In my review of David Walton's The Genius Plague, I explained that my copies of his quantum physics murder mysteries Superposition and Supersymmetry had been sitting on my "books to read" pile for a very long time. I'd always known that I'd get to them at some point, but there was always another novel/series that got in the way. But The Genius Plague turned out to be such a good read that I decided it was high time to read Walton's two science fiction technothrillers.

And Superposition was another memorable read, so I had no choice but to read its sequel as soon as I finished it. Unfortunately, Supersymmetry failed to live up to the potential generated by its predecessor. And that's a shame. . .

Here's the blurb:

Ryan Oronzi is a paranoid, neurotic, and brilliant physicist who has developed a quantum military technology that could make soldiers nearly invincible in the field. The technology, however, gives power to the quantum creature known as the varcolac, which slowly begins to manipulate Dr. Oronzi and take over his mind. Oronzi eventually becomes the unwilling pawn of the varcolac in its bid to control the world.

The creature immediately starts attacking those responsible for defeating it fifteen years earlier, including Sandra and Alex Kelley—the two versions of Alessandra Kelley who are still living as separate people. The two young women must fight the varcolac, despite the fact that defeating it may mean resolving once again into a single person.

I've never been a fan of hard science fiction. If the emphasis of a book is on the science and the technology, more often than not the plot gets beyond me and I lose interest. Quantum physics were the backdrop for everything that had to do with Superposition and I was concerned about that. And yet, David Walton did a wonderful job dumbing down the science aspect, so to speak. Not only did the author make the jargon and the concepts understandable, but somehow he managed to make it all quite entertaining. The same cannot be said about Supersymmetry. What worked so well and was fun to read in the first installment was essentially absent in the second volume. Too often, Supersymmetry gets bogged down in scientific elaborations and technical details, and that gets in the way of the storytelling.

The two-timeline narrative structure that merged toward the end helped make Superposition such a terrific read. As a matter of course, this wasn't something that could be duplicated in the sequel. There are a number of storylines, but none recaptured the novelty of Jacob Kelley's trial in the first book. The fast-forward into the future and the impending war with Turkey gave Supersymmetry a decidedly different vibe and it sometimes felt like a Marvel universe kind of tale. Not necessarily my cup of tea, especially given the quality and originality of the first novel.

The characterization is probably the aspect that leaves the most to be desired. Although Jacob Kelley took center stage in both timelines from Superposition, the entire supporting cast was appealing and brought something to the story. The cast of Supersymmetry was definitely subpar compared to the protagonists that made the first installment such a wonderful read. Fifteen years later, both Sandra and Alex Kelley are not as endearing as their younger selves. Ryan Oronzi and Angel Gutierrez, for their part, were a bit bland and not three-dimensional characters. Bringing back Jean Massey, especially the way it was done, felt like clumsy execution. All in all, I couldn't connect with any of the protagonists.

For all that the entire premise had to do with quantum physics, for Superposition Walton managed to come up with a plot that was as compelling as it was enjoyable. I never would have thought that quantum mechanics could be this much fun. Even better, the pace was crisp and the book was a page-turner. Both timelines offered plenty of captivating moments. Supersymmetry started quite well and the apparent return of the varcolac raised the stakes and promised another interesting plot. Yet for some reason, it felt as though everything went downhill around the midway point and the story took a turn for the worse. And for the absurd, what with the teleportation and the time-travel.

I was so looking forward to this one and I really wanted to like Supersymmetry. But where the first volume was absorbing and engaging, the sequel turned out to be a disappointment.

The final verdict: 7/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Neal Stephenson's bestselling Reamde for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Neal Stephenson is continually rocking the literary world with his brazen and brilliant fictional creations—whether he’s reimagining the past (The Baroque Cycle), inventing the future (Snow Crash), or both (Cryptonomicon). With Reamde, this visionary author whose mind-stretching fiction has been enthusiastically compared to the work of Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Kurt Vonnegut, and David Foster Wallace—not to mention William Gibson and Michael Crichton—once again blazes new ground with a high-stakes thriller that will enthrall his loyal audience, science and science fiction, and espionage fiction fans equally. The breathtaking tale of a wealthy tech entrepreneur caught in the very real crossfire of his own online fantasy war game, Reamde is a new high—and a new world—for the remarkable Neal Stephenson.

From the extraordinary Neal Stephenson comes an epic adventure that spans entire worlds, both real and virtual.

The black sheep of an Iowa farming clan, former draft dodger and successful marijuana smuggler Richard Forthrast amassed a small fortune over the years—and then increased it a thousandfold when he created T'Rain. A massive, multibillion-dollar, multiplayer online role-playing game, T'Rain now has millions of obsessed fans from the U.S. to China. But a small group of ingenious Asian hackers has just unleashed Reamde—a virus that encrypts all of a player's electronic files and holds them for ransom—which has unwittingly triggered a war that's creating chaos not only in the virtual universe but in the real one as well. Its repercussions will be felt all around the globe—setting in motion a devastating series of events involving Russian mobsters, computer geeks, secret agents, and Islamic terrorists—with Forthrast standing at ground zero and his loved ones caught in the crossfire.

And you can also get your hands on the digital edition of Joe Hill's The Fireman for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Joe Abercrombie's Half a King for only 2.99$ here. It's also available available for the same price in Canada here.

Here's the blurb:

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

Sci-fi: A Movie Top Score Game winner!

This lucky winner will receive a set of the Sci-Fi: A Movie Top Score Game, compliments of the folks at Laurence King Publishing. Follow this link for more info about this card game.

The winner is:

- Tommy Morrison (Khartun on Reddit), from Amarillo, Texas, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

For a limited time, you can download Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragon Wing, first volume in the Death Gate Cycle, the authors' very best series, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Preeminent storytellers Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have redefined epic fantasy. Since the publication of their Dragonlance series, millions of readers have enjoyed their imaginative world-building, rich characterization, and intricate storylines. Now these best-selling authors bring their talents to one of the most innovative fantasy creations ever in Dragon Wing, the first volume in The Death Gate Cycle.

An assassin and the royal child he has been hired to kill form an unlikely and unstable alliance as the plots of human sorcerers, elven pirates, and dwarf revolutionaries threaten to overwhelm the airborne kingdoms of Arianus.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Patricia A. McKillip's The Forgotten Beasts of Eld for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

World Fantasy Award-Winner
First time available in an e-book edition

"Rich and regal."
—The New York Times

Young Sybel, the heiress of powerful wizards, needs the company of no-one outside her gates. In her exquisite stone mansion, she is attended by exotic, magical beasts: Riddle-master Cyrin the boar; the treasure-starved dragon Gyld; Gules the Lyon, tawny master of the Southern Deserts; Ter, the fiercely vengeful falcon; Moriah, feline Lady of the Night. Sybel only lacks the exquisite and mysterious Liralen, which continues to elude her most powerful enchantments.

But Sybel's solitude is to be shattered when a desperate soldier arrives bearing a mysterious child. Soon Sybel will discover that the world of men is full of love, deceit, and the temptations of vast power.

Quote of the Day

When you learn enough about the world, even a blade of grass can be a weapon.

- KEN LIU, The Grace of Kings (Canada, USA, Europe)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Michael J. Sullivan's Theft of Swords for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (March 12th)

In paperback:

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One is down one position, ending the week at number 2 (trade paperback).

Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation debuts at number 7 (trade paperback).

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale maintains its position at number 9 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Quote of the Day

She was alive, alive, alive today; she was never so alive as the morning after cheating death.

She opened her eyes. The sunrise was very beautiful.

- KAMERON HURLEY, Apocalypse Nyx (Canada, USA, Europe)

This collection of novellas is awesome! =)


As I mentioned in my review of David Walton's latest novel, my copies of his quantum physics murder mysteries Superposition and Supersymmetry have been sitting on my "books to read" pile for a long, long time. I've always known that I'll get to them at some point, but there was always another novel/series that got in the way. But The Genius Plague was such a good read that I decided it was high time to read Walton's two science fiction technothrillers.

And Superposition turned out to be another memorable read, so I had no choice but to read its sequel as soon as I finished it.

Here's the blurb:

Jacob Kelley’s family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker…apparently murdered the night he appeared at Jacob’s house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial.

As the details of the crime slowly come to light, the weave of reality becomes ever more tangled, twisted by a miraculous new technology and a quantum creature unconstrained by the normal limits of space and matter. With the help of his daughter, Alessandra, Jacob must find the true murderer before the creature destroys his family and everything he loves.

As you know, I'm not a big fan of hard science fiction. If the emphasis of a novel is on the science and the technology, the plot often gets beyond me and I lose interest. Quantum physics are the backdrop for everything that has to do with Superposition and I was more than a little concerned about that fact. Having said that, David Walton did a wonderful job dumbing down the science aspect, so to speak. Not only does the author make the jargon and the concepts understandable, but somehow he managed to make it all quite entertaining.

The narrative's structure follows two timelines that will merge toward the end of the book. The first one, "Up-spin", follows the main protagonist, Jacob Kelley, from the moment he received the visit of an old friend and colleague. He hasn't seen Brian Vanderhall in years, and the other appears distraught and keeps talking about quantum intelligences. Things take a turn for the worse and Kelley kicks him out of his house. Little does he know that Vanderhall will later be found dead and he will be accused of the murder. The second timeline, "Down-spin", follows Kelley's trial and reads like a courtroom drama. This structure works surprisingly well. Given the months-long gap between the two timelines, the "Down-spin" chapters fill in the blanks and elaborate on what actually happened and how Jacob Kelley ended up on trial for the death of his former colleague.

Understandably, Jacob Kelley takes center stage in both timelines. But his daughter Alessandra also plays an important role for reasons I cannot explain because it would spoil the story. Kelley's lawyer, Terry Sheppard, and another one of his colleagues, Jean Massey, are interesting secondary characters that make up the supporting cast.

For all that the entire premise has to do with quantum physics, David Walton managed to come up with a plot that's as compelling as it is enjoyable. Never thought quantum mechanics could be fun, but Walton's plot is exactly that. Moreover, the pace is crisp and Superposition is a page-turner. Indeed, both timelines offer plenty of captivating moments. One the one hand, you want to find out if Kelley will be found guilty of murder. And on the other, you want to discover what the hell happened to put him on trial.

Absorbing and engaging, Superposition is a terrific read!

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Mark T. Barnes' The Garden of Stones for 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

When the Shrīanese Empire explodes into civil war, fighters of all kinds flock to the banners of their lords. Indris, a skilled swordsman and brilliant sorcerer, seeks to end the bloodshed once and for all. He knows this war is simply a ruse—a power play by a ruling Family desperate to take control of the Empire by any means necessary. Indris cares little for the politics except to see that justice is upheld. But even he can't see the terrible price his opponents are willing to pay to secure their legacy.

A true epic, the first book in the Echoes of Empire series creates a spellbinding new world. With its twisted politics, new races, compelling heroes and villains, and unique magic, The Garden of Stones is a lyrical fantasy on the grandest scale.

And you can also get your hands on the sequel, The Obsidian Heart, for the same price here, as well as the third volume, The Pillars of Sand, here.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Alastair Reynolds' Revenger for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Winner of the 2017 Locus Award

Revenger is a rocket-fueled tale of space pirates, buried treasure, and phantom weapons, of unspeakable hazards and single-minded heroism... and of vengeance...

Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest crew members of the legendary Captain Rackamore's ship, using their mysterious powers as Bone Readers to find clues about their next score. But there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen, in particular.

The galaxy is filled with treasures... if you have the courage to find them.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download John Scalzi's Lock In for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi.

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what's now known as "Haden's syndrome," rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" - someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

But "complicated" doesn't begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery - and the real crime - is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with the change comes opportunities that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation that began as a murder case takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture. It's nothing you could have expected.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Quote of the Day

Someone had to be imperfect, or there was nothing to strive for in that big worshipful love letter to God.

Nyx didn’t mind being the broken piece.

- KAMERON HURLEY, Apocalypse Nyx (Canada, USA, Europe)

I'm so happy for the opportunity to get reacquainted with Nyx! =)

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (March 5th)

In paperback:

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One is up two positions, ending the week at number 1 (trade paperback).

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale is down two spots, finishing the week at number 9 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

Grey Sister

With well over a million copies sold worldwide and two quality trilogies under his belt, Mark Lawrence already deserved to be ranked among the best fantasy authors writing today. With each new book, he continued to make a name for himself, always pushing the envelope a bit further with plotlines that grew in depth and scope. It's no secret that "That thorn guy," as George R. R. Martin referred to him a few years back, has come a long way since Prince of Thorns was first published.

The Broken Empire and The Red Queen's War trilogies shared the same universe, but The Ancestor marked the beginning of something new. Ye of little faith that I am, I was wondering if Lawrence could do it again with new protagonists, a new setting, and new storylines. Not surprisingly, though it suffered from uneven pacing, Red Sister was another good reading experience that set the stage for yet another enjoyable and captivating series.

Could the author elevate his game even more with Grey Sister and bring this tale to another level? The answer is a resounding yes! This latest installment is one of my favorite Mark Lawrence titles thus far, second only to The Liar's Key in terms of quality and originality. And with the author under contract to write three more novels set in the Ancestor's universe, this bodes well for readers!

Here's the blurb:

In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain.

There will be blood.

All of Mark Lawrence's novels to date have been character-driven works. Still, worldbuilding played a relatively important role in both The Broken Empire and The Red Queen's War series, and it appears to be the case in The Ancestor as well. This new trilogy features a dying sun and a planet left with only a 50-mile wide corridor running along the length of its surface heated by a focus moon that allows mankind to survive from the ever-encroaching ice that covers the globe throughout both hemispheres. I found this fascinating in Red Sister and it is now obvious that control of the focus moon will become an integral part in the resolution of this series. Little is known and/or remembered of what has been trapped under tons of ice over the centuries, and it will be interesting to see if the hints of hidden and nefarious powers from the deep will continue to come into play as the tale progresses. As was the case in the previous two trilogies, age-old technology will once again come into play before the end. Unfortunately, I felt that Lawrence kept his cards way too close to his chest, with the worldbuilding elements unveiled raising more questions than they provided answers. It was evident that there was much more to Red Sister than meets the eye. I'm pleased to report that Grey Sister shines some light on several secrets and proves that this new series resounds with as much depth as its predecessors. Perhaps more!

It's been two years since the events of Red Sister and Nona is getting ready to pass the final tests to qualify to become a Grey Sister. This second volume follows pretty much the same structure as the first installment. Nona is still devastated by Hessa’s murder and at times almost fanatically driven by her vow of vengeance against Yisht. And yet, life at the Convent of Sweet Mercy follows its course and the plot moves forward as Nona's education proceeds. Once more, either in an attempt to do some foreshadowing, or just to mess with our minds, Lawrence included a couple of scenes taking place in the future. They feature a much older Nona and show that the proverbial shit has just about hit the fan and that things are coming to a head. Which bodes well for the forthcoming finale in Holy Sister.

In Red Sister, I felt that the plot suffered a bit from being mostly limited to what occurred at and around the Convent of Sweet Mercy. Grey Sister blows the story wide open, which was for the best. Forsaken and friendless, Nona Grey was a tough nut to crack. She didn't open up easily, to other people as well as to the readers. Although it was easy to root for her, given that all the odds appear stacked against her, it was nevertheless difficult to relate to Nona. Indeed, after following the misadventures of the easy-going and likeable Jalan and his barbarian companion, it certainly took a while to finally get used to Nona and her quirks. For all that it took some time, her special bond with the crippled Hessa provided truly poignant moments and her plight made it impossible not to root for her. Having said that, even a couple of years older don't make it any easier to relate to Nona. She is who she is, after all, and has more of a knack to make enemies instead of friends. The girl may be isolated in the convent, but outside forces can still influence her existence and put her life in danger.

As a matter of course, Nona's perspective takes center stage. But unexpected events throw a monkey wrench in the storylines and both Abbess Glass and Sister Kettle become very important POV protagonists. Witnessing events unfold through the eyes of such disparate characters is what ultimately made Grey Sister such a memorable read. It has always been obvious that Abbess Glass is playing the long game and has countless pieces on the board. To discover more about her back story and what she has been building toward since before Nona joined the Convent of Sweet Mercy was quite satisfying. The same goes for Sister Kettle. In Red Sister, it was often hard to differentiate the nuns. Grey Sister gave many of them more of a face and personality, and Kettle's point of view was a welcome addition to the other perspectives.

In terms of rhythm, Red Sister did suffer from pacing issues. With the plot moving forward at the same speed as Nona's training, it didn't always make for thrilling scenes. I had a feeling that Lawrence was laying a lot of groundwork in each of those scenes and that everything would come together later in the series. As slow-moving as the rhythm was in the first two-thirds of the novel, there is no denying that the endgame put everything into high gear, and Red Sister featured Lawrence's best finale since Emperor of Thorns. Things were looking up for the second volume, or so it seemed. Now that I have read the sequel, I can vouch for the fact that the first installment was an introduction meant to introduce the players and set up the various storylines. There is not a dull moment between the covers of Grey Sister. It's a veritable page-turner from start to finish. I mean, kickass nuns with swords and magical powers, assassins bent on killing a young girl, demons from antiquity, a would-be empress with delusions of grandeur, the Inquisition coming into play, the empire's richest lord seeking revenge, looming war due to the encroaching ice, and legends regarding the control of the focus moon. You probably won't be able to put this book down!

The action-packed endgame was fantastic and it does set the stage for what should be an unforgettable final installment. True, I would have liked a bit more resolution at the end given how exciting the last few chapters turned out to be. And yet, as much as a part of me cursed Mark Lawrence for the cliffhanger ending, the other part is foaming at the mouth at the thought of getting my hands on Holy Sister. Can't believe I'll have to wait a year for it!

Darker and more ambitious than its predecessor, Grey Sister is definitely one of the fantasy books to read in 2018! This just in: That thorn guy is pretty damn good!

The final verdict: 8.25/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

For a limited time, you can get your hands on the digital edition of Neal Stephenson's awesome Cryptonomicon for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

With this extraordinary first volume in what promises to be an epoch-making masterpiece, Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse—mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy—is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Waterhouse and Detachment 2702—commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe-is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy's fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces.

Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse's crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a "data haven" in Southeast Asia—a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe's tough-as-nails granddaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi submarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat. But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy with its roots in Detachment 2702 linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty...or to universal totalitarianism reborn.

A breathtaking tour de force, and Neal Stephenson's most accomplished and affecting work to date, Cryptonomicon is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought and creative daring; the product of a truly iconoclastic imagination working with white-hot intensity.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

For a limited time only, you can download Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A gripping vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has become one of the most powerful and most widely read novels of our time.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules.

Like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid’s Tale has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (February 26th)

In paperback:

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One is up one position, ending the week at number 3 (trade paperback).

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale is up three spots, finishing the week at number 7 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Win a set of Jon Sprunk's The Book of the Black Earth

To help promote the release of Jon Sprunk's Blade and Bone (Canada, USA, Europe), I have a full set of the Book of the Black Earth up for grabs, courtesy of the folks at Pyr. The prize pack includes:

- Blood and Iron
- Storm and Steel
- Blade and Bone

Here's the blurb of the first volume:

This action-heavy EPIC FANTASY SERIES OPENER is like a sword-and-sorcery Spartacus set in a richly-imagined world.

It starts with a shipwreck following a magical storm at sea. Horace, a soldier from the west, had joined the Great Crusade against the heathens of Akeshia after the deaths of his wife and son from plague. When he washes ashore, he finds himself at the mercy of the very people he was sent to kill, who speak a language and have a culture and customs he doesn’t even begin to understand. Not long after, Horace is pressed into service as a house slave. But this doesn’t last. The Akeshians discover that Horace was a latent sorcerer, and he is catapulted from the chains of a slave to the halls of power in the queen’s court. Together with Jirom, an ex-mercenary and gladiator, and Alyra, a spy in the court, he will seek a path to free himself and the empire’s caste of slaves from a system where every man and woman must pay the price of blood or iron. Before the end, Horace will have paid dearly in both.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) with the header "BONE." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

The World Awakening (reviewed by Kay Kenyon)

Kay Kenyon recently got in touch with me to inquire if I'd be interested in a guest review for Dan Koboldt's The World Awakening. Of course, I was happy to oblige.

Here's the blurb:

Quinn Bradley has learned to use the magic of another world.

And that world is in danger.

Having decided to betray CASE Global, he can finally reveal his origins to the Enclave and warn them about the company’s imminent invasion. Even if it means alienating Jillaine . . . and allying with someone he’s always considered his adversary.

But war makes for strange bedfellows, and uniting Alissians against such a powerful enemy will require ancient enmities—as well as more recent antagonisms—to be set aside. The future of their pristine world depends on it.

As Quinn searches for a way to turn the tide, his former CASE Global squadmates face difficult decisions of their own. For some, it’s a matter of what they’re willing to do to get home. For others, it’s deciding whether they want to go home at all.Continuing the exciting adventures from The Rogue Retrieval and The Island Deception, The World Awakening is the spellbinding conclusion to the Gateways to Alissia fantasy series from Dan Koboldt.

Defections abound in Dan Koboldt's final tale of Alissia, a medieval land where, in contrast to the Earth, magic is real. CASE Global is a nasty corporation that has stumbled upon a gateway to the place and believes it is ripe for the picking. Twenty-first century military capability should make short work of a culture of swords and sailing ships--even if they have a bit of magic. Or will it?

CASE is now poised to take possession of Alissia by arms, goaded by a fear of Richard Holt, the Earth-born defector who has become a powerful Alissian leader. With his insider knowledge of the company's predatory ways, as well as the loyalty he commands from one of the major kingdoms, Holt must be deposed, and the team we've traveled with in the first two books now is tasked with his murder. Before book three, Holt has been a shadowy figure whose motives for going native might or might not be honorable. In The World Awakening his goals become clear, ultimately requiring all the central characters to finally choose (or reveal) their allegiances, whether achieved through dogged loyalty, moral conscience, or calculated self-interest.

Major character Quinn Bradley--he of the ready lie, ironic outlook, and spontaneous heroics--discarded loyalty early on and now is firmly in Holt's camp. His motives may not the purist--this is Quinn Bradley--but we root for him to succeed in stopping his former employer. For Bradley personally, the only remaining question is whether he'll return to Earth or stay on the medieval side of the gateway now that he's accessed true magic powers. He'd make a hell of a Las Vegas stage magician, his ambitious Earth-side dream. When an Alissian woman pierces his cheerful self-interest with the oldest magic of all--love--will he abandon his old life, hopes, and world?

Dilemmas and choices test other compelling characters in the Gateways to Alissia trilogy. Foremost is Logan, a black man whose career as a soldier puts him at odds with his conscience, now shaken by CASE's growing ruthlessness.

Koboldt deftly keeps all the balls in the air: Kiara, Holt, Veena, Mendez and the rival leaders of the Enclave who control magic. Shifting allegiances will bring love, death, and sacrifice. Pretty heady material for what might have been merely a delightful romp featuring a wise-cracking rogue with a good heart. Oh, how we love a charming rogue. Even if his charisma falls flat with Tiana mules (who demand an exaggerated politeness in all interactions).

By the end of The World Awakening, plots, subplots, and character arcs weave together for a rousing conclusion, one that lays bare the genesis and the future of the gateway, as well as the fates of the doomed, the redeemed, and the enchanted. A pitch perfect showpiece from a new and already accomplished writer.

--Kay Kenyon

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Kay Kenyon is the author of fourteen science fiction and fantasy novels, including The Entire and The Rose quartet. Her latest work is At the Table of Wolves, an historical fantasy of dark powers, Nazi conspiracies, and espionage set in 1936 England from Saga Press. The Dark Talents novels continues with Serpent in the Heather (April 10). The final book of the trilogy will be published in 2019.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download the omnibus comprised of all three volumes of Katherine Kurtz's The Legends of Camber of Culdi for only 3.99$ here. It's the perfect starting point for anyone interested in discovering the Deryni saga!

Here's the blurb:

Three fantasy novels of intrigue, betrayal, and magic in medieval Gwynedd by the New York Times–bestselling author of the Deryni series—bonus story also included.

Camber of Culdi: Long before Camber was revered as a saint, he was a Deryni noble, one of the most respected of the magical race whose arcane skills set them apart from ordinary humans in the kingdom of Gwynedd. Now, the land suffers under the tyranny of King Imre, whose savage oppression of the human population weighs heavily on Camber’s heart—a heart that is about to be shattered by a tragic loss that will lead him to confront the usurpers whose dark magic haunts the realm.

Saint Camber: The yoke of tyranny has finally been lifted in Gwynedd, but Camber’s job remains unfinished. The dangerous remnants of a conquered enemy still mass at the borders, and the new ruler is desperately unhappy wearing the crown. With the stability of a fragile kingdom at stake, its greatest champion must make the ultimate sacrifice: Camber of Culdi must cease to exist.

Camber the Heretic: The king’s heir is a mere boy of twelve, and the malevolent regents who will rule until young Alroy comes of age are determined to eliminate all Deryni. Suddenly, the future of Gwynedd hangs in the balance, and Camber—once adored as a saint, but now reviled as a heretic—must find a way to protect his people before everything and everyone he loves is destroyed in the all-consuming flames of intolerance and hate.

Filled with mysticism and magic, these sagas reminds us that “Kurtz’s love of history lets her do things with her characters and their world that no non-historian could hope to do” (Chicago Sun-Times).

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

Just saw that you can now get your hands on the digital edition of Sylvain Neuvel's excellent Sleeping Giants for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A page-turning debut in the tradition of Michael Crichton, World War Z, and The Martian, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by an earthshaking mystery—and a fight to control a gargantuan power.

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

And you can download the sequel, Waking Gods, for only 5.99$ here.

The Vanished Ones

You may recall that I gave Donato Carrisi's debut, The Whisperer, a perfect score a few years ago. Dubbed the Italian literary thriller phenomenon, I have always remained on the lookout for anything else written by Carrisi and I've bought everything he has released thus far. Read the first one, The Lost Girls of Rome, and The Hunter of the Dark in French, so I got the French translation for this novel as well. As a sequel to The Whisperer, The Vanished Ones was the perfect book to bring with me on my Central American adventure. And I wasn't disapointed!

Oddly enough, although Donato Carrisi is a bestselling author in various countries, he remains virtually unknown in the USA. As is often the case, English language publishers have a tendency to be far behind the rest of the world when it comes to international bestsellers. One only has to look at Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, which became a worldwide literary phenomenon before it was even translated into English.

Here's the blurb:

We call them the sleepers . . .

At the elite Missing Persons bureau of the Federal Police, Mila Vasquez is tasked with finding the hundreds of lost people who vanished from their former lives. The longer they are gone, the more they are forgotten by the world.

Now they are returning.

Appearing at random and wielding devastation, they enact a horrifying pattern of murders, leaving Mila scrabbling to discover where they have come from and what they want. Yet the deeper into the case she gets, Mila begins to realise that her colleagues are hiding something from her - something which will jeopardise everything . . .

Set in the world of Carrisi's record-breaking debut, The Whisperer, The Vanished Ones is intelligent, thrilling and incredibly compelling.

As was the case with his previous novels, the action occurs somewhere in Italy. And yet, you don't really get the feeling that that the setting is indeed Italian. The Vanished Ones has an international feel to it and the story could have taken place anywhere in the Western world. As is usually his wont, a variety of sources were used by Donato Carrisi for this literary work, chief among them criminology and forensic psychiatry manuals, as well as several FBI papers regarding serial killers and violent crimes. Many true cases, finalized or ongoing, inspired a number of those found within the pages of the novel. With his homework done properly, Carrisi's novel has an unmistakable genuine feel to it. In addition, he interviewed lots of police officers, private detectives, journalists, and family members of people who have decided to disappear and get off the grid. A correspondence between the author and an anonymous fan of The Whisperer who elected to erase his life from the records and start anew was also a source of insiration for the writing of The Vanished Ones.

Although the book is billed as a sequel to The Whisperer, other than featuring Mila Vasquez the tale has very little to do with the events of its predecessor. As such, I was a bit disappointed, for I really thought that The Vanished Ones was a direct sequel. But the link between the two books wasn't revealed until almost the very end and when it does it's mind-blowing. Hence, give it time and you'll be rewarded.

Not surprisingly, the characterization is once again top notch. Mila Vasquez, who specialized in child kidnapping earlier in her career, was deeply scarred by the events featured in The Whisperer. Since her transfer to the Missing Persons bureau of the Federal Police, she found it easier to get on with her life. With her investigation at a dead end, she approaches Simon Berish for aid. A pariah within the police forces for a crime he did not commit, he is an interrogation expert and an anthropologist who will use his expertise to help the investigation progress. But the more they unveil, the more they realize that they might be in over their heads. And that their superiors might actually be working against them. The narrative is driven by both Simon and Mila's points of view. As disparate as it gets, seeing the tale unfold through both of their perspectives makes for a great reading experience.

Like The Whisperer, this sequel is as engrossing as it is disturbing. Indeed, Donato Carrisi's The Vanished Ones is another complex, multilayered thriller that stays with you long after you've reached the last page. It may lack the emotional impact of certain sequences from its predecessor, yet it's another clever work with plots and subplots forming a chilling tapestry, all of which culminating toward an ending that will knock your socks off. The last scene, especially, is quite terrifying and makes it impossible not to line up for the third installment, whenever it gets published. Throughout, there is Carrisi's habitual thought-provoking theme underlying the entire book: The true essence of evil. Does it exist within all of us, latent and just waiting to be released?

In the end, this perturbing work is everything a thriller is meant to be. But unlike The Whisperer, which was awesome from the get-go and never let up, The Vanished Ones takes a while to get going. Still, it was a worthy sequel and the perfect set-up book for what will follow. If you are looking for compelling and disturbing books delving into psychology that stay with you long after you have finished reading them, give Donato Carrisi a shot as soon as humanly possible!

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

Musical Interlude

A little Ozzy tune to brighten up your day! =)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download China Miéville's Perdido Street Station for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Mieville’s Embassytown.

Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores. In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none—not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory.

Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger.

While Isaac's experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows larger—and more consuming—by the day. What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon—and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes . . .

A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader's imagination.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Michael J. Sullivan's Age of Myth for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Michael J. Sullivan’s trailblazing career began with the breakout success of his Riyria series: full-bodied, spellbinding fantasy adventures whose imaginative scope and sympathetic characters won a devoted readership and comparisons to fantasy masters Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, and J.R.R. Tolkien himself. Now Sullivan’s stunning hardcover debut, Age of Myth, inaugurates an original five-book series—and one of fantasy’s finest next-generation storytellers continues to break new ground.

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever.

Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.

Finally, you can download Stephen R. Donaldson's The Runes of the Earth for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Stephen R. Donaldson presents the first novel of the four-volume finale to the series that’s become a modern fantasy classic: The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

Thomas Covenant lost everything. Abandoned by his wife and child, sick and alone, he was transported while unconscious to a magical, dreamlike world called the Land. Convinced it was all a delusion, Covenant was christened The Unbeliever by the Land’s inhabitants—but gave his life to save this new-found world he came to regard as precious.

Ten years after Covenant’s death, Linden Avery still mourns for her beloved companion. But a violent confrontation with Covenant’s son, who is doing the evil Lord Foul’s bidding, forces her into the Land, where a dark malevolence is about to unmake the laws of nature—and of life and death itself. It is here that she comes upon Esmer, son of the Dancers of the Sea, a creature of strange powers who draws Linden backwards through time to witness Thomas Covenant’s return to life, and to reinvent the mysterious, dangerous, and violent history of the Land.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Stephen R. Lawhead's The Bright Empires Collection, an omnibus edition comprised of The Skin Map, The Bone House, The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, and The Fatal Tree, for only 3.99$ here. That's five volumes and about 2000 pages for less than 4$! There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb for The Skin Map:

It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intersecting realities. To unravel the future of the future.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code—a roadmap of symbols—that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

The Bright Empires series—from acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead—is a unique blend of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning, adventure like no other.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (February 19th)

In paperback:

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One is down one position, ending the week at number 4 (trade paperback).

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale is down three spots, finishing the week at number 10 (trade paperback). For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on Bradley P. Beaulieu's Twelve Kings in Sharakhai for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings — cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite ompany of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

You can also download C. S. Friedman's excellent This Alien Shore, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, for only 4.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

It is the second stage of human colonization--the first age, humanity's initial attempt to people the stars, ended in disaster when it was discovered that Earth's original superluminal drive did permanent genetic damage to all who used it--mutating Earth's far-flung colonists in mind and body. Now, one of Earth's first colonies has given humanity back the stars, but at a high price--a monopoly over all human commerce. And when a satellite in Earth's outer orbit is viciously attacked by corporate raiders, an unusual young woman flees to a ship bound for the Up-and-Out. But her narrow escape does not mean safety. For speeding across the galaxy pursued by ruthless, but unknown adversaries, this young woman will discover a secret which is buried deep inside her psyche--a revelation the universe may not be ready to face....

Quote of the Day

There is a purity in rage. It will burn out sorrow. For a time. It will burn out fear. Even cruelty and hatred will seek shelter, rage wants none of them, only to destroy. Rage is the gift our nature gives to us, shaped by untold years. Why discard it?.

- MARK LAWRENCE, Grey Sister (Canada, USA, Europe)

Just finished this one and it's even better than Red Sister!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Richard Morgan's excellent Thirteen for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The future isn’t what it used to be since Richard K. Morgan arrived on the scene. He unleashed Takeshi Kovacs–private eye, soldier of fortune, and all-purpose antihero–into the body-swapping, hard-boiled, urban jungle of tomorrow in Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies, winning the Philip K. Dick Award in the process. In Market Forces, he launched corporate gladiator Chris Faulkner into the brave new business of war-for-profit. Now, in Thirteen, Morgan radically reshapes and recharges science fiction yet again, with a new and unforgettable hero in Carl Marsalis: hybrid, hired gun, and a man without a country . . . or a planet.

Marsalis is one of a new breed. Literally. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government to embody the naked aggression and primal survival skills that centuries of civilization have erased from humankind, Thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. The project was scuttled, however, when a fearful public branded the supersoldiers dangerous mutants, dooming the Thirteens to forced exile on Earth’s distant, desolate Mars colony. But Marsalis found a way to slip back–and into a lucrative living as a bounty hunter and hit man before a police sting landed him in prison–a fate worse than Mars, and much more dangerous.

Luckily, his “enhanced” life also seems to be a charmed one. A new chance at freedom beckons, courtesy of the government. All Marsalis has to do is use his superior skills to bring in another fugitive. But this one is no common criminal. He’s another Thirteen–one who’s already shanghaied a space shuttle, butchered its crew, and left a trail of bodies in his wake on a bloody cross-country spree. And like his pursuer, he was bred to fight to the death. Still, there’s no question Marsalis will take the job. Though it will draw him deep into violence, treachery, corruption, and painful confrontation with himself, anything is better than remaining a prisoner. The real question is: can he remain sane–and alive–long enough to succeed?

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Lev Grossman's The Magicians for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Quentin Coldwater is a brilliant but unhappy young man growing up in Brooklyn, NY. At 17, he remains obsessed with the fantasy novels he read as a child, set in the magical land of Fillory. One day, returning home from a college interview gone awry, he finds himself whisked to Brakebills, an exclusive college for wizards hidden in upstate New York. And so begins THE MAGICIANS, the thrilling and original novel of fantasy and disenchantment by Lev Grossman, author of the international bestseller Codex and book critic for TIME magazine.

At Brakebills, Quentin learns to cast spells. He makes friends and falls in love. He transforms into animals and gains powers of which he never dreamed. Still, magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he thought it would, and four years later, he finds himself back in Manhattan, living an aimless, hedonistic existence born of apathy, boredom and the ability to conjure endless sums of money out of thin air.

One afternoon, hung over and ruing some particularly foolish behavior, Quentin is surprised by the sudden arrival of his Brakebills friend and rival Penny, who announces that Fillory is real. This news promises to finally fulfill Quentin’s yearning, but their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than Quentin could have imagined. His childhood dream is a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.

At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, THE MAGICIANS pays intentional homage to the beloved fantasy novels of C. S. Lewis, T.H. White and J.K. Rowling, but does much more than enlarge the boundaries of conventional fantasy writing. By imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions, Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.

You can alsoget your hands on the digital edition of George R. R. Martin's Dreamsongs, Volume 1, an excellent collection of short fiction, for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Even before A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin had already established himself as a giant in the field of fantasy literature. The first of two stunning collections, Dreamsongs: Volume I is a rare treat for readers, offering fascinating insight into his journey from young writer to award-winning master.

Gathered here in Dreamsongs: Volume I are the very best of George R. R. Martin’s early works, including his Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker award–winning stories, cool fan pieces, and the original novella The Ice Dragon, from which Martin’s New York Times bestselling children’s book of the same title originated. A dazzling array of subjects and styles that features extensive author commentary, Dreamsongs, Volume I is the perfect collection for both Martin devotees and a new generation of fans.