Latest Fantasy Specials
Off Armageddon Reef
Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC; January 2007
Humanity pushed its way to the stars - and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out. Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild. But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary measures: with mind control and hidden high technology, they've built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, a religion designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever. 800 years pass. In a hidden chamber on Safehold, an android from the far human past awakens. This "rebirth" was set in motion centuries before, by a faction that opposed shackling humanity with a concocted religion. Via automated recordings, "Nimue" - or, rather, the android with the memories of Lieutenant Commander Nimue Alban - is told her fate: she will emerge into Safeholdian society, suitably disguised, and begin the process of provoking the technological progress which the Church of God Awaiting has worked for centuries to prevent. Nothing about this will be easy. To better deal with a medieval society, "Nimue" takes a new gender and a new name, "Merlin." His formidable powers and access to caches of hidden high technology will need to be carefully concealed. He plans to make the acquaintance of King Haarahld and Crown Prince Cayleb, and maybe, just maybe, kick off a new eraof invention,which is bound to draw the attention of the Church and, inevitably, lead to war. It's going to be a long, long process. This is going to be the can't-miss-SF-epic of the decade.
Guy Gavriel Kay
Penguin Group (USA); February 2007
Kay (The Last Light of the Sun) departs from his usual historical fantasies to connect the ancient, violent history of France to the present day in this entrancing contemporary fantasy. Fifteen-year-old Canadian Ned Marriner accompanies his famous photographer father, Edward, on a shoot at Aix-en-Provence's Saint-Saveur Cathedral while his physician mother, Meghan, braves the civil war zone in Sudan with Doctors-Without-Borders. As Ned explores the old cathedral, he meets Kate Wenger, a geeky but attractive American girl who's a walking encyclopedia of history. In the ancient baptistery, the pair is surprised by a mysterious, scarred man wielding a knife who warns that they've "blundered into a corner of a very old story. It is no place for children." But Ned and Kate can't avoid becoming dangerously entangled in a 2,500-year-old love triangle among mythic figures. Kay also weaves in a secondary mystery about Ned's family and his mother's motivation behind her risky, noble work. The author's historical detail, evocative writing and fascinating characters-both ancient and modern-will enthrall mainstream as well as fantasy readers.
Lord of the Silent Kingdom
Tor Books; February 2007
The elaborately wrought second installment (after 2005's Tyranny of the Night) in Cook's dark military fantasy saga promotes Piper Hecht-previously known as Else Tage before he vanquished an immortal foe-to the rank of captain-general under Emperor Sublime V. While Piper staves off the menace of the Tyranny of the Night, which is slowly freezing the lands around the Mother Sea, he also battles the Patriarchs, stubborn in their opposition to imperial rule. Cook ups the intrigue when Piper discovers a necromancer lurking among his supposedly trustworthy allies, while a prophet thought long dead reappears and allies himself with the captain-general. The lovely and intelligent Anna Mozilla warms Piper's bed and heart when he's not occupied with magical and military threats. Though Cook makes few concessions to new readers, his fans will enjoy the sword fights and potent magic, all motivated by complex religious and political power struggles.
Compiled by Sanyat Sattar
Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007