Catalyst Gate by Megan E O’Keefe
Release Date: Late June
This is the finale to Megan O’Keefe’s epic space opera trilogy and returns to that universe in the aftermath of the big reveal at the end of book two. That an alien calling herself Rainier who has multiple clones across the galaxy has been hiding in plain sight and planning the destruction of humanity. Despite now knowing this, whether or not Sanda Greeve and her friends can do anything about it remains to be seen. This is a truly wonderful space opera series. Plenty of pace, dynamic characters, wonderful action, mixtures of technologies between space gates and artificial intelligence, aliens and mysterious quantum fluctuations. This is just so much fun and probably one of the best examples of modern adventure space opera. I highly recommend anybody who likes that sort of genre fiction to get on board with this one. You will definitely not be disappointed.

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
Release Date: Early June
“The first daughter is for the throne. The second daughter is for the wolf”. This is how this book begins. It’s a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood with all of the twists that we have come to enjoy from modern folklore reinterpretations. Red is the second daughter of the royal family, and by custom and tradition, this means she must be sacrificed to the Wolf. This takes the form of banishing her to the Wilderwood where the Wolf resides. Unlike most sacrifices, she is not entirely despondent at the thought. There is a power growing within her. A dangerous power and in the Wilderwood she can’t hurt anybody she cares about. That is when she discovers that the Wolf isn’t an animal. The Wolf is a man, and a man who can teach her more about her magic, the truth of the world and that her power can be used for good as well as ill. One for fans of Naomi Novik, Jane Yolen and Christina Henry.

The Others by Sarah Blau
Release Date: Early June
I am always looking for something different to add to our crime section, so this novel by Israeli author Sarah Blau has really sparked my interest. There is a serial killer stalking Tel Aviv. The victims are women, each found tied to a chair with a baby doll glued into their hands, and the word ‘mother’ carved into their foreheads. While the police struggle to make sense of these bizarre murders, Sheila Heller, a restorer in a museum, suspects she may know the answer. She recognises the names of some of the victims and they were friends of hers at university. Friends who made a pact between them to never have children. She also thinks that whoever has stalked her friends may be coming for her next. A stunningly interesting thriller set in modern day Tel Aviv, and something very different for crime readers who want a break from the more common crime novel settings.

Jack Four by Neal Asher
Release Date: Early June
Neal Asher has been writing books in his Polity universe for more than 20 years and endlessly seems to find new areas to explore. In this new stand-along book, we meet Jack Four, a human clone. One of 20 that has been specifically created to trade with the Prador, humanity’s enemy, for experimentation as they try to find a way to return to their position of pre-eminence in the galaxy. The space station he was created on and is being sold from was formally a zoo with the animal inhabitants transferred to the planet below and safety kept away – or perhaps not that safely because it transpires Jack Four is going to be entirely unhappy with his future role and do something about it. Neal Asher writes terrific space opera but he also writes a very tight thriller when he has a mind to and that is exactly what this is. This is a great fun novel for fans of The Polity and also an entry point if you have never read Neal Asher before, although I do warn you that if you start with this you will most certainly continue with his work.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by J R R Tolkien
Release Date: Early June
This is not new, but rather a reprint of an edition originally published posthumously in the 1970s and contains Tolkien’s translation of three medieval poems. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an epic chivalric romance, Pearl, which is an exploration of grief and loss and Sir Orfeo, another romance but from an earlier period than Sir Gawain. In the text, Tolkien has tried to preserve the rhyme scheme and flow of the originals while bringing them to contemporary audiences. Included in this edition is the complete text of 1953 lecture that Tolkien delivered on Sir Gawain as well as extensive notes on his translation and on the earlier editions of the book. Definitely one for Tolkien fans, particularly if you are passionate about his work as a translator and restorer of folklore and tradition.

Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc
Release Date: Late Apr
This one’s arrival on our shelves is a little bit serendipitous, since when I placed the order, I didn’t realise I was getting a book that ties in with a new Netflix series. I recognise the book originally published in 1907 as being the inspiration for a series of animated movies back in the 1980s called Lupin The Third. The character in these movies was the grandson of the Arsene Lupin in this book and, like his grandfather, is a loveable scoundrel and a rogue who steals from the rich in order to benefit the needy. He is a little bit Robin Hood, a little bit Pink Panther and very, very French. These are tremendously good fun. It is a classic for a reason and I am very glad that it is back into print, particularly because I am intrigued to see what inspired not only the Netflix series, but also the animated movies that I enjoyed so much all those years ago.

The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry
Release Date: Late June
In this new book, Max Barry takes the concept of the stalker/serial killer, adds some science fiction elements and creates an entirely new idea for the trope. Madison May is a real estate agent. She is 22, and she has just been murdered. At least in this reality. That is what reporter Felicity Staples starts to discover when she investigates the case and inadvertently uncovers a team of people that are trying to catch a killer that can travel to parallel Earths. In each one he finds Madison May and kills her. Inadvertently, Felicity finds herself moving from reality to reality, each slightly different, and caught up in pursuit of an obsessed man and determined to save the next Madison May. This is a really interesting and clever thriller that takes some familiar ideas in really different directions and points out some of the issues that parallel world books usually overlook. This one will keep you thinking and pretty much on the edge of your seat until the end. A tight, clever little thriller that will appeal to fans of Claire North, and of course anyone who liked Max’s other books.

Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Release Date: Early June
It is going to be a pretty Tchaikovsky-heavy month, because we have got this new release and the return of Tchaikovsky’s Apt series – later in the newsletter. First this, which is the beginning of a new science fiction series, definitely for fans of Children of Time and Children of Ruin, but with an even grander scale. Two generations ago, the Architects came – great silvered moon-like ships or possibly creatures that destroyed planets throughout human controlled space. They were pushed back, or more accurately persuaded to leave, for certainly they couldn’t be defeated. It appears they might be returning. No-one is likely to believe the witnesses however.  A motley salvage crew with a PTSD traumatised pilot and a vat-grown Valkyrie. That’s if they even get the chance to try since there are those, human and alien, who would rather the evidence and those who have seen it to disappear. This is a rollicking space adventure for fans of Peter F Hamilton, Ian Banks, Neal Asher and of course Tchaikovsky himself. I read the book in one sitting and I am desperate to read the second one. This is brilliant stuff.

Mirror Man by Fiona McIntosh
Release Date: Early June
Old-school fans of Australian fantasy will no doubt recognise Fiona McIntosh for her multiple successful fantasy series’, and even though her contemporary work is mostly historical fiction, she also used to dabble in crime with the two very successful, and in my opinion excellent quality, crime novels set in the UK. That was back in the 90s however and I didn’t think we would see another crime novel from Fiona. However she has decided to return to DCI Jack Hawksworth and her crime series with this new one, Mirror Man. If these are anything like her previous two crime novels – The Beautiful Dead and Bye Bye Baby – then they will be tightly written, with clever characters who don’t make stupid mistakes. This one has Jack brought in on a strange series of murder cases. Each is different, but all bizarre in their own way. Jack’s job is to discover whether or not there is a link between them, before the media finds out and invents its own panic inducing narrative. The contacts he’ll need to use bring dangers of their own and he could find himself paying a high personal price for the answers the Yard wants. I’m thrilled to have a new crime novel from Fiona and equally pleased that there are nice re-issues of Bye-Bye Baby and Beautiful Death to go with it. I highly recommend all three for fans of modern police procedurals.