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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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Stupendous eBook Deals of September 2023

Oh? Do you hear that sound? It’s the 🚨Book Alarm🚨

Hot eBook deals are on their way! Check them out!


When the Sparrow FallsFalling lineart sparrow and cover text for When the Sparrow Falls by Neil Sharpson by Neil Sharpson — $2.99

Life in the Caspian Republic has taught Agent Nikolai South two rules. Trust No One. And work just hard enough not to make enemies.Here, in the last sanctuary for the dying embers of the human race in a world run by artificial intelligence, if you stray from the path—your life is f orfeit. But when a Party propagandist is killed—and is discovered as a “machine”—he’s given a new mission: chaperone the widow, Lily, who has arrived to claim her husband’s remains. But when South sees that she, the first “machine” ever allowed into the country, bears an uncanny resemblance to his late wife, he’s thrown into a maelstrom of betrayal, murder, and conspiracy that may bring down the Republic for good.

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Daughter of RedwinterCover of Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald by Ed McDonald — $2.99

Raine can see—and speak—to the dead, a gift that comes with a death sentence. All her life she has hidden, lied, and run to save her skin, and she’s made some spectacularly bad choices along the way. But it is a rare act of kindness—rescuing an injured woman in the snow—that becomes the most dangerous decision Raine has ever made. Because the woman is fleeing from Redwinter, the fortress-monastery of the Draoihn, warrior magicians who answer to no king, and who will stop at nothing to reclaim what she’s stolen. A battle, a betrayal, and a horrific revelation force Raine to enter the citadel and live among the Draoihn. She soon finds that her secret ability could be the key to saving an entire nation. Though she might have to die to make it happen . . .

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MordewMordew by Alex Pheby by Alex Pheby — $2.99

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. Great enough to destroy everything the Master has built. If only Nathan can discover how to use it. So it is that the Master begins to scheme against him—and Nathan has to fight his way through the betrayals, secrets, and vendettas of the city where God was murdered, and darkness reigns.

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The Phoenix Unchainedthe phoenix unchained by mercedes lackey & james mallory by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory — $3.99

After a thousand years of peace, much Magick has faded from the world. The Elves live far from humankind. There are no High Mages, and Wild Mages are seen only rarely. Bisochim, a powerful Wild Mage, is determined to reintroduce Darkness to the world, believing that it is out of Balance. Tiercel, a young Armethalian nobleman, is convinced that High Magic is not just philosophy. He attempts a spell—and draws the unwelcome attention of Bisochim. Tiercel survives Bisochim’s attack and begins trying to turn himself into a High Mage. Next in line to be Harbormaster of Armethalieh, Harrier instead finds himself regularly saving Tyr’s life and meeting magickal people and creatures. To Harrier’s dismay, it seems that he must become a hero.

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In the Garden of Idenin the garden of iden by kage baker by Kage Baker — $3.99

In the 24th century, the Company preserves works of art and extinct forms of life (for profit of course). It recruits orphans from the past, renders them all but immortal, and trains them to serve the Company, Dr. Zeus. One of these is Mendoza the botanist. She is sent to Elizabethan England to collect samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden. But while there, she meets Nicholas Harpole, with whom she falls in love. And that love sounds great bells of change that will echo down the centuries, and through the succeeding novels of The Company.

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The Soprano Sorceressthe soprano sorceress by l.e. modesitt, jr. by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. — $3.99

On Erde, Anna Marshall is no longer just a professional singer. In this world, song is magic, making Anna a sorceress, potentially the strongest in Erde. Here, a wrong note can mean death to a sorcerer, but Anna’s lifetime of training means she can sing more powerfully and precisely than anyone else. Her power does not go unnoticed and makes her a target. To survive, Anna must learn enough song-magic and understand this new world.

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Starfishstarfish by peter watts by Peter Watts — $3.99

A huge international corporation has developed a facility along the Juan de Fuca Ridge at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to exploit geothermal power. They send a bio-engineered crew–people who have been altered to withstand the pressure and breathe the seawater–down to live and work in this weird, fertile undersea darkness. Unfortunately the only people suitable for long-term employment in these experimental power stations are crazy, some of them in unpleasant ways. How many of them can survive, or will be allowed to survive, while worldwide disaster approaches from below?

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Probability Moonprobability moon by nancy kress by Nancy Kress — $3.99

Humankind has expanded out into interstellar space using star gates-technological remnants left behind by an ancient, long-vanished race. But the technology comes with a price. Among the stars, humanity encountered the Fallers, a strange alien race bent on nothing short of genocide. It’s all-out war, and humanity is losing. In this fragile situation, a new planet is discovered, inhabited by a pre-industrial race who experience “shared reality”-they’re literally compelled to share the same worldview. A team of human scientists is dispatched-but what they don’t know is that their mission of first contact is actually a covert military operation. For one of the planet’s moons is really a huge mysterious artifact of the same origin as the star gates . . . and it just may be the key to winning the war.

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Nightside the Long Sunnightside the long sun by gene wolfe by Gene Wolfe — $3.99

Life on the Whorl, and the struggles and triumphs of Patera Silk to satisfy the demands of the gods, will captivate readers yearning for something new and different in science fiction, for the magic of the future. Enormous in breadth and scope, Wolfe’s ambitious new work opens out into a world of wonders, of gods and humans, aliens and machines, and mysterious adventures far out in space and deep inside the human spirit. It is set on a ship-world whose origins are shrouded in legend, ruled by strange gods who appear infrequently to their worshippers on large screens, and peopled by a human race changed by eons of time, yet familiar.

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On Blue’s Waterson blue's waters by gene wolfe by Gene Wolfe — $3.99

Horn, the narrator of the earlier work, now tells his own story. Though life is hard on the newly settled planet of Blue, Horn and his family have made a decent life for themselves. But Horn is the only one who can locate the great leader Silk, and convince him to return to Blue and lead them all to prosperity. So Horn sets sail in a small boat, on a long and difficult quest across the planet Blue in search of the now legendary Patera Silk. The story continues in In Green’s Jungles and Return to the Whorl.

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Excerpt Reveal: Malarkoi by Alex Pheby

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malarkoi 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.

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Malarkoi by Alex Pheby, on sale 10/24/23


Her Pawns

The assassins employed by Mr Padge were sitting at a table outside The Commodious Hour, his restaurant, shaded by a green and red striped parasol, sipping at pipes of opium and wetting their dried throats with wines of rare vintage. The atmosphere was heavy with late summer pollen and the drowsy humidity of an endless afternoon. They sat, seven of them, a little slouched, long of limb, alert – though secretly so.

White, poppy-tinged, milky smoke trailed past their parasol up into the thin air, defying the pull of the Earth and drawing the eyes of wealthy diners. These good folk scowled to see reprobates of this type – unwholesome-looking, exquisitely dressed, and possessing none of the deference they ought to have for their supposed betters. The assassins pursed their lips and let their cheekbones cut, and rather than speak circumspectly of their business, they did it loudly, advertising being a necessity in their line of work, and épater les bourgeois, as the old words went, has long been their motto.

One of the assassins, whose name was Anatole, and who was dressed in a suit so tight that every contour of his lithe and sinuous body was clearly and obscenely visible, said to the others, ‘The only thing the contract killer must respect is the contract. What are we without it?’ and while there are no gatherings of assassins that possess absolute accord on any subject, this one came close. In the silence that dominated the aftermath of Anatole’s utterance, more opium gathered in every lung, and some of the seven reached for their smelling salts to bring the semblance of liveliness back to their minds.

Next to Anatole was a pretty-looking person, all ringlets and almond eyes and glistening lips, quiet, shrinking into her chair. On each finger she had rings, and every one had been taken from someone she had killed, all at the direction of Mr Padge, who had recently sequestered himself in his once, having delivered a lunchtime peroration to the gathered that had now concluded.

He had given them the contract to sign, and they would sign it in blood, as was customary. The quiet, pretty assassin was called Sharli – on that day at least – and she cleared her throat to reply to Anatole: ‘We must honour our pledges since our livelihoods depend on them.’

A waiter came with more wine, the tab going to the house, and in turn he filled Anatole’s, Sharli’s, the Druze’s, Montalban’s, Deaf Sam’s, Simon’s, and Mick the Greek’s glasses, each of them nodding to him before the Greek pushed a generous tip across the table from them all. Assassins live or die at the whims of blind contingency, and this makes them both superstitious of mind and very free with any small sums of money that might influence the vagaries of fate, the reciprocal play of which might somehow come to influence matters where luck is involved. Which is to say that they are generous tippers and hope that the world will reward them for it.

Some of the assassins reached for their drinks, jitters to be calmed, others watched the ripples on the surface of their wine, transfixed by the patterns the opium renders so significantseeming, others still licked their teeth and wondered at the time.

Padge, earlier, had hired them all for insurance.

He had paid the assassins, with promises, to kill, when necessary, whoever it was that should kill him, and the terms of this arrangement were outlined in the contract that rested between the seven of them, curling back into a scroll between the small plates and empty bottles of the long, but dwindling, lunch.

Padge had come and he had said, smiling over a three-storey platter of iced seafood that had since been eaten and cleared away, that he wanted them, for a share of a sum he would outline, to promise him that if he were ever done away with, that they would make it their business to return the favour to his murderer or murderers.

In other company there would have been a polite outcry at the unlikeliness of this eventuality and wishes given for many more years of safe passage about the city – empty flatteries – but assassins are of a different breed, and instead signs were made against the Evil Eye and solemn nods were nodded. White-haired Montalban, seven feet tall, rubbed a tattoo on his elbow and thereby opened and closed the pink beak of the albino falcon that was the emblem of his ancestors’ house in a faraway city he was now unable to name. He said, ‘Consider it done, Mr Padge,’ and though the others might have haggled regarding remuneration, this set the tone of the group’s replies.

Next to the contract, where it then was, lay seven blank pieces of paper. To the other patrons, picking at their quail bones and squaring away their napkins, these might have been seven separate bills, or perhaps copies of a list of specials, turned over so the unwritten-on sides were visible, but an assassin knows magic objects when they are put down in front of them.

This had all taken place, this meal, back before the city had fallen into revolution, before Nathan Treeves’s treachery, before the exodus, before the rising of the Mount, and Padge had said: ‘When I die, these papers will magically provide each of you with the name of my killer, or killers, and there will be a map to where they are. This map will change if they move, and the name will change if they call themselves something new. Your job – your last job for me – will be to locate the people or person on this list and kill them. When that is done, a new message will be written, and it will give you directions to my hidden wealth, which is, as I’m sure you can imagine, considerable.’

An assassin takes on new information with a studied neutrality – there is nothing to be gained from raising an eyebrow or throwing up one’s hands when others speak – but a group of assassins together know from the very smallest reactions what their fellows are thinking. It is a kind of language, this hypersensitivity to posture and flow and nuance, and though no one not fluent in body-speech would have known it, Padge’s words were shocking to the seven.

As custom dictated, it was decided that the group should all visit the Mother of Mordew, and that they would allow her to hold the contract, since all such important trade documents were deposited with her by preference, she being the patron deity of their union.

Copyright © 2023 from Alex Pheby

Pre-order Malarkoi Here:

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Thrilling and Chilling Halloween Reads From TPG!

OUR TIME HAS COME……AGAIN!

What time is that, you ask? The time of October, which means Fall, which means…HALLOWEEN! And yes, we first posted this list LAST Halloween, but we will not be taking questions at this time, thanks.

We’re kicking off the scariest month of the year with some thrilling old, new, and new-in-paperback reads from Tor Publishing Group! Check them out below and let us know which is at the top of your TBR in the comments.


MordewMordew by Alex Pheby 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. So it is that the Master begins to scheme against him—and Nathan has to fight his way through the betrayals, secrets, and vendettas of the city where God was murdered, and darkness reigns.

Book of Night by Holly Black

Book of Night by Holly BlackCharlie 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. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie Hall. 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. Not to mention that her sister Posey is desperate for magic, and that Charlie’s shadowless, and possibly soulless, boyfriend has been hiding things from her. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends into a maelstrom of murder and lies. Determined to survive, she’s up against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, gloamists, and the people she loves best in the world—all trying to steal a secret that will give them vast and terrible power.

Last Exit by Max GladstoneLast Exit by Max Gladstone

When Zelda and her friends first met, in college, they believed they had all the answers. They had figured out a big secret about how the world worked and they thought that meant they could change things. They failed. One of their own fell, to darkness and rot.Ten years later, they’ve drifted apart, building lives for themselves, families, fortunes. All but Zelda. She’s still wandering the backroads of the nation. She’s still fighting monsters. She knows: the past isn’t over. It’s not even past.The road’s still there. The rot’s still waiting. They can’t hide from it any more. Because, at long last, their friend is coming home. And hell is coming with her.

Just Like Home by Sarah GaileyJust Like Home by Sarah Gailey

“Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories — she’s come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there, beneath the house he’d built for his family. Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be? There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.

Black Tide by KC JonesBlack Tide by KC Jones

It was just another day at the beach. Then the world ended. Mike and Beth were strangers before the night of the meteor shower. Chance made them neighbors, a bottle of champagne brought them together, and a shared need for human connection sparked something more. Following their drunken and desperate one-night stand, the two discover the astronomical event has left widespread destruction in its wake. But the cosmic lightshow was only part of something much bigger, and far more terrifying. When a lost car key leaves them stranded on an empty stretch of Oregon coast and inhuman screams echo from the dunes, when the rising tide reaches for their car and unspeakable horrors close in around them, these two self-destructive souls must fight to survive a nightmare of apocalyptic scale.

The Witch in the Well by Camilla BruceThe Witch in the Well by Camilla Bruce

When two former friends reunite after decades apart, their grudges, flawed ambitions, and shared obsession swirl into an all-too-real echo of a terrible town legend. Centuries ago, beautiful young Ilsbeth Clark was accused of witchcraft after several children disappeared. Her acquittal did nothing to stop her fellow townsfolk from drowning her in the well where the missing children were last seen. When author and social media influencer Elena returns to the summer paradise of her youth to get her family’s manor house ready to sell, the last thing she expected was connecting with—and feeling inspired to write about—Ilsbeth’s infamous spirit. The very historical figure that her ex-childhood friend, Cathy, has been diligently researching and writing about for years. What begins as a fiercely competitive sense of ownership over Ilsbeth and her story soon turns both women’s worlds into something more haunted and dangerous than they could ever imagine.

The Echo WifeThe Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey by Sarah Gailey

“I’m embarrassed, still, by how long it took me to notice. Everything was right there in the open, right there in front of me, but it still took me so long to see the person I had married. It took me so long to hate him.” Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband. Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and both Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.

You Let Me InYou Let Me In by Camilla Bruce by Camilla Bruce

Cassandra Tipp is dead…or is she? After all, the notorious recluse and eccentric bestselling novelist has always been prone to flights of fancy—everyone in town remembers the shocking events leading up to Cassie’s infamous trial (she may have been acquitted, but the insanity defense only stretches so far). Cassandra Tipp has left behind no body—just her massive fortune, and one final manuscript. Then again, there are enough bodies in her past—her husband Tommy Tipp, whose mysterious disembowelment has never been solved, and a few years later, the shocking murder-suicide of her father and brother. Cassandra Tipp will tell you a story—but it will come with a terrible price. What really happened, out there in the woods—and who has Cassie been protecting all along? Read on, if you dare…Get it in paperback now!

Certain Dark ThingsCertain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized. Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

SlewfootSlewfoot by Brom by Brom

Connecticut, 1666. An ancient spirit awakens in a dark wood. The wildfolk call him Father, slayer, protector. The colonists call him Slewfoot, demon, devil. To Abitha, a recently widowed outcast, alone and vulnerable in her pious village, he is the only one she can turn to for help.mTogether, they ignite a battle between pagan and Puritan – one that threatens to destroy the entire village, leaving nothing but ashes and bloodshed in their wake. “If it is a devil you seek, then it is a devil you shall have!” This terrifying tale of bewitchery features more than two dozen of Brom’s haunting paintings, fully immersing readers in this wild and unforgiving world.

The Last House on Needless StreetThe Last House On Needless Street by Catriona Ward by Catriona Ward

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three. A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time. A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory. And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible. An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

HEXHEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

The Living DeadThe Living Dead by George A. Romero & Daniel Kraus by George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus

It begins with one body. A pair of medical examiners find themselves battling a dead man who won’t stay dead. It spreads quickly. In a Midwestern trailer park, a Black teenage girl and a Muslim immigrant battle newly-risen friends and family. On a US aircraft carrier, living sailors hide from dead ones while a fanatic makes a new religion out of death. At a cable news station, a surviving anchor keeps broadcasting while his undead colleagues try to devour him. In DC, an autistic federal employee charts the outbreak, preserving data for a future that may never come. Everywhere, people are targeted by both the living and the dead. We think we know how this story ends. We. Are. Wrong.

Nothing But Blackened TeethNothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw by Cassandra Khaw

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company. It’s the perfect venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends, brought back together to celebrate a wedding. A night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare as secrets get dragged out and relationships are tested. But the house has secrets too. Lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart. And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

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Excerpt: Mordew by Alex Pheby

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Image Place holder  of - 37Alex Pheby’s Mordew launches an astonishingly inventive epic fantasy trilogy.

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. Great enough to destroy everything the Master has built. If only Nathan can discover how to use it.

So it is that the Master begins to scheme against him—and Nathan has to fight his way through the betrayals, secrets, and vendettas of the city where God was murdered, and darkness reigns.

Propulsive, compulsively readable, full of unforgettable characters and a talking dog who wants to be a philosopher, Mordew is an epic fantasy strange, new, and terrifyingly alive.

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Mordew by Alex Pheby, on sale in paperback 10/18/22.


1

The southern slums of the great city of Mordew shook to the concussion of waves and firebirds crashing against the Sea Wall. Daylight, dim and grey through the thick clouds, barely illuminated what passed for streets, but the flickering burst of each bird flashed against the overcast like red lightning. Perhaps today the Master’s barrier would fail, drowning them all. Perhaps today the Mistress would win.

Out of the shadows a womb-born boy, Nathan Treeves, trudged through the heavy mist. His father’s old boots were too big, and his thick, woollen knee socks were sodden. Every step rubbed his blisters, so he slid his feet close to the ground, furrowed them like ploughs through the Living Mud.

He made his way along what slum-dwellers called the Promenade: a pockmarked scar which snaked from the Sea Wall to the Strand. It weaved between hovels lashed together from brine-swollen driftwood decorated with firebird feathers. Behind him he left his parents and all their troubles. Though his errand was as urgent as ever, he went slowly: a dying father, riddled with lungworms, is pressing business, and medicine doesn’t come cheap, but Nathan was just a boy. No boy runs towards fear eagerly.

In his fists Nathan twisted his pillowcase; his knuckles shone through the dirt.

He was walking to the Circus, that depression in the earth where the dead-life grew larger. Here, if fortune allowed, flukes could be found, choking in the Mud. The journey would take him an hour though, at least, and there was no guarantee of anything.

All around, the detritus that insulated one home from another creaked and trembled at the vibrations of the Wall and the movement of vermin. Though Nathan was no baby, his imagination sometimes got the better of him, so he kept to the middle of the Promenade. Here he was out of the reach of the grasping claws and the strange, vague figures that watched from the darkness, though the middle was where the writhing Mud was deepest. It slicked over the toes of his boots, and occasionally dead-life sprats were stranded on them, flicking and curling. These he kicked away, even if it did hurt his blisters.

No matter how hungry he was, he would never eat dead-life.

Dead-life was poison.

From nearby came the tolling of a handbell. It rang slow and high, announcing the arrival of the Fetch’s cart. From the shacks and hovels grown-ups emerged eagerly, doors drawn aside to reveal their families crowded within. Nathan was an only child, but he was a rarity in the slums. It wasn’t unusual for a boy to have ten, even fifteen brothers and sisters: the fecundity of the slum-dwellers was enhanced by the Living Mud, it was said. Moreover, womb-born children were matched in number by those of more mysterious provenance, who might be found in the dawn light, mewling in a corner, unexpected and unwelcome.

When overextended mothers and fathers heard the Fetch’s bell they came running out, boy-children in their arms, struggling, and paid the cart-man to take them to the Master, where they might find work. So were these burdens, almost by alchemy, turned into regular coin – which the Fetch also delivered, for a cut.

Nathan watched as coins were given, children taken, coins taken, children returned, then he turned his back on it all and went on.

The further he walked from his home, the less the drumbeat on the Sea Wall troubled his ears. There was something in the sheer volume of that noise up close which lessened the other senses and bowed the posture. But when Nathan came gradually onto the Strand where it intersected the Promenade and led towards the Circus, he was a little straighter than he had been, a little taller, and much more alert. There were other slum-dwellers here too, so there was more to be alert to – both good and bad.

Up ahead there was a bonfire, ten feet high. Nathan stopped to warm himself. A man, scarred and stooped, splashed rendered fat at the flames, feeding them, keeping the endless rainwater from putting the wood out. On the pyre was an effigy of the Mistress, crouched obscenely over the top, her legs licked with fire, her arms directing unseen firebirds. Her face was an ugly scowl painted on a perished iron bucket, her eyes two rust holes. Nathan picked up a stone and threw it. It arced high and came down, clattering the Mistress, tipping her head over.

People came to the Strand to sell what bits of stuff they had to others who had the wherewithal to pay. The sellers raised themselves out of the Mud on old boxes and sat with their wares arranged neatly in front of them on squares of cloth. If he’d had the money Nathan could have got string and nets and catapults and oddments of flat glass and sticks of meat (don’t ask of what). Today there was a glut of liquor, sold off cheap in wooden cups, from barrels marked with the red merchant crest. There was no way this had been come by legally – the merchants kept a firm grip on their stock and didn’t sell into the slums – so it was either stolen or salvaged. Drinkers wouldn’t know, either way, until it was drunk. If it was stolen, then buyers got nothing worse than a headache the next day, but if it was salvaged then that was because it was bad and had been thrown overboard to be washed up port-side. Bad liquor made you blind.

Nathan wouldn’t have bought it anyway – he didn’t like the taste – and he had no coins and nothing much to barter with except his pillowcase and the handkerchief in his pocket, so he joined the other marching children, eyes to the floor, watching out for movement in the Living Mud.

He didn’t recognise anyone, but he wasn’t looking – it was best to keep your distance and mind your own business: what if one of them took notice and snatched whatever was in your bag on the way home?

There were some coming back, bags wriggling. Others’ bags were still, but heavy. A few had nothing but tears in their eyes – too cowardly, probably, to venture deep enough into the Mud. Nathan could have stolen from those who had made a catch, grabbed what they had and run, but he wasn’t like that.

He didn’t need to be.

As he got closer, the Itch pricked at his fingertips. It knew, the Itch, when and where it was likely to be used, and it wasn’t far now. “Don’t Spark, not ever!” His father used to stand over him, when Nathan was very small, serious as he wagged his finger, and Nathan was a good boy… But even good boys do wrong, now and again, don’t they? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between good and bad, anyway, between right and wrong. His father needed medicine, and the Itch wanted to be used.

Above, a stray firebird struggled up into the clouds, weighed down by a man hanging limp below it.

The Strand widened; the street vendors became fewer. Here was a crowd, nervous, a reluctant semicircular wall of children, nudging and pushing and stepping back and forwards. Nathan walked where there weren’t so many backs and shouldered his way through. He wasn’t any keener than the others, he wasn’t any braver, but none of them had the Itch, and now it was behind his teeth and under his tongue, tingling. It made him impatient.

The wall was three or four deep and it parted for him, respecting his eagerness, or eager itself to see what might become of him. A dog-faced girl licked her teeth. A grey, gormless boy with a bald patch reached for him, then thought better of it and returned his hand to his chest.

When he was through, Itch or no Itch, he stood with the others at the edge for a moment.

In front was a circle marked by the feet of the children who surrounded it, large enough so that the faces on the other side were too distant to make out, but not so large that you couldn’t see that they were there. The ground gave way and sloped, churned up, down to a wide Mud-filled pit. Some stood in it, knee deep at the edges, waist deep further out. At the distant middle they were up to their necks, eyes shut, mouths upturned, fishing in the writhing thickness by feel. These in the middle had the best chance of finding a fluke – the complexity of the organisms generated by the Living Mud, it was said, was a function of the amount of it gathered in one place – while those nearer the edge made do with sprats.

Nathan took a breath and strode down the slope, the enthusiasm of the Itch dulling the pain of his blisters until he could barely feel them. When he had half-walked, half-slid his way to the shallows he clamped his pillowcase between his teeth, first to protect it from getting lost, but also, for later, to stop dead-life finding its way into his mouth.

The Mud was thick, but that didn’t stop it getting past his socks and into his shoes. He had to think hard not to picture new spawned dead-life writhing between his toes.

Deeper and there were things brushing his knees, some the size of a finger, moving in the darkness. Then, occasionally, the touch of something on his thighs, seeking, groping, flinching away by reflex. There was nothing to fear – he told himself – since whatever these things were, they had no will, and would be dead in minutes, dissolving back into the Living Mud. They meant no harm to anyone. They meant nothing.

When the Mud was up to his waist, he turned back to look the way he had come. The circle of children jostled and stared, but no one was paying him particular attention, nor was there anyone near him.

The Itch was almost unbearable.

His father said never to use it. Never use it. He couldn’t have been clearer. Never, finger wagging. So, Nathan reached into the Mud, Itch restrained, and fished with the others. Flukes could be found. He had seen them: self-sustaining living things. If he could catch hold of one, then he wouldn’t have to betray his father. He moved his hands, opening and closing through the Mud, the sprats slipping between his fingers. There was always a chance.

As he felt for things below the surface, he stared upward at the slow spiral of the Glass Road. It showed as a spider’s web glint that looped above him, held in the air by the magic of the Master. If Nathan turned his head and looked from the side of his eyes it became clearer, a high pencil line of translucence leading off to the Master’s Manse.

What did the Master think of the Circus? Did he even know it existed?

There! Nathan grabbed at a wrist’s thickness of something and pulled it above the surface. It was like an eel, brown-grey, jointed with three elbows. Its ends were frayed, and it struggled to be free. There was the hint of an eye, the suspicion of gills, what might have been a tooth, close to the surface, but as Nathan held it, it lost its consistency, seeming to drain away into the Mud from each end.

No good.

If it had held, he might have got a copper or two from someone – its skin useful for glove-making, the bones for glue, but it was gone, dissolving into its constituents, unwilling or unable to retain its form.

Now the Itch took over. There is only so much resistance a boy can muster, and what was so bad? They needed medicine, and he either blacked his eyes or made a fluke. Wasn’t this better?

He glanced surreptitiously to both sides and put his hands beneath the Mud. He bent his knees, and it was as easy as anything, natural as could be. He simply Scratched, and the Itch was released. It sent a Spark down into the Living Mud and, with the relief of the urge, pleasure of a sort, and a faint, blue light that darted into the depths.

Nothing happened for a moment – the relief became a slight soreness, like pulling off a scab. Then the Mud began to churn, the churning bubbled, the bubbling thrashed, and then there was something between his hands, which he raised.

Each fluke is unique. This one was a bundle of infant limbs – arms, legs, hands, feet – a tangle of wriggling living parts. When the children in the circle spied it, they gasped. It was a struggle to keep his grip, but Nathan took his pillowcase from between his teeth and forced the fluke into it. He slung it over his shoulder where it kicked and poked and whacked him in the back as he trudged in the rain, back to shore.

II

The tannery was deep in the slums, and the whole journey there Nathan shielded his pillowcase from the gaze of onlookers whether they were children, hawkers or slum folk. This fluke would never live into childhood – it was too corrupted and had no mouth to breathe with, or eat – but that didn’t seem to discourage it; the deadlife in it provoked it to ever harder blows on Nathan’s back, which bruised where they landed.

He walked back past the bonfire. The effigy of the Mistress was gone now, burned to ash. The bucket that had made her head was resting hot in the Living Mud, singeing the dead-life, making it squeak. A woman and her granddaughter, possibly, were throwing scraps of food, inedible offal, into what was left of the fire: offerings to the Master, sacrifices for luck.

Along the way a group of children were beating at something with sticks while others watched. Nathan slowed – justice in the slums was vicious, brutal, but worst of all infectious; if this was a righteous crowd, he wanted to avoid becoming an object for it. In the middle of them there was something red, struggling, rearing, reaching. Nathan took a few steps closer: it was a firebird, a broken thing near to death. Few firebirds made it past the Sea Wall, and those that did were always worse for whatever defence the Master employed. This one was gashed across the chest, rolling and bleating, its arms hanging limp, bucking with one good rear leg. Its wings were bare spines and torn membranes.

One child brought a heavy plank down across the length of its skull and a shout went up as the thing slumped. The spectators rushed in, pulling out handfuls of feathers, whooping and cheering, plucking it bald. Nathan looked away, but its woeful face, dull-eyed and slack-jawed, crept in at the corner of his thoughts.

He took a different way back, longer, and came to the tanner’s gate. Harsh, astringent pools filled with milk of lime made Nathan’s eyes hurt, but he was glad to drop the bundle on the ground, where it twisted and bucked and splashed.

He rang the tanner’s bell, hoping the daughter was busy and that the old man would answer – the tanning liquids had got to him over the years, and now he was soft, confused.

Nathan was in luck: the old man was there like a shot, as if he had been waiting just out of sight. He was small, scarcely taller than a boy, brown as a chestnut, shiny as worn leather. Without troubling to ask, he took Nathan’s pillowcase and looked inside. His eyes widened, cataracts showing bluewhite in the gloom, and then quickly narrowed again. ‘A limb baby,’ he said to himself, not quietly enough, and then numbers passed across his lips as he counted the arms and legs and things that were neither. ‘What do you want for it? I’ll give you twenty.’

Nathan didn’t smile, but he would have taken ten. He had taken ten before, but when a man offers you twenty you don’t settle for it. ‘Fifty,’ he managed, his voice betraying nothing.

Now the tanner threw up his arms in comic dismay. ‘Do you take me for a fluke myself? I wasn’t born yesterday.’ He looked back at the tannery, perhaps to check with his daughter, perhaps to check to make sure his daughter wasn’t watching. ‘I’m no fool,’ he mumbled. ‘Twenty-five.’

Twenty was more than Nathan needed, but there is something in slum living that trains a boy to make the most of an opportunity. He reached out for his pillowcase. ‘If you don’t want it, I’ll take it to the butcher,’ he said, and pulled.

The tanner didn’t let go. ‘Thirty then, but not a brass more.’ He rubbed his sleeve across his lips, and then wet them again, ‘I’ll admit it: we’ve got an order for gloves…’ He looked back to the tannery, squinted and frowned as if he was thinking.

Nathan let go and held out his other hand before the old man could change his mind.

From a satchel at his waist, the tanner took the coins, slowly and carefully, scrutinising each and biting it to make sure he hadn’t mistaken one metal for another with his bad eyes. Once the last one was handed over, he turned, swung the pillowcase hard against the killing post, and slammed the gate.

Nathan cursed, realising too late that the tanner had taken the pillowcase with him.

Copyright © Alex Pheby 2021

Pre-order Mordew in Paperback Here:

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On the (Digital) Road: Tor Author Events in December 2021

We are in a time of social distancing, but your favorite Tor authors are still coming to screens near you in the month of December! Check out where you can find them here.

Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo: Tor Goes International

Alex Pheby author photo (left) Mordew cover (right) Kerstin Hall author photo (left) Star Eater cover (right)Shelley Parker-Chan author photo (left) She Who Became the Sun cover (right) A. K. Larkwood author photo (left) The Unspoken Name cover (right)

Friday, December 10
Virtual Screening

Featuring A. K. Larkwood, Alex Pheby, Freya Marske, Kerstin Hall, and Shelley Parker-Chan
10:00 AM CLT


Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo: Waiter There’s Some Sci Fi In My Fantasy!

James Rollins author photo (left) The Starless Crown (right)

Ryka Aoki author photo (left) Light From Uncommon Stars cover (right) John Scalzi author photo (left) Kaiju Preservation Society (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, December 10
Virtual Screening

Featuring James Rollins, Ryka Aoki, Tochi Onyebuchi, Jay Bonansinga, Neon Yang, and John Scalzi
10:00 AM CLT

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On the (Digital) Road: Tor Author Events in September 2021

We are in a time of social distancing, but your favorite Tor authors are still coming to screens near you in the month of September! Check out where you can find them here.

Christopher Paolini, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

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Monday, September 6
A Room of One’s Own, in conversation with J. S. Dewes
Crowdcast
7:00 PM ET

Tuesday, September 14
In conversation with Jay Kristoff, multiple venues
Zoom
7:00 PM PT

Daniel Kraus, The Living Dead

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Tuesday, September 7
University Bookstore, in conversation with Colleen O’Halloran
Zoom
6:00 PM PT

Kit Rocha, The Devil You Know

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Wednesday, September 8
Love’s Sweet Arrow/Tubby & Coos, in conversation with Jessie Mihalik & Jeaniene Frost
Crowdcast
TBD

TJ Klune, Under the Whispering Door

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Wednesday, September 22
Anderson’s Bookshop
Zoom
8:00 PM ET

Thursday, September 23
An Unlikely Story, in conversation with V. E. Schwab
Crowdcast
6:00 PM ET

Friday, September 24
Loyalty Books
TBD
8:00 PM ET

Thursday, September 30
Charis Books, in conversation with Ryka Aoki
Sign Up
7:30 PM ET

Alex Pheby, Mordew

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Monday, September 27
Mysterious Galaxy, in conversation with Christopher Buehlman
Crowdcast
9:00 PM ET

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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

Placeholder of  -66Mordew 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 - 86Under 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.

Image Placeholder of - 2Dune: 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

Image Place holder  of - 2Light 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.

Poster Placeholder of - 10Invisible 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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#ICYMI- A Recap of TorCon 2021

A big THANK YOU to all our amazing friends and fans who joined us for TorCon 2021. We hope you had an amazing time and hope to see you again for our next virtual event!

If you’re bummed you couldn’t make it to all of the activities, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. You can see the recordings of almost all of TorCon PLUS some short recaps here!

Gillian Flynn and Catriona Ward, in conversation

Catriona Ward’s twisty and terrifying The Last House on Needless Street is one of the most anticipated books of the fall–and who better to join her to discuss all things thrilling and chilling than #1 New York Times bestselling author Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Dark Places, Sharp Objects)? Check out this powerhouse duo here! Thank you to Den of Geek for co-hosting.

Rewatch below via Facebook:

Chaotic Storytelling–Take 2!

It’s time for Chaotic Storytelling: 2 Chaotic, 2 Furious! Christopher Buehlman (The Blacktongue Thief), J.S. Dewes (The Last Watch), Andrea Hairston (Master of Poisons), Jenn Lyons (The House of Always), and Neil Sharpson (When the Sparrow Falls) incorporated writing prompts from the audience to create a brand new story—and talk about their craft and inspirations along the way. This panel was co-hosted by LitHub and moderated by Drew Broussard.

Rewatch below via Facebook:

Nightfire Family *Blood* Feud

Our new horror imprint, Nightfire, brought together some of your favorite horror and gothic authors as they went head-to-head in a horror-inspired version of the favorite game show… What tropes are fan favorites? Which movie franchise is the scariest? Check out Gretchen Felker-Martin (Manhunt), Cassandra Khaw (Nothing But Blackened Teeth), Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Hex, Echo), Silvia Moreno Garcia (Certain Dark Things), and host Lee Mandelo (Summer Sons) as they found out during Nightfire’s Horror Feud!

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Holly Black & James Rollins in conversation

Holly Black joined James Rollins to discuss his new epic novel, The Starless Crown–plus an exclusive announcement for Holly’s fans! Check out these two #1 New York Times bestsellers as they talked bringing the thrills to fantasy, fighting the moon, stealing a god, new projects…and even a sneak peek at some of their latest work. Holly announced her adult debut from Tor, coming next summer, Book of Night. This panel was co-hosted by Den of Geek.

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All the Feels: Emotional Storytelling in SFF

SFF has the coolest story elements, but the *real* reason we love these books is that they hit us right in the feels. Becky Chambers (A Psalm for the Wild-Built), Kerstin Hall (Star Eater), T.L. Huchu (The Library of the Dead), Alex Pheby (Mordew), Lucinda Roy (The Freedom Race), and moderator TJ Klune (Under the Whispering Door) joined us to discuss making stories more than just words on a page, and mastermind an evil plot to make us have FEELINGS!

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Ethereal & Eerie: A Glimpse at Captivating Fall Reads

Catch a glimpse of fall’s most ethereal and eerie reads from authors Alix E. Harrow (A Spindle Splintered), Freya Marske (A Marvellous Light), Lee Mandelo (Summer Sons), Zin E. Rocklyn (Flowers for the Sea), and Catherynne M. Valente (Comfort Me With Apples). Moderated by Seanan McGuire (Where the Drowned Girls Go).

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Charlie Jane Anders & TJ Klune in conversation

Check out internationally bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders (Victories Greater than Death, Never Say You Can’t Survive) in conversation with New York Times and USA Today bestselling author TJ Klune (The House in the Cerulean Sea, Flash Fire) as they discussed writing SFF for adults and teens, crafting authentic queer narratives, and everlasting fictional characters that stay with readers long after they’ve finished the book. This panel was co-hosted by Den of Geek.

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Space is Gay!

Only two things are infinite: Space and Gay. Check out Charlie Jane Anders (Victories Greater than Death), Ryka Aoki (Light From Uncommon Stars), A.K. Larkwood (The Unspoken Name), Everina Maxwell (Winter’s Orbit), and moderator K.M. Szpara (First, Become Ashes) as they discussed queer science fiction spaces, extraterrestrial OTPs, and how in space, no one can hear your gay pining. Attendees were able to enter for a chance to win one of Tor’s limited edition Space is Gay pins.

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Conjuring the Diaspora: Myths, Legends, and Classics Reimagined

Check out authors Ryka Aoki (Light From Uncommon Stars), Aliette de Bodard (Fireheart Tiger), Shelley Parker-Chan (She Who Became the Sun), and Nghi Vo (The Chosen and the Beautiful) for a discussion of how the Asian diaspora intersects with storytelling in the speculative fiction space. This panel was co-hosted with the Bronx Book Festival.

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Jo Firestone & Joe Pera in conversation

Joe Pera, from the Adult Swim show Joe Pera Talks With You, has been lauded for his warmhearted comedic stylings. Now, check out him and Jo Firestone to present a preview of his first book! A Bathroom Book for People Not Pooping or Peeing but Using the Bathroom as an Escape is a funny and sincere guide to regaining calm and confidence when you’re hiding in the bathroom from life’s stresses. This panel was co-hosted by Den of Geek. It is not available for rewatch.

TorCon 2021 Presents: Cooking the Books!

As a special treat, we asked three of our authors to share some of their favorite food-related tidbits. Check out their choices below!


Becky Chambers, author of A Psalm for the Wild-Built, shared some of her favorite teas with the audience, DRAMATIC READING STYLE.

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J. S. Dewes, author of The Last Watch, shared her quest to find the best gum! Do you agree with her choices?

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Aliette de Bodard, author of Fireheart Tiger, made a strong cup of tea to give a ‘cheers’ to the final day of the convention.

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New SFF Series We’re Hyped for in 2021!

It’s a new year and that means (you guessed it) NEW BOOK SERIES!!! From sharp contemporary fantasy to explosive speculative fiction, check out this round-up of the stunning new SFF series we have for you in 2021.


penaltiesThe Helm of Midnight by Marina Lostetter (The Five Penalties series)

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power—the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city. Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.

ON SALE 4/13/21!

thelastThe Last Watch by J. S. Dewes (The Divide series)

The Divide. It’s the edge of the universe. Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it. The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military. At the Divide, Adequin Rake commands the Argus. She has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted. Her ace in the hole could be Cavalon Mercer–genius, asshole, and exiled prince who nuked his grandfather’s genetic facility for “reasons.” She knows they’re humanity’s last chance.

ON SALE 4/20/21!

book-9781250621191The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman (Blacktongue series)

Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path. But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark. Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva’s. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on a journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.

ON SALE 5/25/21!

book-9781250767769The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu (Edinburgh Nights series)

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and they sure do love to talk. Now she speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to those they left behind. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and strength. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will rock her world. As shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

ON SALE 6/1/21!

empiresThe Empire’s Ruin by Brian Staveley (Ashes of the Unhewn Throne series)

The Annurian Empire is disintegrating. In order to save the empire, one of the surviving Kettral must voyage beyond the edge of the known world through a land that warps and poisons all living things to find the nesting ground of the giant war hawks. Meanwhile, a monk turned con-artist may hold the secret to the kenta gates. But time is running out. Deep within the southern reaches of the empire and ancient god-like race has begun to stir. What they discover will change them and the Annurian Empire forever. If they can survive.

ON SALE 7/6/21!

book-9781250258908The Freedom Race by Lucinda Roy (The Dreambird Chronicles)

In the aftermath of a cataclysmic civil war known as the Sequel, ideological divisions among the states have hardened. In the Homestead Territories, an alliance of plantation-inspired holdings, Black labor is imported from the Cradle, and Biracial “Muleseeds” are bred. Raised in captivity on Planting 437, kitchen-seed Jellybean “Ji-ji” Lottermule knows there is only one way to escape. She must enter the annual Freedom Race as a runner. Ji-ji and her friends must exhume a survival story rooted in the collective memory of a kidnapped people and conjure the voices of the dead to light their way home.

ON SALE 7/13/21!

shewhoShe Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected. When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There,  Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

ON SALE 7/20/21!

book-9781250817211Mordew by Alex Pheby

God is dead, his corpse hidden in the catacombs beneath Mordew. In the slums of the 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. So it is that the Master begins to scheme against him – and Nathan has to fight his way through the betrayals, secrets, and vendettas of the city where God was murdered, and darkness reigns.

ON SALE 9/14/21! 

isolatedIsolate by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Grand Illusion series)

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.

ON SALE 10/19/2021!

book-9780765323590The God is Not Willing by Steven Erikson (Witness series)

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. Responding to reports of a growing unease among the tribes beyond the border, the Malazan army marches on the new god’s people. 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. Further north, a new threat has emerged and now it seems it is the Teblor who are running out of time. Another long-feared migration is about to begin and this time it won’t just be three warriors. No, this time tens of thousands are poised to pour into the lands to the south. And in their way, a single company of Malazan marines . . .

ON SALE 11/09/21!

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