Broderick, Damien :
(Thunder's Mouth Press 1-56025-805-5, $14.95, 319pp, trade paperback, March 2006, cover design David Riedy)
SF novel, sequel to last year's Godplayers, about a young man who finds himself one of the "Players in the Contest of Worlds", in which transformed humans battle K-Machines, but who has little idea what the 'rules' are for this conflict in which entire universes are at stake.
Amazon has a brief description and the Booklist review, which concludes "Broderick also continues his homage to humorous sf masters Roger Zelazny and Fritz Leiber as he seamlessly constructs the story he has to tell."
Gary K. Wolfe reviews the book in the March issue of Locus Magazine, noting that "Damien Broderick's fiction is recognizably the fiction of a devoted SF reader and scholar" and "Broderick's ambition is such that he wants to do everything at once - write a comic adventure tale in a distinct Leiber/Zelazny tradition (and it should be said that there are some quite funny bits in the novel), celebrate the roots of SF's appeal and its sense of wonder, and dramatize cutting-edge theories of cosmology and information that are even more complex than those of Greg Egan in his more mind-bending moods...."
Dart-Thornton, Cecilia :
The Well of Tears: Book Two of the Crowthistle Chronicles
(Tor 0-765-31206-9, $27.95, 480pp, hardcover, February 2006, jacket art Julek Heller) First US edition (Australia: Tor Australia, 2005)
Fantasy novel, second in the "Crowthistle Chronicles" trilogy following The Iron Tree, about an orphan named Jewel, the last descendent of a powerful sorcerer, who alone can reveal the secrets of the Dome of Strang.
The book includes a CD ROM; the author's website has this page about the book and the secrets of the CD. There's also an excerpt.
SFWA's Pressbook has this page about the book, with various links including one to the Sci Fi Essentials site.
Amazon has the PW review.
Elliott, Kate :
Crown of Stars
(DAW 0-7564-0326-X, $25.95, 541pp, hardcover, February 2006, jacket painting Jody A. Lee)
Fantasy novel, seventh and final volume in the author's "Crown of Stars" series, following King's Dragon (1997, a 1998 Nebula Award finalist), Prince of Dogs (1998), The Burning Stone (1999), Child of Flame (2000), The Gathering Storm (2003), and In the Ruins (2005).
The author's site has this page about the series, including links to maps, while the news page has updates about this book and future works.
Amazon has the PW review -- "This is a splendid piece of intelligent entertainment, even if it makes few concessions to new readers." -- and reader reviews.
Hairston, Andrea :
(Aqueduct Press 1-933500-03-4, $19.5, 445pp, trade paperback, March 2006, cover illustration Pam Sanders)
SF novel in which an extraterrestrial barrier has divided Earth into warring zones, concerning efforts to negotiate a treaty to end the wars.
This is the first novel by Hairston, who's a Professor of Theater and Afro-American Studies at Smith College and who attended Clarion West in 1999.
The publisher's site has a description and review excerpts, including a rave blurb from Sheree Thomas.
Amazon has a short description and also has Thomas' rave.
Hamilton, Peter F. :
(Ballantine Del Rey 0-345-46166-5, $26.95, 827pp, hardcover, March 2006, jacket illustration John Harris) First US edition (UK: Macmillan UK, October 2005)
SF novel, "Part Two of the Commonwealth Saga", conclusion of a single long work that began with Pandora's Star (2004), about a far-future interstellar Commonwealth being attacked by alien Primes.
Hamilton's site has this description: "After hundreds of years secretly manipulating the human race, the Starflyer alien has succeeded in engineering a war which should result in the destruction of the Intersolar Commonwealth..."
Del Rey's site has this description and an excerpt.
Amazon has the starred Publishers Weekly review, calling it a "dauntingly complicated, wonderfully imagined novel" and concluding "The density of detail may slow readers down, but the distinctive characters and the plot's headlong drive will pull them along. In more ways than one, this two-part work is monumental."
Faren Miller's review in the March Locus remarks that despite the books' lengths, she "gobbled them up with delight. Yes delight, rather than brain-cramp, aching wrists and eyestrain! This guy wields the tropes with panache, adroitly spinning multiple plotlines that turn out (in the sequel) to belong to a greater whole."
Kerr, P. B. :
The Children of the Lamp: The Blue Djinn of Babylon
(Orchard Books 0-439-67021-7, $16.99, 371pp, hardcover, February 2006, jacket illustration Peter Meseldzija) First US edition (UK: Scholastic, September 2005)
YA fantasy novel, second in a series following The Akhenaten Adventure, about fraternal twins whose powers as half-djinns develop when they turn 12. In this book the twins search for a powerful book of djinn magic and fall into a trap.
The author's website http://www.pbkerr.com/ has lots of background and features.
Amazon has a description and reader reviews.
Levinson, Paul :
The Plot to Save Socrates
(Tor 0-765-30570-4, $25.95, 271pp, hardcover, February 2006, jacket art Gaetano Gandolfi)
SF time-travel novel about a grad student from 2042 who gets involved in an attempt to save the ancient Greek philosopher from his famous execution.
Levinson's web page has quotes from numerous reviews.
Amazon has a reader review from Robert J. Sawyer, who says "Paul Levinson has outdone himself", and the Publishers Weekly review, which calls the book a "light, engaging time-travel yarn", and the Booklist review, which says it's "a quick-to-read, entertaining treatment of the problems inherent in time travel [that concludes] with style and flair".
McMullen, Sean :
(Tor 0-765-31437-1, $27.95, 397pp, hardcover, February 2006, jacket art Todd Lockwood)
SF novel, third in the "Moonworlds" series following Voyage of the Shadowmoon (2002) and Glass Dragons (2004), set on Verral, an Earth-sized satellite of a gas giant planet where radiation gives the inhabitants certain magical abilities. In this book, one world invades another using cylindrical ships and tripod fighting machines, in a replay of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds.
McMullen's website has this page with a table of contents and links to excerpts.
Amazon has reviews from Publishers Weekly -- "Fans of Wells's masterpiece will revel in this fantasy...." -- and Booklist: "McMullen's narrative powers continue to grow with each new volume in the series, as he doles out equal measures of wit, intrigue, and colorful characterization. At this rate, McMullen's further books should attain the status of must-reads."
Nick Gevers reviewed the book in the January issue of Locus Magazine: "When traveling in McMullen's robust company expect fine repartee, opulent local color and plentiful well-choreographed violence."
Scalzi, John :
The Ghost Brigades
(Tor 0-765-31502-5, $23.95, 317pp, hardcover, March 2006, jacket art John Harris)
SF novel, sequel to Scalzi's popular first novel Old Man's War, this time concerning special forces soldiers created from the DNA of the dead.
Scalzi's books page has the cover blurb description and excerpts from numerous reviews, as well as a comment from the author: "Somewhat darker than Old Man's War, but it was fun for me to delve into the lives of the Ghost Brigades after only sketching them in the first book..."
Amazon also has a personal note from the author, and reader reviews, and the Publishers Weekly review, which concludes "Scalzi pays gleeful homage to Ender's Game, The Forever War and Starship Troopers, sometimes at the expense of originality. All he needs to make the jump from good to great is to trust in his own ideas."
Scott, Manda :
Boudica: Dreaming the Hound
(Delacorte Spectra 0385336721, $23, 415pp, hardcover, February 2006, jacket illustration Stephen Youll) First US edition (UK: Bantam UK, February 2005)
Historical fantasy novel, third in a series of four following Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle (2003) and Boudica: Dreaming the Bull (2004), about native resistence to the Roman invasion of Britannia.
The publisher's site -- note the book itself indicates the publisher as 'Delacorte Spectra' -- has this description and excerpt.
Scott's website has this synopsis, with comments by the author and readers, as well as information on the earlier books.
Amazon has reviews from PW -- "Scott has teased a few facts from the ancient record to create an absorbing story from history and myth." -- and Booklist: "Epic in scope, Scott's vivid reimagination of a legendary character will appeal to fans of fantasy and historical fiction."
Scott, Martin :
Thraxas at War
(Baen 1-4165-2050-3, $24, 260pp, hardcover, February 2006, cover painting Tom Kidd) First US edition (UK: Time Warner UK/Orbit, July 2003)
Humorous fantasy detective novel, 7th in the series about a portly private eye in the mystical city of Turai. In this book Thraxas faces winter in Turai and a new war with the Orcs.
The first in the series, Thraxas, won the 2000 World Fantasy Award. There are eight books in the series so far, as listed at Thraxas.
Baen's site for this book has the jacket blurb and links to several chapter excerpts.
Swainston, Steph :
No Present Like Time
(HarperCollins/Eos 0-06-075388-9, $13.95, 397pp, trade paperback, February 2006, cover illustration Christophe Sivet) First US edition (UK: Orion/Gollancz, April 2005)
Fantasy novel, sequel to the author's acclaimed debut novel The Year of Our War, and second in a trilogy. This one is set five years after the war against insects described in the first book.
Eos' site has this description and an excerpt.
Cheryl Morgan posted this review in Emerald City: "So what can I say? 'Another brilliant Steph Swainston novel' sounds a bit like faint praise, but No Present like Time is just as good as The Year of Our War and it would be hard for it to be much better."
Amazon has the starred Publishers Weekly review, from its January 2nd issue: "Wonders abound in British author Swainston's polished sequel to The Year of Our War (2005). ... Swainston's scintillating prose, well-developed characters and talent for brilliant absurdities (one character alternates between human and shark and drives an automobile with a living engine) mark this as one of the more innovative fantasies of recent years."
Watson, Jules :
The Dawn Stag
(Overlook 1-58567-621-7, $24.95, 552pp, hardcover, January 2006) First US edition (UK: Orion, June 2005)
Historical fantasy novel set in 1st century Scotland during the Roman invasions, second book in the "Dalriada" trilogy following The White Mare (2005).
The author's website has information about the author, news, and historical background. The next volume will be called The Boar Stone.
Amazon has the PW review: "Watson brings first-century A.D. Britain to vivid life with just the right details at the right times, and successfully keeps the tension high throughout this long story, balancing violence and tragedy with romance and religious transcendence."