cover image High Stakes

High Stakes

Edited by George R.R. Martin, assisted by Melinda M. Snodgrass. Tor, $27.99 (560p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3562-3

This exhilarating 23rd collaborative novel in the Wild Cards series features the contributions of assistant editor Snodgrass, David Anthony Durham, Stephen Leigh, John Jos. Miller, Caroline Spector, and Ian Tregillis. This version of Earth is populated by superpowered characters who are diverse in age, race, gender, and ethics. Yet this world is eminently recognizable, even for readers new to Wild Cards. Some people are “aces” with incomparable powers; others are “jokers,” considered debilitated or disfigured by their transformations. The sadistic Baba Yaga pitted jokers against one another for her own entertainment, and many cannot forgive her for it. But a mysterious monster of untold power is drawing them all toward chaotic devastation, and Baba Yaga, who’s now dying, may hold the secret to containing it. As a vast number of characters attempt to figure out what’s going on and going wrong, they make some unexpected discoveries and learn that Earth’s only hope must come from a most unlikely place. This is a wild ride of good, blood-pumping fun that packs a surprisingly emotional punch for a book that looks on the surface like just another superhero adventure. (Aug.)