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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

REVIEW | Control Point by Myke Cole

Military Fantasy has been a staple of genre for decades. The Black Company, Malazan, Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt, and the Warhammer universe are some good examples, but none that I'm familiar with tackle the military in the present times. Contemporary Military Fantasy is something that we've clearly been lacking and Myke Cole's Control Point hopes to fill that void though it often has the feel of an Urban Fantasy even though much of the action takes place elsewhere. Given Cole's long military experience with 3 tours of Iraq he does have a unique experience to fuel the story.

Cole's series opener provides deep glimpses of some of the harsh realities and amazing highs capable in a military life even while mincing in some geek humor to take the edge off. Magic has seeped back into the normal world giving abilities to certain people. The world knows magic exists and all those capable of it in the United States are conscripted into the military except for a few people adept in the forbidden classes of magic. Those are silenced less they become the monsters humanity has always feared. The legal schools include the basic elements of those that can summon storms, move the earth, control fire, and command water at will. Illegal ones include those that can animate the dead and create portals to anywhere at will. This sets up a class system that is easy to hate and turns magic users into little more than drones. At least those that acquiesce to authority.

I ended up reading the first 2 chapters of Control Point 3 times before finally getting into the style as the first chapters can be difficult for those who abhor cold blooded killings of young people. That's exactly the choice that Oscar Britton faces in the opening pages. To do his job he must kill a teenager who has magic that she cannot be allowed to let loose. She's a Selfer who doesn't worry about the greater good. At least that is how the government characterizes Selfers.

After that mission Britton is faced with an even tougher choice. He manifests abilities in one of the prohibited schools of magic and things take a turn as he runs. The biggest weakness of the novel is Oscar. The world is very compelling, the politics, the magic, and the different views on the same issues (magic). But Oscar just goes too much back and forth over what he wants to do, what he feels his duty is, and what he believes in. He fights himself too much. He is a military man so why turn away from that when it is what he loves? At points he acts totally for himself and never really accepts that certain events were totally his fault. Granted he isn't put in a good place and left with many decisions so perhaps this fault is going too much into his head in the narrative. But when the chips are down Britton delivers.

Even with the weakness of Oscar I still ended up liking him. Control Point is at its best when the action happens, which is really quite often. Britton is flung from one life harrowing mission to another within pages. The magic is very impressive, especially when a skilled user is letting their full abilities loose. The sequencing of battles is particularly vivid. Picture those with the abilities from Avatar: The Last Airbender in modern combat situations from everything to a search a destroy mission in a sewer to an all-out battle on the field.

There are a lot of aspects I wish were explored more such as China being a country where magic users are free to live a semi normal life along with the magical plane that is only sparsely discussed. Also, I'd like to know a bit more about how the common people view those with latent abilities besides awe and fear.

Control Point is a solid, action packed debut with a few shaky parts that has a lot of appeal to it. By the end Cole more than found his footing and left me with high hopes for the continuation of the Shadow Ops series. I give Control Point 3.5 out of 5 Hats. The sequel Fortress Frontier should be out in February 2013, which I plan on checking out.

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New Procurements

The bi-weekly time to shelve the new arrivals has come which means pictures of the latest books. Lots of big names with books are just coming out or are coming out quite soon.

That slim number at the top is an early galley of Brandon Sanderson's novella Legion, which I'll probably read rather sooner than later. Next is Baba Yaga's Daughter and Other Stories of the Old Races by C.E. Murphy who I haven't read before, but it sounds like an interesting small collection. Then we have a review copy of the UK edition of Railsea by China Mieville another I'd like to get to soon. As usual reviews are mixed but generally positive. I've just finished The King's Blood by Daniel Abraham, which was a long-time pre-order for me as he won me over long ago with The Long Price Quartet.

Worldsoul is Liz Williams' take on magical librarians that falls well within the lines I usually enjoy. My old days as a sorter and helper in libraries growing up is sure to be recalled. Cursed is the next Alex Verus novel from Benedict Jacka. I thought the first Fated had potential, but was very derivative of a lot of UF. Still there is something about the character that I'll probably check it out just to see what trouble Verus has gotten himself into this time. Armored is John Joseph Adams' latest original anthology. I've already read the first few stories, but need breaks between as it is a theme that lends itself to some very similar stories.  Alastair Reynolds' Blue Remembered Earth is one I'm on the fence on as I didn't care much for Terminal World, but I realize that was a slight departure for him. Last in this stack is Other Seasons by Neal Barrett, Jr. who I don't recall having read before. I'll probably dip in a bit to see if it is to my liking in the next few months.

Prepare to Die is Paul Tobin's debut novel just coming out from Night Shade, but he has written for many comic books over the years and given this is a superhero novel I have high hopes.  Alexander Outlander: Space Pirate by G.J. Koch is one I may have passed over if it weren't for Justin's great review that sold me hard on it. If you didn't like the movie Ice Pirates you have no soul. Next is another debut for Night Shade Osiris by E.J. Swift about the last future city on Earth.

With The Dirty Streets of Heaven we see Tad Williams stepping into Urban Fantasy for the first time, which is a bit exciting. Then we have James Enge's A Guile of Dragons that I've mentioned beforeWhen Will You Rise: Stories to End the World by Mira Grant are the related short stories to the Newsflesh Trilogy that I've been meaning to read. Something tells me I should read the novels first. Silver by Rhiannon Held is a debut UF, but given I'm a bit tired of werewolves I might pass. Last, but certainly not least is the 2012 edition of the Nebula Awards Showcase. I've already read half the stories over the last year so I should certainly read the other half herein. The cover by the way is a beautiful Michael Whelan piece.

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Brandon Sanderson is Still the Hardest Working Man in Fantasy

Brandon Sanderson has been regarded for a long time as one of the most consistent writers in Fantasy. Since his debut novel Elantris, came out in 2005 a year has not gone by without at least one novel being released. In some years as many as 3 have been published if you count his books for younger readers, which we really should. The man has been the work horse of Fantasy even taking on the Wheel of Time and writing them quicker than Jordan ever did. And Sanderson is not slowing down a bit.  True there is no full length novel coming out this year, but the last Wheel of Time will be out at the beginning of 2013. And get this: Sanderson is publishing two novellas before the end of the year.

Art by Jon Foster
First we have Legion which looks to be his longest Sci-Fi related work to date with the exception of The Alloy of Law. This is from a post by Sanderson on Fantasy Faction, which sums up the book pretty well:
Called Legion, it is the story of a man with a very interesting brain. He is a genius, and can master any topic of study in a very short time--however, the knowledge he gains manifests as a person only he can see, who acts as an adviser on that topic. Someone invents a camera that can take pictures of the past, and our hero--along with his band of genius delusions--must recover it after it is stolen.
Legion is coming out from Subterranean Press in late summer, but Sanderson is also self-publishing the eBook version. But wait there's more!

Coming from Tachyon Press in November is another novella titled The Emperor's Soul, which is definitely part of the Hoidverse and placed on the same world as Elantris. Here's the official blurb:

Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Though condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Despite the fact that her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead from the attack of assassins.
Delving deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan’s truest nature—and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that her forgery is as much artistry as it is deception.

Skillfully deducing the machinations of her captors, Shai needs a perfect plan to escape. The fate of the kingdom lies in one impossible task. Is it possible to create a forgery of a soul so convincing that it is better than the soul itself?
Sanderson will also be self-publishing the eBook version.  Between his huge novels and recent attempts at short stories Sanderson is embracing the new age of publishing mixing with big publishers, small presses, and self publishing. Brandon Sanderson I salute you!

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Cover Unveiled for Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey

Devil Said Bang will be the fourth in the Sandman Slim series from Richard Kadrey, a series that just keeps picking up steam. The covers for the series are always simply yet this is my favorite as the use of the iconic rebel motorcycle silhouette and coloring nail the atmosphere.  Here's the blurb, but beware big reveals if you're not up-to-date on the series:
While ruling the denizens of darkness does have a few perks, James Stark isn’t exactly thrilled at the course his career (not to mention his soul) has taken. Breaking out of Hell once was a miraculous trick. But twice? If anyone can do it, it’s Sandman Slim. While he’s working out the details of his latest escape plan, Slim has to figure out how to run his new domain and hold off a host of trigger-happy killers mesmerized by that bullseye on his back. Everyone in Heaven, Hell, and in between wants to be the fastest gun in the universe, and the best way to prove it is to take down the new Lucifer, aka Sandman Slim aka James Stark.

Then again, LA isn’t quite the paradise it once was since he headed south. A serial killer ghost is running wild and his angelic alter-ago is hiding somewhere in the lost days of time with a secret cabal who can rewrite reality. And starting to care about people and life again is a real bitch for a stone-cold killer.

A violent and atmospheric tale full of edgy fun and packed with angels and demons, monsters and madmen, Devil Said Bang is another thrilling hit of kickass fun from the diabolically talented Richard Kadrey.
Devil Said Bang will be out late August. Harper Voyager, the Publisher of the series, is also launching their own e-only shorts program and one of the first releases is a Sandman Slim story called "Devil in the Dollhouse," which will be out a month prior to Devil Said Bang.

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A Slew of Pyr Covers (New covers for Sykes, Hodder, and the Griffiths)

Information on Pyr's Fall/Winter 2012 is starting to trickle out and it looks to be a great season ahead with a couple series being wrapped up that I've been following since the beginning.

The Skybound Sea will finish off Sam Sykes' first trilogy The Aeons' Gate, which started so well with Tome of the Undergates [reviewed here]. Pyr has done a much better job with the cover than the UK version, which is all kinds of blah. I was still hoping to finally get my Dragonman cover though. I'll shut up about that now since that ship has clear sunk and how could I not like a cover that put me a quote from me on the front? That's a first for me though I've been on quite a few back covers and inside pages at this point. It still never gets old.

After two volumes of odd, bloody introspection and diversions Sykes has left himself a lot of story to wrap-up, but he's more than equipped to handle it. The Skybound Sea will be out in early September. I haven't found an official blurb that says much , but here is the brief UK description:
After the misadventures of the first two books Lenk and his companions must finally turn away from fighting each other and for their own survival and look to saving the entire human race. A terrible demon has risen from beneath the sea and where it came from thousands could follow. And all the while an alien race is planning the extinction of humanity. The third volume in the Aeon's Gate trilogy widens the action out dramatically. TOME OF THE UNDERGATES was based mainly on a ship, BLACK HALO moved the action to an island of bones, THE SKYBOUND SEA takes us out into a world threatened with a uniquely imagined and terrifying apocalypse.

A Red Sun Also Rises is Mark Hodder's first non-Burton & Swinburne novel, but it does involved Steampunk is some fashion. The alien on the cover is so creepy I'll have to check it out. Bottom line is it sounds like a Sword & Planet novel influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs and given Hodder's style he's apt to make it a fun take. Little has been released about this story yet except this interesting post from Hodder, but here's the blurb:
When Reverend Aiden Fleischer, vicar of the sleepy town of Theaston Vale, finds a hunchbacked, light-sensitive and crippled vagabond named Clarissa Stark begging at his door, little does he suspect it's the start of an adventure that's literally out of this world!

Bribed by an unscrupulous family, Fleischer and his companion flee to London's missionary college, but in wicked Whitechapel, the faithless priest stumbles upon one of Jack the Ripper's victims and becomes convinced that he himself is the notorious killer. With her friend's mind shattered, Miss Stark is relieved when they are both posted to the far away Melanesian island of Koluwai, but here they encounter an even darker evil, one that transports them to another planet.

Beneath the twin suns of the planet Ptallaya, Fleischer and Stark encounter an alien species, the Yatsill, master mimics who, after gaining access to Miss Stark's mind, create their own bizarre version of Victorian London.

But Fleischer and Stark's new home from home is not safe, for the Blood Gods will soon invade, and if he is to defeat them and rescue the woman he's come to love, Fleischer must first face his own inner demons!
A Red Sun Also Rises will be released in early December. Also, of note is the fact that Hodder recently signed with Pyr for 3 more Burton & Swinburne novels.

The Kingmakers by Clay and Susan Griffith is also the final book in the Vampire Empire trilogy, although I think there is plenty more to this world to explore. Even though I haven't done full reviews of the first two books they've quickly become one of my favorite Vampire series as they blend action pulp sensibilities with Steampunk, Colonialism, Romance and  Post-Apocalyptic fiction so well. The Kingmakers will be out in September as well. No blurb has been released.

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Cover Unveiled for The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination

I first heard about The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination nearly two years ago. It was actually Adams' second all-original anthology announced.and then Under the Moons of Mars and Armored quickly came before it was even given a publication date. But this is the anthology I've been waiting for and Tor nailed the cover. Mad geniuses never disappoint me and given the names involved in this anthology it shouldn't let us down. So far confirmed are: Carrie Vaughn, Alan Dean Foster, Daniel H. Wilson, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., L. A. Banks, Austin Grossman, Marjorie M. Liu, Ben Winters, David Farland, Mary Robinette Kowal, Harry Turtledove, Seanan McGuire, David D. Levine, Genevieve Valentine, Naomi Novik, Jeffrey Ford, Grady Hendrix, Theodora Goss, Jeremiah Tolbert, and David Brin, and a long novella from Diana Gabaldon. That should be all the contributors, but I might be missing one. Chris Claremont is also doing the Introduction. Quite a line-up. Here's the blurb:
From Victor Frankenstein to Lex Luthor, from Dr. Moreau to Dr. Doom, readers have long been fascinated by megalomaniacal plans for world domination and the madmen who come up with them. Typically, we see these villains through the eyes of superheroes (or other good guys) as they attempt to put an end to their evil ways. This anthology, however, will explore the world of mad scientists and evil geniuses–from their own point of view.

Evil geniuses are always so keen on telling captured heroes all their fiendish plans. Isn’t it about time someone gave them a platform such as this one to reach the masses with their messages of hope death and prosperity destruction?
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Dominion will be out in February from Tor.

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Mad Hatter's Reading Log - March and April

My house is now sold so I'm hoping I'm getting over my slow blogging rut. But we'll see. It was just a huge relief to hand over the keys and sign my name literally dozens of times in the space of minutes. March was just about the slowest reading month I've had in ages, but it did make for at least one very memorable read. April was a bit better.


23. Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway - Definitely one to savour and not push through. So layered and interspliced. Brilliant, funny, and all kinds of other positive adjectives. My top read of the year so far. See review here.
24. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini - Very cliched yet appropriate. There were a couple decent surprises once the final confrontation with Saruman I mean Galbatorix occurs. Not recommended unless you've loved the previous 2 books in the series.
25. Shadow's Lure by Jon Sprunk - Builds well upon Shadow's Son [reviewed here] more than nicely. The action scenes are still the best part, but Sprunk is starting to build this into more of an epic. Kit's side story though seemed more like an excuse to explore the past, but it could certainly lead to some interesting things in the finale Shadow's Master.
26.  Immobility by Brian Evenson - In a post apocalyptic future a man paralyzed from the waste down is awakened with little memory of who he is. He's then sent out to retrieve something being slug across the back of two men. I wanted this to be just a mite stranger and weird. Don't get me wrong it does detour into Kafkaeque bits, but the ending felt too fitting.


27. Blindsight by Peter Watts - A first contact story as you've never seen it before. A penetrating read into the human mind and how alien aliens can truly be. Also, an awesome take on vampires in space. Truly one of the best Sci-Fi novels of the last decade. Highly recommended.
28. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thomson Walker - This debut looks to make waves as a big release this summer, but it left me a little flat. Maybe the immature narrator didn't push things far enough for me. It does explore a cataclysmic event from an everyday point of view well along with how people reaction to things outside of their control. How the society changes was the most interesting part when people who live off clocktime start ostracizing those living by sun time.
29. The Complete Major Bummer Super Slacktacular by John Arcudi - A hugely funny riff on what it means to be a superhero. What if a slob woke up one morning with the powers of a superhero? What if he didn't care and just wanted to sit around and veg? Throw in a bunch of danger and just laugh your butt off. This is a omnibus of the whole series, which took a while to get put together so some of the references are a bit dated, but there is more than enough to like. These are the same guys who did a long run on The Mask comic series as well. Recommended.
30. Powers by James A. Burton - Overall I enjoyed this Urban Fantasy that leaves the Urban behind for the most part, but the ending felt too neat and tidy. The story itself was a real page turner filled with a lot of action and reveals that propelled things forward. Mythology and gods proliferate the pages, but not necessarily those you're use to seeing. Fans of American Gods would definitely find a lot to like. Recommended.

31.  Timeless by Gail Carriger - A very fine capping to one of the most hilarious series of the last few years. Yes, somethings went as expected, but there were some good swerves and many fine laughs along the way. The series is recommended.
32.  The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding - As with all the Ketty Jay books it was a blast. It didn't feel as sure footed as the previous two volume, but if you love adventure, strangely appealing characters, and a good heist and you've not reading these you're missing out on some serious fun. The world has filled out very nicely as have the characters. Now we're learning more about the ancient history of the world that is raising the bar. Recommended.
33.  Elric: The Balance Lost by Chris Roberson - Moorcock's most beloved character is back in comics. The story goes further than most comics have before combining many of the Multiverse characters for an all out epic. The art is gorgeous and the story is just starting to gain steam as paths cross. Highly recommended.
34. The Croning by Laird Barron - Not only the Horror debut of the year, but perhaps the Horror novel of the year. Laird Barron proved his skills in the short story realm long ago and now he proves he's becoming a master of the longer form as well.  The story shows that things left in the shadows can still be scarier than those stories filled with blood and gore dripping on the pages. Old Leech can wait. And he waits for you. Highly recommended.

So you'll probably note a lot of "highly recommended" mentions this month, but there are 3 big standouts. Blindsight amazed me at every turn with its intelligence. Angelmaker is a wild story told exceptionally well. The Croning is a novel filled with dread and isolation, which also has encouraged me to read more Horror. And that's the biggest thing for me. If a book gets me to read more it hasn't just entertained, but inspired me in my own reading habits. Horror has never been an area I've read in any steady way. More like drips and drabs, but I'm going to make it a point to fit them in more regularly. I've already started in on Ligotti's The Noctuary.

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New Procurements

Lots of pretties have shown up or been purchased the last couple of weeks. Let's begin, as usual, at the top.

A quick trip to the comic shop got me a copy of Elric: The Balance Lost by Chris Roberson. I had read the first issue last year and liked it, but waited for the trade. See the firs volume shows Roberson has some very grand plans to bring together many of Moorcock's Multiverse characters, and I'll be damned if I'm going to miss it. The next 2 were also purchases. Ex-Patriots by Peter Clines is the sequel to the superhero/zombie mash-up Ex-Heroes that blew my expectations away. The Ghostwriter by Zoran Zivkovic is his latest novella release from PS Publisher. I've been amassing quite a Zivkovic collection over the past year.

Now on to review copies of which I've already devoured the first. Coming in June is Scalzi's Redshirts which skewers early Star Trek quite well and then it goes off into some truly meta lands. Wake of the Bloody Angel is Alex Bledsoe's latest Eddie LaCross novel, which I've been a devotee since the awesome The Sword-Edged Blonde [reviewed here]. The new couple are from Night Shade who is still batting strong numbers. First is Laird Barron's debut novel The Croning another I gobbled up soon after receiving. I' making an early call marking this as the Horror debut of the year. Next is Ellen Datlow's annual The Year's Best Horror 4 that I'll probably dip into between other things. Then we have Mary Gentle's The Black Opera mixing secret societies in Italy and the opera in a bid to empower the Devil. Last in this stack is the gargantuan The Weird edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer. I hope to tackle this in some fashion over the next 2 months. Maybe as a few separate posts examine groups of stories.

Alif the Unseen by debut author G. Willow Wilson intrigues me great as it marries hacking and the secrets book of the djinn. Another debut I've been looking forward to is Jeff Salyard's dark military fantasy Scourge of the Betrayer. A lot of comparisons to the Black Company novels are abounding. Next is the group novel The Mongoliad, which I'll be dipping into quite soon. Then we have Jacqueline Carey's Dark Currents, which starts a new Urban Fantasy series. I've never read a Carey book, but have heard good things about a lot of her work.  Song of the Serpent by Hugh Matthews is the latest Pathfinder novel. This one is going right to a friend who runs a Pathfinder game. I'm hoping he'll do a short review for us. The Battle of Blood and Ink is a Steampunk graphic novel that I'll definitely reading soon. It should hit stores soon as well. Next are a couple buys from my new local bookstore, which had a surprisingly good selection for its size. Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess by the Foglios keeps me current with the graphic novel series turned prose series and Maureen McHugh's short story collection After the Apocalypse is one I've been meaning to get for months.

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REVIEW | Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway

Nick Harkaway burst on to the scene with The Gone Away World, in 2008 with what many considered one of the best debuts of year. We had to wait 4 years for his next book Angelmaker. People cry afoul when authors don't get a book out a year or even every two years, but many times those are the books worth remembering for the long term, which is the case here. Meet sensible Joseph Spork, careful Joseph. Then young and adventurous Joe. And finally crazy Joe along the way.

Angelmaker is part Spy novel, part family legacy, part end of the world, and just plain crazy. Well plain may not be right, but you get the idea. This is a melding that in most writers hands would fall apart, but Harkaway has the indelible skills to bring them together in a most satisfying way. Each and every character from the top down to those who only get a few pages are brought to life, right down to the little dog too.

"The dog's name is Bastion, and it is without shame or mercy. Any dog worth the name will sniff your crotch on arrival, but Bastion has buried his carbuncled nose in the angle of Joe's trousers and shows no inclination to retreat. Joe shifts slight, and the dog rewards him with a warning mutter, deep in the chest: I have my mouth in close proximity to your genitals, oh thou man who talks to my mistress over coffee. Do not irk or trifle with me! I possess but one tooth, oh, yes, for the rest were buried long ago in the flesh of sinners."
This could be considered Steampunk to a certain degree for those who don't think they like Steampunk. Yet it isn't exactly Steampunk, but it does take the most beautiful elements of the genre and incorporates them in a gorgeous fashion at the heart of a Spy/Adventure story.  The story flips between present in London following around Joe Spork, who fixes clockwork devices while lamenting his family's lurid past along with the adventures Edie, a female secret agent more than fifty years before in her glory days. And when the two stories collide things just start exploding.

There are many flashbacks, which at first seem a bit much, but you just have to go with. They almost always payoff. The language is quite endearing even when it goes off the rails a bit. Harkaway isn't one adverse to a bit of slapstick as evidenced by character names such as Rodney Titwhistle. But there is a lot of beauty is the story. Especially, the artisan devices that proliferate this world and the characters love for each other shines through amid all the hi-jinks and capering. This is very much a kitchen sink book with every back story told and every mystery explained even when you don't think there will be time.

If Opium Khans, horny secretaries, crazy cultists, mechanical doomsday devices, and shady underworld dealings sound at all intriguing then Angelmaker is a can't miss story. Just don't expect to be entirely sane at the end. The characters certainly aren't.  Angelmaker is definitely one to savor and not push through. As of right now it's my favorite new book this year and it will take a doozy of a story to knock it off that perch. I give Angelmaker 5 out of 5 hats. Despite some sluggishness at the start it turned out to be a rip-roaring adventure I'd have love to be stuck in the middle of.

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UK Cover Unveiled for Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis

It was announced some months ago that Ian Tregillis' series The Milkweed Triptych would be released in the UK through Orbit. At first Bitter Seeds, the first volume, was scheduled for the end of the year, but got moved up to this July and the sequel The Coldest War will be coming in February. Orbit has opted to go with a totally new look instead of the ones given by Tor US. While I still love the Palencar version for Bitter Seeds best this design works a bit better then the Chris McGrath designs coming out shortly. This definitely give off a cool, dark vibe that meshes with the series thus far. Oh, and for those who would like to see what the Palencar cover for The Coldest War would have looked like check this out. Some very good stories go along with that image now that aren't related to Milkweed in the slightest.

I recently received a galley of The Coldest War that I'll be dipping into quite soon as I've waiting 2 years for it. It officially will be out in July around the same time the UK gets Bitter Seeds. If alt-history, crazy science, and dark gods are your thing you couldn't do any better then checking this series out.

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