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River of Stars

Under Heaven: Book 2

Guy Gavriel Kay

In his critically acclaimed novel Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay told a vivid and powerful story inspired by China's Tang Dynasty. Now, the international bestselling and multiple award-winning author revisits that invented setting four centuries later with an epic of prideful emperors, battling courtiers, bandits and soldiers, nomadic invasions, and a woman battling in her own way, to find a new place for women in the world -- a world inspired this time by the glittering, decadent Song Dynasty.

Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life-in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later-and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles towards the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north.

Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor-and alienates women at the court. But when her father's life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.

In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars.

The Lions of Al-Rassan

Guy Gavriel Kay

Over the centuries, the once stern rulers of Al-Rassan have been seduced by sensuous pleasures. Now King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, adding city after city to his realm, aided by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan--poet, diplomat, soldier--until a summer day of savage brutality changes their relationship forever. Meanwhile, in the north, the Jaddite's most celebrated--and feared--military leader, Rodrigo Belmonte, and Ammar meet. Sharing the interwoven fate of both men is Jehane, the beautiful, accomplished court physician, whose own skills play an increasing role as Al-Rassan is swept to the brink of holy war, and beyond....

The Confusion

The Baroque Cycle: Book 2

Neal Stephenson

In the year 1689, a cabal of Barbary galley slaves -- including one Jack Shaftoe, aka King of the Vagabonds, aka Half-Cocked Jack -- devises a daring plan to win freedom and fortune. A great adventure ensues -- a perilous race for an enormous prize of silver ... nay, gold ... nay, legendary gold.

In Europe, the exquisite and resourceful Eliza, Countess de la Zeur, is stripped of her immense personal fortune by France's most dashing privateer. Penniless and at risk from those who desire either her or her head (or both), she is caught up in a web of international intrigue, even as she desperately seeks the return of her most precious possession.

Meanwhile, Newton and Leibniz continue to propound their grand theories as their infamous rivalry intensifies, stubborn alchemy does battle with the natural sciences, dastardly plots are set in motion ... and Daniel Waterhouse seeks passage to the Massachusetts colony in hopes of escaping the madness into which his world has descended.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Patrick Suskind

The year is 1738; the place, Paris. A baby is born under a fish-monger's bloody table in a marketplace, and abandoned. Orphaned, passed over to the monks as a charity case, already there is something in the aura of the tiny infant that is unsettling. No one will look after him; he is somehow too demanding, and, even more disturbing, something is missing: as his wet nurse tries to explain, he doesn't smell the way a baby should smell; indeed, he has no scent at all.

Slowly, as we watch Jean-Baptiste Grenouille cling stubbornly to life, we begin to realize that a monster is growing before our eyes. With mounting unease, yet hypnotized, we see him explore his powers and their effect on the world around him. For this dark and sinister boy who has no smell himself possesses an absolute sense of smell, and with it he can read the world to discover the hidden truths that elude ordinary men. He can smell the very composition of objects, and their history, and where they have been, he has no need of the light, and darkness is not dark to him, because nothing can mask the odors of the universe.

As he leaves childhood behind and comes to understand his terrible uniqueness, his obsession becomes the quest to identify, and then to isolate, the most perfect scent of all, the scent of life itself.

At first, he hones his powers, learning the ancient arts of perfume-making until the exquisite fragrances he creates are the rage of Paris, and indeed Europe. Then, secure in his mastery of these means to an end, he withdraws into a strange and agonized solitude, waiting, dreaming, until the morning when he wakes, ready to embark on his monstrous quest: to find and extract from the most perfect living creatures-the most beautiful young virgins in the land- that ultimate perfume which alone can make him, too, fully human. As his trail leads him, at an ever-quickening pace, from his savage exile to the heart of the country and then back to Paris, we are caught up in a rising storm of terror and mortal sensual conquest until the frenzy of his final triumph explodes in all its horrifying consequences.

Told with dazzling narrative brilliance and the haunting power of a grown-up fairy tale, Perfume is one of the most remarkable novels of the last fifty years.

The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence: Book 1

Scott Lynch

An orphan's life is harsh -- and often short -- in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains, a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected family of orphans -- a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly-knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful -- and more ambitious -- than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men -- and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game -- or die trying....

1610: A Sundial in a Grave

Mary Gentle

Valentin Rochefort, professional duellist and down-at-heels aristocrat, arranges the assassination of Henri IV, King of France. Fleeing from the consequences, he makes for England, on the way picking up two companions - a young boy, Dariole, and a ship-wrecked 'demon'. Dariole is discovered first to be a girl, and then to be Rochefort's sister; the 'demon' is Tanaka Saburo, a Japanese samurai on ambassadorial mission to England from the Shogun; and Rochefort is found by a pack of Hermetic mages and conspirators, who want him to arrange the same thing for King James I/VI of England as he did for Henri of France.

Rochefort is blackmailed into arranging the death of King James at the performance of a Hermetic magic play. Meanwhile, Dariole is busy making forays into Shakespeare's theatre as England's first (and worst) female actor ...1610 really isn't Rochefort's year - And as the play's performance and the assassination approach, Rochefort's dreams of the future that may spring from this crucial year grow increasingly stranger and more contradictory. He realises he must act - but, how? What is the right choice? And how much of the future will depend on what he does?

A Song for Arbonne

Guy Gavriel Kay

A stunning historical fantasy of love, war and political intrigues, the author's favourite of his own books. Arbonne is a lush, fertile land near the sea, and its people revere music and the Goddess Rian. In Gorhaut, the God Corannos and war are the only considerations. These two countries are on a collision course, that will lead to a war in which son battles father - and life-long friendships end in death.

Territory

Emma Bull

Wyatt Earp. Doc Holliday. Ike Clanton.

You think you know the story. You don't.

Tombstone, Arizona in 1881 is the site of one of the richest mineral strikes in American history, where veins of silver run like ley lines under the earth, a network of power that belongs to anyone who knows how to claim and defend it.

Above the ground, power is also about allegiances. A magician can drain his friends' strength to strengthen himself, and can place them between him and danger. The one with the most friends stands to win the territory.

Jesse Fox left his Eastern college education to travel West, where he's made some decidedly odd friends, like the physician Chow Lung, who insists that Jesse has a talent for magic. In Tombstone, Jesse meets the tubercular Doc Holliday, whose inner magic is as suppressed as his own, but whose power is enough to attract the sorcerous attention of Wyatt Earp.

Mildred Benjamin is a young widow making her living as a newspaper typesetter, and -- unbeknownst to the other ladies of Tombstone -- selling tales of Western derring-do to the magazines back East. Like Jesse, Mildred has episodes of seeing things that can't possibly be there.

When a failed stage holdup results in two dead, Tombstone explodes with speculation about who attempted the robbery. The truth could destroy Earp's plans for wealth and glory, and he'll do anything to bury it. Meanwhile, outlaw leader John Ringo wants the same turf as Earp. Each courts Jesse as an ally, and tries to isolate him by endangering his friends, as they struggle for magical dominance of the territory.

Events are building toward the shootout of which you may have heard. But you haven't heard the whole, secret story until you've read Emma Bull's unique take on an American legend, in which absolutely nothing is as it seems...

Under Heaven

Under Heaven: Book 1

Guy Gavriel Kay

In his latest innovative novel, the award-winning author evokes the dazzling Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China in a story of honor and power.

Inspired by the glory and power of Tang dynasty China, Guy Gavriel Kay has created a masterpiece.

It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father's last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.

You give a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You give him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor.

Wisely, the gift comes with the stipulation that Tai must claim the horses in person. Otherwise he would probably be dead already...

Tooth and Claw

Jo Walton

A tale of love, money, and family conflict--among dragons.

A family deals with the death of their father. A son goes to court for his inheritance. Another son agonises over his father's deathbed confession. One daughter becomes involved in the abolition movement, while another sacrifices herself for her husband.

And everyone in the tale is a dragon, red in tooth and claw.

Here is a world of politics and train stations, of churchmen and family retainers, of courtship and country houses...in which, on the death of an elder, family members gather to eat the body of the deceased. In which the great and the good avail themselves of the privilege of killing and eating the weaker children, which they do with ceremony and relish, growing stronger thereby.

You have never read a novel like Tooth and Claw.

Lord of Emperors

The Sarantine Mosaic: Book 2

Guy Gavriel Kay

The Thrilling Sequel To Sailing To Sarantium

Beckoned by the Emperor Valerius, Crispin, a renowned mosaicist, has arrived in the fabled city of Sarantium. Here he seeks to fulfill his artistic ambitions and his destiny high upon a dome that will become the emerror's magnificent sanctuary and legacy.

But the beauty and solitude of his work cannot protect his from Sarantium's intrigue. Beneath him the city swirls with rumors of war and conspiracy, while otherworldly fires mysteriously flicker and disappear in the streets at night. Valerius is looking west to Crispin's homeland to reunite an Empire -- a plan that may have dire consequences for the loved ones Crispin left behind.

In Sarantium, however, loyalty is always complex, for Crispin's fate has become entwined with that of Valerius and his Empress, as well as Queen Gisel, his own monarch exiled in Sarantium herself. And now another voyager -- this time from the east -- has arrived, a pysician determined to make his mark amid the shifting, treachearous currents of passion and violence that will determine the empire's fate.

Sailing to Sarantium

The Sarantine Mosaic: Book 1

Guy Gavriel Kay

Crispin is a mosaicist, a layer of bright tiles. Still grieving for the family he lost to the plaque, he lives only for his arcane craft. But an imperial summons from Valerius the Trakesian to Sarantium, the most magnificent place in the world, is difficult to resist.

In a world half-wild and tangled with magic, a journey to Sarantium means a walk into destiny. Bearing with him a deadly secret and a Queen's seductive promise, guarded only by his own wits and a talisman from an alchemist's treasury, Crispin sets out for the fabled city. Along the way he will encounter a great beast from the mythic past,and in robbing the zubir of its prize he wins a woman's devotion and a man's loyalty--and loses a gift he didn't know he had until it was gone.

Once in this city ruled by intrigue and violence, he must find his own source of power. Struggling to deal with the dangers and seductive lures of the men and woman around him, Crispin does discover it, in a most unusual place--high on the scaffolding of the greatest artwork ever imagined....

Soldier of the Mist

Latro: Book 1

Gene Wolfe

Latro, a mercenary soldier from the north, has suffered a head wound in battle but has developed the ability to see and converse with all of the invisible gods, goddesses, ghosts, demons, and werewolfves that inhabit the land.

Quicksilver

The Baroque Cycle: Book 1

Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver is here. A monumental literary feat that follows the author's critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller Cryptonomicon, it is history, adventure, science, truth, invention, sex, absurdity, piracy, madness, death, and alchemy. It sweeps across continents and decades with the power of a roaring tornado, upending kings, armies, religious beliefs, and all expectations.

It is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe, in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight. It is a chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of "Half-Cocked Jack" Shaftoe -- London street urchin turned swashbuckling adventurer and legendary King of the Vagabonds -- risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox ... and Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent a contentious continent through the newborn power of finance.

A gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive novel that brings a remarkable age and its momentous events to vivid life -- a historical epic populated by the likes of Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton, William of Orange, Benjamin Franklin, and King Louis XIV -- Quicksilver is an extraordinary achievement from one of the most original and important literary talents of our time.

And it's just the beginning...

Raphael

The Damiano Trilogy: Book 3

R. A. MacAvoy

Weakened by his contact with mortals, the Archangel Raphael falls prey to his brother, Lucifer, who strips him of his divinity. Sold in the Moorish slave markets, confused and humbled by his sudden humanity, Raphael finds his only solace in the friendship of the dark-skinned Bedouin woman, Djoura, and the spiritual guardianship of his former pupil, Damiano Delstrego.

Accompanied by the rakish Gaspare and an ancient black dragon, Damiano's beloved Saara embarks on a quest to rescue Raphael. Their odyssey leads them to a shattering confrontation with the Father of Lies and a transcendent reckoning with destiny.

Curtsies & Conspiracies

Finishing School: Book 2

Gail Carriger

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this bestselling sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail's distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

Children of Earth and Sky

Guy Gavriel Kay

Children of Earth and Sky is set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands--where empires and faiths collide.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request--and possibly to do more--and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor's wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he's been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif--to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates--and those of many others--will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world...

The Crystal Cave

The Arthurian Saga: Book 1

Mary Stewart

Born the bastard son of a Welsh princess, Myridden Emrys -- or as he would later be known, Merlin -- leads a perilous childhood, haunted by portents and visions. But destiny has great plans for this no-man's-son, taking him from prophesying before the High King Vortigern to the crowning of Uther Pendragon . . . and the conception of Arthur -- king for once and always.

Ægypt

The Aegypt Cycle: Book 1

John Crowley

There is more than one history of the world.

Before science defined the modern age, other powers, wondrous and magical, once governed the universe, their lore perfected within a lost capital of hieroglyphs, wizard-kings, and fabulous monuments, not Egypt -- but Ægypt.

What if it were really so?

In the 1970s, a historian named Pierce Moffett moves to the New England countryside to write a book about Ægypt, driven by an idea he dare not believe -- that the physical laws of the universe once changed and may change again. Yet the notion is not his alone. Something waits at the locked estate of Fellowes Kraft, author of romances about Will Shakespeare and Giordano Bruno and Dr. John Dee, something for which Pierce and those near him have long sought without knowing it, a key, perhaps, to Ægypt.

Also published as The Solitudes.

Ash: A Secret History

The Book of Ash

Mary Gentle

There is more than one history of the world...

In the mid-fifteenth century there was Burgundy, the jewel of Europe-opulent and powerful, the undisputed center of an uncivilized world.

In an epoch of war and madness there was Ash. A girl born in mud and dung, she slew her first men while only eight. Scarred and ravaged, but still beautiful, she rose up to lead a great mercenary army before the age of twenty-and followed a sacred voice wise in the bloody ways of battle to a pinnacle unattainable to even the most potent of legends.

In a time when empires and alliances shifted like sand-when Mithras the bull was worshipped freely alongside the Christ-a great cloud arose out of Africa to darken the sun. The Visigoths came with their terrible machines-powered by magic or a science unknown to this day-and aimed their irresistible might toward the rich Burgundian prize, wrenching the wheel of civilization in an unknown and unexpected direction. And with their coming, one incomparable warrior raised on Destiny's ash heap became more that anyone thought one woman could ever be.

Note: The contents of this novel was also separately published in four parts as A Secret History / Carthage Ascendant / The Wild Machines / Lost Burgundy.

Ink and Bone

The Great Library: Book 1

Rachel Caine

Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time....

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly--but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family's spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library's service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life--and soon both heretics and books will burn....

On Stranger Tides

Tim Powers

The story of John Chandagnac who sails to Haiti to recover his father's lost plantation and enters a Caribbean pirate empire ruled by Blackbeard, a child of voodoo whose spirit is infested with ghosts. The hero is pressed into piracy and sorcery as Blackbeard searches for the Fountain of Lost Youth.

The Last Light of the Sun

Guy Gavriel Kay

In his eagerly awaited new novel, Guy Gavriel Kay turns his gaze to the northlands, brilliantly evoking the Viking, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic cultures of a turbulent age.

There is nothing soft or silken about the north. The lives of men and women are as challenging as the climate and lands in which they dwell. For generations, the Erlings of Vinmark have taken their dragon-prowed ships across the seas, raiding the lands of the Cyngael and Anglcyn peoples, leaving fire and death behind. But times change, even in the north, and in a tale woven with consummate artistry, people of all three cultures find the threads of their lives unexpectedly brought together...

Bern Thorkellson, punished for his father's sins, commits an act of vengeance and desperation that brings him face-to-face, across the sea, with a past he's been trying to leave behind.

In the Anglcyn lands of King Aeldred, the shrewd king, battling inner demons all the while, shores up his defenses with alliances and diplomacy-and with swords and arrows-while his exceptional, unpredictable sons and daughters pursue their own desires when battle comes and darkness falls in the woods.

And in the valleys and shrouded hills of the Cyngael, whose voices carry music even as they feud and raid amongst each other, violence and love become deeply interwoven when the dragon ships come and Alun ab Owyn, chasing an enemy in the night, glimpses strange lights gleaming above forest pools.

Making brilliant use of saga, song and chronicle, Kay brings to life an unforgettable world balanced on the knife-edge of change in The Last Light of the Sun.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Susanna Clarke

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England's magical past and regained some of the powers of England's magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative-the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington's army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange's heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.

Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke's magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that eight hundred pages leave readers longing for more.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

The Watchmaker: Book 1

Natasha Pulley

1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.

The True Queen

The Sorcerer Royal: Book 2

Zen Cho

When sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the peaceful beach of the island of Janda Baik, they can't remember anything, except that they are bound as only sisters can be. They have been cursed by an unknown enchanter, and slowly Sakti starts to fade away. The only hope of saving her is to go to distant Britain, where the Sorceress Royal has established an academy to train women in magic.

If Muna is to save her sister, she must learn to navigate high society, and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy. As she's drawn into their intrigues, she must uncover the secrets of her past, and journey into a world with more magic than she had ever dreamed.

Waters of Versailles

Kelly Robson

Nebula-nominated Novella

"Waters of Versailles" is a charming novella of court intrigue in 1738 Versailles as a clever former soldier makes his fortune by introducing a modern water system (and toilets) to the ladies of the palace. He does this with magical help that he may not be able to control.

Read this story for free online at Tor.com.

The Native Star

Veneficas Americana: Book 1

M. K. Hobson

In the tradition of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, this brilliant first novel fuses history, fantasy, and romance. Prepare to be enchanted by M. K. Hobson's captivating take on the Wild, Wild West.

The year is 1876. In the small Sierra Nevada settlement of Lost Pine, the town witch, Emily Edwards, is being run out of business by an influx of mail-order patent magics. Attempting to solve her problem with a love spell, Emily only makes things worse. But before she can undo the damage, an enchanted artifact falls into her possession-and suddenly Emily must flee for her life, pursued by evil warlocks who want the object for themselves.

Dreadnought Stanton, a warlock from New York City whose personality is as pompous and abrasive as his name, has been exiled to Lost Pine for mysterious reasons. Now he finds himself involuntarily allied with Emily in a race against time-and across the United States by horse, train, and biomechanical flying machine-in quest of the great Professor Mirabilis, who alone can unlock the secret of the coveted artifact. But along the way, Emily and Stanton will be forced to contend with the most powerful and unpredictable magic of all-the magic of the human heart.

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent

Lady Trent: Book 1

Marie Brennan

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart - no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments - even at the risk of one's life - is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons.

Damiano's Lute

The Damiano Trilogy: Book 2

R. A. MacAvoy

Shattered by the demonic fury of his dark powers, Damiano Delstrego has forsaken his magical heritage to live as a mortal man. Accompanied only by the guidance of the Archangel Raphael, the chidings of a brash young rogue, and the memory of a beautiful pagan witch, He jorunys across a plague ridden countryside in search of peace.

The Dragon Waiting: A Masque of History

John M. Ford

The Wars of the Roses have put Edward IV on the throne of England, Lorenzo de' Medici's court shines brilliantly, and Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza plots in Milan. But this is a changed world, and medieval Europe is dominated by the threat from the Byzantine Empire. Sforza, the Vampire Duke, marshals his forces for his long-planned attack on Florence, and Byzantium is on the march. A mercenary, the exiled heir to the Byzantine throne, a young woman physician forced to flee Florence, and a Welsh wizard, the nephew of Owain Gly Dwr, seem to have no common goals but together they wage an intrigue-filled campaign against the might of Byzantium, striving to secure the English throne for Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and make him Richard III.

His Majesty's Dragon

Temeraire: Book 1

Naomi Novik

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain's defense by taking to the skies... not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain futureand an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France's own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte's boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Foucault's Pendulum

Umberto Eco

Bored with their work, three Milanese editors cook up "the Plan," a hoax that connects the medieval Knights Templar with other occult groups from ancient to modern times. This produces a map indicating the geographical point from which all the powers of the earth can be controlled-a point located in Paris, France, at Foucault's Pendulum. But in a fateful turn the joke becomes all too real, and when occult groups, including Satanists, get wind of the Plan, they go so far as to kill one of the editors in their quest to gain control of the earth.

Orchestrating these and other diverse characters into his multilayered semiotic adventure, Eco has created a superb cerebral entertainment.

The Privilege of the Sword

The World of Riverside: Book 3

Ellen Kushner

Welcome to Riverside, where the aristocratic and the ambitious battle for power in the city's ballroom, brothels and boudoirs. Into this alluring world walks Katherine, a well-bred country girl versed in the rules of conventional society. Her mistake is thinking that they apply. For Katherine's host and uncle, Alec Campion, aka the Mad Duke Tremontaine, is in charge here--and to him, rules are made to be broken.

When Alec decides it would be more amusing for his niece to learn swordplay than to follow the usual path to marriage, her world changes forever. Blade in hand, it's up to Katherine to navigate a maze of secrets and scoundrels--and to gain the self-discovery that comes to those who master....

Waistcoats & Weaponry

Finishing School: Book 3

Gail Carriger

It's one thing to waltz properly.

It's quite another to waltz properly with a bladed fan stitched into one's corset.

Sophronia continues finishing school in style - with a range of deadly defences secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Her fashionable choice of weapons comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap and the charming Lord Felix Mersey hijack a suspiciously empty train to return their chum Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland.

But when Sophronia discovers they are being trailed by a dirigible of Picklemen and flywaymen, she unearths a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos. With her friends in mortal danger, Sophronia must sacrifice what she holds most dear - her freedom.

Gather your poison, your steel-tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine's proper young killing machines in the third rousing instalment of the New York Times bestselling Finishing School series.

Victory of Eagles

Temeraire: Book 5

Naomi Novik

For Britain, conditions are grim: Napoleon's resurgent forces have breached the Channel and successfully invaded English soil. Napoleon's prime objective is the occupation of London. Unfortunately, the dragon Temeraire has been removed from military service–and his captain, Will Laurence, has been condemned to death for treason. Separated by their own government and threatened at every turn by Napoleon's forces, Laurence and Temeraire must struggle to find each other amid the turmoil of war. If only they can be reunited, master and dragon might rally Britain's scattered resistance forces and take the fight to the enemy as never before–for king and country, and for their own liberty.

The Tropic of Serpents

Lady Trent: Book 2

Marie Brennan

Attentive readers of Lady Trent's earlier memoir, A Natural History of Dragons, are already familiar with how a bookish and determined young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would one day lead her to becoming the world's premier dragon naturalist. Now, in this remarkably candid second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career.

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.

The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell... where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.

Shades of Milk and Honey

Jane Ellsworth: Book 1

Mary Robinette Kowal

The fantasy novel you've always wished Jane Austen had written

Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.

Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane's skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody's suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right-and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

Empire of Ivory

Temeraire: Book 4

Naomi Novik

Tragedy has struck His Majesty's Aerial Corps, whose magnificent fleet of fighting dragons and their human captains valiantly defend England's shores against the encroaching armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. An epidemic of unknown origin and no known cure is decimating the noble dragons' ranks-forcing the hopelessly stricken into quarantine. Now only Temeraire and a pack of newly recruited dragons remain uninfected-and stand as the only means of an airborne defense against France's ever bolder sorties. Bonaparte's dragons are already harrowing Britain's ships at sea. Only one recourse remains: Temeraire and his captain, Will Laurence, must take wing to Africa, whose shores may hold the cure to the mysterious and deadly contagion. On this mission there is no time to waste, and no telling what lies in store beyond the horizon or for those left behind to wait, hope, and hold the line.

Throne of Jade

Temeraire: Book 2

Naomi Novik

This is the second installment of a series set in an alternate universe where intelligent dragons are employed by the military to fight the Napoleonic War. In the previous volume, HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON, Captain Will Laurence of the British navy captured a highly prized Chinese dragon egg intended for Napoleon himself, and, when it hatched, bonded with the new dragon, Temeraire.

Now, the Chinese Emperor, perceiving Temeraire's association with a mere captain as an insult, has sent an embassy demanding that Temeraire return to China. As the dragon-human pair refuse to be parted, the two embark on the lengthy sea voyage to China, where a delicate and dangerous diplomatic mission awaits them.

Prentice Alvin

The Tales of Alvin Maker: Book 3

Orson Scott Card

The Tales of Alvin Maker series continues in volume three, Prentice Alvin. Young Alvin returns to the town of his birth, and begins his apprenticeship with Makepeace Smith, committing seven years of his life in exchange for the skills and knowledge of a blacksmith. But Alvin must also learn to control and use his own talent, that of a Maker, else his destiny will be unfulfilled.

A Princess of Roumania

A Princess of Roumania: Book 1

Paul Park

This is a truly magical tale, full of strangeness, terrors and wonders. Many girls daydream that they are really a princess adopted by commoners. In the case of teenager Miranda Popescu, this is literally true. Because she is at the fulcrum of a deadly political battle between conjurers in an alternate world where "Roumania" is a leading European power, Miranda was hidden by her aunt in our world, where she was adopted and raised in a quiet Massachusetts college town.

The narrative is split between our world and the people in Roumania working to protect or to capture Miranda: her Aunt Aegypta Schenck versus the mad Baroness Ceaucescu in Bucharest, and the sinister alchemist, the Elector of Ratisbon, who holds her true mother prisoner in Germany. This is the story of how Miranda -- with her two best friends, Peter and Andromeda -- is brought back to her home reality. Each of them is changed in the process and all will have much to learn about their true identities and the strange world they find themselves in.

This story is a triumph of contemporary fantasy.

Glamour in Glass

Jane Ellsworth: Book 2

Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel. Glamour in Glass follows the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.

In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent's concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon... to escaping it.

Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison... and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country's war.

Red Prophet

The Tales of Alvin Maker: Book 2

Orson Scott Card

Come here to the magical America that might have been, and marvel as the tale of Alvin Maker unfolds. The seventh son of a seventh son is a boy of mysterious powers, and he is waking to the mysteries of the land and its own chosen people.

Alvin Journeyman

The Tales of Alvin Maker: Book 4

Orson Scott Card

Alvin is a Maker, the first to be born in a century.

Now a grown man and a journeyman smith, Alvin has returned to his family in the town of Vigor Church. He will share in their isolation, work as a blacksmith, and try to teach anyone who wishes to learn the knack of being a Maker. For Alvin has had a vision of the Crystal City he will build, and he knows that he cannot build it alone.

But he has left behind in Hatrack River enemies as well as true friends. His ancient foe, the Unmaker, whose cruel whispers and deadly plots have threatened Alvin's life at every turn, has found new hands to do his work of destruction.

Black Powder War

Temeraire: Book 3

Naomi Novik

After their fateful adventure in China, Capt. Will Laurence of His Majesty's Aerial Corps and his extraordinary dragon, Temeraire, are waylaid by a mysterious envoy bearing urgent new orders from Britain. Three valuable dragon eggs have been purchased from the Ottoman Empire, and Laurence and Temeraire must detour to Istanbul to escort the precious cargo back to England. Time is of the essence if the eggs are to be borne home before hatching.

Yet disaster threatens the mission at every turn-thanks to the diabolical machinations of the Chinese dragon Lien, who blames Temeraire for her master's death and vows to ally herself with Napoleon and take vengeance. Then, faced with shattering betrayal in an unexpected place, Laurence, Temeraire, and their squad must launch a daring offensive. But what chance do they have against the massed forces of Bonaparte's implacable army?

The Ladies of Grace Adieu: And Other Stories

Susanna Clarke

Faerie is never as far away as you think. Sometimes you find you have crossed an invisible line and must cope, as best you can, with petulant princesses, vengeful owls, ladies who pass their time embroidering terrible fates or with endless paths in deep, dark woods and houses that never appear the same way twice. The heroines and heroes bedevilled by such problems in these fairy tales include a conceited Regency clergyman, an eighteenth-century Jewish doctor and Mary, Queen of Scots, as well as two characters from "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: Strange himself and the Raven King".

Fire & Blood

A Song of Ice and Fire: Targaryen History: Book 1

George R. R. Martin

Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen--the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria--took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire & Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.

What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why was it so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What were Maegor the Cruel's worst crimes? What was it like in Westeros when dragons ruled the skies? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel and featuring more than eighty all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. Readers have glimpsed small parts of this narrative in such volumes as The World of Ice & Fire, but now, for the first time, the full tapestry of Targaryen history is revealed.

With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire & Blood is the the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.

The Grand Tour

Kate and Cecelia: Book 2

Patricia C. Wrede
Caroline Stevermer

On their honeymoons, Kate and Cecelia confront a plot against Europe

Ocean voyages do not agree with wizards, and seasickness during the Channel crossing is the price Cecelia must pay for her budding magical skill. As her nausea ebbs, she is comforted by her new husband, James, and the knowledge that at long last they are on their honeymoon. In their company is Cecelia's cousin Kate, newly minted as the Marchioness of Schofield, and her husband Thomas. The shared journey guarantees the two couples a happy start to married life, if they can survive the perils of the Continent.

In Calais, a mysterious woman visits Cecelia with a package intended for Thomas's mother. Inside is an alabaster flask of noble manufacture, one of the royal artifacts that have been vanishing all over Europe as part of a magical plot against the French crown. This is no simple honeymoon: On their tour of Europe, Kate and Cecelia must save the monarchy from an emperor-in-exile named Napoleon.

Maplecroft

The Borden Dispatches: Book 1

Cherie Priest

The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny. But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean's depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness. This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.

Ironskin

Ironskin: Book 1

Tina Connolly

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It's the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain--the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"--a child born during the Great War--Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn't expect to fall for the girl's father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her scars and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio... and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things are true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of a new life--and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

The Moon and the Sun

Vonda N. McIntyre

In seventeenth-century France, Louis XIV rules with flamboyant ambition. In his domain, wealth and beauty take all; frivolity begets cruelty; science and alchemy collide. From the Hall of Mirrors to the vermin-infested attics of the Chateau at Versailles, courtiers compete to please the king, sacrificing fortune, principles, and even the sacred bond between brother and sister.

By the fiftieth year of his reign, Louis XIV has made France the most powerful state in the western world. Yet the Sun King's appetite for glory knows no bounds. In a bold stroke, he sends his natural philosopher on an expedition to seek the source of immortality -- the rare, perhaps mythical, sea monsters. For the glory, of his God, his country, and his king, Father Yves de la Croix returns with his treasures: one heavy shroud packed in ice...and a covered basin that imprisons a shrieking creature.

In Great Waters

Kit Whitfield

During a time of great upheaval, the citizens of Venice make a pact that will change the world. The landsmen of the city broker a treaty with a water-dwelling tribe of deepsmen, cementing the alliance through marriage. The mingling of the two races produces a fresh, peerless strain of royal blood. To protect their shores, other nations make their own partnerships with this new breed–and then, jealous of their power, ban any further unions between the two peoples. Dalliance with a deepswoman becomes punishable by death. Any “bastard” child must be destroyed.

This is an Earth where the legends of the deep are true–where the people of the ocean are as real and as dangerous as the people of the land. This is the world of intrigue and betrayal that Kit Whitfield brings to life in an unforgettable alternate history: the tale of Anne, the youngest princess of a faltering England, struggling to survive in a troubled court, and Henry, a bastard abandoned on the shore to face his bewildering destiny, finding himself a pawn in a game he does not understand.

Yet even a pawn may checkmate a king.

A Midsummer Tempest

Poul Anderson

Suppose every event in history had at least two causes...and led to and from a separate universe in space and time. Then there would be an infinity of alternate worlds. Imagine a world in which every word written by Shakespeare was literally true. A world in which Prince Rupert of the Rhine could fight to save Charles I of England and escape the Puritans by hopping a railroad locomotive, on the right track but 200 years before its time. A world in which an aging Caliban could pace the lonely shore, yearning for the return of his lost love, Miranda. And where all these universes, and more, intersected, there lay a tavern where infinite possibilities met---if only for a night!