Darien: Empire of Salt by CF Iggulden
Release Date:  Late July
First the obvious question, yes this is a pseudonym of well known author Conn Iggulden. The reason is probably because, unlike the rest of his books, this one is fantasy, though he brings a lot of the eye for detail and world building that is the hallmark of his historical fiction to the book. The first in a series, it takes place almost entirely within the city of Darien. Darien is home to a quarter of a million people and is ruled officially by a King, but actually by the Twelve Families who maintain order and control through soldiers, magical artefacts and a network of spies that are employed as much against one another as they are on the populace. Intrigue and betrayal are everywhere in Darien, but something is being planned beyond the usual feuds. Someone is plotting to kill the King and six strangers to the city; a hunter, a swordsman, a mute, a gambler, a sociopath and a girl with a mysterious and dangerous talent will find themselves the hub around which world changing events spin. This is a dark-ish fantasy with good pace and action, but there is something about Iggulden‘s style that distinguishes the book from others in the genre. He already has a following for his historical fiction and I suspect that with this book and those that follow he’ll soon have one among fantasy readers too. 
Besieged by Kevin Hearne
Release Date:  Mid July
This month we’re getting a new Iron Druid book from Kevin Hearne, but it’s probably not quite what fans were hoping for. Instead of a new novel, this is a collection nine of short stories, but it does have some interesting back story and a chance to see things through the eyes of some of the other characters. Reaching back into ancient Egypt, where Atticus visits the Great Library of Alexandria to Elizabethan London where he meets Shakespeare and they both meet Hecate. In other stories Granuaile hunts Polish vampires and Owen Kennedy tells how he first met Atticus and took him as an apprentice. A mid-west harvest festival that goes badly wrong and demon in a gold rush town are the basis of another two stories, and there’s an Australian connection in a story featuring Tasmanian Devils. There’s an odd story called Cuddle Dungeon, a rather racy tale of randy gods at play which is a bit unusual, but overall it’s a strong collection. Helpfully, each story comes with a short introduction from Hearne that locates it within the series and provides any necessary context. The collection finishes with a short teaser for the next novel in the series. The introductions mean that you could read this book without having read the others in the series, but I think a lot of the nuance would be lost. 
You Die When You Die by Angus Watson
Release Date:  Early July
Historical fiction fans will be familiar with Angus Waston from his Age of Iron series set in pre-Roman Britain. While that series did have some magic in it of the kind that fit with the setting, it was still mostly historical. This new book however is fantasy, though there is something about the way that Watson writes that gives even his fictitious world a very real feel. The setting feels earlier than the usual fantasy fare, drawing inspiration from the early tribal cultures of Europe rather than the Medieval/ Dark Ages that is so popular. It begins when a small tribal community is attacked and destroyed by a more powerful neighbour. A handful of survivors, a mix of friends, enemies and rivals are forced to band together to try and get to safety. For one of them this will be the start of a series of events that will forge him into a great leader, though he has no idea and those around him wouldn’t believe it. This is a gritty new addition to the ranks of grimdark fantasy and not for the faint hearted. It’s pretty gruesome in places, and there’s lots of swearing. It’s also got the same gallows humour that Watson did so well in Age of Iron. This sits somewhere between Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie, but with its own distinctive style. If you like either of them, or dark fantasy in general, then this is one for you. 


Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan
Release Date:  Early July
Anthony Ryan will be very familiar to store regulars given the popularity of his Raven’s Shadow series. So when his second series started last year with Waking Fire, there was already a bunch of folks eager to read it. He didn’t disappoint, and took his readers into a new world of unusual magic and technology where dragons are hunted and harvested for the magic that can be extracted from their blood. In Waking Fire, Claydon Torcreek and his assorted companions set out to find the legendary White Dragon in the hopes that it would provide a resource that could maintain the pre-eminence of his home city for a while longer. What he found and awoke was something that threatens the whole world. The Dragon’s legions have already destroyed one city and others will follow if it is not stopped. It is said there is a way, an ancient secret buried beneath the southern ice but those attempting to find it will face unknown dangers and probably death. Again it falls to Clayton to undertake the journey, hopefully with better results than last time. 
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Release Date:  Mid July
In slasher film culture, the ‘final girl’ is the name given to that girl at the end of the film who is the last survivor of the killer’s spree and ends up in the final showdown where the killer comes to his bloody but often ambiguous end. She’s the one who stares off into the distance just before the credits wondering if the killer is really dead. Lisa, Quincy and Sam are three girls who were each the sole survivors of three separate real killing sprees. Of course to the media they are ‘The Final Girls’ and have the kind of unwanted fame that comes from that sort of tragedy. They’re strangers who have struggled to put the darkness of their pasts behind them. Then Lisa turns up dead of an apparent suicide and Sam turns up on Quincy’s doorstep. Sam is suspicious about Lisa’s death and thinks it has something to do with what happened to them. Quincy has pushed away her memories of the events of ten years ago, but something about being around Sam is forcing her to confront them, and Sam is always around. She thought she had put that all behind her, but now her life may depend on remembering the things that almost destroyed her. This is a thriller for fans of Gone Girl. The Girl on the Train and The Method.
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Release Date:  Late July
This Hugo Award winning novel is the latest addition to the SF Masterworks imprint. The simplest description in that it’s a book about time-travelling going wrong (as it always does) mostly set in Victorian England with visits to London during World War Two. It’s the actual details that make this such an interesting book, starting in 2057 with Lady Schrapnell, who has decided to rebuild Coventry Cathedral. She has more than enough money for the project, though the fact that it was destroyed by Nazi bombs in 1940 and that the cleared site has been a shopping centre for years is something of an impediment as is the lack of exact records of the small details of the Cathedral. Money can resolve the first and for the second she has acquired the services of a team of time travelling historians from Oxford University. Nip in, get the information, nip out. How hard could it be? Quite hard actually, since the operative has to be there just before the bombing. A bombing that the British knew about due their breaking of the enigma code, but could not stop because doing so would reveal they’d done it. One wrong word could change the whole course of the war and history. Oh, and Lady Schrapnell had someone steal a cat from the past and bring it into the future and it it’s not put back the whole universe could unravel. 
The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
Release Date:  Mid July
This is another format drop rather than a completely new title and will be arriving in the $19.99 paperback. Since I know some folks really want all their books in the same size, or may have missed it when it came out in the large format in November last year.  The P.C. Grant books are a staff and customer favourite, so we’re very glad to finally be getting it. This is the sixth book in the series and sees Peter, after the mixed success of his recent adventures, back in London and with a new case. Normally, a death at an exclusive party for London’s elite would not involve Peter or The Folly, but one of the guests was the daughter of the River Goddess Lady Ty. Peter owes Ty a favour or two and she is insisting he investigate. Along the way he’ll get an insight into the world of the ultra rich and their connections to the city’s magical beings and history. He’ll also get the chance the offend some friends and make some powerful and ruthless enemies. So, business as usual then.
Corpselight by Angela Slatter
Release Date:  Mid July
This is the sequel to last years’ book Vigil, which is also out this month in small paperback. An urban fantasy set in Brisbane, once again featuring part human and part weyrd trouble-shooter Verity Fassbender. She’s still the sassy no-nonsense character from the first book and protecting the city from supernatural nasties although a little less energetically than usual since she’s very pregnant. Nevertheless, when a series of insurance claims for unexplained mud filled houses come to her attention, she still thinks she can handle it alone. Then people start drowning nowhere near any water and she finds herself creeping around Chinatown and dealing with kitsune assassins and wondering if she should have stuck to the light duties like she was supposed to. Oh and it seems she’s just gone into labour. A fast paced new entry into the urban fantasy genre with an Australian feel and sensibility. 
Delirium Brief by Charles Stross
Release Date:  Mid July
This is the eighth of the Laundry Files books, and in it Bob Howard and the rest of the super secret British government agency tasked with protecting folks from supernatural nasties are facing their most dangerous foe ever…The public! Having been outed, the not so secret service has made Bob its public face and now he’s doing TV appearance and interviews about supernatural threats and trying to justify Elven asylum seekers in a post Brexit world. There are also those within the government who think that the sort of thing that The Laundry does could be undertaken by the private sector and there are fears that a sell-off is imminent. There are things in The Laundry vaults that big business would love to get their hands on. With them they could change the world, most likely into a smoking ruin. The Laundry are used to having to think the unthinkable, in fact they often have to look at it too and club it to death, but to defy the government is a step up from their usual obfuscation and even the London pigeons are nervous. You can hear them whisper ‘coup’, ‘coup’. 
The Management Styles of Supreme Beings by Tom Holt
Release Date:  Early July
I’m a big fan of Tom Holt in all of his writer incarnations (there are several), but I think it’s his humour books that I like the most. They are a mix off one of stories and multiple books that feature the same characters, but most of them can be read on their own nevertheless. They come from the same sort of English humour tradition as Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde, but with their own distinctive style. In this book the Supreme Being and his son (who you can probably guess have a bunch of frequently fought over other names) decide that they’ve had enough of the whole supreme/ divine thing and decide to explore some other possibilities. With this comes a change of management and as always the new owners set about making a raft of changes. Unfortunately these new ‘owners’, the Venturi Brothers have a different perspective on the idea of good and evil, and their changes in cosmic policy are having drastic effects on the world. Some agree that they were outmoded concepts and that the whole reward/punishment thing never worked properly anyway. Others disagree and foresee only disaster. One of those is an often overlooked old-god who didn’t fade away or move out with the others. He’s been doing his own thing in one form or another way up there in the north. He doesn’t get out much and not many folks believe in him, but he does have a rather special set of skills and a vested interest in the continued existence of concepts like evil and good , or as he likes to think of them naughty and nice. 
A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden
Release Date:  Early July
There’s a lot of fantasy inspired to a degree by history, mythology or folk lore. Some are subtle, some are overt and others take something familiar and look at it in a new way. A Gathering of Ravens is one of those. With the raw ingredients of Celtic mythology, Norse Sagas and the history of the early British Isles Scott Oden has crafted something remarkable. We begin in a time when the Vikings control the waves and skirmish with the Anglo Saxons of early Britain. At the same time a new faith from out of the east is challenging the old ways. Reluctantly Grimnir has left his lair deep beneath the earth to enter this strange world. He is the last of his kind and on a mission of revenge. The Danes call him skraelingr, the Irish formoraig and the English orcneas but all recognise him as monster and a killer of men. He is hunting the Dane who killed his brother and he will travel from the wilds of Denmark to the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn in search of him. Along the way he will acquire a guide-hostage in the form of a young Christian pilgrim and witness the destructive last ditch efforts of old magic to resist the tides of change. When he finds his quarry, he is forced with an impossible choice. Dubhlinn is the place where the old ways and the new faith will meet and only through aiding the Christian King of Ireland can Grimnir get his revenge and in the process doom his world.  
The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Geen
Release Date:  Late July
There’s been a lot of really strange and hard to categorise fiction lately. I’m not complaining, I really like that sort of thing, but it’s always a bit of a challenge to convey the essential weirdness of the books while avoiding too many spoilers. The Many Selves of Katherine North is such a book. I’d put it a bit further on the strange continuum than Claire North’s First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, but not as far as Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation. As with much of this sort of fiction, this is a stand-alone novel and it’s also Emma Geen’s first book. This, and the fairly weird blurb, meant that it did not do as well as I’d hoped in large format, but with the release this month of the cheaper paperback I think it’s worth putting back on people’s radar. It starts with Kit, a young woman involved in some very unusual scientific research. She’s a phenomenaut, which means that she has her consciousness projected into lab grown animals and experiences everything they do. The goal of the research is officially to increase understanding of animal behaviour, but when a jump into an urban fox ends badly Kit begins to wonder if there may be another agenda behind it. There is also the matter of the strange new sensation when she jumps, a growing feeling that she is not alone.