Jay Bonansinga - Tor/Forge Blog

Heading_title

Close
post-featured-image

Every Paperback from Tor in Spring 2024

It’s Spring, and flower’s aren’t all that’s growing! We’ve got paperback books springing up left and right! 

Check them out 😎


April 2, 2024

one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

In modern-day Manhattan where we lay our scene, two rival witch families fight to maintain control of their respective criminal empires. On one side of the conflict are the Antonova sisters — each one beautiful, cunning, and ruthless — and their mother, the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants, known only as Baba Yaga. On the other side, the influential Fedorov brothers serve their father, the crime boss known as Koschei the Deathless, whose ventures dominate the shadows of magical Manhattan. After twelve years of tenuous co-existence, one family member brutally crosses the line. Bad blood reignites old grudges; at the same time, fate intervenes with a chance encounter between enemies. In the wake of love and vengeance, everyone must choose a side. As each of the siblings struggles to stake their claim, bloodshed is inevitable. The question is: Whose?

tress of the emerald sea by brandon sandersonTress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

The only life Tress has known on her island home in an emerald-green ocean has been a simple one, with the simple pleasures of collecting cups brought by sailors from faraway lands and listening to stories told by her friend Charlie. But when his father takes him on a voyage to find a bride and disaster strikes, Tress must stow away on a ship and seek the Sorceress of the deadly Midnight Sea. Amid the spore oceans where pirates abound, can Tress leave her simple life behind and make her own place sailing a sea where a single drop of water can mean instant death?


April 9, 2024

forge of the high mage by ian c. esslemontForge of the High Mage by Ian C. Esslemont

After decades of warfare, Malazan forces are poised to consolidate the Quon Tali mainland. Yet it is at this moment that Emperor Kellanved orders a new, some believe foolhardy campaign: the invasion of Falar that lies far to the north . . . And to fight on this new front, a rag-tag army raised from orphaned units and broken squads is been brought together under Fist Dujek, and joined by a similarly motley fleet under the command of the Emperor himself. So the Malazans head north, only to encounter an unlooked-for and most unwelcome threat. Something unspeakable and born of legend has awoken and will destroy all who stand in its way. Most appalled by this is the Empire’s untested High Mage, Tayschrenn. All too aware of the true nature of this ancient horror, he fears his own inadequacies when the time comes to confront it. Yet confront it he must. 


April 16, 2024

the cradle of ice by james rollinsThe Cradle of Ice by James Rollins

To stop the coming apocalypse, a fellowship was formed. A soldier, a thief, a lost prince, and a young girl bonded by fate and looming disaster. Each step along this path has changed the party, forging deep alliances and greater enmities. All the while, hostile forces have hunted them, fearing what they might unleash. Armies wage war around them. For each step has come with a cost—in blood, in loss, in heartbreak. Now, they must split, traveling into a vast region of ice and to a sprawling capital of the world they’ve only known in stories. Time is running out and only the truth will save them all.

dual memory by sue burkeDual Memory by Sue Burke

Antonio Moro lost everything to the Leviathan League. Now he’s alone in a city on an Arctic island fighting the ruthless, global pirates with the chance to be the artist he always wanted to be. Unfortunately, he thinks it’s a cover story for his real purpose—spying on sympathizers. When things look bleak, he discovers an unusual ally. His new personal assistant program, Par Augustus. It’s insolent, extroverted, moody, and a not-quite-legal nascent A. I. Together they create a secret rebellion from unlikely recruits to defend the island from ideological pirates with entitlement and guns, and capitalist pirates with entitlement and money.


April 30, 2024

stan lee's the devil's quintet: the shadow society by stan lee & jay bonansingaStan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Shadow Society by Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga

Ever since The Armageddon Code, the Devil’s Quintet have been using their demonic powers to fight evil and protect the world, while remaining nothing but an urban legend to the general public. But the Devil is not about to let them keep using his powers for good. Created by Satan himself to counter the Quintet, the Shadow Society are five saintly men and women that have been secretly (and strategically) possessed by five of Hell’s most powerful demons. Granted supernatural powers of their own, they are part of a literally diabolical plot to strike at the very heart of the Quintet—and destroy humanity’s last hope!

web of angels by john m fordWeb of Angels by John M. Ford

Originally published in 1980, the legendary John M. Ford’s first published novel was an uncannily brilliant anticipation of the later cyberpunk genre—and of the internet itself. The Web links the many worlds of humanity. Most people can only use it to communicate. Some can retrieve and store data, as well as use simple precoded programs. Only a privileged few are able to create their own software, within proscribed limits. And then there are the Webspinners. Grailer is Fourth Literate, able to manipulate the Web at will—and use it for purposes unintended and impossible for anyone but the most talented Webspinner. Obviously, he cannot be allowed to live. Condemned to death at the age of nine, Grailer must go underground, hiding his skills, testing his powers- until he is ready to do battle with the Web itself. With a new introduction from Cory Doctorow, written especially for this edition.


May 7, 2024

the silverblood promise by james loganThe Silverblood Promise by James Logan

Lukan Gardova is a cardsharp, academy dropout, and—thanks to a duel that ended badly—the disgraced heir to an ancient noble house. His days consist of cheap wine, rigged card games, and wondering how he might win back the life he threw away. When Lukan discovers that his estranged father has been murdered in strange circumstances, he finds fresh purpose. Deprived of his chance to make amends for his mistakes, he vows to unravel the mystery behind his father’s death. His search for answers leads him to Saphrona, fabled city of merchant princes, where anything can be bought if one has the coin. Lukan only seeks the truth, but instead he finds danger and secrets in every shadow. For in Saphrona, everything has a price—and the price of truth is the deadliest of all.


May 14, 2024

malarkoi by alex phebyMalarkoi by Alex Pheby

Nathan Treeves is dead, murdered by the Master of Mordew, his remains used to create the powerful occult weapon known as the Tinderbox. His companions are scattered, making for Malarkoi, the city of the Mistress, the Master’s enemy. They are hoping to find welcome there, or at least safety. They find neither – and instead become embroiled in a life and death struggle against assassins, demi-gods, and the cunning plans of the Mistress. Only Sirius, Nathan’s faithful magical dog, has not forgotten the boy. Bent on revenge, he returns to the shattered remains of Mordew – only to find the city morphed into an impossible mountain, swarming with monsters. The stage is set for battle, sacrifice, magic and treachery in the stunning sequel to Mordew. Welcome to Malarkoi.


May 21, 2024

fractal noise by christopher paoliniFractal Noise by Christopher Paolini

July 25th, 2234: The crew of the Adamura discovers the anomaly.

On the seemingly uninhabited planet Talos VII: a circular pit, 50 kilometers wide. Its curve not of nature, but design. Now, a small team must land and journey on foot across the surface to learn who built the hole and why. But they all carry the burdens of lives carved out on disparate colonies in the cruel cold of space. For some the mission is the dream of the lifetime, for others a risk not worth taking, and for one it is a desperate attempt to find meaning in an uncaring universe. Each step they take toward the mysterious abyss is more punishing than the last. And the ghosts of their past follow.


June 4, 2024

wolfsong by tj klune with orange sprayed edgesWolfsong by TJ Klune (with beautiful sprayed edges!)

Oxnard Matheson was twelve when his father taught him a lesson: Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then his father left. Ox was sixteen when the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harboring a secret that would change him forever. The Bennetts are shapeshifters. They can transform into wolves at will. Drawn to their magic, loyalty, and enduring friendships, Ox feels a gulf between this extraordinary new world and the quiet life he’s known, but he finds an ally in Joe, the youngest Bennett boy. Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his heart. Violence flared, tragedy split the pack, and Joe left town, leaving Ox behind. Three years later, the boy is back. Except now he’s a man – charming, handsome, but haunted – and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.


June 11, 2024

the first bright thing by j r dawsonThe First Bright Thing by J. R. Dawson

Ringmaster — Rin, to those who know her best — can jump to different moments in time as easily as her wife, Odette, soars from bar to bar on the trapeze. And the circus they lead is a rare home and safe haven for magical misfits and outcasts, known as Sparks. With the world still reeling from World War I, Rin and her troupe — the Circus of the Fantasticals — travel the midwest, offering a single night of enchantment and respite to all who step into their Big Top. But threats come at Rin from all sides. The future holds an impending war that the Sparks can see barrelling toward their show and everyone in it. And Rin’s past creeps closer every day, a malevolent shadow she can’t fully escape. It takes the form of another circus, with tents as black as midnight and a ringmaster who rules over his troupe with a dangerous power. Rin’s circus has something he wants, and he won’t stop until it’s his.

icehenge by kim stanley robinsonIcehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson

SF titan Kim Stanley Robinson’s breakout novel, now in a Tor Essentials edition with a new introduction by Henry Farrell

Decades before his massively successful The Ministry for the Future, Kim Stanley Robinson wrote one of SF’s greatest meditations on extended human lifespan, the limitations of human memory, and the haunted confabulations that go with forgetting. On the North Pole of Pluto there stands an enigma: a huge circle of standing blocks of ice, built on the pattern of Earth’s Stonehenge—but ten times the size, standing alone at the edge of the Solar System. What is it? Who could have built it? The secret lies in the chaotic decades of the Martian Revolution, in the lost memories of those who have lived for centuries.


June 18, 2024

ebony gate by julia vee & ken bebelleEbony Gate by Julia Vee & Ken Bebelle

Emiko Soong belongs to one of the eight premier magical families of the world. But Emiko never needed any magic. Because she is the Blade of the Soong Clan. Or was. Until she’s drenched in blood in the middle of a market in China, surrounded by bodies and the scent of blood and human waste as a lethal perfume. The Butcher of Beijing now lives a quiet life in San Francisco, importing antiques. But when a shinigami, a god of death itself, calls in a family blood debt, Emiko must recover the Ebony Gate that holds back the hungry ghosts of the Yomi underworld. Or forfeit her soul as the anchor. What’s a retired assassin to do but save the City by the Bay from an army of the dead?


June 25, 2024

foul days by genoveva dimovaFoul Days by Genoveva Dimova

As a witch in the walled city of Chernograd, Kosara has plenty of practice treating lycanthrope bites, bargaining with kikimoras, and slaying bloodsucking upirs. There’s only one monster she can’t defeat: her ex, the Zmey, known as the Tsar of Monsters. She’s defied him one too many times and now he’s hunting her. Betrayed by someone close to her, Kosara’s only choice is to trade her shadow—the source of her powers—for a quick escape.

Unfortunately, Kosara soon develops the deadly sickness that plagues shadowless witches—and only reclaiming her magic can cure her. To find it, she’s forced to team up with a suspiciously honorable detective. Even worse, all the clues point in a single direction: To get her shadow back, Kosara will have to face the Foul Days’ biggest threats without it. And she’s only got twelve days. But in a city where everyone is out for themselves, who can Kosara trust to assist her in outwitting the biggest monster from her past?

the frugal wizard's handbook for surviving medieval england by brandon sandersonThe Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson

A man awakes in a clearing in what appears to be medieval England with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he is there. Chased by a group from his own time, his sole hope for survival lies in regaining his missing memories, making allies among the locals, and perhaps even trusting in their superstitious boasts. His only help from the “real world” should have been a guidebook entitled The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England, except his copy exploded during transit. The few fragments he managed to save provide clues to his situation, but can he figure them out in time to survive?

post-featured-image

Five Books for Full Moon Enthusiasts

Ah, the full moon – a powerful time for releasing negative energy, emotions, or habits. While some engage in practices such as journaling, burning photos of their exes, or engaging in a cleansing ritual, others are… I don’t know. Shifting into werewolves, fighting intergalactic battles, and facing cosmic forces that have the power to shape destinies… no pressure or anything.

Let’s explore some books that will have you over the moon (no pun intended)!


9781250766755 The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins

The second book in the New York Times bestselling Moonfall series from thriller-master James Rollins, The Cradle of Ice is a page-turning tale of action, adventure, betrayal, ambition, and the struggle for survival in a harsh world that hangs by a thread. With the moon casting its light over the icy terrain, ancient mysteries and modern-day threats collide in a pulse-pounding race against time.

9780765395818Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone

Get ready for a smart, swashbuckling, wildly imaginative adventure; the saga of a rag-tag team of brilliant misfits, dangerous renegades, and enhanced outlaws in a war-torn future. Think cosmic battles, celestial wonders, and a moon that shines as a beacon of hope in a universe on the brink of chaos.

9781250890313Wolfsong by TJ Klune

Discover love, loyalty, and transformation in the Green Creek Series’ Wolfsong, from beloved fantasy romance sensation and New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune. Follow the journey of a young man discovering his destiny amidst a pack of werewolves. The moon’s phases mirror inner turmoil, adding depth to this captivating tale of werewolves and destiny. Deep, right?

9781250236968The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

Amidst Earth’s escalating climate crisis due to meteor impacts, widespread riots, and space program sabotage, a determined protagonist faces the challenge of navigating both a deteriorating planet and the conflicts within a moon colony. It’s like House of Cards meets Space: The Final Frontier. Need I say more?

9781250264947Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus

Maurice Broaddus’s Sweep of Stars is the first in a trilogy that explores the struggles of an empire. Get to know the Muungano empire—a coalition of city-states stretching from O.E. to Titan—as it faces escalating threats and internal power struggles. This one’s a must-read!

post-featured-image

Tor’s February eBook Deals of 2024

February might be month number 2, but Tor’s eBook deals are number 1!

Check ’em out!


stan lees the devil's quintet the shadow society by stan lee & jay bonansinga

Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Shadow Society by Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga — $2.99

Ever since The Armageddon Code, the Devil’s Quintet have been using their demonic powers to fight evil and protect the world, while remaining nothing but an urban legend to the general public. But the Devil is not about to let them keep using his powers for good. Created by Satan himself to counter the Quintet, the Shadow Society are five saintly men and women that have been secretly (and strategically) possessed by five of Hell’s most powerful demons. Granted supernatural powers of their own, they are part of a literally diabolical plot to strike at the very heart of the Quintet—and destroy humanity’s last hope!

kindle top nook top ebooks top google play top ibooks2 35 kobo top


mystic skies by jason denzelMystic Skies by Jason Denzel — $2.99

The world is Changed. Fifty-four years have passed since Crow Tallin, the catastrophic celestial event that merged Fayün and the human world. One devastating result of that cataclysm is that most human babies are born fused with fay spirits. The Mystics of Kelt Apar, once beloved, are blamed for this worldwide phenomenon. On the island of Moth, the Barons have declared the Myst illegal and imprisoned all Mystics under house arrest. Under the watchful eyes of deadly Hunters, a much-older Pomella AnDone now lives as a prisoner at Kelt Apar with her granddaughter and apprentice Mia, as well as the rapidly declining High Mystic of Moth, Yarina Sineese. When the time comes to conduct the ceremony intended to pass the title of High Mystic from Yarina to her successor Vivianna, something goes horribly wrong, leaving the lineage of Mystics in doubt. With new rivals seeking to claim Moth for their own, Pomella must undergo a dangerous dreamwalk into the mind-bending and heart-wrenching Mystic Skies in order to learn the mystical name of the island itself.

kindle nook ebooks.com Poster Placeholder of google play- 29 ibooks2 64 kobo

post-featured-image

Every Book Coming From Tor in Spring 2023

Ah, spring! Blue skies are returning, flowers are blooming, and—what’s this? New books?! YES. New books are releasing!

Check out everything coming from Tor Books this spring here!


One for My Enemyone for my enemy by olivie blake by Olivie Blake

In modern-day Manhattan, two rival witch families fight to maintain control of their respective criminal empires. On one side of the conflict are the Antonova sisters — each one beautiful, cunning, and ruthless — and their mother, the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants, known only as Baba Yaga. On the other side, the influential Fedorov brothers serve their father, the crime boss known as Koschei the Deathless, whose community extortion ventures dominate the shadows of magical Manhattan. After twelve years of tenuous co-existence, a change in one family’s interests causes a rift in the existing stalemate. When bad blood brings both families to the precipice of disaster, fate intervenes with a chance encounter, and in the aftershocks of a resurrected conflict, everyone must choose a side. As each of the siblings struggles to stake their claim, fraying loyalties threaten to rot each side from the inside out. If, that is, the enmity between empires doesn’t destroy them first.

On Sale 4/4/23


Tress of the Emerald SeaTress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson by Brandon Sanderson

The only life Tress has known on her island home in an emerald-green ocean has been a simple one, with the simple pleasures of collecting cups brought by sailors from faraway lands and listening to stories told by her friend Charlie. But when his father takes him on a voyage to find a bride and disaster strikes, Tress must stow away on a ship and seek the Sorceress of the deadly Midnight Sea. Amid the spore oceans where pirates abound, can Tress leave her simple life behind and make her own place sailing a sea where a single drop of water can mean instant death?

On Sale 4/4/23


Image Place holder  of - 46King Rat by China Miéville

Something is stirring in London’s dark, stamping out its territory in brickdust and blood. Something has murdered Saul Garamond’s father, and left Saul to pay for the crime. But a shadow from the urban waste breaks into Saul’s prison cell and leads him to freedom: a shadow called King Rat. King Rat reveals to Saul his own royal heritage, a heritage that opens a new world for him, the world below London’s streets. With drum-and-bass pounding the backstreets, Saul must confront the forces that would use him, the ones that would destroy him, and those that have shaped his own bizarre identity. Now with a new introduction by Tim Maughan, author of Infinite Detail.

On Sale 4/4/23


The WardenThe Warden by Daniel M. Ford by Daniel M. Ford

There was a plan. She had the money, the connections, even the brains. It was simple: become one of the only female necromancers, earn as many degrees as possible, get a post in one of the grand cities, then prove she’s capable of greatness. The funny thing about plans is that they are seldom under your control. Now Aelis de Lenti, a daughter of a noble house and recent graduate of the esteemed Magisters’ Lyceum, finds herself in the far-removed village of Lone Pine. Mending fences, matching wits with goats, and serving people who want nothing to do with her. But, not all is well in Lone Pine, and as the villagers Aelis is reluctantly getting to know start to behave strangely, Aelis begins to suspect that there is far greater need for a Warden of her talents than she previously thought. 

On Sale 4/18/23


Furious Heaven by Kate ElliottFurious Heaven by Kate Elliott

The Republic of Chaonia fleets, under the joint command of Princess Sun and her formidable mother, Queen-Marshal Eirene, have defeated and driven out an invading fleet of the Phene Empire, though not without heavy losses. But the Empire remains undeterred. While Chaonia scrambles to rebuild its military, the Empire’s rulers are determined to squash Chaonia once and for all. They believe their military might is strong enough to defeat the enemy, but they also secure a secret alliance with a deadly religious sect skilled in the use of assassination and covert ops, to destabilize the republic. On the eve of Eirene’s bold attack on the rich and populous Karnos System, an unexpected tragedy strikes the republic. Sun must take charge or lose the throne. Will Sun be content with the pragmatic path laid out by her mother for Chaonia’s future? Or will she choose to forge her own legend? Can she succeed despite all the forces arrayed against her?

On Sale 4/18/23


In the Lives of PuppetsIn the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune by TJ Klune

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots—fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe. The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio–a past spent hunting humans. When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming. Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?

On Sale 4/25/23


Red Team Blues by Cory DoctorowRed Team Blues by Cory Doctorow

Martin Hench is 67 years old, single, and successful in a career stretching back to the beginnings of Silicon Valley. He lives and roams California in a very comfortable fully-furnished touring bus, The Unsalted Hash, that he bought years ago from a fading rock star. Martin is a—contain your excitement—self-employed forensic accountant, a veteran of the long guerilla war between people who want to hide money, and people who want to find it. He knows computer hardware and software alike, including the ins and outs of high-end databases and the kinds of spreadsheets that are designed to conceal rather than reveal. He also knows the Valley like the back of his hand, all the secret histories of charismatic company founders and Sand Hill Road VCs. Because he was there at all the beginnings. Now he’s been roped into a job that’s more dangerous than anything he’s ever agreed to before—and it will take every ounce of his skill to get out alive.

On Sale 4/25/23


Tsalmoth by Steven BrustTsalmoth by Steven Brust

Vlad Taltos is in love. With a former assassin who may just be better than he is at the Game. Women like this don’t come along every day and no way is he passing up a sure bet. So a wedding is being planned. Along with a shady deal gone wrong and a dead man who owes Vlad money. Setting up the first and trying to deal with the second is bad enough. And then bigger powers decide that Vlad is the perfect patsy to shake the power structure of the kingdom. More’s the pity that his soul is sent walkabout to do it. How might Vlad get his soul back and have any shot at a happy ending? Well, there’s the tale…

On Sale 4/25/23


Spring's Arcana by Lilith SaintcrowSpring’s Arcana by Lilith Saintcrow

Nat Drozdova is desperate to save a life. Doctors can do little for her cancer-ridden mother, who insists there is only one cure—and that Nat must visit a skyscraper in Manhattan to get it. Amid a snow-locked city, inside a sleek glass-walled office, Nat makes her plea and is whisked into a terrifying new world. For the skyscraper holds a hungry winter goddess who has the power to cure her mother…if Nat finds a stolen object of great power. Now Nat must travel with a razor-wielding assassin across an American continent brimming with terror, wonder, and hungry divinities with every reason to consume a young woman. For her ailing mother is indeed suffering no ordinary illness, and Nat Drozdova is no ordinary girl. Blood calls to blood, magic to magic, and a daughter may indeed save what she loves…if it doesn’t consume her first.

On Sale 5/2/23


Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Shadow SocietyStan Lee's The Devil's Quintet: The Shadow Society by Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga by Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga

Ever since The Armageddon Code, the Devil’s Quintet have been using their demonic powers to fight evil and protect the world, while remaining nothing but an urban legend to the general public. But the Devil is not about to let them keep using his powers for good. Created by Satan himself to counter the Quintet, the Shadow Society are five saintly men and women that have been secretly (and strategically) possessed by five of Hell’s most powerful demons. Granted supernatural powers of their own, they are part of a literally diabolical plot to strike at the very heart of the Quintet—and destroy humanity’s last hope!

On Sale 5/9/23


Dual Memory by Sue BurkeDual Memory by Sue Burke

Antonio Moro lost everything to the Leviathan League. Now he’s alone in a city on an Arctic island fighting the ruthless, global pirates with the chance to be the artist he always wanted to be. Unfortunately, he thinks it’s a cover story for his real purpose—spying on sympathizers. When things look bleak, he discovers an unusual ally. His new personal assistant program, Par Augustus. It’s insolent, extroverted, moody, and a not-quite-legal nascent A. I. Together they create a secret rebellion from unlikely recruits to defend the island from ideological pirates with entitlement and guns, and capitalist pirates with entitlement and money.

On Sale 5/16/23


Fractal NoiseImage Placeholder of - 50 by Christopher Paolini

July 25th, 2234: The crew of the Adamura discovers the Anomaly. On the seemingly uninhabited planet Talos VII:a circular pit, 50 kilometers wide. Its curve not of nature, but design. Now, a small team must land and journey on foot across the surface to learn who built the hole and why. But they all carry the burdens of lives carved out on disparate colonies in the cruel cold of space. For some the mission is the dream of the lifetime, for others a risk not worth taking, and for one it is a desperate attempt to find meaning in an uncaring universe. Each step they take toward the mysterious abyss is more punishing than the last. And the ghosts of their past follow.

On Sale 5/16/23


The Woods of ArcadyThe Woods of Arkady by Michael Moorcock by Michael Moorcock

In the 1970s, Michael Moorcock, a writer of genre fiction, attempts to save his failing marriage by taking his wife and daughters to Paris. One night in a bar he is amazed to find himself drinking with heroes of story and history. The next day he awakens aboard a sailing ship, kidnapped into another reality by a French highwayman and the four Musketeers, who know Moorcock well from adventures in London’s Alsacia…but that was another Moorcock, from another world. Soon after they reach Africa, the company are rescued from ambush by Antara, a poet-adventurer who offers to lead them across the desert and through several realities to the estate of Lord and Lady Blackstone. The trip is full of wonders Moorcock has read, dreamed, or written: an underground civilization of nonhuman creatures; a magical oasis where the lion lies down with the lamb; a lush garden inhabited by miniature dinosaurs.

On Sale 6/6/23


The First Bright ThingThe First Bright Thing by J.R. Dawson by J.R. Dawson

Ringmaster — Rin, to those who know her best — can jump to different moments in time as easily as her wife, Odette, soars from bar to bar on the trapeze. And the circus they lead is a rare home and safe haven for magical misfits and outcasts, known as Sparks. With the world still reeling from World War I, Rin and her troupe — the Circus of the Fantasticals — travel the midwest, offering a single night of enchantment and respite to all who step into their Big Top. But threats come at Rin from all sides. The future holds an impending war that the Sparks can see barrelling toward their show and everyone in it. And Rin’s past creeps closer every day, a malevolent shadow she can’t fully escape.

On Sale 6/13/23


The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval EnglandThe Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson by Brandon Sanderson

A man awakes in a clearing in what appears to be medieval England with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he is there. Chased by a group from his own time, his sole hope for survival lies in regaining his missing memories, making allies among the locals, and perhaps even trusting in their superstitious boasts. His only help from the “real world” should have been a guidebook entitled The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England, except his copy exploded during transit. The few fragments he managed to save provide clues to his situation, but can he figure them out in time to survive?

On Sale 6/27/23

post-featured-image

eBook Deals Aplenty: April 2023!

It’s spring! Hope you’re taking a little time to smell the flowers, and take a big ol’ whiff of the sizzling hot eBook deals we’ve cooked up for this month.
Check ’em out!

The Way of Kingsthe way of kings by brandon sanderson by Brandon Sanderson — $2.99

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable. The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

kindle-1 nook-1 ebooks-1 google play-1 ibooks2 36 kobo-1


The Eye of the Worldthe eye of the world by robert jordan by Robert Jordan — $2.99

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. When a vicious band of half-men, half beasts invade the Two Rivers seeking their master’s enemy, Moiraine persuades Rand al’Thor and his friends to leave their home and enter a larger unimaginable world filled with dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

kindle-2 nook-2 ebooks-2 google play-2 ibooks2 93 kobo-2


Immunity Indeximmunity index by sue burke by Sue Burke — $2.99

In a US facing growing food shortages, stark inequality, and a growing fascist government, three perfectly normal young women are about to find out that they share a great deal in common. Their creator, the gifted geneticist Peng, made them that way—before such things were outlawed. Rumors of a virus make their way through an unprotected population on the verge of rebellion, only to have it turn deadly. As the women fight to stay alive and help, Peng races to find a cure—and the cover up behind the virus.

kindle-3 nook-3 ebooks-3 google play-3 kobo-3


Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Armageddon Codestan lee's the devil's quintet: the armageddon code by stan lee & jay bonansinga — $2.99

A five-person special ops unit, composed of a diverse assortment of former Navy SEALS from all walks of life, are responding to a terrorist threat deep in the Caucasus Mountains when their mission goes south in a big way. Facing certain death and torture, they’re unexpectedly offered a Faustian bargain by the Devil himself, who grants them unearthly powers in order to send evildoers to Hell on his fiendish behalf. But “The Devil’s Quintet” do things their own way, fighting to protect America and the world, while trying their best not to let their hellish new abilities corrupt them beyond redemption . . .

kindle-4 nook-4 ebooks-4 google play-4 kobo-4

post-featured-image

Excerpt Reveal: Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Shadow Society by Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga

amazon-1 bn-1 booksamillion-1 ibooks2 31 indiebound-1

Stan Lee's The Devil's Quintet: The Shadow Society by Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga

Born of the legendary imagination that brought us Spider-Man, The Avengers, The X-Men, and an enduring universe of marvelous heroes and villains, Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet return to take on a fiendish new adversary: The Shadow Society.

Ever since The Armageddon Code, the Devil’s Quintet have been using their demonic powers to fight evil and protect the world, while remaining nothing but an urban legend to the general public. But the Devil is not about to let them keep using his powers for good.

Created by Satan himself to counter the Quintet, the Shadow Society are five saintly men and women that have been secretly (and strategically) possessed by five of Hell’s most powerful demons. Granted supernatural powers of their own, they are part of a literally diabolical plot to strike at the very heart of the Quintet—and destroy humanity’s last hope!

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Shadow Society by Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga, on sale 5/9/23.


1

The Anointing of the Sick

London sits atop a dark labyrinth. The true nature and extent of the tunnels, tube stations, nineteenth-century sewers, and connective conduits between key points of egress are closely guarded secrets known only to the supervisory staff at the Greater London Authority, Scotland Yard, and MI5. In fact, to call London’s subterranean architecture otherworldly is to traffic in major understatement. The atmosphere of the tunnels is that of a fever dream. Dark, dank, desolate, rat infested, airless, and fairly close to impassable, the lower tunnels that link the catacombs beneath the Palace Gardens and the streets of Greater Kensington have seen very few humans traverse the fetid passageways in their three centuries of existence.

All of which is why the five operatives who materialize at the west end of Tunnel PG1—striding purposefully, two abreast, down the claustrophobic channel of corroded stone toward Palace Green—are hyperalert, each feeling like a stranger in a strange land. They wear matching black body armor, Kevlar, and bulletproof helmets. Each cradles a lightweight assault rifle across their chest. They navigate the gloom courtesy of night-vision goggles, and communicate via closed-circuit radio mikes attached to their collars. There are three men and two women.

At the present moment, only one of the men speaks—in a low, dour voice, a faint Texas twang marinating his words: “According to satellite imagery and on-the-ground intel, the Israeli embassy was breached at precisely 4:37 p.m. BST, on the afternoon of 10 August 2022. That’s yesterday for those of you checking your calendars. So far, the bloodhounds at The Sunday Times and Channel Four have not smelled anything. Looks like we’re getting in just under the wire. Captors haven’t squawked any demands yet.”

The others listen as they march along, their green-tinted visual fields latching on to the far end of the tunnel, their destination the landing beneath the service entrance of 4 Palace Green.

The one called Spur continues his rundown: “Benefiting from a week of surveillance, the hijacking of a delivery van, a series of forged documents, and a few phony workmen’s uniforms, the intruders gained entry to the Israeli embassy via the loading dock on the north side of the property.” Spur cocks his helmet toward the darkness twenty meters ahead of them. “That’s about ten meters up yonder there, above the tunnel intersect.”

Spur stops, and the rest of them halt behind him. He clicks his halogen light and points it up at the tunnel ceiling. They all see the underside of an ancient manhole cover.

“We’ll join the party through here,” he says. “Through the boiler room.”

A bowlegged, muscle-bound former athlete moving into middle age, Spur serves as the de facto leader of this very special unit. He has the command position not because he is the most gifted, or the smartest, or the strongest, or the most skilled—far from it. All five operatives carry the burden of being endowed with special powers that are both preternatural and highly classified. But Spur is the natural-born leader, with a knack for psychological warfare.

“Okay, let’s switch over,” he says, shrugging off his Kevlar vest, revealing a medieval military coat, chain mail, and broad-sword under the innocuous SWAT team attire. The imposing costume underneath the black Kevlar is the “psy-ops” element of the operation, the regalia designed not only to disguise their identities but also to intimidate—to frighten and rattle their adversaries. Spur and his supervisor at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency have been carefully crafting the five personas over the last year.

The helmets and vests come off one by one. The smallest of the group, the petite Asian assassin, code name Boo, now sheds her black military garb and reveals the formfitting robe of a Shaolin monk. The other woman in the group, a dark, exotic-looking Latina code-named Pin-Up, peels off her SWAT gear to reveal the gilded breastplate and black widow corset of a warrior priestess. She grips her machete and slices the air with it. “Come on, slowpokes,” she taunts the two other men as they hurriedly transform into dreamlike ronin.

The tall, rangy African American sheds his Kevlar and reveals a multicolored shamanic robe of feathers draping his lean body, complete with beaded gauntlets and a bejeweled scabbard, an hourglass engraving across the gilded breastplate. His code name is Ticker, and he does not appreciate Pin-Up’s wise-cracks. “Hardy-har-har,” he says as he takes the safety off his Glock and holsters it. “Pin-Up, I’ll be done with the mission before you get your skinny ass up to the first floor.”

“That’s enough tongue waggin’, now cork your goddamn pistols,” Spur says in his Texas drawl. “I want safeties off, and silencers on, all mikes live now.” He glances at a small index card taped to his gauntlet. “According to CENTCOM we got three hostiles currently in the building, a half dozen friendlies, mostly staff, and one member of the Israeli diplomatic corps. Hack? Can you tap into the line from here? Give us the geography?”

The fifth member of the unit—a younger man, his dark hair and handsome face shaded by the hood of a leather duster— climbs a series of steps embedded in the tunnel wall. Known for his acumen with all things digital, Hack yanks a cable loose from decades of congealed calcium deposits and grit in the ceiling.

He pinches the end of the cable, and the others watch his body begin to glitter with the blue-metal phosphorus of live current. “Two of the hostiles are on the second floor,” he says in a strange droning voice, his eyes swimming with flickering signal from the building’s security system. “Looks like they got all the friendlies up there, holding them at gunpoint. Third hostile on the ground floor checking windows and door locks. Each hostile has what looks like a MAC-10 machine pistol, extended clip, .45 ACP rounds, one in each chamber. At least that’s what it looks like to me, but what do I know?”

“All right, y’all,” Spur says, climbing the steps, drawing his sword, and prying open the manhole cover with its tip. He pauses and looks over his shoulder at the others. “We’ll take down the yahoo on the ground floor first. I want this quick and decisive, in and out.”

They all nod as Pin-Up mutters to herself, “That’s what she said.”

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

2

According to official government records, Spur and his operatives no longer exist. They are deceased, killed in the line of duty, each of them buried at Arlington Cemetery. Their mere existence is known only to a handful of people in the global intelligence community. In fact, only one human being on earth knows the full extent of their uncanny powers: Colonel Sean McDermott—code name Silverback—a section chief at the DIA.

It took quite a bit of convincing for a military mind like McDermott’s to grasp and process what had happened to the five members of the Quintet back in Karakistan a little over a year ago. The cover story that they all had subsequently agreed upon was pure comic book: Supposedly, while hunting down the warlord Abu Osamir, the five were exposed to radiation, which somehow, through some genetic mash-up, had enhanced their natural skills. But what had really happened to them was far more Théâtre du Grand-Guignol. After being ambushed and thrown into a dungeon straight out of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, they were about to be tortured and killed when an unlikely savior came to the rescue, a gruesome revenant with a changing face, dripping with ancient evil.

“A transaction is what I propose . . . a proposition, if you prefer,” the Devil had said to them in the fetid shadows of that torture chamber. And the deal was as simple as it was sinister: Satan would grant them incredible powers beyond their wildest dreams, powers that would enable them to easily escape the dungeon. And all he asked in return was for them to occasionally, on a freelance basis, hunt down and kill individuals who are in breach of contract. These individuals have, to put it coarsely, skipped town on the Devil.

Once they are terminated, Satan explained with a wink of his yellow reptilian eye, “I will take it from there, and damn them for eternity.”

“Why don’t you just hunt down these rascals yourself?” Spur had asked the Beast.

“Alas,” the Devil explained, “the laws of the universe prevent me from directly killing a soul.”

But the Quintet would soon be in breach itself, the members choosing to double-cross the creature with the horns and the tail by using these powers in service of mankind. And Colonel Sean McDermott was prescient enough to realize that the five could be transformed into urban folktales through a few wellplaced leaks in the intelligence community, ghost stories that would live on in the hearts and imaginations of the bad guys.

Which is, as far as the upper echelon back in the States has been led to believe, the reason Spur chose the moniker the Devil’s Quintet for his special unit. The idea is to scare enemy combatants, to put the fear of God in them. This is the single aspect of the five and their unearthly skills about which everyone other than McDermott has been misled.

“All right, hush up now, everybody,” Spur whispers into his neck mike as they approach the door to the ground-floor lobby. “I want to go in quiet as a tumbleweed in a tornado. Hack, you get the door lock. Boo, you got the point position. Go in first, disarm, and then, Hack, follow up with the wipe. Let’s boogie, chillun. Three, two, one . . . go.”

Hack brushes his fingertips across the biometric lock, and the door latch disengages with a faint spark like a match tip striking flint. Hack carefully pulls the door back far enough for Boo to slip through the gap.

On the other side of the door she silently scales the wall.

Out of the corner of her eye she can see the trespasser strolling back and forth behind the front entrance a hundred feet away, a wiry-thin zealot with his back turned, a machine pistol clutched like a metal baby against his skinny solar plexus. Boo uses the ceiling joists as handholds, lifting herself up, and then crawls spiderlike, faceup, twelve feet above the floor toward the target.

The gunman looks down at the floor as she approaches. He notices her shadow passing between him and the recessed lighting, and with a start he looks up just as Boo pounces on him.

She lands on the man’s shoulders before he has a chance to pull the trigger, her slender legs vise-gripping down on his neck and carotid artery and windpipe as they both fall to the floor with a muffled thump. The trespasser can’t breathe, can’t yell for help, cannot even move. His tendons seize up, his hands freezing on the gun. Boo squeezes and squeezes until the man passes out, sagging beneath her, going still and silent.

The sound of footsteps softly pads toward her. She looks up and sees Hack approaching with a shit-eating grin and a wink, offering her a hand. He helps her up and she backs off.

Hack kneels by the unconscious gunman. As though anointing the sick with the laying on of hands, he lightly touches the temple on each side of the gunman’s cranium.

The electrical waves from the man’s brain spark a connection, flowing into Hack, shooting up his tendons into his brain. Emotions of anger and vengefulness and homicidal righteousness flicker across Hack’s mind’s eye, the luminescent proteins tracing through Hack’s visual field like comet tails. Hack’s neuropeptides wash away the invading flames, putting out the fire, erasing, obliterating the man’s memory and hatred. The streaks of light fade out and vanish, leaving behind no trace of themselves. On the floor the man’s head lolls, empty now, episodic amnesia setting in.

“He won’t remember a thing,” Hack murmurs, lifting his hands from the man’s temples. Hack rises and steps back. “Like a newborn baby terrorist.”

Boo moves in with zip ties and shackles the man’s wrists behind his back.

Looking on, Hack says with a nod, “Next stop, second floor, ladies’ lingerie.”

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

3

The code name Hack was bestowed upon Aaron Boorstein early in his career. Born in Flatbush, New York, and raised in Crown Heights, New York, he grew up a smart-ass street kid who ultimately rebelled against joining his father’s button-down accounting firm and instead enlisted in the Navy. He rose up the ranks quickly as a genius-level tech sergeant on nuclear submarines and eventually became a Navy SEAL. All of which was how he ultimately caught the eye of Paul “Spur” Candell. But who would have ever guessed that Hack would see his natural propensities for hacking into the most complex virtual ecosystems turned into a superpower by the Devil himself?

Maybe it was fate. Hack had always felt more at home in cyberspace, slipping through back doors and accessing fortresses of protected data. “Sometimes I think you’d rather have a girlfriend made out of ones and zeroes instead of flesh and blood,” one of his many disgruntled exes once told him, and there was truth in it. Hack had left more than his share of disastrous breakups along the side of the road over the years. It had left a hole in his heart, a longing for love that he couldn’t quite seem to fulfill. Maybe that’s why, for the last twelve months, he has immersed himself in the mastery of his superpower, which is something he innately understands: altering himself on a cellular level, becoming pure digital signal, moving through circuitry as fluidly as water moves through an aqueduct.

That day, Hack and his fellow members of the Quintet gain access to the embassy through the service-elevator shaft on the far east side of the building, one by one, climbing up through the trapdoor at the top of the enclosure, then silently scaling the twenty feet or so of cables to the second-floor landing. They perch themselves on the ledge inside the shaft in a neat little row, shoulder to shoulder, capes and scabbards dangling off the edge—vultures waiting patiently for the roadkill.

Hack taps into the wiring, and gets an eyeball on the situation through the security cam. “Looking at all six friendlies scrunched against the wall, west end of the main corridor.” He announces this in a low, soft whisper into his mike. “One hostile patrolling the hallway, the other one, big guy, looks like the muscle, keeping his short barrel trained on the hostages.”

“That it?” Spur’s query crackles in Hack’s earbud.

Hack shakes his head. “What else do you want, their shoe sizes?”

“Weak links, soft spots.”

“Believe it or not, the big gorilla looks shaky, sweaty, not too sure of himself.”

“Pin-Up, can you lock on to this yahoo from this distance? Draw his attention away from the friendlies? Avoid any collateral mishap?”

Pin-Up’s voice: “Ticker. You’re closest to the door. Can you give me a clear shot?”

“Why don’t I just hit the pause button, then go in nice and calm?”

“Negative,” Spur says. “I don’t want to drain you right away, might need you at full power at some point.”

With a nod Ticker silently draws his cutlass and carefully wedges the business end into the seam between the elevator doors. He levers them open about a centimeter. Pin-Up leans over and peers through the crack at the people on the other side of the floor. The six captives bunch together, stone-still with fear.

Pin-Up can see the big guy—broad shoulders, beard, wild mop of dark hair, eyes shifting nervously across the group of hostages—reeking of nervous tension. “Got him,” Pin-Up mutters, locking on to him. She sniffs him with her mind. She absorbs his deepest fear and feels the cellular structure of her skin changing as she whispers, almost to herself, “The Jinn.”

It’s a process not unlike a chameleon instinctively triggering a color shift. The layers of her skin begin to transform, pigmentation changing, the inner strata reshaping, her dark complexion becoming matted black fur, her bones elongating into monstrous, malformed limbs, her skull swelling and growing into the massive incarnation of the gunman’s worst nightmare from his earliest childhood memories. Pin-Up’s new eyes now burn like embers, her fangs dripping blood, the illusion complete.

She pushes the double doors apart and steps into the corridor.

Like a school of fish reacting violently and suddenly to the advent of a bigger, stronger species entering their habitat, the hostages press backward against the wall, some of them letting out gasps, others turning away, the big gunman standing paralyzed, gaping, bug-eyed, rapt with terror as he encounters the embodiment of his primal fears, the Jinn, the ghoul that has haunted many a society down through the ages.

The other trespasser starts bellowing loudly in a foreign language that Pin-Up can’t decipher.

She does not hesitate. Does not blink. She knows she’s about to be shot. With one quick and fluid movement she reaches behind her back, feeling for her pistol, which is wedged under a belt. She draws it and fires—four blasts, two and two—three of the rounds going into the big guy’s upper chest and neck, sending blood mist across the wall, spattering half the hostages.

Pin-Up turns and sees the second gunman raising the machine pistol at her and firing a burst, and that’s all she registers—a flicker in her eyes and a series of enormous pops in her eardrums.

Copyright © 2023 from Stan Lee & Jay Bonanasinga

Pre-order Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Shadow Society Here:

Poster Placeholder of amazon- 80 Poster Placeholder of bn- 30 Image Placeholder of booksamillion- 24 ibooks2 83 indiebound

post-featured-image

Ongoing Series of 2023

Hey! Hot Continuations of Science Fiction and Fantasy Series in Your Area!

Check out our unfinished stories that continue to spin in 2023!


The Cradle of IceThe Cradle of Ice by James Rollins by James Rollins

The second book in the New York Times bestselling Moonfall series from thriller-master James Rollins, The Cradle of Ice is a page-turning tale of action, adventure, betrayal, ambition, and the struggle for survival in a harsh world that hangs by a thread. And check out his volume one, The Starless Crown, now available in paperback!

On Sale Now!


The Cage of Dark HoursImage Place holder  of - 68 by Marina Lostetter

The Cage of Dark Hours is the second novel in the epic fantasy trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter, where the defeat of a serial killer back from the dead has pulled the mask off the myths and magics of a fantastical city.

On Sale Now!


Furious HeavenImage Placeholder of - 24 by Kate Elliott

Furious Heaven is Kate Elliott’s highly anticipated sequel to the thrilling space adventure Unconquerable Sun!

On Sale 4.18.23


Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Shadow SocietyStan Lee's The Devil's Quintet: The Shadow Society by Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga by Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga

Born of the legendary imagination that brought us Spider-Man, The Avengers, The X-Men, and an enduring universe of marvelous heroes and villains, Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet return to take on a fiendish new adversary: The Shadow Society.

On Sale 5.9.23


Fractal Noise by Christopher PaoliniFractal Noise by Christopher Paolini

A new blockbuster science fiction adventure from world-wide phenomenon and #1 New York Times bestseller Christopher Paolini, set in the world of New York Times and USA Today bestseller To Sleep in a Sea of Stars.

On Sale 5.16.23


Cassiel’s ServantCassiel's Servant by Jacqueline Carey

The lush epic fantasy that inspired a generation with a single precept: “Love As Thou Wilt.” Returning to the realm of Terre d’Ange which captured an entire generation of fantasy readers, New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Carey brings us a hero’s journey for a new era.

On Sale 8.1.23


RavensongPoster Placeholder of - 1 by TJ Klune

The beloved fantasy romance sensation by New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune, about love, loyalty, betrayal, and joy. The Bennett family has a secret: They’re not just a family, they’re a pack. Ravensong is Gordo Livingstone’s story.

On Sale 8.1.23


Devil’s GunDevil's Gun by Cat Rambo

No one escapes their past as the crew of the You Sexy Thing attempts to navigate the hazards of opening a pop-up restaurant and the dangers of a wrathful pirate-king seeking vengeance in Cat Rambo’s Devil’s Gun.

On Sale 8.29.23


The Mystery at Dunvegan CastleThe Mystery at Dunvegan Castle by T.L. Huchu

Duels, magic, and plenty of ghosts await in The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle, the third book of T. L. Huchu’s USA Today bestselling Edinburgh Nights series.

On Sale 8.29.23


Traitor of RedwinterPlaceholder of  -59 by Ed McDonald

The second in Ed McDonald’s Chronicles of Redwinter, full of shady politics, militant monks, ancient powers… and a young woman navigating a world in which no one is quite what they seem.

On Sale 10.24.23


MalarkoiMalarkoi by Alex Pheby

Volume 2 of the Cities of the Weft

On Sale 10.24.23


Bookshops & BonedustBookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree

When an injury throws a young, battle-hungry orc off her chosen path, she may find that what we need isn’t always what we seek. Set in the world of New York Times bestselling Legends & Lattes, Bookshops & Bonedust takes us on a journey of high fantasy, first loves, and second-hand books.

On Sale 11.7.23


All the Hidden PathsPlace holder  of - 49 by Foz Meadows

The follow-up to Foz Meadows’s A Strange and Stubborn Endurance, a sultry political & romantic fantasy exploring gender, sexuality, identity, and self-worth.

On Sale 12.5.23

post-featured-image

Tor Books at NYCC 2022!

Place holder  of - 35

We couldn’t be more thrilled to get back to the Big Apple—Tor Books is coming to New York Comic Con! Join the convention from October 6-9 (tickets for physical & virtual access can be bought here) for some amazing panels, and don’t forget to follow us on social media and the hashtag #TorNYCC2022 for announcements, sweepstakes, and more!


Thursday — October 6

Morning ARC Giveaway

Booth 3027
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Kate Elliott, The Keeper’s Six

In-Booth Signing: Anne Heltzel

Booth 3027
2:00 – 3:00 PM
With her spine-chilling and sharp adult debut, Anne Heltzel (she/her) is a fresh new voice in horror!

Evening ARC Giveaway 

Booth 3027
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Leopoldo Gout, Piñata

Panel – Improbable Imaginings

Room 1B-02
3:45 – 4:45 PM

AKA Flights of Fantasy Fiction: Let your imagination soar through the fantastic tales of deadly games, royal intrigues, wuxia, espionage, and ancestral hauntings. Phoebe Cramer (Publishers Weekly) chats craft and creativity with Alex Aster (Lightlark), Alina Boyden (Gifting Fire), Wesley Chu (The Art of Prophecy), GennaRose Nethercott (Thistlefoot), and Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive).


Friday — October 7

Morning ARC Giveaway

Booth 3027
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
J. R. Dawson, The First Bright Thing

Panel – Spotlight on Leigh Bardugo

Room 405
12:00 – 1:00 PM

Meet the #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo! Ten years ago, her first book Shadow and Bone hit shelves – and now, the Grishaverse spans nine novels (including the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, the King of Scars duology), Demon in the Wood (the brand-new graphic novel prequel), and was the inspiration behind Netflix’s record-breaking original series. She’s also the author of adult fantasy Ninth House and its forthcoming sequel, Hell Bent. Celebrate a decade of Bardugo on this spotlight panel moderated by Tochi Onyebuchi.

In-Booth Signing: John Scalzi

Booth 3027
1:00 – 2:00 PM
One of the most popular SF authors of his generation + burrito chef / artist, John Scalzi (he/him) is here to sign some books 😎

In-Booth Signing + ARC Giveaway: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Booth 3027
2:00 – 3:00 PM
Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Witchlands series Susan Dennard (she/her) returns with something haunting, something new: The Luminaries.

Evening ARC Giveaway 

Booth 3027
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Annalee Newitz, The Terraformers

In-Booth Signing: Tochi Onyebuchi

Booth 3027
4:00 – 5:00 PM
The awards and accolades of Tochi Onyebuchi (he/him) cannot be contained in the space allowed by his short blog introduction, which is just another accomplishment! So, put quickly: author of Riot Baby and Goliath & delightful nerd Tochi Onyebuchi will be signing in the above place at the above time!

Panel – Leaning into the Witchy

Room 1C-02
5:15 – 6:15 PM

Enjoy a tasty brew of witchcraft, magic, and practitioners conjured up by Celestine Martin (Witchful Thinking), Andy Mientus (Fraternity), Susan Dennard (The Luminaries), Scarlett St. Clair (When Stars Come Out) and Jenna Evans Welch (Spells for Lost Things), with Liberty Hardy (Book Riot Senior Contributing Editor) stirring the conversational pot. Post-panel signing by Susan Dennard @ Table 3-4!

Panel – Tor After Dark: Chaotic Book Club

Room 405
7:30 – 8:30 PM

Join a panel of Tor employees as they discuss some of their favorite book moments, give you an in depth sneak peek at upcoming reads and indulge in some real-talk book talk–all while answering questions from you along the way. If a pub trivia night, a Reddit AMA, and a book club had a baby…well it’d be really weird but it would also be this panel–which is why attendees are guaranteed to have a good time. Trivia prizes will be given and attendees will each receive a book.


Saturday — October 8

Panel – Calling All Monsters: On Liminality & Power Through the Lens of Speculative Fiction

Room 406.2
10:20 – 11:30 AM

When it comes to power, what better comes to mind than the literal ability to fly, shapeshift, or otherwise hold magic at your fingertips? Join Geeks OUT, as a panel of speculative fiction writers discusses how their characters interact with the supernatural, while navigating intersectional identities. Discussing how power manifests in more ways than one, speculative fiction addresses how members of marginalized communities fight back against real and fictional evils. Panelists include Alechia Dow (The Sound of Stars), Kylie Ren Baker (The Keeper of Night), Claribel A. Ortega (Witchlings), Alexandra Rowland (A Taste of Gold and Iron), Neon Yang (The Genesis of Misery), and moderated by Geeks OUT Editorial Coordinator, Michele Kirichanskaya.

Morning ARC Giveaway

Booth 3027
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Malka Older, The Mimicking of Known Successes

In-Booth Signing: Amanda Foody & C. L. Herman

Booth 3027
12:00 – 1:00 PM
The powerhouse duo behind the bestselling dark YA fantasy All of Us Villains Duology, Amanda Foody (she/her) & C. L. Herman (they/she) are here to work some magic signing books!

Panel – Titans of Fantasy In Conversation

Room 405
12:00 – 1:00 PM

Join three of the biggest authors in the fantasy genre for a can’t miss conversation only at New York Comic Con! Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander) and Terry Brooks (The Shannara Chronicles) will take the stage for a one-of-a-kind panel to discuss what it’s like to build iconic worlds that keep fans reading “just one more chapter”.

In-Booth Signing: Neon Yang

Booth 3027
1:00 – 2:00 PM
In previous incarnations, Neon (they/them) was a molecular biologist, a science communicator, a writer for animation, games and comic studios, and a journalist for one of Singapore’s major papers. Now they’re a writer of award-winning science-fiction. Oh, yeah, and also signing at our booth 😎

Q&A and Reading: Brandon Sanderson

Room 405
1:30 – 3:30 PM

In-Booth Signing: Alexandra Rowland

Booth 3027
2:00 – 3:00 PM
Alexandra Rowland (they/them) is the author of A Taste of Gold and Iron plus cohost of the four-time-Hugo-Award-nominated podcast Be the Serpent, all sternly supervised by their feline quality control manager. We’re just thankful their cat signed off on allowing them to sign books with us!

Evening ARC Giveaway 

Booth 3027
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Fonda Lee, Untethered Sky


Sunday — October 9

Morning ARC Giveaway

Booth 3027
10:00 – 11:00 AM
Moses Ose Utomi, The Lies of the Ajungo

In-Booth Signing: Jennifer Marie Brissett

Booth 3027
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Jennifer Marie Brissett (she/her) has warn many hats: software engineer, writer of critically-lauded science fiction, and proprietor of Indigo Café & Books in Brooklyn! Add to that list: author we’re so lucky to have signing at our booth!

In-Booth Signing: Paul Cornell

Booth 3027
12:00 – 1:00 PM
Paul Cornell’s (he/him) storied career of writing stories has taken him from TV to novels to comics! Today it takes him to our booth. Stop by and ask for his signature 😎

Pre-panel Signing: Jennifer Marie Brissett

Room 1C-03
Table 3-4
1:00 PM

Pre-panel Signing: Neon Yang, Tochi Onyebuchi, & John Scalzi

Room 1B-02
Table 3-4
2:45 PM

Evening Book Giveaway 

Booth 3027
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga, The Devil’s Quintet

Panel – Building on the Bones: Retold and Reimagined

Room 1C-03
3:00 – 4:00 PM

Authors draw inspiration from One Thousand and One Nights, Greek mythology including Persephone’s story, Chinese mythology, and tales of fate to create their original stories. Emily Calkins (Books Content Manager at Likewise) explores fantastic speculative worlds with Chelsea Abdullah (The Stardust Thief), Maya Deane (Wrath Goddess Sing), Emily X.R. Pan (An Arrow to the Moon), Kalynn Bayron (This Wicked Fate), and Jennifer Marie Brissett (Destroyer of Light).

Panel – The Future is Not Unwritten

Room 1B-02
3:45 – 4:45 PM

It’s impossible to predict what the future holds…but these authors have a pretty good shot at it. Go on a journey from our present day to so many possible futures as envisioned by some of science fictions brightest stars. From secret kaiju-ridden islands to far-flung intergalactic societies Jennifer Marie Brissett (Destroyer of Light) John Scalzi (The Kaiju Preservation Society) Neon Yang (The Genesis of Misery) and Tochi Onyebuchi (Goliath) write stories about our futures that tell us about our present.

post-featured-image

New Fantasy Series to Start in 2022!

The start of the year is an auspicious time for beginnings, be it resolutions, workout routines, or even NEW BOOK SERIES??? That’s right! We’ve got a real hot lineup of new series getting started in 2022. 

Check it out!


Place holder  of - 27Moon Fall series by James Rollins

#1 New York Times bestselling master of the thriller James Rollins launched his new Moon Fall series in a BIG way with The Starless Crown, an epic adventure fantasy about an alliance of outcasts on a quest to subvert the foretold apocalypse. It’s got just about everything you can ask of a fantasy series: ancient ruins, impending cataclysm, bat people(?!), and a strange, beautiful, deadly world. Oh yeah, and a quest to fight the moon. 

On sale now!

Image Placeholder of - 47The Age of Ire trilogy by Scott Drakeford 

A combination of gripping, personal vengeance and compelling characters, Scott Drakeford’s debut epic fantasy Rise of the Mages kicks his trilogy off with bloody insurrection and a fallen (hungry) god. This is a series for the lovers of high-octane action. If spell-wrangling, sword-slinging, complicated heroes is your thing, check out Rise of the Mages, because Scott has something special for you. 

On sale now!

Image Place holder  of - 52Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Armageddon Code by Stan Lee and Jay Bonansinga

Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet is a thrilling, action-packed adventure series of novels, featuring an all-new universe and set of characters, from the legendary co-creator of Spider-Man, The Avengers, The X-Men, and many other iconic heroes. The Quintet are five extraordinary individuals, granted supernatural powers by the Devil himself, but who are determined to use their hell-born gifts for the good of humanity, whether the Devil likes it or not.

On sale now!

Poster Placeholder of - 88The Atlas Trilogy by Olivie Blake

Six young, ambitious magicians. Five open seats at the mysterious and powerful Alexandrian Society. Only one way to make dead sure one of those seats belongs to you….Now newly revised and edited with additional content, Olivie Blake’s The Atlas Six dark academic debut fantasy has already enraptured many during its viral stint, with millions of views on #theatlassix, and little wonder! The way these six rivals manipulate, plot against, and occasionally fall for one another makes for a salacious and exciting read. If you’re into shipping, The Atlas Six belongs at the top of your TBR!

On sale 3.1.22!

Placeholder of  -85Astra Black series by Maurice Broaddus

“The beauty in blackness is its ability to transform. Like energy we are neither created nor destroyed, though many try.” – West African Proverb

Maurice Broaddus’ new Astra Black series begins with Sweep of Stars, an expansive science fiction epic that chronicles the struggles of the Muunganjo Empire through the lives of a key few inhabitants. The Muunganjo Empire, a coalition of city-states stretching from O.E. (original earth) to as far as Titan, seeks to end the mire of endless war and build a better society from the wisdom of the Muunganjo ancestors and leadership of the elders. But the old powers of earth begrudge their progress, and would sooner see the Muunganjo’s utopia drown in flame. 

On sale 3.29.22!

Book of Night by Holly Black

Charlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make. She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Now, she’s trying to distance herself from past mistakes, but getting out isn’t easy. Bartending at a dive, she’s still entirely too close to the corrupt underbelly of the Berkshires. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends back into a maelstrom of murder and lies.

On sale 5.3.22!

Glass Immortals series by Brian McClellan

In an epicly fantastical world where sorcerous godglass is the foundation of an empire, what happens when the magic begins to disappear? In the first book of Brian McClellan’s new Glass Immortals series, In the Shadow of Lightning, you’ll meet Demir Grappo, an outcast who forsook duty and family. An outcast who is brought back into society by the murder of his mother, and will soon discover a perilous secret of magical scarcity: the godglass is running out

On sale 6.21.22!

The Redwinter Chronicles by Ed McDonald

Author of the critically acclaimed Blackwing trilogy Ed McDonald has a new series: the Redwinter Chronicles, and it rocks. If you spend six days out of seven looking forward to your weekly D&D session or still find yourself inexplicably drawn back to Skyrim after more than ten years, this is the new series for you. In Daughter of Redwinter, you’ll encounter a dangerous world of highlands and spirits, of crafty ploys and cursed relics. You’ll encounter a monastery of reclusive warrior-magi, and you’ll encounter Raine, a young woman who can see the dead. 

On sale 6.28.22!

Tales of Tremaine Series by R. R. Virdi

Every great story begins with a lie, and the storyteller and singer performing at the local out-of-the-way tavern are no different. They’re peddling their trade and claiming to have lost loves, suffered curses, and killed gods. They’re claiming to have unleashed the first evil. In The First Binding, R. R. Virdi’s exciting first installment to his new Tales of Tremaine series, the lies are catching up to them. Truth can be run from and obfuscated but never altered, and no matter how far they travel, their lives and enemies catch up. All stories must have an ending…

On sale 8.16.22!

Which series are you going to read first? Let us know in the comments! 

post-featured-image

Excerpt: Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Armageddon Code by Stan Lee and Jay Bonansinga

amazons bns booksamillions ibooks2 87 indiebounds

Image Place holder  of - 86In Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Armageddon Code, the world-famous architect of the Marvel Universe, teams up with New York Times bestselling author Jay Bonansinga to unleash a bold new superhero series on the world.

A five-person special ops unit, composed of a diverse assortment of former Navy SEALS from all walks of life, are responding to a terrorist threat deep in the Caucasus Mountains when their mission goes south in a big way. Facing certain death and torture, they’re unexpectedly offered a Faustian bargain by the Devil himself, who grants them unearthly powers in order to send evildoers to Hell on his fiendish behalf.

But “The Devil’s Quintet” do things their own way, fighting to protect America and the world, while trying their best not to let their hellish new abilities corrupt them beyond redemption . . .

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Armageddon Code, on sale 01/25/2022.


CHAPTER ONE

Over Yonder at the Edge of Nothing

1.

The C- 5 Galaxy aircraft pitches and bumps over the jagged air currents above the vast, desolate surface of the Black Sea. The cabin smells of body odor and burning circuits as the leader of a small group of passengers braces himself against the jump seat, checking the luminous dial of his tactical chronograph. It’s now pushing 10:00 p.m. Moscow standard time.

Close enough for government work, the senior operative thinks as he surveys the dead grey slipstream outside the portholes. As far as the night sky is concerned, he could be anywhere. On a business trip over the Pacifi c. Approaching Hawaii for a long vacation. Hell, the aircraft could be fl ying over the little hardscrabble hamlet where he grew up. But his true destination— known only to the other four members of his team, a pair of pilots, and a couple of suits in the Defense Intelligence Agency— is a territory in the Tartarus Mountains between Armenia and Azerbaijan that currently holds the distinction of being the Most Dangerous Place in the World. Over yonder at the edge of nothing, the senior operative muses silently. He has a million of these colorful cornpone expressions that he picked up back in his childhood birthplace of Ducktown, Texas. (A QUACKING GOOD PLACE, the man remembers the town sign assuring passersby back in the day.)

A lean and weathered former jock clad in desert camo and body armor, the senior operative is somewhere in his fourth decade, his jarhead buzz cut just starting to streak with grey. Each and every deep line and crease around his icy blue eyes has been earned the hard way. In the fi eld of battle. Under fi re. Against the clock. Balancing life and death on a high- tension wire.

Many years earlier, back at Langley, the code name Spur had been conferred upon him during Specialist Training Camp. In those days intelligence operatives didn’t have a choice in the selection of their code names. But once in a while the instructors chose handles apropos of a particular subject’s skill set. The senior operative had a knack for motivating others, as in “Put the Spur to ’em, Paul!” The truth is, though, over the years the code name became the bane of his existence, an embarrassment, but that’s how code names work. They stick to you like a blemish that will never fade.

The man known as Spur feels the center of gravity shifting in the cabin as the aircraft banks over the craggy cliffs of the Balkan coastline. They begin to descend through an invisible chute of Georgian airspace, a sense of levitation tugging at the man’s gut. Military transports approach Camp H. S. Sherman near the northern border at a tremendous velocity for planes of this size—much faster than commercial airliners—due to the constant reports of antiaircraft guns along the Gehenna Highway.

Spur gnashes his teeth as the monstrous airship slams through the thickening atmosphere, pitching and yawing in the darkness. The voice next to him sounds all warbly, as though coming through a tissue of water.

“Racking up the air miles—eh, Spur? Got my eye on that Samsonite luggage.” The wisecracks emanate from the whip-smart Latina sitting across the cabin, also decked out in camo and battlerattle, her raven-black mane tucked under her headset. Her code name, Pin-Up, is an old-school reference to her traffic-stopping beauty. The moniker had been given to her when the SEAL team recruited her out of the Second Brigade Combat Team, Fourth Infantry, 358th Police Battalion. She had been a nurse in the 358th, and had gotten hit on more times than a punching bag at Gold’s Gym. In civilian life she’d been a working actress in L.A., had shot some national spots, done a few soap operas, but nothing of note.

Now she uses her striking good looks and chameleonlike acting skills to get into places off-limits to the rougher-hewn operatives.

In the intelligence services, code names can be jokey, they can be profane, or they can be cryptic. But on many levels, they are the coin of the realm in this shadowy world of black ops and government wet work, like private passwords for obscure computer applications. In fact, over the years it’s been unclear whether the code name grows on the person, or the person grows into the code name. There’s no denying the fact that the code names among Spur’s team have taken on a certain psychological resonance for each operative.

“Just do me a favor and stay frosty, Pin,” Spur says, and then surveys the length of the cabin. “That goes for all y’all.” He gives a terse nod to the other three agents hunkered along either side of this steel coffin they call a transport plane. Two other men and one other woman. Five operatives in all. All suited up and salty. Ready to rumble. Their HK418 assault rifles on safety, vertical, barrel down between their knees. Each loaded for bear with 5.56-millimeter NATO open-tip rounds. These weapons officially don’t exist. Nor do the specialists wielding them. Nor does this mission. “Spur” will file no paperwork, regardless of outcome. Loss-of-life-in-action carries the field acronym LOL, which is highly appropriate since death is merely a cruel joke to these five ghost soldiers.

The architect of today’s mission is the section chief of the Special Expeditionary Section of the United States Defense Intelligence Agency. All of which is why the mood in this hollow chamber of steel and nylon strapping has the businesslike feel of an operating room as the aircraft approaches the base. The cabin fills with metallic noises beneath the roar of the engines— snapping, zipping, locking.

Spur unbuckles himself and stands with his rifle slung tight across his chest. “Meter’s running, y’all,” he announces to the others, his big gnarled hands gripping the rail to steady him against the turbulence as the landing gear deploys with a muffled rumble. “On touchdown, I want eyeballs on the backgrounds. Gunners are stationed in the tower, trackin’ us with the escort. We got a lot of real estate to cross to get to that fucking bird. Airstrip’s been hairy in recent months. I want lips buttoned.” He shoots a look at a wiry African American man adjusting the chin strap on his headgear. “That means you, Ticker. Keep your mouth shut and your safety off.”

The agent in question makes a zipping motion across his mouth, knowing full well that the comment from Spur is drenched in good-natured sarcasm.

The operative code-named Ticker is a man of few words. The appellation was given to him by the training staff back at Dam Neck. The word has an esoteric origin. In those days, to “tick” meant to be hyperaware of the passage of time, as in “I still got half the SAT test to go, man, and I’m ticking like crazy now with only thirty minutes left on the clock.” The code name suited this handsome agent well whether he liked it or not. Mostly due to his razor-sharp intelligence. During his tenure at the training facility, he’d been hyperaware of everything—not only the hands of the clock.

Still is today.

In his midthirties with a finely trimmed goatee, Ticker holds the distinction of being the youngest Ph.D. to matriculate from MIT’s prestigious Applied Physics Program. He was bound for a tenured position at Oxford when his social-worker wife back in Chicago got herself killed in gang cross fire. Which changed everything for Ticker. In less than a year he was enrolled in the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. Training to be a SEAL. His near genius intellect combined with his relentless drive made him a prime candidate for Spur’s elite ghost unit.

The lurch of the landing gear making contact with the tarmac vibrates through the fuselage.

Spur’s voice drops an octave, gravely serious now. “It bears repeating!” he yells above the shriek of the engines as the C-5 settles into its rattling taxi across the scabrous runway. “Even though this is smash and stash—fast in, and fast out—we’re heading to the asshole of the universe. Always be cognizant of that fact.”

Each of the battle-ready agents gives him a nod. The aircraft comes to a jerking halt, electronic pings going off.

Everybody braces for Spur’s signal, unaware of the unpleasant surprise awaiting each of them. Spur nods at them. “Let’s go to work.”

2.

At first, everything seems routine. The base is quiet and still in its wee-hour doldrums. Quonset huts, like the frozen spines of dinosaurs, radiate outward from the central terminal. The deserted airstrip stretches past a luminous necklace of xenon landing lights. Planes are lined up along the inner lanes in mothballs. In the far distance, the rugged front range of the Tartarus Mountains scrapes the dark heavens, the snowcapped peaks like ghostly sentinels. The air hangs heavy with ice crystals and petrol fumes.

Following along behind Spur, moving in the Weaver position, his rifle’s back sight at eye level just as he was taught years ago in specialist training, the operative code-named Hack wants to let out his nervous energy with his typical barrage of Catskills smart talk. Born in Flatbush, New York, raised in Crown Heights, the only son of a middle-class Jewish couple, the man is matinee-idol handsome with a mop of dark curls, and preternaturally good with anything that has a keyboard, screen, or plug. Over the years he has proven there isn’t an embassy, bank, missile silo, or drone he can’t break into. But right now, he feels the tightness in his chest that he gets sometimes when things seem too good to be true.

He puts his head down and tries to drive the thoughts from his mind.

Approaching the edge of the tarmac, Spur halts and raises his right hand without even turning around. The others stop in their tracks, muzzles up. Spur’s fist clenches. Then an index finger points to the left, signaling to the others that they’ve reached the bird. Hack sees the dark tail section sticking out from behind a massive storage container. Just for an instant, out of the corner of his eye, Hack sees the smallest member of the unit shifting her gaze like a squirrel startled by a bus.

The diminutive Chinese woman code-named Boo could kill a man twice her size with her bare hands. In fact, her moniker— proffered upon her back at Fort Meade when she was training to be a counterintelligence agent—was a bad joke started by some smart-ass instructor. She was “Boo!” as in all things dark and scary, all things that go bump in the night, all things that get under your skin. Right now, though, something about her body language speaks volumes. She seems to be experiencing the same intuitive dread that has gotten under Hack’s skin.

Another silent hand gesture from Spur, and the single-file squad of specialists moves around the storage container and climbs on board the experimental Stealth Black Hawk—an aircraft whose very existence is classified and unknown to all but a small group of aeronautical engineers and functionaries at CIA headquarters back in Langley, Virginia.

3.

In the predawn murk along the southern border of Karakistan, only the shepherds and a few scattered groups of copper miners hear the low hum approaching on the wind. It sneaks up on them from the convolutions of glacial moraines and gorges cut like gaping wounds through the mountains. One of the older miners pauses, shining his torch heavenward at the ceiling of black clouds obscuring the stars. A wizened, bearded old sheepherder dressed in the traditional wool cape of the ancient Bedouins, he sees nothing but night sky.

Just for an instant, though, the old man feels a trickle of terror running down his spine, causing gooseflesh to break out along his leathery arms and legs. He has heard that sound before—that deep buzzing noise like an enormous insect scraping along the parched earth. It’s a message from God, a portent always followed by bloodshed or upheaval.

The old man shivers as a fountain of dust swirls up behind a dark berm a quarter kilometer away, whirling like a dervish, and then trailing after the specter of death for several moments before dwindling away to nothing.

4.

From inside the low-flying Stealth Black Hawk, Spur can see the pilot in front of him, a big man in yellow aviator glasses hunched over the stick, keeping the bird as steady as a chalk line as they hug the ground, skimming along at three hundred kilometers per hour. The onyx-black helo is one of only two prototypes currently in use among U.S. forces—outfitted with extra rotor blades in the tail, a modified Rolls-Royce engine with noisereduction technology, and exterior sound baffling to keep the craft as silent as a slight stirring of the wind.

Through the windshield Spur can see the shadow-bound landscape rushing under them like a black ocean. He estimates their current altitude at around fifteen meters, well under the radar, low enough to see the cracked pavement of derelict roads and battered directional signs printed in Arabic flashing past them in the predawn gloom.

“Hey, Cap,” Spur says to the pilot, raising his voice just slightly above the droning hiss of the blades. According to legend, the bird is so quiet that personnel on the ground can hear voices emanating from the sky as it passes. “Got an ETA yet?”

The broad-shouldered pilot nods at a GPS screen on his panel. A man in his late fifties with the face of a dour bloodhound, Captain Ed Deegan is a legend in Special Forces circles. Originally a field commander in the Seventy-Fifth Ranger Regiment, Airborne, he has kicked ass from Kosovo to the Sudan. “Ten klicks to go,” he says. “That’s if the intel’s to be believed. We’ll be there in three minutes. Give or take.”

Spur checks his watch. Should be plenty of darkness left to launch the incursion. Hopefully the warlord Osamir is still residing in his labyrinth of caves. These renegade hideouts are easily breached, porous as hell, with primitive security. Makes a smash-and-grab operation like this one, as Spur might say, as easy as pecan pie. As a matter of fact, Spur wants to be back at the base by midmorning with the intel gift-wrapped with some pretty blue paper and a pink ribbon for the brass. “Copy that,” Spur says to the pilot, and secures his rucksack for deployment. Inside the field bag are high-def cameras and portable copying gear. “Give us fifteen after dust-off,” Spur adds. “We ain’t back at the rendezvous point in twenty, send flowers.”

Deegan understands.

As the aircraft slows, and a deeper humming vibrates up the fuselage, Spur shoots a glance over his shoulder at his team. They’re crouched behind him, headsets and mikes framing their faces, night-vision goggles already on, rifles up high and ready. Best unit Spur’s ever commanded in the field. “Let’s shake ass out there,” he says to them. “No drama. Watch your backgrounds. Wait for the diversionary ordnance, and then get your butts in and out. Shouldn’t be more than a handful of guards. Each with a Russian AK. Take them down first, if necessary. Move, shoot, and communicate.” He looks at Hack. “Hack, you got the point.”

Hack nods, his goggles rattling. Then he says, “Not to belabor the point in any way, but in the likely event we meet up with the target, the rules of engagement are . . . what?”

“Shoot to wound. Get the intel, and get the Sam Hell out of there. Period. You copy?”

“Like a Xerox machine,” he says with that New York City twang.

The floor of the Black Hawk vibrates up through their bones, and the g-forces tug at them as the chopper banks around a steep slope in the darkness. Deegan finds a level patch on a ledge and lands the bird. The skids hit hard. Spur feels the impact in his molars as the backwash from rotor blades envelops the aircraft in white noise.

Spur yanks open the jump door, and the agents follow Hack into the night.

5.

The cold wind and sheep-shit stench greet Spur as he hops off the ledge and lands on a dusty shelf of rock. He secures his infrareds, switching them on and waiting for the green-tinted world to materialize in front of him. A second later he sees his team like chartreuse apparitions in front of him. Waiting for the signal. He gives it to them.

They hump up a steep slope of scrub without making a sound. Two abreast. The green world of boulder fields and subalpine vegetation swims on either side of Spur, the scrawny alder trees like skeletons. He recognizes the slope from intelligence briefings. The team reaches two thousand meters, and the first cave becomes visible, its dark maw of an entrance unguarded.

“Hold up! Hold your horses!” Spur whispers into his mike. The multiband radio is set to broadcast only to an elite audience of five. A few feet away, Ticker instantly stops digging in his pack for an incendiary device. The plan is to plant three explosive charges around the perimeter. When the commotion draws the guards out of the caves, the unit will then gain entrance and search for evidence of a nuclear weapons program. Human intelligence on the ground in Turkey and Pakistan has suggested that Abu Osamir’s terrorist network, known as the Shield of God, has gotten ahold of enriched uranium. But now the look on Spur’s face in the darkness makes everybody perk up. “Something ain’t smelling right,” he says very softly.

“Chief, at the risk of being a nudge,” Hack’s voice crackles, “can you elaborate on that?” The younger man crouches behind a boulder a few meters uptrail.

“Gimme a second. Keep an eyeball on the perimeter. Be right back.”

Spur creeps around a cluster of tangled alders, then scales a rocky buttress. He reaches the mouth of the cave and pauses with his back against the edge of the opening. He raises his rifle. Points the muzzle. And then quickly moves in front of the entrance.

His chest tightens with alarm as he scans the shadowy interior of the cave. He switches on a flashlight. Nothing but strapping tape, empty wrappers, and damp cardboard boxes litter the dirt floor that reaches at least a city block into the depths of the former copper mine. A few discarded blankets and cans of butane suggest it was once inhabited, but apparently that was awhile ago. Spur lets out an agonizing breath.

“Chief?”

Hack and Ticker stand in front of the cave. Guns poised. Ready positions. “I’m no expert, but you might want to come out here.” Hack sounds grave all of a sudden. “There’s something out here you maybe want to go ahead and take a look at.”

Spur emerges from the cave and follows the men across a narrow clearing. They find Pin-Up perched on a petrified limb about three meters above the ground. She holds a pair of binoculars to her eyes, scanning the horizon. She sees something that makes her suck in her cheeks as though she’s tasting something sour. Boo stands below her, shaking her head, murmuring something in Mandarin. Dawn is just starting to lighten the edges of the horizon, turning the sky a luminous purple and casting an otherworldly glow on the landscape.

“What is it?” Spur wants to know.

Pin-Up climbs down, and hands over the binoculars. “Make sure you take an antacid before you look.”

Spur climbs up, removes his goggles, and takes a peek through the twin lenses.

His throat goes so dry he can hardly swallow. He’s barely aware of his own voice as he murmurs, “Well, butter my ass and call me a biscuit.”

CHAPTER TWO

The Center Collapsing

1.

Decades of intel on Abu Osamir paint a picture that could be hung in a gallery of third- world archetypes. Born in abject poverty in Karakistan, the son of a sheepherder, Osamir grew up in the mountain village of Tiblisia. Situated on a craggy shelf of granite, the town had the distinction in the 1960s of being smack- dab in the middle of a burgeoning ground war between the Communists and the Council of Seven Tribes.

For nearly twenty years, the Russians pounded the slender, crescent- shaped nation to no avail. The primitive people of the mountainous borderland along western Azerbaijan banded together with nothing but rusty Israeli rocket launchers, American dollars, and simmering rage to beat back the invasion. And no one profited more from the conflict than the young Abu Osamir. The stocky bulldog of a teenager traded goods with both sides, served as a drug mule between the poppy growers and mercenaries from the West, and began to build a coalition of opportunists with no allegiance to anyone or anything other than their own wallets.

By the time Osamir reached his early thirties, he was the undisputed kingpin of the Karakistani underworld . . . as well as the most brutal of all warlords in the Tartarus region, periodically showing up on the NSA’s nuclear arms watch.

Shadowy images from intelligence reports and the rare appearance of Osamir online reveal a squat, thick-necked bison of a man who favors revolutionary garb that would make Che Guevara blush with embarrassment. Berets and bullion fringe and riding boots and silver-plated sidearms are Osamir’s trademark fashion statement, and torture the canvas upon which he paints in the blood of his enemies.

In fact, up until today, at this very moment— as Spur peers through the fi eld glasses from his craggy perch— it had seemed that the only things left wanting in Osamir’s orbit were secret hideouts in bad need of makeovers. For years, classified satellite photos revealed festering caves, tin- roofed shacks, and rubble-strewn outposts that served as the meager, ever-shifting headquarters of Osamir’s operations. Now gaping through the narrow field of vision of the binoculars, Spur has difficulty believing what he’s seeing.

Three kilometers away, in a natural amphitheater of stone, a miracle of modern architecture and armament rises up in the magenta predawn glow. Part Gothic fortress, part Mies van der Rohe skyscraper, part Walt Disney house of horror, the building resembles a high-tech spaceship that has landed in the crevices of the ancient mountain range. Soaring steel-framed guard towers flank the curvilinear walls of the structure, each tower equipped with ranks of massive M240 machine guns. Gigantic mortar launchers and immense satellite dishes sprout from the dome-like roof. A cat’s cradle of thin red laser beams crisscrosses the ground level, suturing through dust clouds, giving the edifice an impenetrable feeling of “Fort Knox meets the Pentagon.”

“Not since I toured Graceland have I seen such a McMansion.” Hack’s hushed voice crackles in Spur’s earpiece, taut with tension. “What do you make of this, Spur?”

Spur swallows hard, and then whispers into his mike, “Looks like old Abu’s gone and spent some of his rainy-day money.”

2.

At this point, Spur reverts to his training, his gaze shifting around the general vicinity of the rocky shelf on which he currently crouches, his skin prickling with adrenaline. Take your time, cowboy, the instinctual voice in his head tells him. Don’t run to your death. He looks through the goggles, glancing over his shoulder. The sun is coming up, turning the green hue of his infrareds as hot as molten lava. He knows whenever an unexpected variable arises to first assess his position, as well as the position of his team.

He sees Hack’s skinny ass five meters away, dead ahead, gaping at the fortress like a hound dog on the scent. He sees two other team members—Boo and Pin—up on a ledge to his left, side by side, as still as deer in the dusky light.

“This sure as hell wasn’t in the brochure.” This new voice belongs to Ticker, his customary witticisms now stretched thin with nerves. “NSA satellite on the fritz again? Anybody ever heard of Google Earth?”

Spur rips off his goggles, and sees the slender African American down on his belly to the immediate right, five meters away on a precipice, squinting through his own binoculars. The first rays of early sunlight glint off the face of his watch—a dead giveaway. “Ticker, listen up,” Spur whispers into his mike. “Turn your watch around. Watch your metallics. Stand by for a second. Just stand by.”

“Boss?” Pin’s voice this time, accented slightly with its West Coast Latina spice. “Boss, are you hearing—?”

“I said stand by, Pin!” Spur hisses into the mouthpiece. He hears something. Actually he feels it more than hears it: a faint vibration up through his bones, intensifying with each passing second. Is it coming from behind them?

“Boss—?” Boo’s voice pipes in through the earpiece.

“Goddamn it, I said stand by. Everybody! Just stand the fuck by!”

Ticker’s voice chimes in then. “We got company, Spur, three o’clock.”

At the same time Spur hears the sizzle of Ticker’s warning in his ear, he sees a whirlwind of dust rising behind them, the vibration intensifying, the rumble of engines. Spur’s throat tightens. “Everybody, prepare for evasive!”

Almost simultaneously, from three directions, the vehicles and personnel come into view on thunderheads of dust.

It happens so quickly Spur can barely react. From the east a pair of armored Bradleys roar toward them with .50-caliber guns on the ass ends, their tank treads raising a fogbank of thick haze. From the west, snaking down a mountain road, three jeeps filled with gunmen converge. And from behind them, topping the rise, comes a battery of men on ATVs—at least a half dozen of them—aiming machine pistols as they approach.

A silent voice shrieks in Spur’s brain: Ambush . . . it’s a fucking ambush!

He leaps to his feet, and is about to call an audible—sending his people down the slopes in opposite directions in a classic evasive maneuver, tossing diversionary blasts at the perimeter, meeting up later at the safe house—when he sees the magnesium flash out of the corner of his eye and hears the sonic boom one second later. The sound emanates from the rooftop of the fortress. The comet trail of a mortar arcs out over the gorge—

and then the air erupts and everything—everything in the playbook—instantly changes.

3.

The massive explosion chews a house-sized crater from the side of the mountain twenty-five meters from the team’s position, whiplashing Spur and the rest of them backward on the shock wave.

Spur lands in a shower of gravel, the breath momentarily knocked out of him.

He turns over in the brown wind drift of debris, gasping for air, reaching up to his mike . . . a robotic singsong refrain slamming through his consciousness . . . save the team, save the team, save them, save them. . . . save them to fight another day. “Stand down!” he booms into his mouthpiece. “Everybody! W-weapons down! Hands visible where all can see!! Do it! Do it now!

He rolls over. Painfully rising to his knees, he makes a big show out of throwing down his weapons and raising his gloved hands in the international symbol of unarmed please don’t shoot.

Through the haze he can see the heavy vehicles circling, spiraling closer and closer, countless muzzles staring at him like dead black eyes floating in the dust-fog.

Then he sees a commotion fifteen feet away in the rubble, and his heart sinks.

4.

Boo squirms in the dirt while Hack tries to prize something from her mouth, his fingers frantically probing so deep in her throat that she gags and convulses on the ground as though stroking out. In any other context, it might look comical: a big brother trying to rescue the last malted-milk ball from the gullet of his obnoxious little sister.

But Spur knows exactly what’s going on and it makes his gut clench: How the hell does a mission go so far south so quickly?

Boo grew up in the Hubei Province of China, the daughter of diplomats and politicians. She lived in a beautiful area along the Yangtze River, long regarded as the home of the celebrated ancient Chinese poet and minister Qu Yuan. Legend has it that Qu Yuan, after a distinguished career in public life, took his own life by walking into the Yangtze while holding a rock. The suicide became a deeply ingrained part of Chinese culture, the act itself considered by many as a way to protect one’s innocence and life principles.

Was this the reason Boo reached for that white capsule hidden in the lining of her flak vest? Each and every member of the team has one. Each of them knows its purpose. Slip it in your mouth, bite down, and the bitter taste of the botulinum toxin will be the last sensation you will experience on this earth. The body goes into an immediate paralysis—the brain keeping secrets and battle strategies safe in its vegetative state—until you ultimately bleed out all over your enemy’s fine parquet floor.

Hack finally gets his thumb and forefinger around the capsule before Boo has a chance to chow down on it. He plucks it from the depths of her craw and throws it across the smoking crater. Then he lays his forehead on hers.

She pushes him away, her face a mask of anger and humiliation.

For just an instant, watching this, Spur’s mind swims with contrary emotions and imponderable questions. He wonders if the workplace affair between Hack and Boo has not completely dwindled. He had to step in last year in Libya in order to put the kibosh on it. Romantic entanglements can get team members killed. All of which is why his own flirtation, with Pin-Up, is a luxury he can’t afford.

In that scintilla of a second, as his mind grapples for a way out of this trap, Spur glances across the ridge and sees Pin-Up on the ground, under the petrified tree, as still as a mannequin. The sight of her in jeopardy makes the secret place in Spur’s heart pang with equal parts longing and dread, all of which sets off a series of quick memory flashes . . .

. . . that surreal night in a tent outside Khartoum, Spur alone with Pin-Up . . . the two of them fresh from a successful mission, adrenaline still running high, and liquor flowing freely . . . their faces coming together in strobe-light sparks of heat lightning . . . their drunken kisses awkward and sweaty and desperate . . . their common desire like that of a couple of parched nomads returning from the desert, furiously gulping each other’s essence . . . and then . . . then . . . pulling back . . . knowing they are about to commit the Warriors’ Cardinal Sin.

The roar of engines drowns his thoughts, the cry of voices in Arabic juicing his adrenaline. The team members have their hands up now. Faces grim. Trapped. Caged animals coiled for a fight.

The first thug to arrive is an older man standing on the passenger side of a rust-pocked Humvee, swarthy like a pirate, his face obscured by the brim-shadow of his camouflaged cap. The morning sun has reached a point of severe angles, blazing in Spur’s face, blinding him, making him blink.

“Qaf!—Qaf!—Alan!—Alan!!” the pirate leader bellows at the top of his lungs in Arabic, aiming his Russian assault rifle. “Tawaquf ’aw mitu!—Tawaquf ’aw mitu!!”

Pin-Up comments under her breath: “I believe he’s saying, ‘Welcome to Karakistan, brave Americans, and thank you for your service.’”

“LA!-TATA!-KALM!—LA!-TATA!-KALM!” the pirate calls out as he hops off the running board and approaches with the muzzle up and ready.

The rest of the ambush closes in on all sides, making a thunderous racket and raising a dust cloud the size of the Hindenburg. More thugs hop out and approach. They’re well-armed, apparently as well-funded as their Astrodome of a stronghold. One of these newcomers—a younger man with a dark ponytail hanging out the back of his cap—cries out in heavily Eastern European– accented English, “Hands behind your heads! Now! Now!!”

Not a single member of Spur’s ghost unit averts their gaze as they calmly interlace their hands behind their necks. A gangly assistant in a shemagh scarf hops off the back of a Humvee and shackles each member with a zip tie. Throughout the process, each prisoner stares at Ponytail with the stoic patience of a person waiting for a light to change so they can cross the street.

At last, the operative code-named Spur gives Ponytail a cold smile, and then says in his bourbon-soaked drawl, “Your move, hotshot.”

Copyright © 2022 by Stan Lee and Jay Bonansinga

Pre-order Stan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Armageddon Code Here:

Image Place holder  of amazon- 59 Placeholder of bn -10 Image Placeholder of booksamillion- 62 ibooks2 68 indiebound

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.