Monday, February 02, 2015

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 1/30

Once again, here are the books that arrived unexpectedly on my doorstep during the previous week. As always, I haven't read them yet, but I do have a vague hope that some of you will find some of them so appealing that you'll run out and buy/download/borrow/steal a copy for yourselves to clasp to your bosom and love forever.

First up this week is Finn Fancy Necromancy, the first novel by 2014 Writers of the Future winner Randy Henderson. It's a contemporary urban fantasy set in what seems to be a slightly alternate world, where magic is known and accepted and practitioners of the bad sort of magic are published by the law. Finn Gramaraye isn't actually a necromancer, but he's spent the past twenty-five years -- since the age of fifteen -- disembodied in the surreal Other Realm as punishment for an act of necromancy he was framed for. And as soon as he's returned to the living world, the woman he supposedly attacked, all those years ago, is found dead -- killed by necromancy. [1] Finn doesn't want to go back to the Other Realm, so he needs to solve the mystery, clear his name, and get the Arcane Enforces off his case pretty darn quickly. It's a Tor hardcover, available on February 10th.

The Revolution Trade is the third omnibus collecting (and slightly revising) Charles Stross's "Merchant Princes" series -- this one includes The Revolution Business and The Trade of Queens, in a new unified (and author's preferred) text. (Those with long memories will recall that Stross initially planned to write the series as big fat books, but had to retool in the middle of what became the first two books. So this is something like what he originally intended.) The series was sold as fantasy for contractual reasons, but it's reasonably serious SF: there are alternate timelines, and some people with specific genetic markers can travel between those worlds. That could lead to Zelazny glamor or Piper adventure, but not in Stross's hands: as always, he's a pessimist and a deep scholar of the modern panopticon state, the nastier fringes of free markets, and the will to power. You clearly shouldn't start with this book: the first omnibus is The Bloodline Feud. But for those of you who have caught, Revolution Trade is a classy Tor trade paperback -- almost Le Carre-esque in its look -- that hit stores last week.

Last for this week is a book I'm afraid I don't have a cover image for: Robert Masello's The Einstein Prophecy, a trade paperback coming from Amazon's 47North imprint in June. It's a supernatural thriller centering on a mysterious sarcophagus found in an Egyptian tomb near the climax of WWII, and the fate of the world is inevitably in the balance as a strong-thewed young army lieutenant and his genius professor mentor race to solve the mysteries within -- which, as the title hints, also lead to a certain famous physicist working in Princeton.

[1] I was under the impression that necromancy, by definition, worked the precise opposite way: turning dead things alive. But flap copy is not always completely accurate, and authors each create their own private mythoi.

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