Release date for Allies & Enemies
Found out the release date for Allies & Enemies — July 16th, 2014 from Less Than Three Press. I don’t have a cover to show you yet, but it’s coming 🙂
I am so excited because I’ve been swallowing down all these spoilery-type comments or what have yous because the events of Allies & Enemies are very startling. There’s a reason why I couldn’t give any tasty excerpts from later in the book … because things get heavy. Like whoa.
“Allies & Enemies” is the second novel in the Heroes & Villains series. It can be read as a standalone novel, though the backstory from “Heroes & Villains” would probably make it a better experience for readers.
Armor, by John Steakley [military sci-fi]
The book is only available in print, but it’s worth the buy. If you’re into military sci-fi, bad assery, body armor, and humans versus giant bugs, you definitely need to add this book to your collection.
Blurb borrowed from The Official Unofficial John Steakley Site: Armor is the tale of Felix, a scout fighting in a brutal war on a planet known as Banshee. While on the surface it’s an action/sci-fi book like Starship Troopers [Heinlein] (which it was inspired by), it’s much, much more. It’s the story of a man who simply does not want to live anymore, but has a thing inside of him (he calls it his Engine) that will not allow him to simply lay down and die. So he lives on, fighting through hopeless battle after hopeless battle with no hope of either victory or defeat.
Blur borrowed from Wikipedia: Armor is a military science fiction novel by John Steakley. It has some superficial similarities with Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (such as the military use of exoskeletons and insect-like alien enemies) but concentrates more on the psychological effects of violence on human beings rather than on the political aspects of the military, which was the focus of Heinlein’s novel.
My thoughts: I recently recommended Armor to someone and it brought up all these feelings in me, so much that I went back and read the book again. And it’s still as mind-blowing as the first time I read it as a teenager.
It is unfortunate that John Steakley died before he could complete the sequel to Armor, though I’ve recently found out that he allowed an excerpt of the work to be put online. Here’s the link to the Armor 2 excerpt. I’m curious to know how much of the novel was completed and whether there will ever come a time when the fragments will be available to the public.
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Elfhome, by Wen Spencer [urban fantasy] (Elfhome, Book 3)
Currently available for the Kindle price of $3.99. If you’ve got the rest of the series or you’re starting your collection, this is a great deal.
Summary borrowed from Amazon: #3 in the groundbreaking, award-winning Elfhome series. Pittsburgh, PA has been magically transported to a world of elves and magic in order to stave off a monstrous invasion of Earth. Now Tinker must root out and destroy an evil plot.
Elfhome. A world of powerful magic, beautiful elves, man-eating trees, frost-breathing wargs, and god-like dragons. Pittsburgh. A city that has been stranded deep in virgin elfin forest to stave off an invasion by the merciless oni. Its population of sixty thousand humans and a handful of elves are pitted in war that will only end in genocide. Winter is coming. Supplies are running low. All political ties are fraying. Hidden somewhere in Pittsburgh’s crumbling neighborhoods, a vanguard of oni are growing in number and attacking from the shadows.
Girl genius Tinker was once a human orphan, growing up on the Pittsburgh streets. Now she’s an elf princess with all the bells and whistles. She rules over a melting pot of humans, elves, half-oni, and the crow-like tengu. Tinker is determined to make her city a place of freedom. She’s going to have to kick butt and take names. Seven elf children are already missing — and the oni eat their prisoners when they outlive their usefulness.
Book One: Tinker
Book Two: Wolf Who Rules
Book Three: Elfhome
Book Four: Wood Sprites (forthcoming)
Tinker introduces our titular main character, Alexander Graham Bell, better known as Tinker. Girl genius caught up in strange happenings in a Pittsburgh that travels back and forth into Faerie. She saves Wolf Who Rules and finds herself dragged into adventure, danger, and a plot by the secretive and evil oni.
Wolf Who Rules continues Tinker’s story as she faces the mistakes that she’s made and desperately tries to fix things. All while following the yellow brick road.
My thoughts: This series is a lot of fun and I have a great deal of fondness for Tinker. I was pleased that the latest book, Elfhome, includes Oilcan’s story as it happens, and I can’t wait for the fourth book, Wood Sprites, which is coming in September of 2014.
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Jurisdiction Series, by Susan R. Matthews
Blurb borrowed from Amazon: Andrej Koscuisko had graduated with the highest honors from the Mayon Medical Center and could have started a lucrative private practice. But his father had other plans for him, sending him to Fleet Orientation Station Medical where he will learn to become a Ship’s Surgeon, a highly skilled torturer armed with the powerful Writ of Inquistion. Unable to escape his brutal training, Koscuisko will have to reconcile his natural empathy for the sick with a dark secret he will learn about himself.
Blurb borrowed from Amazon: Under Jurisdiction torture isn’t about truth. It’s about terror.
The Jurisdiction’s Bench has come to rely on the institutionalized atrocities of the Protocols to maintain its control of an increasingly unstable political environment. When Andrej Koscuisko, a talented young doctor, reports to orientation as a Ship’s Inquisitor he will discover in himself something far worse than a talent for inflicting grotesque torments on the Bench’s enemies. He will confront a passion for the exercise of the Writ to Inquire whose intensity threatens to consume him utterly.
As he struggles to find some thread of justice and compassion under the Law, as he fights to hang on to what remains to him of his sanity, he will make powerful enemies who are eager to use his knowledge, his empathy, his passion against anyone who challenges the Bench.
Book One: An Exchange of Hostages (Andrej Koscuisko).
Book Two: Prisoner of Conscience (Andrej Koscuisko).
Book Three: Angel of Destruction.
Book Four: Hour of Judgment (Andrej Koscuisko).
Book Five: The Devil and Deep Space (Andrej Koscuisko).
Book Six: Warring States (Andrej Koscuisko).
My thoughts: I liked the original covers a lot, but I’m just happy that this series is available for a reasonable price. The books all seem to be $4.99 in Kindle format. I’ve really only read the Andrej Koscuisko novels, as I didn’t even realize the other stories were part of the same series.
These are some really gritty books that involve torture and sadism. Andrej is a man that knows he has some very sick impulses, but he can’t seem to help himself. It’s kind of like those Star Trek mirror-verse stories where Bones is Emperor Pike’s personal medic and receives Kirk as his slave — Bones enjoys bringing pain even as he’s a talented healer and refuses to take it when he catches his wife cheating on him. He goes after her and her lover, then takes custody of his little darling Joanna, with gladiator/pleasure slave Kirk as her secondary caregiver.
Except Andrej doesn’t have a whole lot of sex and it doesn’t happen on-screen, as it were. He likes hurting people, but otherwise is very polite, clean, has impecable manners, and comes from a family that’s like something out of an old Russian play (though I’m not sure if everyone dies).
I haven’t read the books in several years, as I couldn’t find copies to purchase, so it’s a great find that they’re newly available as ebooks. I’ve got to move some money around, but these are definitely going on my to-buy list.
EDITED: I bought the first two books, and whoa. I did not remember how psychologically twisty and disturbing everything was. There’s more sex than I remembered and I’d forgotten how angry the Bench could make me. This series is definitely for Mature or Adult audiences only.
I’d forgotten that Andrej was forced to join the Fleet by his father, who had been a member back when things were different and before torture interrogation became so wide spread and abused.
Still, the world is gritty and fascinating. I am going to finish getting the rest of the series, though I would recommend that you sample the second or third book before buying the first book, as An Exchange of Hostages introduces the world and doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty until after the sample would be done.
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Wolf’s Hour, by Robert R. McCammon [historical fantasy]
This book had been out of print for a long time, and now it’s finally available again, though seemingly only as an ebook ($7.99). Still, this is really exciting because this has got to be one of the greatest werewolf books I’ve ever read.
Beginning during World War II, we’re thrust directly into the action with our main character then there’s a break during the second part of the book that goes back to when Michael was Mikhail and how he became a werewolf, then things go back to the “current” action happening. The writing is great, the story is spellbinding, and this has to be McCammon’s best. I love it!
Blurb borrowed from Amazon: On the eve of D-Day, a British secret agent with unique powers goes behind Nazi lines
Michael Gallatin is a British spy with a peculiar talent: the ability to transform himself into a wolf. Although his work in North Africa helped the Allies win the continent in the early days of World War II, he quit the service when a German spy shot his lover in her bed. Now, three years later, the army asks him to end his retirement and parachute into occupied Paris. A mysterious German plan called the Iron Fist threatens the D-Day invasion, and the Nazi in charge is the spy who betrayed Michael’s lover. The werewolf goes to France for king and country, hoping for a chance at bloody vengeance.
Other classics by Robert R. McCammon:
Swan Song [apocalypse].
They Thirst [vampires].
Usher’s Passing [horror].
You can tell that a lot of these stories were written in the late-80s/early-90s, but they’re still fun reads. Swan Song has to be my favorite apocalypse book, possibly because of nostalgia, but whatever the reason it’s got a spot in my heart.