A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Release Date:  Mid June
This is the paperback release of the sequel to store favourite A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. Instead of staying with the crew of the Wayfarer, this book follows the artificial intelligence Lovelace and engineer extraordinaire, Pepper. This is a book about identity and discovery and because of its two main characters we get to see two different perspectives. Lovelace is a newly born consciousness, and also resides in a highly illegal body. She wants to exist, but beyond that knows nothing about who or what she is or wants to be. Pepper on the other hand has created her own identity very deliberately in response to her own terrible past. The two form an unlikely pair and while we watch Lovelace, now called Sidra reconcile and resolve the issues that arise when a ship-wide AI finds itself in something as confining as a body, we also find out more about Pepper and the long and painful journey that brought her to the here and now. Two people who are in no way typical in the way that they think or feel exploring together what it means to be. Like the first book this is character driven, and while I imagine that many readers would have preferred another voyage with the Wayfarer this does have the same charm as the first book, just in a different way and if you liked that you’ll like this. 


The Sherlock Holmes School for Detection by Simon Clark
Release Date:  Mid June
Taking a famous fictional world or set of characters associated with a particular author and writing you own new material with them is always a risk. In addition to the reputation of the original you’ve also got to deal with the expectations of the readers, even if it’s already been done multiple times. As the title suggests, that’s what Simon Clark has done with this new anthology. It’s a collection of stories by a variety of authors built around the same premise. In 1890, at roughly the mid-point of the great detective’s career Inspector Lestrade delivers a proposition. A school of detection has been set up and the powers that be want Holmes to assist in the training of these future crime solvers, bodyguards and spies. Holmes agrees and undertakes the task in his habitually unconventional way. Over the course of the next eleven or so stories we see the practical application of Holmes teaching method as he assists his students to solve the crimes assigned to them by Scotland Yard. In the style of the original Doyle the stories are full of strange crimes and peculiar clues, and while it is Holmes’ students who are supposed to be solving the crimes it’s still fundamentally a book about Sherlock Holmes. It’s not Doyle, not even close, but it’s a fun collection of stories riffing of his work and quite good fun. 


Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
Release Date:  Early June
I imagine that Michael Crichton fans will be somewhat surprised to see a ‘new’ book by him nine years after his death, but as prolific as he was in books released he also left a vast archive of notes, ideas and unfinished works. One of them is Dragon Teeth an action thriller with dinosaurs, cowboys, outlaws and the kind of early scientist-adventurers that would inspire the character of Indiana Jones. It’s also basically true. In the American West of 1876 Indian tribes are warring, homesteaders are encroaching and remote communities have their own frontier law. Into this dangerous land travel two men. Scientists, fossil hunting palaeontologists to be precise, and bitter rivals. Othniel Charles Marsh and Edwin Drinker Cope are the pre-eminent figures in the new science and are constantly searching for ways to one-up or discredit the other. Their hatred is legendary, as are the lengths they will go to in their personal feud. Here in the aptly named Wild West, their rivalry will come to a head over a discovery that will draw in law men and criminals and involve theft, arson and even the destruction of priceless fossils. Inspired by real events, this is a story from a time where a single discovery could make or break a career and fossils were the biggest thing in science. A period known to palaeontologists as ‘The Bone Wars’. 



Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan
Release Date:  Early June
A while ago I mentioned Those Above, a book by Daniel Polansky that re-imagined the idea of elves with far less kindly view of how they might behave. It and the sequel Those Below have done quite well. In this new book Michael J Sullivan also engages with one of the classic elf tropes and does a bit of deconstruction of his own. It is set in the same world as his earlier Riyria series, though thousands of years earlier but is written to work on its own as well. I say on its own, but there are another five books in the series to come, you just don’t have to have read any of Sullivan‘s other books to follow them. But back to the story. It’s an ancient time and humanity worships the gods they call the Fhrey. Masters of magic, immortal and invincible in battle, the Fhrey have been feared and obeyed for as long as anyone can remember. Then the unthinkable happens and a Fhrey falls to a human blade. With the balance of power between humans and Fhrey shattered by this event now it falls to three individuals to save their people. Suri, a Seer who sees only impending doom, Persephone, who must overcome her own pain and become a leader and Raithe, the young man they are calling The God Killer. 


Blue Shift by Jane O’Reilly
Release Date:  Early June
I’m always up for some new adventurous science fiction and what I’ve read about this one sounds promising. There’s not a lot I can find out about it, but it sounds like it sits in the same sort of spot as Elizabeth Moon‘s and Rachel Bach‘s books. In a not so far future humanity is desperate to leave a dying Earth, but since that would crossing space held by often antagonistic aliens it seems impossible. The rich hide away with what remains of the planets resources, and the poor struggle to survive. Jinnnifer Blue is from a wealthy family, but her job as a bounty hunter and pilot means she moves in very different circles to her family. When her current job goes wrong she ends up stranded on a prison ship full of lots of ruthless criminals, one maybe ally and a secret that the wealthy power brokers on Earth don’t want anyone to know. This is the start of a new series, though at this point dates for forthcoming books have not been announced. I did notice in my research that Jane O’Reilly also writes erotica, though there’s nothing in any of the publishers info on Blue Shift to indicate that that particular aspect of her work appears in it. I could be wrong though, so I’ll have a look at them when they arrive and let you know if there are any unexpected surprises. 


Dunstan by Conn Iggulden
Release Date:  Early June
We don’t have a big historical fiction section in the store and what we do have is mostly medieval and ancient history. Nevertheless it’s quite popular and I enjoy tinkering with it. One of the most popular is Conn Iggulden‘s Conqueror series about the life of Genghis Khan. This month we’ll be getting copies of his new book, Dunstan. Recently there’s been a shift in the subject matter of historical fiction. Imperial Rome, The Crusades and Medieval Europe, Ancient Greece and recently Vikings have been the most frequent choices, but now we seem to be seeing a number of books set in early Britain. This one is set in the 10th century at a time when King Aethelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great sets out to unite all England under his rule. With him is Dunstan, his advisor and the narrator of the story. Over his lifetime Dunstan will serve many powerful men. Some will call him saint or kingmaker, others a liar and a traitor. What is true is that he is a man of humble beginnings who will be recorded by history as one of the most important men in the formation of England as a nation. If you like historical fiction with plenty of intrigue and detail, this is for you. It also offers a new period to read about, which I’m always keen to do.  As with all of Iggulden‘s books this one comes with the usual notes about the real Dunstan


kadrey dead guy

The Wrong Dead Guy by Richard Kadrey  
Release Date:  Early June
Richard Kadrey‘s Sandman Slim series is a store favourite, so when he released The Everything Box last year it got plenty of attention. It wasn’t about his usual characters, but still has plenty of supernatural elements and Kadrey‘s wry humour. In the aftermath of the book Coop, a somewhat reformed master thief had managed to save the world and earn himself a not altogether voluntary position with the Department of Peculiar Science. His first major operation is to sneak into a travelling antiquities exhibition and steal the sarcophagus containing the mummy of an ancient Egyptian wizard named Harkuf. It turns out that Harkuf is not too keen on being in the exhibition either, since once freed from the sarcophagus he promptly escapes from Coop and his crew. In proper mummy tradition Harkuf’s plan is to resurrect his long dead love, who just happens to be a sorceress in her own right and bent on world domination. It’s up to Coop and his team of vaguely magic and quasi-criminal associates to save the world, dealing with all the sorts of things you’d expect like zombie minions, ancient manuscripts, head hunters, undead mailroom clerks and an elephant. It’s Ocean’s 12 with mummies and magic. And an elephant. 


Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Release Date:  Late June
This is an unusual new fantasy novel. A mixture of third and second person narrative, it’s the story of a young woman who goes from noble to outcast before joining a cult-like group of assassins, told by an as yet unidentified narrator. This is darker than Kristoff‘s earlier work and while his previous book Illuminae was an all-ages title, this is not. There are sex scenes and profanity, though neither are gratuitous and both are in keeping with the grimdark feel of the book. The action is dynamic and bloody and the magic is interesting, though also quite visceral. The setting has a vaguely renaissance feel and there’s some quite good world building. I particularly liked the city built into the massive bones of a dead god and the strange time structure brought about by the fact that the world the book is set in has not one but three suns. The first half of the book has a lot of footnotes which are a mixture of back story titbits and wry humour, kind of like a cynical Terry Pratchett. I found they tended to throw me out of the story however, so I was pleased that in the second half of the book when the drama the tension are at their peak, there are far less of them. This is one for fans of Scott Lynch and Brent Weeks


Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R R Martin
Release Date:  Early June
This book came out in hardcover in October 2015 and has finally made its way to paperback. Given the delay, readers could be forgiven for thinking that there is some kind of conspiracy to keep them waiting. Anyway, it’s here now. This is a collection of three novellas set nearly a century before the events of A Game of Thrones. It concerns the adventures of a brave but naive hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall. Along the way he will face powerful foes, deal with royal intrigue, stand with and against the mighty and even acquire a prince of the royal Targaryen line as a squire. This is a book that will take readers to the Seven Kingdoms in a time of chivalry when the memory of dragons still lived and the world belonged to the bold and brave. These three stories are not new, but have been previously published in anthologies in 1998, 2003 and 2010 respectively. The anthologies are not easy to find however, and certainly there are many more fans of the series now then there were then so this reissue offers another chance to get all three together.