Monday, February 11, 2008

Seven Debuts in One Day

All of these novels came out on Tuesday, Feb. 5th, according to Amazon. Sorry kids; no pictures this time!

Waking Brigid (Amazon USA, UK, Canada) by Francis Clark (no valid website found)
Tor Hardcover

Waking Brigid is a darkly evocative novel set in haunting Savannah, Georgia. Though the city was physically spared during the Civil War, its citizens did not come through unscathed.
Into this dark and battered culture comes young Brigid Rourke, a beautiful Irish nun. Driven by the ravages of the famine, Brigid's family chose to give the girl up to the service of the Church to ensure her survival. But in order to do that she had to reject her people's pagan ways. The Church is all she has known and she seeks to do her duty…all the while fighting the lure of her people’s legacy.

Brigid's resolve is tested when a prominent Savannah citizen is cruelly murdered behind a locked and bolted door in an insane asylum. The last words of the man chilled the blood of all who heard him, and the fact that he was murdered while he was alone in the cell defies all logical reason.
What follows is nothing less than an amazing clash between the forces of good and evil—dedicated white magicians versus the entrenched devil worshippers--for the soul of a city.

It seemed like a straight historical until I got to the last few sentences. I live just around the corner (well, a few hours) from Savannah, so this one interests me because I can visit the scene of the book in person!

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Last Dragon
(Amazon USA, UK, Canada) by J.M. McDermott (blog)
Wizards of the Coast Discoveries Trade Paperback
Awesome Jeff Vandermeer Review
Excerpt (zipfile)

My fingers are like spiders drifting over memories in my webbed brain. The husks of the dead gaze up at me, and my teeth sink in and I speak their ghosts.

Zhan has been sent to find her grandfather, a man accused of killing not only Zhan's family, but every man, woman, and child in their village.

What she finds is a shell of a man, a city of angry secrets, a family dissolved by ambition, and a web of deceit that will test the very foundations of a world she thought she understood.

First was the murder and the murder and the murder and this moment: I cried, and Prince Tsui's bloody, fat hand stroked my hair. He whispered in my ear, Shh. . . .

This one is exciting because I practically feel like I know the guy. Back before I started Fantasy Debut, I hung out quite a bit at the Absolute Write Water Cooler, where this author is a regular. I think he's even critiqued my queries!

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The Somnambulist (Amazon USA, UK, Canada) by Jonathan Barnes
William Morrow (Harper Collins) Hardcover
Online Book Browsing Tool

Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. Needless to say, I doubt you'll believe a word of it.

Once the toast of good society in Victoria's England, the extraordinary conjurer Edward Moon no longer commands the respect or inspires the awe that he did in earlier times. Despite having previously unraveled more than sixty perplexing criminal puzzles (to the delight of a grateful London constabulary), he is considered something of an embarrassment these days. Still, each night without fail, he returns to the stage of his theatre to amaze his devoted, albeit dwindling audience with the same old astonishments—aided by his partner, the silent, hairless, hulking, surprisingly placid giant who, when stabbed, does not bleed . . . and who goes by but one appellation:

The Somnambulist

I think the opening lines of this novel are already famous. This book is all over the place. It probably needs no help from me, but it looks tempting anyway. (Note to self: must narrow down number of books you want to read.)

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Whitechapel Gods (Amazon USA, UK, Canada) by S.M. Peters
Roc (Penguin Putnam) Mass Market Paperback


In Victorian London, the Whitechapel section is a mechanized, steam-driven hell, cut off and ruled by two mysterious, mechanical gods-Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. Some years have passed since the Great Uprising, when humans rose up to fight against the machines, but a few brave veterans of the Uprising have formed their own Resistance-and are gathering for another attack. For now they have a secret weapon that may finally free them-or kill them all...
Oooh! Steampunk! I wish there was a bit more to the blurb. Sounds downright bizarre. The cover (click on the Amazon link to see it; sorry) looks like a monster out of Doom.

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The Monsters of Templeton (Amazon USA, UK, Canada) by Lauren Groff (Website, Blog)
Hyperion Hardcover

One dark summer dawn, at the exact moment that an enormous monster dies in Lake Glimmerglass, twenty-eight-year-old Willie Upton returns pregnant and miserable to her hometown of Templeton, N.Y. Willie is a descendant of the creator of the town, Marmaduke Temple, and she expects to be able to hide in the place that has been home to her family for centuries. But the monster changes the fabric of the village and Willie's mother, Vivienne, has a surprise for the girl that will send Willie careening through her family's history to dig up clues about her heritage. Spanning two centuries, the story is told through a panoply of voices, from Templeton ghosts to residents, masters to servants, natives to interlopers, and historical figures to literary characters.
Amazon has this novel at a pretty significant discount off the cover price. You may want to check it out if the blurb tempts you. It was chosen as picks at Barnes and Noble, Booksense and Powells, and has a starred Publisher's Weekly review.

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Singularity's Ring (Amazon USA, UK, Canada) by Paul Melko (Website, Blog)
Tor Books, Hardcover

There is an artificial ring around the Earth and it is empty after the Singularity. Either all the millions of inhabitants are dead, or they have been transformed into energy beings beyond human perception. Earth’s population was reduced by ninety percent. Human civilization on Earth is now recovering from this trauma and even has a vigorous space program.

Apollo Papadopulos is in training to become the captain of the starship Consensus. Apollo is a unique individual in that he/she/it is not an individual at all, but five separate teenagers who form a new entity. Strom, Meda, Quant, Manuel, and Moira are a pod, as these kinds of personalities are called, genetically engineered to work as one and to be able to communicate non-verbally. As a rare quintet, much relies on the successful training of Apollo, but as more accidents occur, the pod members struggle just to survive.
Wow. This one sounds really different. I wonder how the author handled point of view here, if there are five teenagers in one "pod." I don't get much of a sense of the plot here, other than Apollo going through his/her/its training. The author is widely published in short fiction.

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Seekers of the Chalice (Amazon USA, UK, Canada) by Brian Cullen
Tor Books, Hardcover

In the time when gods and men walked the earth along with demons, the Chalice of Fire, the symbol of peace for Ulster, is stolen from the Red Branch by Bricriu Poisontongue. A small band of Seekers sets out to recover and return the Chalice to the Red Branch to restore peace to the Ulster kingdom.

The Seekers are a group of two elves, Bern and Lorges; Cumac, the son of Cucullen, the greatest Red Branch warrior; Fedelm of the Sidhe; Tarin, the Swordwanderer; and the wizard-druid, Seanchan. Together they must make their way through the world brought as Maliman, the evil wizard, uses his powers to stop them as he seeks the Chalice himself to bend its magic to his will.
The Seekers battle their way through the creatures of darkness that threaten to conquer the world. But they are determined to bring light back from darkness and restore the land that has fallen into ruin and decay with the theft of the Chalice.
Sounds like a good, old-fashioned party quest! It also sounds like the Grail. I was not able to find a website for this author.


Kimberly Swan said...

Poor you, so many to cover! All of this wonderful info you share is very much appreciated. :)

Tia Nevitt said...

Pity is not necessary! I do this because I enjoy it. Any gripes are strictly tongue-in-cheek.

Paul Melko said...

Each of the first 5 sections of Singularity's Ring is from the point of view of one of the pod members. The final section is from their complete point of view, sort of a first person semi-omniscient. The protagonist's biology drove the structure of the book.

Tia Nevitt said...

It sounds fascinating, Paul. Thanks for clarifying!