Sunday, 24 April 2011

Books Received | The BoSS for 24/04/11

Met the old BoSS? Well, let me introduce you to the new BoSS - same as the old BoSS, more or less... except less is more. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

All caught up? Good. Let's get on with it, then.

Oh my God, it's another edition of The BoSS! Run for your lives! Run!

Or if you're man enough, hang about, I guess. Maybe you could even take to time to read a little about these here pretties before we have to fight to the death.


Among Thieves
by Douglas Hulick

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 01/04/11
by Tor

Review Priority
5 (A Sure Thing)

The Blurb: Drothe is a Nose, an informant who finds and takes care of trouble inside the criminal organization he’s a part of. He also smuggles imperial relics on the side.

When his boss sends him to Ten Ways to track down who’s been leaning on his organization’s people, Drothe discovers hints of a much bigger mystery. Someone is trying to stir up trouble between lower-level criminal organizations, including the one Drothe belongs to. And there’s a book rumored to contain imperial glimmer (or magic) that a lot of very dangerous people seem to be looking for - including two crime bosses known as the Gray Princes.

When Drothe discovers the book, he finds himself holding a bit of swag that can bring down emperors, shatter the criminal underworld, and unlock forbidden magic... that's if he can survive long enough to use it.

A Scotsman's Thoughts: Starting off strong, Among Thieves is another of 2011's fantasy debuts, and it seems to have gained a good amount of momentum since its release in early April. As aforementioned yesterday, I've a million things on my plate at the moment, so it may take longer than I'd otherwise like to find time for Douglas Hulick's winsome rogue, but it'll happen. 

I'll say this much, for the moment: I'm getting a real Scott Lynch vibe off of this, even as news of The Republic of Thieves continues to leave me cold. So. High hopes.

Blood Red Road
by Moira Young

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 02/06/11
by Marion Lloyd Books

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: Every step of Saba's journey sizzles with danger... In a lawless land, where life is cheap and survival is hard, Saba has been brought up in isolated Silverlake. She never sees theangers of the destructive society outside. When her twin brother is snatched by mysterious black-robed riders, she sets out on an epic quest to rescue him. The story's searing pace, its spare style, the excitement of its fabulously damaged world, its unforgettably vivid characters, its violent action and glorious love story make this a truly sensatonal YA debut novel.

A Scotsman's Thoughts: Now this could well be a big deal. Of course it's too early to say, but going from the publicity materials, Marion Lloyd Books - a division of Scholastic, who you'll recall only just got through giving us The Hunger Games - are squarely behind Blood Red Road on the marketing front. And seeing what all the fuss is about is reason enough for me to take a good, hard look at Moira Young's book before it hits bookstore shelves in early June.

But then curiosity killed the cat, didn't it? Poor wee beastie... it only wanted to know.

And I can sympathise with that. :/

Black Halo
by Sam Sykes

Vital Statistics
Published in the US
on 22/03/11
by Pyr

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: The Tome of the Undergates has been recovered...

...yet the gates of hell remain closed. Lenk and his five companions set sail to bring the accursed relic away from the demonic reach of Ulbecetonth, the Kraken Queen. But after weeks at sea, tensions amidst the adventurers are rising. Their troubles are only beginning when their ship crashes upon an island made of the bones left behind from a war long dead.

And it appears that bloodthirsty alien warrior women, fanatical beasts from the deep, and heretic-hunting wizards are the least of their concerns. Haunted by their pasts, plagued by their gods, tormented by their own people, and gripped by madness personal and peculiar, their greatest foes may yet be themselves.

The reach of Ulbecetonth is longer than hell can hold.

A Scotsman's Thoughts: Some among you might Sam Sykes practically taking over The Speculative Scotsman last year, when his debut, The Tome of the Undergates, first came out. But it seems he's too good for the likes of us, nowadays. He's been moving on up, and good for him! It's been lovely to see such down-to-earth and dare I say approachable new talent find the recognition he deserves.

However, woe betide us every one, I'm not sure I've got the time to tackle another tome as of this very minute, so it might be a bit before I have a proper review to show you all. But all good things.

The River of Shadows
by Robert V. S. Redick

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 21/04/11
by Gollancz

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

The Blurb: The latest novel in Robert V.S Redick's stunning and original fantasy epic is a taut race against time that takes the Chathrand across the seas in a desperate bid to stop the sorcerer Arunis unleashing the Swarm of Night. From the mysterious River of Shadows to the Infernal Forest, to the Island Wilderness Pazel and his companions face a phatasmogoric journey through altered relaities, a nightmare journey which offers glimpses of what might have been while taking them into the terror of what is to come. Will Arunis use the cursed Nilstone to end the world? This is a rich fantasy of nightmares and unexpected beauty and is proof positive that Redick is one of the most exciting new talents in fantasy.

A Scotsman's Thoughts: Speaking of tomes, in fact, I've just come off the mammoth second volume of The Chathrand Voyage, which is to say The Rats and the Ruling Sea - a much better book than its predecessor by my measure. Both of which volumes I'm hoping to put together reviews of in the not-too-distant. And when that's all taken care of, I'll be starting in on The River of Shadows, so.

Plans! :)

The Zombies Autopsies
by Steven C. Schlozman

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 14/04/10
by Bantam Press

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: It seems that renowned zombie expert Dr Stanley Blum kept a detailed record of the vital work that he and his crack medical team conducted in their desperate bid to find a cure for the epidemic that is devastating the world. This is his notebook - and it doesn't make for comfortable reading.

Herein he documents the unique biology of zombie organisms for the first time. Notes taken during his dissection of immobilized but still functioning zombies include graphic depictions of the internal workings of these once-humans and reveal in grim detail the zombie anatomy, offering shocking insights into how these creatures function. This is not a book for the faint-hearted. And what soon becomes tragically clear is that Blum and his staff were caught up in a race against time... for they too start to succumb to the zombie plague.

We can only guess at the fate of Dr. Blum. But now that his notebook has been made available to the UN, the WHO and the wider world, we can only pray that Blum's scientific discoveries offer some hope for humankind on earth against the plague of the living dead.

A Scotsman's Thoughts: Heavily annotated and very meta, The Zombie Autopsies looks like it has designs on World War Z, and there's nothing wrong with aiming high, is there?

I've leafed through enough of this nicely-presented hardcover to know it stands a fighting chance of rivalling that definitive document, too. The Zombie Autopsies could be a bunch of fun. It's going to be my light reading of choice next time there's a silly sunny day to enjoy it on.


Well. That's it for this week, and this limited time only 2-for-1, but never fear: the nearly-new and probably only moderately improved BoSS will be back at the same bat-time next week, in the same bat-placeI'll see you then.

So you've got a fair idea of what I'll be reading, between now and next week. What about yourselves?

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