At the Queen's Command: The Crown Colonies, Book 1

Michael A. Stackpole, Night Shade (www.nightshadebooks.com), $14.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-59780-200-0

Tacking magic onto a colonial New World called Mystria, bestseller Stackpole (I, Jedi) spins a sprawling tale of a French and Zombie War in which colonists, Norillian redcoats, and native warriors must work together to defeat a necromantic Jacobin from Tharyngia. Capt. Owen Strake of the Queen's Own Wurms is given the assignment to map out the frontier in anticipation of a continental war moving to the colonies. Assisting him are local scout Nathaniel Woods and his sworn brother, Kamiskwa, prince of the native Altashee. Escaping captivity and torture, Strake maneuvers amid political intrigues and arrogant military commanders to help the colonists shed their reputation for cowardice and stop the villainous Guy du Malphias and his undead soldiers. Stackpole captures the grandeur and danger of the New World, an effort undermined only by some frontier stereotypes. (Nov.)