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Books to Keep You Cozy and (Most Importantly) Inside

by Merlin Hoye

In winter, the TBR is all about vibes (*gestures vaguely with hands*). What is the perfect recipe for a book that will keep you sitting for hours on end in a collapsing armchair covered by a thick blanket (steaming mug of hot chocolate and wood burning fire optional) feeling completely content and cozy? The world may never know. But what we do know is that there is an ineffable quality that some books just have that make them perfect winter reads. Here are some of titles that just have it, that special, winter-y something


a natural history of dragons by marie brennanA Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Set in a world based on Victorian England, this is the story of Lady Trent, a dragon naturalist struggling to make it in a man’s industry. She’s smart, plucky, and completely obsessed with dragons. Relatable. The illustrations in this series made me feel like a kid again and the whole thing is just so utterly charming that you won’t want to leave Brennan’s world. Luckily, there are plenty more books in the Lady Trent series to keep you occupied on those cold, wintery nights when you just want to read about dragons. And let’s be real – that’s most nights. 


the wolfe at the door by gene wolfeThe Wolfe at the Door by Gene Wolfe

Perhaps it has something to do with the tradition of telling ghost stories during yuletide but I’ve always associated short story collections with winter. Maybe it’s more to do with attention spans shortening along with the days in the winter months, but either way, Wolfe at the Door is the perfect compendium to curl up with for hours or dip in and out of as the desire takes you. Wolfe is one of the most important sci-fi and fantasy writers of our time and this collection has it all – creepy dolls, undead lovers, circus tales, and chilling space horror. The choice is yours.


the library of the dead by tl huchuThe Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu

Ropa can speak to the dead and she uses this skill to her advantage by carrying messages from them to the living. For a fee of course. When a ghost refuses to cooperate, Ropa gets more than she bargained for. Part gothic mystery, part urban fantasy, The Library of the Dead is the perfect, atmospheric read for a cozy night in.  Huchu conjures the eerie streets of this alternate, crime-torn Edinburgh immaculately and that mysterious library… who can resist a mysterious library?


The Two Doctors Górski by isaac fellmanThe Two Doctors Górski by Isaac Fellman

This is bite-sized dark academia that I gobbled up in a sitting, but don’t be fooled by its slim size – there’s nothing small about the subject matter. The Two Doctors Górski  deals with abuse, mental illness, and sexism in academia, set against the backdrop of one of the coolest magical school settings I’ve ever read. This story of a beautiful, young grad student trying to earn her degree in magical psychology is full of cozy winter vibes and sharp insight on the world of academia. Plus magic. Of course there’s plenty of magic.


from the forest by l.e. modesitt, jr.From the Forest by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

If anything screams winter to me, it’s a big chunky fantasy series and with twenty-three installments, the Saga of Recluce is one of the biggest. If you’ve been wanting to dive into this best-selling, epic fantasy series for a while but didn’t know where to start, From the Forest (releasing 1.23.24) is an excellent entrypoint, telling the story of Alayiakal, a figure found elsewhere in the series as a figure of legend. This is the tale of a man who will be remembered by history, but will history tell a flattering tale? Depends who you ask. 


Mordew by Alex PhebyMordew by Alex Pheby

If Dickens wrote a delightfully weird fantasy novel about talking dogs and a young boy with magical powers he is forced to hide, you would get something like Mordew. When the Master of Mordew refuses to train Nathan Treeves in magic, he joins up with a group of young thieves and struggles to keep his growing powers in check. This story is full of talking dogs, waifs, mud, mystery, and magic. The dark atmosphere is perfect for winter and the sequel, Malarkoi, is the same delicious blend of the gothic and weird. 


Flint & Mirror by John CrowleyFlint & Mirror by John Crowley

Historical fantasy always feels profoundly wintery to me and this dark novel set in Elizabethan England has the perfect cozy vibes for a winter night. This is the story of Hugh O’Neill, a man perpetually estranged both from his childhood home of Ireland and his life as a courtier. The magic is subtle and eerie in this one, the world of faerie always just out of reach though you catch glimpses out of the corner of your eye. Gorgeously written and full of rebellion, folklore, and magic, Flint & Mirror is all you need for the perfect winter night in.  

 

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Spring Into eBook Sales: March 2023!

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” or so sayeth the sages of yore regarding March weather. Not so with our eBook deals. We’ve got a whole pride of lion-tier eBook deals! For the rest of March, we’re proud to present great books at steep discounts in digital format 😎

Check it out!


Unconquerable SunPlace holder  of - 42 by Kate Elliott — $2.99

Princess Sun has finally come of age. Growing up in the shadow of her mother, Eirene, has been no easy task. The legendary queen-marshal did what everyone thought impossible: expel the invaders and build Chaonia into a magnificent republic, one to be respected—and feared. But the cutthroat ambassador corps and conniving noble houses have never ceased to scheme—and they have plans that need Sun to be removed as heir, or better yet, dead. To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war. Take the brilliance and cunning courage of Princess Leia—add in a dazzling futuristic setting where pop culture and propaganda are one and the same—and hold on tight.

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Attack SurfaceImage Placeholder of - 35 by Cory Doctorow — $2.99

Most days, Masha Maximow was sure she’d chosen the winning side. In her day job as a counterterrorism wizard for an transnational cybersecurity firm, she made the hacks that allowed repressive regimes to spy on dissidents, and manipulate their every move. The perks were fantastic, and the pay was obscene. Just for fun, and to piss off her masters, Masha sometimes used her mad skills to help those same troublemakers evade detection, if their cause was just. It was a dangerous game and a hell of a rush. But seriously self-destructive. And unsustainable. When her targets were strangers in faraway police states, it was easy to compartmentalize, to ignore the collateral damage of murder, rape, and torture. But when it hits close to home, and the hacks and exploits she’s devised are directed at her friends and family, Masha realizes she has to choose. And whatever choice she makes, someone is going to get hurt.

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Deadmen WalkingPlaceholder of  -27 by Sherrilyn Kenyon — $3.99

Deadmen tell their tales . . .To catch evil, it takes evil. Enter Devyl Bane– an ancient dark warlord returned to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the New World. A man of many secrets, Bane makes a pact with Thorn– an immortal charged with securing the worst creations the ancient gods ever released into our world. Those powers have been imprisoned for eons behind enchanted gates . . . gates that are beginning to buckle. At Thorn’s behest, Bane takes command of a crew of Deadmen and, together, they are humanity’s last hope to restore the gates and return the damned to their hell realms. But things are never so simple….

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A Queen in HidingPoster Placeholder of - 4 by Sarah Kozloff — $3.99

Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cerulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be. But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.

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ImagerImage Place holder  of - 1 by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. — $3.99

Rhennthyl, son of a leading wool merchant in L’Excelsis, the capital of Solidar, has his entire life transformed when his master patron is killed in a flash fire, and Rhenn discovers he is an imager–-one of the few in the entire world of Terahnar who can visualize things and make them real.

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Vallista by Steven Brust — $2.99

Vlad Taltos is an Easterner—an underprivileged human in an Empire of tall, powerful, long-lived Dragaerans. He made a career for himself in House Jhereg, the Dragaeran clan in charge of the Empire’s organized crime. But the day came when the Jhereg wanted Vlad dead, and he’s been on the run ever since. He has plenty of friends among the Dragaeran highborn, including an undead wizard and a god or two. But as long as the Jhereg have a price on his head, Vlad’s life is…messy. Meanwhile, for years, Vlad’s path has been repeatedly crossed by Devera, a small Dragaeran girl of indeterminate powers who turns up at the oddest moments in his life. Now Devera has appeared again—to lead Vlad into a mysterious, seemingly empty manor overlooking the Great Sea.

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Empire Games by Charlie Stross — $3.99

The year is 2020. It’s seventeen years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire, and the newly-reconstituted North American Commonwealth is developing rapidly, on course to defeat the French and bring democracy to a troubled world. But Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligence—the paratime espionage agency tasked with catalyzing the Commonwealth’s great leap forward—has a problem. For years, she’s warned everyone: “The Americans are coming.” Now their drones arrive in the middle of a succession crisis. In another timeline, the U.S. has recruited Miriam’s own estranged daughter to spy across timelines in order to bring down any remaining world-walkers who might threaten national security. Two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies try to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust. And two women—a mother and her long-lost daughter—are about to find themselves on opposite sides of the confrontation.

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Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton — $3.99

With the dragons believed dead, the kingdom had no more need for dragonslayers. Drunk, disgraced, and all but forgotten, Guillot has long since left his days of heroism behind him. As forgotten places are disturbed in the quest for power, and things long dormant awaken, the kingdom finds itself in need of a dragonslayer once again, and Guillot is the only one left…

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Dancer’s Lament by Ian C. Esslemont — $3.99

Ian C. Esslemont’s prequel trilogy takes readers deeper into the politics and intrigue of the New York Times bestselling Malazan Empire. The first book of the Path to Ascendancy trilogy, Dancer’s Lament, focuses on the genesis of the empire and features Dancer, the skilled assassin, who, alongside the mage Kellanved, would found the Malazan empire.

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Child of a Mad Godimage alt text by R.A. Salvatore — $3.99

When Aoleyn loses her parents, she is left to fend for herself among a tribe of vicious barbarians. Bound by rigid traditions, she dreams of escaping to the world beyond her mountain home. The only hope for achieving the kind of freedom she searches for is to learn how to wield the mysterious power used by the tribe’s coven known as the Song of Usgar. Thankfully, Aoleyn may be the strongest witch to have ever lived, but magic comes at price. Not only has her abilities caught the eye of the brutish warlord that leads the tribe, but the demon of the mountain hunts all who wield the Coven’s power, and Aoleyn’s talent has made her a beacon in the night.

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Without Honoralt image text by David Hagberg — $3.99

When Aoleyn loses her parents, she is left to fend for herself among a tribe of vicious barbarians. Bound by rigid traditions, she dreams of escaping to the world beyond her mountain home. The only hope for achieving the kind of freedom she searches for is to learn how to wield the mysterious power used by the tribe’s coven known as the Song of Usgar. Thankfully, Aoleyn may be the strongest witch to have ever lived, but magic comes at price. Not only has her abilities caught the eye of the brutish warlord that leads the tribe, but the demon of the mountain hunts all who wield the Coven’s power, and Aoleyn’s talent has made her a beacon in the night.

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Dive into Something Sweet with These Book + Candy Pairings!

Nothing heralds in the fall season better than seeing Halloween candy displayed front and center in stores. This spooky holiday season, trick or treat yourself to a good book and matching candy. Take a bite out of entries in beloved franchises, thrilling conclusions to series or start a new series, because nothing screams scary season more than candy, thrills, and a good book.

By Lizzy Hosty


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The God is Not Willing by Steven Erikson + Mike and Ikes

Like that first Mike and Ike after that dark period of time when Mike and Ike were split up (and sold candy as “Mikes” or “Ikes” only), coming back to the world of Malazan with the new Witness trilogy is sweet relief. The first book in the trilogy, The God is Not Willing, takes place several years after three warriors brought chaos to the Silver Lake. Now, there is a new threat rising for the Teblor, and they’re running out of time.

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The Devil You Know by Kit Rocha and Starbursts

In this second book in the Mercenary Librarians series, Maya has a price on her head ever since escaping TechCorps where she was genetically engineered for genius and trained for revolution. And Gray, whose days are numbered due to his body rejecting his modification, has decided to protect Maya during his final days. Starbursts are the perfect candy to eat while reading, because you can use the paper wrappers as bookmarks! Or as small tissues for your tears. Whichever works.

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Invisible Sun by Charles Stross and Candy Corn

Invisible Sun by Charles Stross is the techno-thriller conclusion to the Empire Games trilogy, and newest installment in the Merchant Princes universe. With alternating timelines, renegades on the run, and robotic alien invaders, it’s up to a disgraced worldwalker and her intertemporal extraordinaire agent of a mother to neutralize the livewire contention before it’s too late. Invisible Sun goes perfectly with candy corn – even the color scheme is matching!

 

 

 

 

Perhaps the Stars by Ada Palmer and M&Ms

In the last book of the Terra Ignota series, World Peace turns into global civil war when the veil covering the facade of utopian stability is lifted. Is the key to salvation to remain Earth-bound or, perhaps, to start anew throughout the far reaches of the stars? Perhaps the Stars by Ada Palmer can best be complemented by classic chocolate M&Ms – in Halloween packaging, of course – to get the rich, sweet taste of a concluding book that hits just right.

 

 

 

 

Isolate by L. E. Modesitt Jr. and Witch’s Brew Kit Kats

Just as the Witch’s Brew Kit Kats brings a new flavor to the standard Kit Kats, so too does L. E. Modesitt Jr. brings us a sharp new series The Grand Illusion, starting with Isolate. The novel follows Steffan Dekkard, an isolate – one of the few who can withstand empaths – and his security partner Avraal Ysella, an empath, as they become embroiled in political espionage and danger after they and their employer become targets of an assassin.

What’s your favorite candy and book pairing? Tell us in the comments!

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$2.99 eBook Sale: September 2021

It’s the start of a new month and you know what that means…EBOOK SALES! Check out what you can grab for the entire month of September here!

Poster Placeholder of - 38Imager by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

The Imager Porfolio is a bestselling and innovative epic fantasy series from L. E. Modesitt, Jr. that RT Book Reviews says “shines with engrossing characters, terrific plotting, and realistic world-building.” Begin the journey with Imager. Rhennthyl, son of a leading wool merchant in L’Excelsis, the capital of Solidar, has his entire life transformed when his master patron is killed in a flash fire, and Rhenn discovers he is an imager–-one of the few in the entire world of Terahnar who can visualize things and make them real.

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Placeholder of  -96Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

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Place holder  of - 13The Road to Dune by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson

Frank Herbert’s Dune is widely known as the science fiction equivalent of The Lord of the Rings, and The Road to Dune is a companion work comparable to The Silmarillion, shedding light on and following the remarkable development of the bestselling science fiction novel of all time. Herein, the world’s millions of Dune fans can now read—at long last—the unpublished chapters and scenes from Dune and Dune MessiahThe Road to Dune also includes the original correspondence between Frank Herbert and famed editor John W. Campbell, Jr.

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Image Placeholder of - 5The Redemption of Time by Baoshu, Translated by Ken Liu

In the midst of an interstellar war, Yun Tianming found himself on the front lines. Riddled with cancer, he chose to end his life, only to find himself flash frozen and launched into space where the Trisolaran First Fleet awaited. Captured and tortured beyond endurance for decades, Yun eventually succumbed to helping the aliens subjugate humanity in order to save Earth from complete destruction. Granted a healthy clone body by the Trisolarans, Yun has spent his very long life in exile as a traitor to the human race. Nearing the end of his existence at last, he suddenly receives another reprieve—and another regeneration.

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Image Place holder  of - 98The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

1992: After a confrontation at a riot grrl concert, seventeen-year-old Beth finds herself in a car with her friend’s abusive boyfriend dead in the backseat, agreeing to help her friends hide the body. This murder sets Beth and her friends on a path of escalating violence and vengeance as they realize many other young women in the world need protecting too. 2022: Determined to use time travel to create a safer future, Tess has dedicated her life to visiting key moments in history and fighting for change. But rewriting the timeline isn’t as simple as editing one person or event. And just when Tess believes she’s found a way to make an edit that actually sticks, she encounters a group of dangerous travelers bent on stopping her at any cost.

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Every Tor Book Coming Fall 2021

What is that in the air? Freshly fallen leaves? The smell of pumpkin spice? Oh wait, it’s the sound of brand new books dropping! Check out every book coming from Tor Books this fall here.


September 14

Image Placeholder of - 82Mordew by Alex Pheby

God is dead, his corpse hidden in the catacombs beneath Mordew. In the slums of the sea-battered city, a young boy called Nathan Treeves lives with his parents, eking out a meagre existence by picking treasures from the Living Mud and the half-formed, short-lived creatures it spawns. Until one day his desperate mother sells him to the mysterious Master of Mordew. The Master derives his magical power from feeding on the corpse of God. But Nathan, despite his fear and lowly station, has his own strength—and it is greater than the Master has ever known.

September 21

Place holder  of - 67Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead. And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead. But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days. Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.

Poster Placeholder of - 73Dune: The Lady of Caladan by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Lady Jessica, mother of Paul, and consort to Leto Atreides. The choices she made shaped an empire, but first the Lady of Caladan must reckon with her own betrayal of the Bene Gesserit. She has already betrayed her ancient order, but now she must decide if her loyalty to the Sisterhood is more important than the love of her own family. Meanwhile, events in the greater empire are accelerating beyond the control of even the Reverend Mother, and Lady Jessica’s family is on a collision course with destiny.

September 28

Placeholder of  -56Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate. But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth.

Image Place holder  of - 53Invisible Sun by Charles Stross

An inter-timeline coup d’état gone awry. A renegade British monarch on the run through the streets of Berlin. And robotic alien invaders from a distant timeline flood through a wormhole, wreaking havoc in the USA. Can disgraced worldwalker Rita and her intertemporal extraordaire agent of a mother neutralize the livewire contention before it’s too late?

October 5

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Special Edition by V. E. Schwab

A gorgeous new collector’s edition of V. E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, including: six new pieces of art from Addie’s story never-before-seen to North America readers; designed alternate debossed stamp under the cover; ribbon bookmark; an exclusive note from the author. In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After LifeThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.

The Eye of the World, TV Tie-In by Robert Jordan

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 The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs–a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts–five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light. Soon to be an original series starring Rosamund Pike as Moiraine!

October 12

Destroyer of Light by Jennifer Marie Brissett

Having destroyed Earth, the alien conquerors resettle the remains of humanity on the planet of Eleusis. In the three habitable areas of the planet–Day, Dusk, and Night–the haves and have nots, criminals and dissidents, and former alien conquerors irrevocably bind three stories, skating across years, building to a single confrontation when the fate of all—human and alien—balances upon a knife’s-edge. Warning: This book is designed for audiences 18+ due to scenes of physical and sexual violence, and themes that some may find disturbing.

October 19

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, Paperback by Christopher Paolini 

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move. As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . . New York Times bestseller To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is out in paperback on 10/19!

October 26

Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

After forming a coalition of human resistance against the enemy invasion, Dalinar Kholin and his Knights Radiant have spent a year fighting a protracted, brutal war. Neither side has gained an advantage, and the threat of a betrayal by Dalinar’s crafty ally Taravangian looms over every strategic move. Now, as new technological discoveries by Navani Kholin’s scholars begin to change the face of the war, the enemy prepares a bold and dangerous operation. The arms race that follows will challenge the very core of the Radiant ideals, and potentially reveal the secrets of the ancient tower that was once the heart of their strength. #1 New York Times bestseller Rhythm of War is out in paperback on 10/26!

The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu

These eleven stories, including five Chinese Galaxy Award-winners, are a blazingly original ode to planet Earth, its pasts, and its futures. Liu’s fiction takes the reader to the edge of the universe and the end of time, to meet stranger fates than we could have ever imagined. With a melancholic and keen understanding of human nature, Liu’s stories show humanity’s attempts to reason, navigate, and above all, survive in a desolate cosmos.

November 2

Perhaps the Stars by Ada Palmer

In the future, the leaders of Hive nations—nations without fixed location—clandestinely committed nefarious deeds in order to maintain an outward semblance of utopian stability. But the facade could only last so long. The comforts of effortless global travel and worldwide abundance may have tempered humanity’s darkest inclinations, but conflict remains deeply rooted in the human psyche. Now, war spreads throughout the globe, splintering old alliances and awakening sleeping enmities. All transportation systems are in ruins, causing the tyranny of distance to fracture a long-united Earth and threaten to obliterate everything the Hive system built.

November 9

The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Teresa Patterson

In this series companion book, over eighty full color paintings include maps of the world, portraits of the central characters, landscapes, objects of Power, and national flags. The reader will learn about the exotic beasts used by the Seanchan, witness the rise and fall of Artur Hawking, peruse the deeper story of the War of the Shadow, and discover the tale of the founding of the White Tower, and the creation of the Ajahs. In a new hardcover edition with a beautiful updated cover, The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time is a must-buy for devoted fans of the series and newcomers alike.

November 16

The God is Not Willing by Steven Erikson

Many years have passed since three warriors brought carnage and chaos to Silver Lake. Now the tribes of the north no longer venture into the southlands. The town has recovered and yet the legacy remains. Responding to reports of a growing unease among the tribes beyond the border, the Malazan army marches on the new god’s people. They aren’t quite sure what they’re going to be facing. And in those high mountains, a new warleader has risen amongst the Teblor. Scarred by the deeds of Karsa Orlong, he intends to confront his god even if he has to cut a bloody swathe through the Malazan Empire to do so.

Even Greater Mistakes by Charlie Jane Anders

The woman who can see all possible futures is dating the man who can see the one and only foreordained future. A wildly popular slapstick filmmaker is drawn, against his better judgment, into working with a fascist militia, against a background of social collapse. Two friends must embark on an Epic Quest To Capture The Weapon That Threatens The Galaxy, or else they’ll never achieve their dream of opening a restaurant. The stories in this collection, by their very outrageousness, achieve a heightened realism unlike any other. Anders once again proves she is one of the strongest voices in modern science fiction, the writer called by Andrew Sean Greer, “this generation’s Le Guin.”

You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo

TwiceFar station is at the edge of the known universe, and that’s just how Niko Larson, former Admiral in the Grand Military of the Hive Mind, likes it. Retired and finally free of the continual war of conquest, Niko and the remnants of her former unit are content to spend the rest of their days working at the restaurant they built together, The Last Chance. But, some wars can’t ever be escaped, and unlike the Hive Mind, some enemies aren’t content to let old soldiers go. Niko and her crew are forced onto a sentient ship convinced that it is being stolen and must survive the machinations of a sadistic pirate king if they even hope to keep the dream of The Last Chance alive.

Death Draws Five edited by George R. R. Martin

It’s really quite simple. Mr. Nobody wants to do his job. The Midnight Angel wants to serve her Lord. Billy Ray, dying from boredom, wants some action. John Nighthawk wants to uncover the awful secret behind his mysterious power. Fortunato wants to rescue his son from the clutches of a cryptic Vatican office. John Fortune just wants to catch Siegfried and Ralph’s famous Vegas review. The problem is that all roads, whether they start in Turin, Italy, Las Vegas, Hokkaido, Japan, Jokertown, Snake Hill, the Short Cut, or Yazoo City, Mississippi, lead to Leo Barnett’s Peaceable Kingdom, where the difference between the Apocalypse and Peace on Earth is as thin as a razor’s edge and where Death himself awaits the final, terrible turn of the card.

The Last Shadow by Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card’s The Last Shadow is the long-awaited conclusion to both the original Ender series and the Ender’s Shadow series, as the children of Ender and Bean solve the great problem of the Ender Universe—the deadly virus they call the descolada, which is incurable and will kill all of humanity if it is allowed to escape from Lusitania.

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Download a Free Digital Preview of Isolate

Image Place holder  of - 20L. E. Modesitt, Jr., bestselling author of The Mongrel Mage, has a brand new gaslamp political fantasy Isolate. Download a FREE sneak peek today!

Industrialization. Social unrest. Underground movements. Government corruption and surveillance.

Something is about to give.

Steffan Dekkard is an isolate, one of the small percentage of people who are immune to the projections of empaths. As an isolate, he has been trained as a security specialist and he and his security partner Avraal Ysella, a highly trained empath are employed by Axel Obreduur, a senior Craft Minister and the de facto political strategist of his party.

When a respected Landor Councilor dies of “heart failure” at a social event, because of his political friendship with Obreduur, Dekkard and Ysella find that not only is their employer a target, but so are they, in a covert and deadly struggle for control of the government and economy.

Steffan is about to understand that everything he believed is an illusion.

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Excerpt: Fairhaven Rising by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

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Placeholder of  -46L. E. Modesitt, Jr. continues his bestselling Saga of Recluce with his twenty-second book in the long-running series. Fairhaven Rising is the first book in a new character arc, and follows The Mage-Fire War.

Sixteen years have passed since the mage Beltur helped to found the town of Fairhaven, and Taelya, Beltur’s adopted niece, is now a white mage undercaptain in the Road Guards of Fairhaven.

Fairhaven’s success under the Council has become an impediment to the ambition of several rulers, and the mages protecting the town are seen as a threat.

Taelya, a young and untried mage, will find herself at the heart of a conspiracy to destroy her home and the people she loves, and she may not be powerful enough to stop it in time.

Please enjoy this excerpt of Fairhaven Rising, on sale 2/16/2021. 


1

In the early afternoon of fourday, the three blue-uniformed road guards reined up under a spreading oak tree on the south side of the road, in a valley whose western end was roughly ten kays east of Fairhaven.

“There’s no sign of the riders that the shepherds reported,” offered Lendar, a stocky black-haired man, who was neither old nor young.

Taelya guessed that he was about ten years older than she was. Her eyes went to Hassett, one of the most recently trained guards, roughly four years younger than Taelya herself, before she replied, “Not within two kays of the road.”

Lendar eased back the visor cap that all guards wore—including Taelya— and blotted his forehead with the back of his hand. “It’s hot for this early in spring.”

“You think summer will be even hotter, or that today’s just an exception?” asked Taelya.

Lendar shrugged. “Could be either.” He looked eastward along the road that eventually led to Lydiar, but that curved slightly to the north around a low hill roughly two kays farther east at the end of the valley. “There’s a hint of dust beyond the hill, ser,” said Lendar to Taelya, deferentially.

“Wagons, you think?” asked Taelya. “Or guards and wagons?”

“Most likely both. It rained yesterday morning.”

Taelya concentrated, then nodded to Lendar. “Two large wagons and four mounted guards. There’s likely a guard riding with the teamster of each wagon, although it’s hard to tell.”

Hassett looked from Taelya to the senior road guard.

“All of the mage-guards can sense that far,” said Lendar.

“Majer Beltur can sense farther,” added Taelya. She didn’t mention that some mages couldn’t sense nearly that far, which was one reason she was a road guard with the rank of undercaptain, a rank partly because of her actual abilities and partly because mages had to be officers, although Beltur had strongly advised her to listen to senior road guards such as Lendar.

She took out a water bottle, filled with slightly watered ale, and took a swallow. She would have preferred unwatered ale, but, given her size, she worried that enough ale to keep her going would also hamper her magery.

Almost a half a glass passed before the two traders’ wagons neared the three guards and Taelya led the road guards out to meet the wagons, then turned her mount to ride alongside the two men in the seat of the lead wagon. Lendar rode beside her, while Hassett rode on the other side of the wagon.

The man with the crossbow looked to the three road guards, his eyes lingering on Taelya just a moment longer. “You road guards are farther east than usual.”

“That’s because we had reports of possible brigands,” replied Taelya. “We’d prefer that traders arrive in Fairhaven safely.”

The man looked to Lendar quizzically.

“The undercaptain’s in charge,” the senior road guard replied cheerfully to the unspoken question.

“I beg your pardon, ser,” the trader said flatly to Taelya, looking directly at her, not quite leering.

Taelya wanted to make him swallow his words, which were scarcely apologetic. Instead, she gathered a small ball of free chaos and placed it in midair perhaps a yard from his face, letting the heat radiate toward him. “Women mages have always fought for Fairhaven. We’re also good at removing brigands.” Smiling, she let the chaos disperse. “We’ll escort you back to town, just to make sure you arrive safely.”

The trader tried not to swallow . . . and failed. “Ah . . . we appreciate that.”

The teamster sitting beside the trader on the wagon seat managed to keep from smiling, as he kept the two big dray horses moving down the road.

“You’re coming directly from Lydiar?” offered Taelya conversationally.

“We are.”

“The last traders were talking about Duke Halacut’s health. Do you know if he’s any better?”

“He was when we left. For now, anyway.” The trader paused. “Have you any word on the Prefect . . .”

“Traders coming from the west have said that he’s talking about raising tariffs again.” Taelya didn’t mention that the reason that several successful traders had built warehouses and started working out of Fairhaven was because the town only charged the tariffs required by Montgren and didn’t put the additional squeeze on traders the way most cities in Hydlen and Certis did, but then, a large portion of the Montgren trade tariff was retained by the town, and traders who built warehouses or factorages also paid property tariffs. Even so, Fairhaven’s finances were still chancy, as Taelya’s mother—the town treasurer—had mentioned more than once.

“He just raised them a little over a year ago.”

“We’ve heard that he’s had trouble paying off the moneylenders he borrowed from to pay the mercenaries who held off the Viscount’s troopers.”

The teamster looked quickly at Taelya, then away, as if he hadn’t expected something that she’d said.

“And we’re supposed to pay for his foolishness?” The trader spat, but carefully away from Taelya.

“Only if you want to trade in Gallos,” replied Taelya.

“Getting so it doesn’t make much sense to go to Certis and Gallos, not with the tariffs getting higher and higher. Hydlen’s almost as bad.”

Taelya just nodded and kept riding, still trying to sense if there might be brigands anywhere along the road ahead.

More than a glass later, the trader frowned as they approached the stone indicating that the edge of Fairhaven proper was five kays ahead. “Road’s different, since last fall.”

“It’s metaled,” said Taelya. “Packed gravel. That way it won’t rut and get as muddy. The main street’s stone-paved now, too, from one end of town to the other.”

“Your Council raise tariffs to pay for that?”

“No. It was paid from past tariffs.”

“And your Council didn’t make us traders pay for it?”

“Only with past tariffs. It took years to set aside the golds to do it.”

“Begging your pardon,” said the teamster, “but how does an undercaptain know as much as you do?”

Taelya smiled pleasantly. “It might be because Majer Beltur likes his road guards to be well-informed. That way people are less likely to pass along false rumors. We wouldn’t want traders to get the idea that we’re raising tariffs, for example.”

“I can see that,” said the trader. “Is there anything new we should know?”

“The distillery still has some kegs of pearapple brandy for a decent price.”

“What about apple brandy?” asked the teamster.

“The East Inn might have some at the public room. This year’s kegs won’t be ready until late summer or early fall.”

Taelya wondered if one would ask why the pearapple brandy was available when the apple brandy was not, but since neither did it was clear that they knew the pearapple brandy cost more.

When Taelya and the two other guards reined up on the main street in front of the East Inn, where the trader guided his two wagons and guards into the stable yard, it was half past third glass.

“Undercaptain . . . ?” said Lendar.

“I don’t see there’s much sense in riding halfway to the edge of Fairhaven and turning around,” replied Taelya. “So we can ride to headquarters, and we’ll all spar until fourth glass.”

Taelya didn’t even have to look at Hassett’s face to sense the junior guard’s dismay. “We both need the practice, and Lendar needs to stay in shape.”

“Ser . . . I can’t even touch you,” protested Hassett.

“That’s true,” replied Taelya. “That’s why we use wooden blades.” And also because iron blades striking my shields hurt a lot more than wooden wands. “But I need to get better with the blade for the times when I’m too tired to hold shields, and you definitely need to get better.”

“The undercaptain has a point.” Lendar grinned. “Better now than in summer.”

Taelya smiled at Hassett. “I won’t pick on you.” Not at first. “I’ll spar against Lendar to begin with. Then against you. And the time spent unsaddling and grooming doesn’t count.” Taelya added that because those times weren’t counted as duty glasses, but it made more sense to unsaddle and groom first, then spar, and they’d all be finished sooner that way, without stinting duty time.

Lendar nodded at her last words, as if to emphasize the point.

The three rode past the town square, where several women were gathered around the fountain, talking more than filling their water buckets or jugs, and where a few carts with goods remained. Taelya glanced to the south side of the square and toward the new Council House and Healing House. Although people called them new, they were both over fourteen years old, rebuilt after the Hydlenese had burned the originals.

She had no doubt that her mother was still at the Council House, either working with the land tariff records or dealing with some aspect of her duties as town justicer. In the Healing House next door, Aunt Jessyla and Great-Aunt Margrena held sway, and on the south side of the square was the chandlery.

The three guards turned off the main street into the buildings that served as the headquarters for the town patrollers and the road guards, as well as quarters for those road guards who had no consorts or families. Taelya could remember when it had been a rather run-down inn before the innkeeper had been exiled to Certis for failing to pay his town tariffs. And a few other things.

Outside the stables, she dismounted and led her horse inside, where she unsaddled him, then checked his hooves, before beginning to groom him.

Lendar finished with his mount before Taelya did and stopped by the end of the stall. “I’ll get the wands and meet you outside.”

“Thank you.”

Hassett was still brushing his mount when Taelya left the stable and walked from there to the courtyard that served as an exercise yard.

Lendar was waiting. “I brought the wand you usually use, and a practice jacket.” The senior road guard already wore such a padded jacket.

“Thank you.”

“And a heavier wand,” added Lendar. “The majer suggested it.”

Taelya said nothing for a moment, because her initial feeling was to reject the heavier wand. Instead, she said, “I’ll try it.” After pulling on the heavily padded practice jacket, which she needed when she kept her shields close to her skin, she took the heavier wand. The grip was about the same.

“It’s slightly heavier than your sabre, the majer said.” Lendar’s words were offered almost apologetically.

Taelya understood the reason for Beltur’s suggestion, but there were definite disadvantages to being under the command of the man who’d been her uncle for almost as long as she could remember. Most of those disadvantages being that you can’t get away with anything. Not that Taelya really wanted to do anything that Beltur or Jessyla didn’t think was a good idea, but . . .

“It’s probably better,” she admitted, knowing that, until she got used to the additional weight, Lendar would get more hits on her shields, some of which might result in bruises, despite the padded jacket. But bruises were nothing new, since Taelya hadn’t had a natural talent with blades, and it had taken her a good year to learn to even hold her own against the other junior guards. Unfortunately, once Taelya had finally reached that level, her uncle had insisted that she start working with those who were better, like Lendar, who was better than most road guards, except perhaps Gustaan and one or two others.

The two stepped into the large brick-paved circle, and Taelya reduced the extent of her mage-shields to close to her body, because, otherwise, Lendar would simply be striking at a wall, and Taelya wouldn’t be learning anything.

She began with a feint that Lendar ignored, then had to slip a slash-cut. But she didn’t counter quickly enough, and Lendar blocked that.

For the next set of exchanges, neither scored a hit on the other.

Then, one of his thrusts slammed under her guard, and the impact on her shields was definitely unpleasant, but not nearly so unpleasant as a thrust with a sharp iron blade would have been.

“You’ve been working on that,” she said, moving to the side.

“I had to. You’re shorter than me. It’s work to get lower.”

After a quint, during which Taelya had hit Lendar perhaps once, and he’d definitely landed thrusts or cuts on her shields, the senior road guard stepped back. “Perhaps you should do a time with Hassett.”

Taelya nodded and took a deep breath. She was sweating heavily, both from the padded jacket and from the exertion, but she stepped forward into the circle and raised her wand.

Hassett held his wand too high. So Taelya feint-attacked high, and came in low, tapping Hassett just below his ribs, before darting back.

After that, the sparring was more even, possibly because Taelya had already sparred, and the heat and long day were taking a toll. She couldn’t help remembering that Beltur had made her practice magery when she was tired, even when she was much, much younger, saying that it strengthened her over time.

Less than a quint later, Lendar spoke up. “It might be time to stop. You’re both getting sloppy.”

Taelya stepped back.

So did Hassett, blotting his forehead with an already damp cloth, then saying, “You and the other younger mages spar. The majer doesn’t.”

“He and Mage-Healer Jessyla were never taught blade skills when they were young,” replied Taelya. “That’s why he’s insisted that all the younger mages and healers learn them. That way we can defend ourselves some when we can’t use magery.”

“You can do better than just defend yourself some, ser. I’ll have bruises to show for that.”

Taelya smiled wryly. “So will I.”

“You’ve said you hold those shields close to you when you spar, and that means you can get bruised or hurt. Why do you do it that way?”

“Because that way I can learn how to use a sabre better for when I’m too tired to hold shields.” Taelya also suspected that Beltur wanted all the mages to understand a little about how fighting felt to those without magely shields.

Hassett shook his head.

After the junior guard left the exercise yard, Lendar turned to Taelya. “Someday, he’ll understand.” After a hesitation, he said, “You learned young, didn’t you?”

“I can remember being told to shield my mother when the Hydlenese attacked. I was seven. It didn’t come to that, but I still remember. That was still easier than what you went through, though.”

“I was a little older,” replied Lendar, “but . . . you don’t forget.”

No . . . you don’t. Taelya smiled pleasantly. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” Then she retrieved the second wand, the one she hadn’t used.

“Until then, ser.”

Taelya carried the two sparring wands to the armory and racked them. Then she took off the practice jacket and hung it up. As she turned, she saw Beltur standing in the doorway. With his bright silver hair, and his jet-black forehead—the result of excessive magery during the war against Hydlen—he was an imposing figure and likely would be for years to come.

Her uncle—also the head councilor of Fairhaven as well as the majer who commanded the road guards—was smiling. “You’re getting much better with blades. Much better. I was watching.”

“Thank you, ser.”

“It might be best if you practiced with Gustaan occasionally. I’ll mention it to him.”

“What about my starting to practice with Kaeryla?”

Beltur shook his head. “Right now, you’re a much better mage, and you’re far better with wands or blades. Also, neither of you is likely to ever fight another woman. That’s why you don’t practice with Varais, either.”

“She’s also better than Gustaan,” said Taelya. “I’ve watched them.”

“That’s not surprising. She’s from Westwind. How else have they held their own? In any case, it’s better for both you and Kaeryla to practice against men.” He smiled again. “You’ve accomplished so much already.”

“But it’s not enough . . . is it?”

“It would be more than enough if you were an undercaptain anywhere else. With all the squabbling and bad blood between Gallos and Certis, the sad state of Lydiar, and with Montgren caught between Certis and Lydiar, I’m afraid we’ll be in another war before long. I hope not. We’re trying everything we can to avoid it, but that’s why we’ve begun to train another squad of road guards.”

Taelya had wondered about that since there were already three fully-trained squads. She also wondered how the town could pay for them.

“That’s also why I’d rather have you, Dorylt, and Kaeryla as prepared as possible . . . even Arthaal as soon as he’s able.”

Taelya noticed that he didn’t mention either Sheralt or Valchar. So she decided to. “What about Sheralt and Valchar?”

“What do you think?”

“They’re both older than the three of us, and much older than Arthaal.”

Beltur raised his eyebrows. “What does that have to do with ability?”

“Sheralt’s almost as strong a mage as I am, and he’s a white. Valchar has strong shields.”

Beltur nodded. “And?”

“Sheralt’s shields aren’t as strong as mine or Dorylt’s. They’re about as strong as Kaeryla’s, but shields are really all she has so far. I mean, for fighting or battle.”

“So . . . you’re saying that together, Valchar and Sheralt might be as strong as you are.”

“Yes, ser.”

“And you’re younger.”

Taelya understood her uncle’s point. She just didn’t like it. So she said, “Sheralt’s physically stronger than I am. Why aren’t his shields stronger?”

“Because he didn’t want to learn how to make them stronger. He tried for a few days and said it made him feel strange. He also suggested that he’d rather go elsewhere than be treated like he was fourteen again.”

“So you didn’t push him?”

“I’ve had more than a few things to do over the years, Taelya, and you can’t make someone do what they don’t want to unless you’re willing to risk destroying them.”

“You made me do things.”

“You wanted to learn. Sheralt didn’t.”

Taelya was still thinking that over when Beltur added, “You don’t like the idea that I’m expecting more out of the three of you than mages who are older and more experienced. Do you think I’m being unfair?”

“It doesn’t seem right . . . somehow.”

“It isn’t,” Beltur agreed, a certain weariness in his voice. “It isn’t right that healers have to fight. It isn’t right that Fairhaven has to fight when we’ve never attacked anyone else. You know that better than almost anyone.”

“Why don’t they leave us alone?”

“Because we’re getting prosperous, and they have troubles, and it’s easier to blame us . . . and if they can take what we have, then they think that will get rid of their troubles.”

“Why can’t they see that it won’t?”

“Can’t . . . or won’t?”

“You’re saying that they’re choosing not to see the real problems.”

“Isn’t that true of most of us?”

“You see the real problems. Why can’t they?”

“I didn’t always see the real problems, and then I didn’t have any choice. You haven’t had much choice, either. The rulers of larger lands have more ways to deceive themselves.” Beltur smiled again. “You’re off-duty. You ought to head on home.”

Taelya abruptly remembered. “I do need to go. I promised to take a ride with Kaeryla.”

“She’ll appreciate that.”

While Taelya sometimes wondered about that, a promise was a promise.

With a quick nod to her uncle, she turned and hurried out of the patrol building. She had to walk home, because she had ridden a Guard horse for the day’s road patrol, rather than Bounder, although Bounder was better trained, but she preferred to alternate riding Bounder and another horse, so that she could choose to use Bounder for the more demanding road-guard duties. She’d barely walked a hundred yards when she saw a courier in the pale blue of Montgren riding toward headquarters, and she wondered what the message he carried might be.

Copyright © L. E. Modesitt, Jr. 2021

Pre-order Fairhaven Rising Here

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Every Tor Book Coming This Winter

We’re closing in on the end of 2020 (BIG SIGHS OF RELIEF), and with that comes some brand new books to curl up with this season. Check out which ones are hitting shelves near you this winter here:

December 1

Image Placeholder of - 63Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke

Poison was only the beginning…. The deadly siege of Silasta woke the ancient spirits, and now the city-state must find its place in this new world of magic. But people and politics are always treacherous, and it will take all of Jovan and Kalina’s skills as proofer and spy to save their country when witches and assassins turn their sights to domination. Hollow Empire is Book 2 in The Poison Wars series. Check out City of Lies, on sale now!

January 5

Poster Placeholder of - 70Deuces Down by George R. R. Martin

Deuces Down is the next Wild Cards anthology collection about George R. R. Martin’s alternate superhero history. In this revised collection of classic Wild Cards stories, the spotlight is on the most unusual Wild Cards of them all—the Deuces, or people with minor superpowers. But their impact on the world should not be underestimated, as we see how they’ve affected the course of Wild Cards’ alternate history. Check out the remainder of the Wild Cards series, on sale now!

January 12

Place holder  of - 6Into the Light by David Weber and Chris Kennedy

The Shongairi conquered Earth. In mere minutes, half the human race died, and our cities lay in shattered ruins. But the Shongairi didn’t expect the survivors’ tenacity. And, crucially, they didn’t know that Earth harbored two species of intelligent, tool-using bipeds. One of them was us. The other, long-lived and lethal, was hiding in the mountains of eastern Europe, the subject of fantasy and legend. When they emerged and made alliance with humankind, the invading aliens didn’t stand a chance. Check out Book 1 in the Out of the Dark series, Out of the Dark, on sale now!

January 19

Placeholder of  -98Vengewar by Kevin J. Anderson

Two continents at war, the Three Kingdoms and Ishara, have been in conflict for a thousand years. But when an outside threat arises—the reawakening of a powerful ancient race that wants to remake the world—the two warring nations must somehow set aside generations of hatred to form an alliance against a far more deadly enemy. Check out Book 1 of the Wake the Dragon series, Spine of the Dragon, on sale now!

Image Place holder  of - 67The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
Leaving behind her fashionable West Coast life, Maggie Black comes to the Southwestern desert to pursue her passion and he dreams. Her mentor, the acclaimed poet Davis Cooper, has mysteriously died in the canyons east of Tucson, bequeathing her his estate and the mystery of his life–and death. As she reads Cooper’s letters and learns the secrets of his life, Maggie comes face-to-face with the wild, ancient spirits of the desert–and discovers the hidden power at its heart, a power that will take her on a journey like no other.

January 26

Dealbreaker by L. X. Beckett

Rubi Whiting has done the impossible. She has proved that humanity deserves a seat at the galactic table. Well, at least a shot at a seat. Having convinced the galactic governing body that mankind deserves a chance at fixing their own problems, Rubi has done her part to launch the planet into a new golden age of scientific discovery and technological revolution. However, there are still those in the galactic community that think that humanity is too poisonous, too greedy, to be allowed in, and they will stop at nothing to sabotage a species determined to pull itself up. Check out Book 1 of The Bounceback series, Gamechanger, on sale now!

February 2

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

A famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild, Prince Kiem is summoned before the Emperor and commanded to renew the empire’s bonds with its newest vassal planet. The prince must marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire. But Jainan suspects his late husband’s death was no accident. And Prince Kiem discovers Jainan is a suspect himself. But broken bonds between the Empire and its vassal planets leaves the entire empire vulnerable, so together they must prove that their union is strong while uncovering a possible conspiracy. Their successful marriage will align conflicting worlds. Their failure will be the end of the empire.

A Summoning of Demons by Cate Glass

Catagna has been shaken to its core. The philosophists insist that a disastrous earthquake has been caused by an ancient monster imprisoned below the earth, who can only be freed with magic. In every street and market, the people of Catagna are railing against magic-users with a greater ferocity than ever before, and magic hunters are everywhere. As Romy and the others attempt to carry out their mission, they find themselves plunged into a mystery of corruption and murder, myth and magic, and a terrifying truth: the philosophists may have been right all along. Check out the first two books of the Chimera series, on sale now!

The Best of R.A. Lafferty by R.A. Lafferty

Acclaimed as one of the most original voices in modern literature, a winner of the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, Raphael Aloysius Lafferty (1914-2002) was an American original, a teller of acute, indescribably loopy tall tales whose work has been compared to that of Avram Davidson, Flannery O’Connor, Flann O’Brien, and Gene Wolfe. The Best of R. A. Lafferty presents 22 of his best flights of offbeat imagination, ranging from classics like “Nine-Hundred Grandmothers” (basis for the later novel) and “The Primary Education of the Cameroi,” to his Hugo Award-winning “Eurema’s Dam.”

February 9

Engines of Oblivion by Karen Osborne

Natalie Chan gained her corporate citizenship, but barely survived the battle for Tribulation. Now corporate has big plans for Natalie. Horrible plans. Locked away in Natalie’s missing memory is salvation for the last of an alien civilization and the humans they tried to exterminate. The corporation wants total control of both—or their deletion. Check out Book 1 in the Memory of War series, Architects of Memory, on sale now!

February 16

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Evelyn Caldwell’s husband Nathan has been having an affair — with Evelyn Caldwell. Or, to be exact, with Martine, a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn’s own award-winning research. But that wasn’t even the worst part. When they said all happy families are alike, I don’t think this is what they meant…

Silence of the Soleri by Michael Johnston

Solus celebrates the Opening of the Mundus, a two-day holiday for the dead, but the city of the Soleri is hardly in need of diversion. A legion of traitors, led by a former captain of the Soleri military, rallies at the capital’s ancient walls. And inside those fortifications, trapped by circumstance, a second army fights for its very existence. In a world inspired by ancient Egyptian history and King Lear, this follow-up to Michael Johnston’s Soleri, finds Solus besieged from within as well as without and the Hark-Wadi family is stuck at the heart of the conflict. Check out Book 1 of The Amber Throne series, Soleri, on sale now!

Fairhaven Rising by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

Sixteen years have passed since the mage Beltur helped to found the town of Fairhaven, and Taelya, Beltur’s adopted niece, is now a white mage undercaptain in the Road Guards of Fairhaven. Fairhaven’s success under the Council has become an impediment to the ambition of several rulers, and the mages protecting the town are seen as a threat. Taelya, a young and untried mage, will find herself at the heart of a conspiracy to destroy her home and the people she loves, and she may not be powerful enough to stop it in time. Check out the remainder of the Saga of Recluse series on sale now here!

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Once a Poet….by L. E. Modesitt, Jr., author of Quantum Shadows

Placeholder of  -42L. E. Modesitt, Jr. is a force within the science fiction and fantasy community, but did you know his first dream was poetry? Check him out as he discusses his journey below!


As I’ve said before, although I’m known by most as a fantasy author, I never set out to be a fiction author at all. From my early teens I wanted to be a poet. In college, I was even fortunate enough to study with the late William J. Smith, who went on to become the U.S. Poet Laureate. But I never got beyond publication in small literary magazines, at least partly because I believe that rhyme and meter are an integral part of poetry, a belief not particularly fashionable in poetry venues, especially back then.

In my late twenties, after finishing my tour as a Navy pilot, failing as an industrial economist and as a real estate agent, I decided to try to write science fiction, not fantasy, and “hard” science fiction at that. I was moderately successful, if selling eight short stories, out of close to sixty submissions, over six years can be called “success.” Ben Bova changed that, by rejecting yet another story for ANALOG and refusing to look at any future stories until I wrote a novel. With that semi-dismal beginning, I wrote The Fires of Paratime, and so far, I’ve sold every novel I’ve written, thanks to Ben’s sage advice, but I didn’t give up on poetry.

For a fiction author, even a science fiction and fantasy writer, I have a lot of poetry in my work. My latest book – Quantum Shadows – even has the subtitle “Forty-Five Ways of Looking at a Raven.” That’s a double reference, both to the number of chapters in the book, and to the forty-five couplets or quatrains about a raven which precede each chapter. It’s also an oblique reference and metaphorical tip of Corvyn’s stedora to the poet Wallace Stevens, and his famed “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

Quantum Shadows may be my most obvious use of poetry, but it’s far from the only one. My very first novel, later reprinted in its original version by Tor as The Timegod, contains a drinking song that the protagonist declares is terrible doggerel. And he’s right, not because I wrote it, but because it was written as such. Most drinking songs are in fact awful rhymed doggerel. Song and music are integral parts of human culture, and some of the oldest human artifacts are bone flutes, yet very few F&SF novels contain songs or musical references, particularly those written until recently, but songs can tell the reader about a culture as well as about the singer.

As a side note, one of my pet peeves about the portrayal of songs by (some) writers is when they offer lyrics or partial lyrics and there’s no rhyme or meter. Anything with an oral and/or aural tradition requires both. When I pointed this out to one writer, who shall remain nameless, that writer said, “Well, I’m translating from their language. It doesn’t have to rhyme.” To me, that’s a lame excuse. If a writer can’t even come up with a couplet to get the message across… they shouldn’t even try. Write around it, but don’t pretend that clunky words are a song.

Until the last century or so in human history there has been a close linkage between poetry and music. While this tradition continues in classical art song literature, “modern” poetry has become much more the use of words to create striking effects, unrelated or only marginally related to rhyme and meter, while the only “popular” linkage of rhymed and metered words and music, particularly in western culture, appears to be rap.

Because I believe that most cultures, particularly lower-tech cultures, will link words and music, readers will find original song lyrics throughout my books, in those places where the songs further the story. Overall, the majority of songs appear in the Saga of Recluce, invariably in ordered cultures (those dominated by ordermages, also termed “black” mages), which shouldn’t be surprising, because music is ordered and highly structured, both of which are hard on chaos-mages (also known as “whites”).

But there’s also free-standing poetry. Magi’i of Cyador and Scion of Cyador are linked to each other and to the past of the Cyadoran empire by an imbedded book of poetry passed down to one of the protagonists, and the main character – Lorn – often reads sections of those poems and reflects on them and how they relate to his situation and to the past. The book is also a plot point. For those interested, the origin of the book is revealed in “The Vice-Marshal’s Trial,” which is the first story in Recluce Tales, and the role the book plays in Cyadoran history is revealed in another story – “The Choice.” Another story in Recluce Tales – “Songs Past, Songs of Those to Come” – portrays the role of song in leading to the fall of Westwind and the rise of the isle of Recluce.

The continuity of culture and the role of song in that continuity, particularly in lower tech societies, is often overlooked by writers, with the notable exception of Anne McCaffrey and her harpers and crystal singers. That continuity is something I’ve tried to portray in the Recluce Saga where the songs crafted by Nylan and Ayrlyn in Fall of Angels show up in later time periods.

In Endgames, the last book of The Imager Portfolio, because the two main characters are limited in their conduct and behavior around each other, they write to each other, commenting on poems from a book of verse, each in order to learn more about the other. The poems which they choose aren’t “generic.” They use phrases and references to the history of Solidar, its beliefs and myths, and its cultures, present and past, which, to me, adds a depth to that society.

And, because I believe poetry is indeed universal, songs soothe the widowed Ecktor deJanes in the far future Earth of Adiamante, and Archform:Beauty, although a future high-tech mystery thriller, ends with a poem… and flowers.

 

L. E. Modesitt, Jr. is the author of Quantum Shadows, on sale from Tor Books now.

Buy Quantum Shadows Here:

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New Ebook Bundles: 11/13/2018

Here are the new ebook bundles that went on sale today!

The Tales of Alvin Maker by Orson Scott Card

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From the author of Ender’s Game, an unforgettable fantasy tale about young Alvin Maker. In this alternative history of frontier America, folk magic actually works—dowsers find water and second sight warns of true dangers—and that magic has colored the entire history of the colonies. Alvin, the seventh son of a seventh son, is a Maker, the first to be born in a century. He must learn to use his gift wisely. But dark forces are arrayed against Alvin, and only a young girl with second sight can protect him.

This discounted ebundle includes: Seventh Son, Red Prophet, Prentice Alvin, Alvin Journeyman, Heartfire, The Crystal City.

The Lord of Isles Series by David Drake

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David Drake’s The Lord of the Isles series is a towering and complex epic of heroic adventure in an extraordinary and colorful world where the elemental forces that empower magic are rising to a thousand-year peak. In the days following an unusually severe storm, the inhabitants of a tiny seaport town travel toward romance, danger, and astonishing magic that will transform them and their world.

This discounted ebundle includes: Lord of the Isles, Queen of Demons, Servant of the Dragon, Mistress of the Catacombs, Goddess of the Ice Realm, Master of the Cauldron.

Saga of Recluce: Books 6-9 by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

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A world of warring magical forces: black order, white chaos, and shades of gray.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s bestselling fantasy novels set in the magical world of Recluce are among the most popular in contemporary fantasy. Each novel tells an independent story that nevertheless reverberates though all the other books in the series, to deepen and enhance the reading experience. Rich in detail, the Saga of Recluce is epic storytelling at its finest.

This discounted ebundle includes: Fall of Angels, The Chaos Balance, The White Order, Colors of Chaos.

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