Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
The Immortals of Meluha

Amish. Quercus/Jo Fletcher, $26.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-62365-143-5

Amish’s debut, the first of a trilogy, made him a bestselling literary star in India. In translation, this fictionalized history of the Hindu deity Shiva’s journey to godhood is conceptually clever, but it’s sadly lackluster in execution. In 1900 B.C.E., tribal leader Shiva is tired of fending off a rival tribe’s attacks. He accepts an invitation to relocate his people from Tibet to the Indian empire of Meluha. The tribespeople drink a magical medicine that cures ailments in most, but it turns Shiva’s throat blue, marking him as the prophesied Neelkanth that will destroy the Meluhan’s evil enemies. Unfortunately, despite Amish’s creativity and the rich trove of myth from which he draws, the story gets away from him. His characters are flat, prone to clunky dialogue and expository inner monologues. The narrative tension is bogged down by heavy-handed philosophy, detracting from the straightforward plot. Those with an interest in eastern mythology will find this story interesting, but as a fantasy epic it feels amateurish. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Nine Planets

Greg Byrne. Dragonwell (publishing.dragonwell.org), $16.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-1-940076-17-1

Byrne’s allegorical debut boasts a premise that’s simultaneously dark and playful, lovely synesthetic imagery, and world-building that jumps delightfully between moments of fairy tale fantasy and high-tech dystopia. Peter Blackwell awakens from a coma into a cursed world where suicidal despair is common, mitigated only by the anticipation of perfect gifts that appear miraculously in everyone’s homes one day each year. Though Peter’s memory for new material is perfect, he retains only eight simple images from his pre-coma days, plus a cryptic ninth one behind which is locked a tremendous secret. That secret is sought by both the agents of the gift-giving Brotherhood and the Cabal that wants humankind to self-destruct, and both are desperate to extract it before a comet collides with Earth. Byrne barrels toward the climax of a centuries-long battle between misery and hope at an intense but not overly frenzied pace. Strong attention to the timing of revelations makes the conclusion inevitable but not obvious, allowing this riff on one of the world’s oldest stories to stay strong all the way to the end. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Once Walked with Gods

James Barclay. Gollancz (Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $15.95 trade paper (408p) ISBN 978-0-575-08503-9

Barclay (Legends of the Raven) opens his Elves fantasy series with a sensational fable of political upheaval, treachery, and redemption in the world of Calaius. Takaar , hero of the Elves, teeters between suicide and redemption after fleeing Garonin and abandoning his people. Human priest Sildann leads assassins armed with terrible magic to the revered Elven temple Aryn­deneth, determined to preserve human authority at any cost. As brothers fight and centuries-old alliances crumble, Auum, a TaiGethan Warrior, seeks to return Takaar to his former glory before Sildann and her co-conspirators destroy the Elven nation forever. Barclay’s visionary, detail-drenched imaginings combine ancient myths with vividly realistic outbursts of betrayal, greed, and culpability. Elven culture, politics, and religion mirror our own, and Takaar and Sildann manifest very human flaws. Social dictates clash against individual desires as deafeningly as swords against shields in this riveting drama of mages, magic, and mystical races. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Our Lady of the Islands

Shannon Page and Jay Lake. Per Aspera
(www.perasperapress.com), $29.99 (530p) ISBN 978-1-941662-06-9

This satisfying feminist tale—set in an underexplored corner of Lake’s lush, mythical Green universe (Green, etc.) but entirely accessible to new readers—features an empathetic middle-aged, middle-class protagonist managing the roles of businesswoman, mother and grandmother, fugitive, and unwilling savior with realism and grace. Clothing merchant Sian Kattë is assaulted by the charismatic rogue priest of the Butchered God, an encounter that grants her the unwanted power to heal by touch. Sian and her new abilities are misunderstood by her husband, lover, and daughter. She is hunted by the Mishrah-Khote physician-priests, who believe only men can be healers and accuse her of fraud, and manipulated by politically-minded relatives who insist that she stay away from both the public and her distant cousin’s dying son. Undaunted, Sian pursues her divine mission and encounters unexpected help from a woman in disguise; together they turn the second half of the book into a celebration of female friendship and cooperation. Page (Eastlick and other Stories) has done a phenomenal job of completing Lake’s work after his death, honoring his contributions and vision while giving the novel an emotionally authentic, coherent voice. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Maass Agency. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Low Midnight

Carrie Vaughn. Tor, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-6869-0

Vaughn’s rousing 13th Kitty Norville urban fantasy (following Kitty in the Underworld) is the first solo outing for fan favorite Cormac Bennett. On parole following a manslaughter conviction, Cormac is making a new life for himself as a supernatural detective in present-day Denver. Hunting werewolves worked for his father, but Cormac has learned that werewolves can be good as well as bad, as can vampires and other supernatural creatures. Amelia, a Victorian magician living in his head, serves as a 24/7 magical reference library, and he has plenty of investigative skills of his own. When Kitty asks him to decipher the text of the Book of Shadows, Cormac tackles it head-on, only to find that nothing in his life is simple or easy—especially when it comes to the supernatural. Vaughn keeps the twists and turns coming in this fast-paced, delightful paranormal mystery. Agent: Ashley Grayson, Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Running for the House

Howard Kleinhendler. CreateSpace, $12.95 trade paper (318p) ISBN 978-1-5002-8258-5

Even a seasoned genre writer would have a tough time pulling off the far-out premise of Kleinhendler’s tedious thriller: a covert cabal handpicks a nobody to be elected to Congress so he can gain its members’ access to a biological super weapon. The conspirators, known as the Committee, have learned of a technology that can identify every person’s unique “electrobiological signature.” With “targeted bursts of energy waves emitted from satellites or drones,” one can kill a man and make it look like a natural death. The Committee selects New York City trial lawyer Michael Gordon as their stealth pawn and sets out to manipulate him into office. At one point, the number of Gordon’s Facebook friends increases overnight from 32 to a still modest 200, though his new ones include “Rahm Emanuel, John [sic] Corzine, and Bill Gates.” Such errors as referring to caffeine as a “strong sedative” don’t help the over-the-top story line. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Riptide

Debbi Mack. Renegade, $3.99 e-book (244p) ASIN B007JB50AS

Mack’s competently plotted third Sam McRae mystery (after Least Wanted) takes the Maryland attorney and her fellow lawyer and friend, Jamila Williams, to Ocean City, Md., for a combined vacation and professional conference. At the beach, the pair have an unpleasant encounter with a group of young people led by Billy Ray, who taunt Jamila with racial insults and accuse her of staying at Billy Ray’s “daddy’s property.” When someone later fatally stabs Billy Ray in the gut, planted evidence linking Jamila to the crime leads to her arrest. Billy Ray’s stepfather, Marshall Bower, uses his powerful influence against Jamila. Since McRae can do little to help defense lawyer Edward Mulrooney, and PI Ellis Conroy blows her off, she investigates on her own. She looks into Bower’s operations, including his poultry farm, where illegal immigrants work under dreadful conditions. Serious social issues lend this entry extra interest. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
No Worst, There Is None

Eve McBride. Dundurn (IPS, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $25.99 (254p) ISBN 978-1-45971-865-4

Former newspaper columnist McBride (Dandelions Help) has written a debut that is a compelling exploration of a family’s grief after the 11-year-old daughter is brutally sexually assaulted and then murdered. In an author’s note, McBride explains that the book was inspired by a crime that touched her own family in 1986 when the friend of one of her young daughters was similarly attacked and slain. The novel follows the Warne family, who live a life of privilege and relative innocence in the mid ’80s in an undisclosed North American city. Their lives are shattered the day the oldest daughter, Lizbett, fails to come home from a trip to the local library. Told from various points of view—including Lizbett’s mother and father, her sister, other characters connected to the family, and, disturbingly, the murderer, Melvyn Searle, who goes on to murder another girl—it is graphic, heart- and gut-wrenching reading, yet also about love and grief, motivation and healing, and the endurance of family and the human spirit. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Shadow of Doubt: A Carol Childs Mystery

Nancy Cole Silverman. Henery (www.henerypress.com), $15.95 trade paper (238p) ISBN 978-1-940976-53-2

Silverman’s rocky debut introduces news reporter Carol Childs, formerly a sales exec with KCHC, an L.A. talk-radio station. Carol’s neighbor, Samantha “Sam” Millhouse, is second in command at a talent agency owned by Sam’s hard-driven, obnoxious aunt, Pepper Millhouse. When Pepper apparently drowns in her bathtub, Sam, who was none too fond of her aunt, becomes a prime suspect in what turns into a homicide case. Kari Rhodes, KCHC’s entertainment reporter, is the first to point out that Pepper is the third important person at the agency to die recently under suspicious circumstances. After the police arrest Sam, Carol begins to dig into the many people who had reason to kill Pepper, aided by boyfriend Eric Langdon, an FBI agent, but hindered by KCHC’s hostile news director, Tyler Hunt. The convincing Hollywood background redeems only in part a weak plot and sketchy characters. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Firebird’s Feather

Marjorie Eccles. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8426-8

Like Downton Abbey, this fun, well-crafted standalone by British author Eccles (A Dangerous Deceit) sets a wealthy family in a world of social change. In the summer of 1911, London faces a new monarch, suffrage demonstrations, and violent political activism. Eighteen-year-old Kitty Challoner is preparing for her introduction to London society when her Russian-born mother, Lydia, is fatally shot while horseback riding in Hyde Park. As Kitty grieves, she discovers that her father’s gun is missing, a precious icon has vanished, and a sketch of a wolf has mysteriously appeared in the lacquer box, decorated with a firebird, which her mother cherished. Lydia’s conflicts with suffragette leaders, close relationship with a handsome younger man, and possible support for London’s anarchist underground give the police ample leads. As Lydia’s hidden life is revealed, Kitty comes of age in a sobering but satisfying fashion. Well-drawn characters, inventive plotting, and a touch of romance distinguish this lively historical. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.