Bestsellers, Science Fiction & Fantasy: May 2018

#1

The Defiant Heir (Swords and Fire 02)
Melissa Caruso
Across the border, the Witch Lords of Vaskandar are preparing for war. But before an invasion can begin, they must call a rare gathering of all 17 lords to decide a course of action… Lady Amalia Cornaro knows that this Conclave might be her only chance to smother the growing flames of war, and she is ready to make any sacrifice if it means saving Raverra from destruction. ‘Charming, intelligent, fast-moving, beautifully atmospheric. I couldn’t put it down.’ – Genevieve Cogman, author of The Invisible Library. Yassss! The sequel to the fabulous The Tethered Mage (see #6 on the list!). We are totally onboard for this!
Fantasy | PBK | $19.99

#2

Head On (Lock In 02)
John Scalzi
John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the bestselling and critically-acclaimed Lock In. Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are ‘threeps’, robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real, and the crowds love it. Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field. Is it an accident or murder? FBI agents and Haden-related crime investigators Chris Shane and Leslie Vann are called in to uncover the truth – and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.
Science fiction | PBK | $17.99

#3

Autonomous
Annalee Newitz
Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane. Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand. And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned? Fantastic! Recommended.
Science fiction | PBK | $19.99

#4

Odysseus Ascendant (Odyssey One 07)
Evan Currie
A mysterious entity may be the key to a starship’s survival – or a terrifying new threat – as the Odyssey One series continues… The Empire has set its sights on its next target: human Terrans. As effective allies of the Priminae, the denizens of Earth have proven themselves enemies to the Empire, and now the Imperial forces know more about the Terran home world than ever before. The battle for the planet’s survival will see the Odysseus first into the breach. But more perils loom for Commodore Eric Weston and his comrades. They’re at odds with the political conflicts dividing Earth’s government and challenged by the mysterious presence haunting their vessel – its intentions unclear, and the extent of its powers unknown. As the Empire brings the battle home, the crew of the Odysseus will need to determine whether this entity will support them in their fight for survival, or prove to be another dangerous foe. There’s no turning back… and the only way forward may be a pathway to doom…
Military SF | TP | $29.95

#5

Scourged (Iron Druid Chronicles 09)
Kevin Hearne
The conclusion of the Iron Druid Chronicles – ‘American Gods meets Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden.’ – SFF World. Unchained from fate, the Norse gods Loki and Hel are ready to unleash Ragnarok, aka the Apocalypse, upon the earth. With a whole host of dark allies on their side, there’s a globe-spanning battle on the cards – one which Druid Atticus O’Sullivan will be hard-pressed to survive, much less win. Atticus must recruit the aid of an Indian witch and a trickster god in hopes that they’ll give him just enough leverage, to both save Gaia and see another sunrise. After all – if the world ends, who’s going to make sure the hound Oberon gets his well-deserved snack?
Urban fantasy | PBK | $19.99

#6

The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire 01)
Melissa Caruso
In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce, and those born with power are strictly controlled – taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army. Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that could threaten the entire empire. Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre. ‘Set in a rich world of political intrigue and dangerous magic, The Tethered Mage is a spellbinding debut from a major new talent.’ – publisher’s blurb – AND WE AGREE! Sort of a Renaissance Venice vibe about the city/state – it’s lush. Charming new series – recommended! The sequel, The Defiant Heir (PBK, $19.99) is now also available (see #1, above). Lackey fans should definitely give this series a try.
Fantasy | PBK | $19.99

#7

Doctor Who: Rose (Doctor Who) (Target collection)
Russell T Davies
In a lair somewhere beneath central London, a malevolent alien intelligence is plotting the end of humanity. Shop-window dummies that can move – and kill – are taking up key positions – ready to strike. Rose Tyler is an ordinary Londoner, working her shift in a department store, unaware that this is the most important day in her life. She’s about to meet the only man who understands the true nature of the threat facing Earth, a stranger who will open her eyes to all the wonder and terror of the universe – a traveller in time and space, known as the Doctor… (and with a fantastic retro jacket modelled after the Target Doctor Who series jackets from back in the day – irresistible piece of graphic design!)
Doctor Who | PBK | $19.99

#8

The Guns Above (Signal Airship 01)
Robyn Bennis
They say it’s not the fall that kills you… But for Josette Dupre, the Corps’ first female airship captain, it might just be a bullet in the back. On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested death trap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat – a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. Bernat’s own secret assignment is to catalogue her every moment of weakness and indecision. So, when the enemy makes an unprecedented move that could turn the tide of the war, can Josette deal with Bernat, rally her crew, and survive long enough to prove herself? ‘Full of sass and terrific characters. Great storytelling. Loved it.’ – Patricia Briggs. (Bennis had me at ‘Airship’ – Ron.)
Steampunk | PBK | $22.99

#9

Into the Fire (Vatta’s Peace 02)
Elizabeth Moon
In this new military SF thriller from the Nebula Award-winning author of Cold Welcome, Admiral Kylara Vatta is back – with a vengeance. Ky beats sabotage, betrayal, and the unforgiving elements to lead a ragtag group of crash survivors to safety on a remote arctic island. And she cheats death after uncovering secrets someone is hell-bent on protecting. But the worst is far from over when Ky discovers the headquarters of a vast conspiracy against her family and the heart of the planet’s government itself.
Space opera | PBK | $22.99

#10

Wrath of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder 02)
Brian McClellan
The country is in turmoil. With the capital city occupied, half a million refugees are on the march, looking for safety on the frontier. But escaping war is never easy, and soon the battle may find them, whether they are prepared or not. Back in the capital, Michel Bravis smuggles even more refugees out of the city. But internal forces are working against him. With enemies on all sides, Michael may be forced to find help with the very occupiers he’s trying to undermine. Meanwhile, Ben Styke is building his own army. He and his mad lancers are gathering every able body they can find and searching for an ancient artefact that may have the power to turn the tides of war in their favour. But what they find may not be what they’re looking for. Magic and gunpowder collide in Wrath of Empire, the explosive second novel in the Gods of Blood and Powder series. ‘A fast-paced story set in a brilliantly-realised world… One of the best fantasy novels of recent years…’ – Bookbag on Sins of Empire. McClellan’s flintlock fantasy epics are firm faves with regulars – recommended!
Flintlock fantasy | PBK | $19.99