Monday, October 04, 2010

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 10/2

This is one of those small weeks -- where the mail is a trickle, leaving me little to talk about -- but it's also a week in which I have to fly out to Kansas City (of all places!) tonight for business meetings tomorrow. So don't get the idea that I'm complaining, buster -- a short list is perfect today.

I've got two books to mention to you this week -- very different from each other, which is convenient -- and I haven't read either of them. (Nor have I read their immediate predecessors, to be honest.) But here's what I can tell you about them from a quick glance and some deep thought:

Salute the Dark is the fourth novel in the epic fantasy series "Shadows of the Apt" by British writer Adrian Tchaikovsky [1]. (The first in the series is Empire in Black and Gold, which is where I'd suggest intrigued new readers begin.) Like the previous three books, it has a stunning, crackling cover by Jon Sullivan and over three hundred large pages of not-overly large type for the price of a trade paperback, making it a great bargain in these parlous times. I can tell you less about the plot: the back cover does say that "the vampiric sorcerer Uctebri has at last got his hands on the Shadow Box," which can't be good, though there's also talk about "spymaster Stenwold" and "Tisamon the Weaponsmaster," one or the other of whom, I hope, can do something about it. Salute the Dark was published by Pyr on September 21st.

I'm amused to see that with the publication of Betrayer of Worlds (by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner, like its three predecessors), there are now as many novels described as "preludes to Ringworld" as there are books in the main series. I have to imagine that this book will be of primary interest to readers who not only know the Niven classic Ringworld, but have also read the three previous Niven/Lerner "of Worlds" books (Fleet, Juggler, and Destroyer), since this whole series is billed as "what happened to lead to the events of Ringworld." (And I do have to admit that I wonder if this series was planned in advance to be however many novels long -- there's no sign that this is the last one -- or if this is becoming the SF-novel equivalent of Smallville.) Either way, it's a new novel of Known Space, with Louis Wu, Puppeteers, and the rest, and it'll be published by Tor in hardcover on October 12th.

[1] I always want to believe that he's one of the recent burst of Russian fantasists now getting translated into English, but he isn't -- just a guy from Lincolnshire with a cool name.


James Davis Nicoll said...

Have I recommended the Shadows of the Apt series here? It's competently written, the plots move along nicely, and the first four books form a complete story.

Johan Larson said...

Sounds like you have finally had enough of epic fantasy.

Post a Comment