stretch to the breaking point and violence only leads to violence, when people have run out of food, and hope, and places to hide, do not be surprised if they have also run out of mercy. As the Pious Men fight shadowy foreign infiltrators in the backstreet taverns and gambling dens of Tomas's old life it becomes clear; the war is not over.

It is only just beginning.

Win an Advance Reading Copy of Michael J. Sullivan's AGE OF LEGEND

Since I haven't read the series, I'm giving away my advance reading copy of Michael J. Sullivan's Age of Legend to one lucky winner! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Each culture has its own myths and legends, but only one is shared, and it is feared by all.

With Age of Myth, Age of Swords, and Age of War, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan riveted readers with a tale of unlikely heroes locked in a desperate battle to save mankind. After years of warfare, humanity has gained the upper hand and has pushed the Fhrey to the edge of their homeland, but no farther. Now comes the pivotal moment. Persephone's plan to use the stalemate to seek peace is destroyed by an unexpected betrayal that threatens to hand victory to the Fhrey and leaves a dear friend in peril. Humanity's only hope lies in the legend of a witch, a forgotten song, and a simple garden door.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "LEGEND." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download James Islington's The Shadow of What Was Lost, first volume in the Licanius trilogy, for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada. It's supposed to be a must for fans of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time.

Here's the blurb:

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them - the Gifted - are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion's Four Tenets, vastly limiting their powers.

As a Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and others like him are despised. But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything.

To the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian's wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is...

And in the far north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir.

Quote of the Day

We are outnumbered and outgunned. We shall probably die. Old men talk about death and glory and that is the oldest shittest lie there is. There is no glory in death. Death is the end of everything that is good. And I'm leading you to your deaths. Our job is to buy time. And if that time is measured in lives, not seconds, then that is our mission. I don't want any of you to die, so fight like fucking demons. Fight like life itself. That's all I have to say.

- IAN MCDONALD, Luna: Moon Rising (Canada, USA, Europe)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Sarah Chorn's Seraphina's Lament for only 4.99$ here. She's the SFF blogger behind the Bookworm Blues website.

Here's the blurb:

The world is dying.

The Sunset Lands are broken, torn apart by a war of ideology paid for with the lives of the peasants. Drought holds the east as famine ravages the farmlands. In the west, borders slam shut in the face of waves of refugees, dooming all of those trying to flee to slow starvation, or a future in forced labor camps. There is no salvation.

In the city of Lord’s Reach, Seraphina, a slave with unique talents, sets in motion a series of events that will change everything. In a fight for the soul of the nation, everyone is a player. But something ominous is calling people to Lord’s Reach and the very nature of magic itself is changing. Paths will converge, the battle for the Sunset Lands has shifted, and now humanity itself is at stake.

First, you must break before you can become.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (April 29th)

In hardcover:

Claudia Gray's Star Wars: Master and Apprentice debuts at number 5.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Brian McClellan's Sins of Empire for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A new epic fantasy series from highly acclaimed fantasy author, Brian McClellan, set in the same world as The Powder Mage trilogy.

A world on the cusp of a new age...
The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place -- a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.

Sedition is a dangerous word...
The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall's present.

The past haunts us all...
As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in this wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.

Quote of the Day

People will say business is business, nothing personal. A great lie. Everything is personal.

- IAN MCDONALD, Luna: Moon Rising (Canada, USA, Europe)

Looks like it's going to be another good read!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Fritz Leiber's The Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser omnibus for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

The Hugo and Nebula Award–winning series of swords and sorcery, featuring two unorthodox heroes, from a Grand Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Many decades before George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, Grand Master Fritz Leiber ruled the sword-and-sorcery universe. These three short story collections chronicle the unconventional adventures of Leiber’s endearing antiheroes: barbarian Fafhrd and former wizard’s apprentice, the Gray Mouser.

Swords and Deviltry: Fafhrd, a handsome barbarian of the Steppes, is seduced by a beautiful prostitute and her equally intoxicating city, while the Gray Mouser, a slum rat wizard-in-training, is tempted by the dark arts. The two men meet on a night of multiple thieveries and an enduring partnership is born.

Swords Against Death: Rogue swordsmen and devoted companions Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser pursue ill-gotten fortunes within the confines of Lankhmar. They cross paths with two wizards, Sheelba of the Eyeless Face and Ningauble of the Seven Eyes, and a most violent clash ensues. Eventually, following further adventures, the two antiheroes end up as indentured swordsman servants to their former foes.

Swords in the Mist: A cloud of concentrated hatred and lean times in Lankhmar compels Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser to temporarily depart the most corrupt metropolis in all of Nehwon as they seek adventure in the realm of the Sea-King—and on a different world entirely.

This must-read collection of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser short stories features multiple Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated tales, and includes the acclaimed novella Ill Met in Lankhmar.

You can also download Kameron Hurley's excellent God's War for only 4.62$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn't make any difference...

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on--

There's not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war--but at what price?

The world is about to find out.

Nest of the Monarch

You may recall that I really enjoyed Kay Kenyon's alternate history fantasy novels, At the Table of Wolves and Serpent in the Heather. And while the first installment was an introduction to what appeared to be a vaster and more ambitious tale, the second volume was even better. Building on the events and storylines from its predecessor, the author raised the bar higher and elevated this series to another level. So when I realized that Nest of the Monarch was about to be published and I had yet to receive a review copy, I was quick to contact Kenyon so the situation could be rectified.

And having now read the third installment, it feels as though Kenyon's Dark Talents series just might be the genre's best-kept secret of recent years. And to think that at first I was concerned that it would be too similar to Ian Tregillis' excellent Milkweed Triptych trilogy, which to this day remains one of the very best speculative fiction series of the new millennium. The premise might bear resemblance to that of Tregillis, yet the plot is completely different. What both series do have in common, however, is the fact that they are decidedly underappreciated and almost criminally unread by the masses. Do yourself a favor and check out both series if you haven't already. You'll thank me!

Here's the blurb:

Kim Tavistock, undercover in Berlin as the wife of a British diplomat, uncovers a massive conspiracy that could change the course of the war—and she’s the only one in position to stop it in the electrifying conclusion to the Dark Talents series.

November, 1936. Kim Tavistock is in Berlin on her first Continental mission for SIS, the British intelligence service. Her cover: a sham marriage to a handsome, ambitious British consul. Kim makes the diplomatic party circuit with him, hobnobbing with Nazi officials, hoping for a spill that will unlock a secret operation called Monarch. Berlin is a glittering city celebrating Germany’s resurgence, but Nazi brutality darkens the lives of many. When Kim befriends Hannah Linz, a member of the Jewish resistance, she sets in motion events that will bring her into the center of a vast conspiracy.

Forging an alliance with Hannah and her partisans, Kim discovers the alarming purpose of Monarch: the creation of a company of enforcers with augmented Talents and strange appetites. Called the Progeny, they have begun to compel citizen obedience with physical and spiritual terror. Soon Kim is swept up in a race to stop the coming deployment of the Progeny into Europe. Aligned against her are forces she could never have foreseen, including the very intelligence service she loves; a Russian woman, the queen of all Talents, who fled the Bolsheviks in 1917; and the ruthless SS officer whose dominance and rare charisma may lead to Kim’s downfall. To stop Monarch and the subversion of Europe, she must do more than use her Talent, wits, and courage. She must step into the abyss of unbounded power, even to the point of annihilation. Does the human race have limits? Kim does not want to know the answer. But it is coming.

In my reviews of the first two installments, I opined that the worldbuilding was very interesting and opened up countless possibilities. No one knows how the bloom came about, but it is widely believed that the deaths and the suffering engendered by the first World War generated the birth of the Talents, those supernatural abilities in ordinary men and women, especially in the countries which dealt with the Great War. The action occurs a few months following the events of Serpent in the Heather. Needless to say, 1936 has been a busy and crazy year for Kim Tavistock. The Nazis have risen to power and Germany is rearming, preparing for the great conflict to come. The British, with their heads still up their asses for the most part, now seem willing to at least face the fact that war appears to be coming again. And although they have begun their own program and are making good progress, they remain far behind the Germans in terms of training people with Talents for warfare. Reading the first two volumes, it felt as though there was so much room for growth concerning the Talents and I was looking forward to see what Kenyon had in store for her readers in that regard. What we saw in At the Table of Wolves barely scratched the surface and the potential for more was enormous.

And although we do learn more about Talents in general in both Serpent in the Heather and Nest of the Monarch, the sad truth remains that the British know very little compared to their German counterparts. Once more, I often felt that Kenyon plays her cards way too close to her chest. We keep discovering things at the same pace as the POV characters, so learning such secrets by small increments is understandable. But as I mentioned before, I fear it could be detrimental to the series in the long run. The addition of Dries Verhoeven's Talent to the mix in the second installment was great. And so were Irina Dimitrievna Annakova and Hannah Linz's Talents in this book. Again, we just need to see more Talents unveiled to add more layers to what is becoming a more complex tale with each new novel. I understand that it's still early on in this lead up to World War II and that this series isn't exactly the second coming of The X-Men, but I feel that more powerful Talents need to come to the forefront and have more of an impact on the plot.

Kim Tavistock is an ordinary woman with a peculiar Talent who managed to save her country not once but twice. Having played a large role in thwarting the Germans' plan to conquer Great Britain, Kim went through training in the arts of espionage. Nevertheless, even with two successful missions under her belt, she remains a somewhat raw recruit. Her conscience is seldom at ease with what she is required to do and what she's becoming. A do-gooder with her heart always in the right place, Kim will have trouble dealing with what she witnesses in Nazi-dominated Germany. Her actions will put her at odds with the British intelligence service and the Foreign Office, which will force her to follow her intuition and go down a path that might get her dismissed. If she survives. For the more she uncovers about the Monarch program, the more she realizes just how dangerous and downright foolhardy her plan appears to be. In addition to Kim's point of view, Nest of the Monarch also features the perspective of Irina Dimitrievna Annakova, a Russian noblewoman who fled the Bolsheviks and who wants her son to take his rightful place as tsar with the help of the Nazis and who has the most potent Talent ever unveiled thus far, as well as that of Hannah Linz, a reckless young woman part of a secret Jewish resistance cell who is willing to sacrifice her life to avenge that of her father and other loved ones. Julian's POV returns occasionally to give us an idea of how Kim's actions are perceived by her superiors back in London. Once again, the supporting cast is made up of a number of engaging men and women, chief among them Rachel Flynn and Evgeny Borisov.

The pace was perfect, making Nest of the Monarch a page-turner that you go through rapidly. The tension keeps building up, moving the plot through lots of twists and turns toward another thrilling endgame that delivers on all fronts. I'm quite curious to find out what Kay Kenyon has in store for these characters now that we have reached 1937 and the beginning of WWII is looming closer.

My only complaint regarding the first two installments was their episodic format. I felt that Kay Kenyon would have to raise the bar even higher and not just throw Kim into danger in the hope that her Talent would force someone to reveal secrets while she pretended to be a journalist working on a new story. Given the quality of both At the Table of Wolves and Serpent in the Heather, the potential for bigger and better things was definitely there and expectations would understandably be higher in the future. Well, I should have known that the author woulld rise to the occasion. And if Kim's first Continental mission for SIS is any indication, it bodes well for whatever comes next for the Dark Talents series.

I have a feeling that these first three volumes were meant to lay the groundwork and set the stage for more ambitious and rewarding storylines to come. It's too early to tell if the Dark Talents will be as good as The Entire and the Rose turned out to be. But one thing's for sure. These novels deserve to be more widely read.

I definitely commend this series to your attention. If you're looking for something different, look no further and give the Dark Talents a shot!

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Nicholas Eames' Bloody Rose for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

A band of fabled mercenaries, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, tour a wild fantasy landscape, battling monsters in arenas in front of thousands of adoring fans, but a secret and dangerous gig ushers them to the frozen north, and the band is never one to waste a shot at glory . . . even if it means almost certain death.

Live fast, die young.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, rolls into town, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

It’s time to take a walk on the wyld side.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Peter Newman's The Vagrant for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other.

Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach.

Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.

As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.

His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.

What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defences of a once great civilisation are crumbling into dust.

But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Dan Simmons' Hugo award-winning classic, Hyperion, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all. On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope--and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.

You can also download Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

God is dead. Meet the kids.

When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie "Fat Charlie." Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can't shake that name, one of the many embarrassing "gifts" his father bestowed -- before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie's life.

Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie's doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who's going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun ... just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.

Because, you see, Charlie's dad wasn't just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.

Returning to the territory he so brilliantly explored in his masterful New York Times bestseller, American Gods, the incomparable Neil Gaiman offers up a work of dazzling ingenuity, a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that is at once startling, terrifying, exhilarating, and fiercely funny -- a true wonder of a novel that confirms Stephen King's glowing assessment of the author as "a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him."

Win an Advance Reading Copy of Anthony Ryan's THE WOLF'S CALL

I'm giving away my Advance Reading Copy of Anthony Ryan's The Wolf's Call to one lucky winner! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Anthony Ryan’s debut novel Blood Song—the first book of the Raven’s Shadow series—took the fantasy world by storm. Now, he returns to the world of this acclaimed series with The Wolf’s Call, which begins a thrilling new story of razor-sharp action and epic adventure.

Peace never lasts.

Vaelin Al Sorna is a living legend, his name known across the Realm. It was his leadership that overthrew empires, his blade that won hard-fought battles – and his sacrifice that defeated an evil more terrifying than anything the world had ever seen. He won titles aplenty, only to cast aside his earned glory for a quiet life in the Realm’s northern reaches.

Yet whispers have come from across the sea – rumours of an army called the Steel Horde, led by a man who believes himself a god. Vaelin has no wish to fight another war, but when he learns that Sherin, the woman he lost long ago, has fallen into the Horde’s grasp, he resolves to confront this powerful new threat.

To this end, Vaelin travels to the realms of the Merchant Kings, a land ruled by honor and intrigue. There, as the drums of war thunder across kingdoms riven by conflict, Vaelin learns a terrible truth: that there are some battles that even he may not be strong enough to win.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "CALL." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Tad Williams' excellent Otherland: City of Golden Shadow for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:


Surrounded by secrecy, it is home to the wildest dreams and darkest nightmares. Incredible amounts of money have been lavished on it. The best minds of two generations have labored to build it. And somehow, bit by bit, it is claiming the Earth’s most valuable resource–its children.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Scott Hawkins' The Library at Mount Char for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe.
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.

Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.

After all, she was a normal American herself once.

That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.

In the years since then, Carolyn hasn't had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient customs. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing—perhaps even dead—and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own.

But Carolyn has accounted for this.

And Carolyn has a plan.

The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she's forgotten to protect the things that make her human.

Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and propelled by a plot that will shock you again and again, The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.

You can also download C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The groundbreaking novel that launched Cherryh's eponymous space opera series of first contact and its consequences...

It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, had encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on this planet so many light-years from home.

Now, nearly two hundred years after that conflict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. Then the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin's bullet. THe work of an isolated lunatic? The interests of a particular faction? Or the consequence of one human's fondness for a species which has fourteen words for betrayal and not a single word for love?

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Hannu Rajaniemi's Invisible Planets: Collected Fiction for only 3.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Mindblowingly inventive and beautifully written short stories from the most exciting new name in SF.

Hannu Rajaniemi exploded onto the SF scene in 2010 with the publication of his first novel The Quantum Thief. Acclaimed by fellow authors such as Charles Stross, Adam Roberts and Alastair Reynolds and brilliantly reviewed everywhere from Interzone to the Times and the Guardian he swiftly established a reputation as an author who could combine extraordinary cutting edge science with beautiful prose and deliver it all with wit, warmth and a delight in the fun of storytelling.

It is exactly these qualities that are showcased in this his first collection of short stories. Drawn from antholgies, magazines and online publications and brought together in book form for the first time in this collection here is a collection of seventeen short stories that range from the lyrical to the bizarre, from the elegaic to the impish. It is a collection that shows one of the great new imaginations in SF having immense fun.

Finally, you can download Richard Kadrey's The Wrong Dead Guy for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

In this fast paced sequel to The Everything Box—the second entry in New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey’s comedic supernatural series—chaos ensues when Coop and the team at DOPS steal a not-quite-dead and very lovesick ancient Egyptian mummy wielding some terrifying magic.

Coop, a master thief sort of gone legit, saved the world from an ancient doomsday device—heroism that earned him a gig working for the Department of Peculiar Science, a fearsome top secret government agency that polices the odd and strange. Now Woolrich, Coop’s boss at the DOPS, has Coop breaking into a traveling antiquities show to steal a sarcophagus containing the mummy of a powerful Egyptian wizard named Harkhuf. With the help of his pals Morty, Giselle, and a professor that’s half-cat, half-robotic octopus, Coop pulls off the heist without a hitch.

It’s not Coop’s fault that when DOPS opened the sarcophagus they didn’t find the mummy they were expecting. Well, it was the right mummy, but it wasn’t exactly dead—and now it’s escaped, using a type of magic the organization hasn’t encountered before. Being a boss, Woolrich blames his underling for the screw up and wants Coop to find the missing Harkhuf and make it right, pronto.

Digging into Harkhuf’s history, Coop thinks the mummy is hunting for an ancient magical manuscript that will help him bring his old lover back to life.

Which wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t a warrior sorceress hell-bent on conquering the world with her undead armies.

Coop would very much like to run from the oncoming chaos. It’s one thing to steal a mummy, but another to have to deal with head-hunting bureaucrats, down-on-their luck fortune tellers, undead mailroom clerks, and a rather unimpressed elephant. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to run. If he wants the madness to stop, he’s going to have to suck it up and play hero one more time. But if Coop manages to save the world AGAIN, he’s definitely going to want a lot of answers. And a raise.