A trio of ARCs this week, as well as a pair of purchases:
Black Feathers by Joseph D' Lacey
Black Feathers is a modern fantasy set in two epochs: the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, and generations into the future in its aftermath, the Bright Day.
In each era, a child undertakes a perilous journey to find a dark messiah known as The Crowman. In their hands lies the fate of the planet as they attempt to discover whether The Crowman is our saviour… or the final incarnation of evil.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow
The Enterprise-E arrives in unclaimed space for a rendezvous with the Starfleet science vessel Newton. Jean-Luc Picard and his crew have been ordered to assist the Newton with the final phase of its current mission - a mission that brings Picard face to face with something he never thought he would see again, the phenomenon known as the Nexus. Less than twelve years after it left the Alpha Quadrant, the Nexus ribbon has now returned.
Tasked to track and study the phenomenon as it re-entered the galaxy, the specialist science team on the Newton discovered that the orbital path of the Nexus has been radically altered by the actions of the rogue El-Aurian Tolian Soren - taking it deep into the territory of The Holy Order of the Kinshaya, one of the key members of the Typhon Pact. Starfleet Command is unwilling to allow Kinshaya - and, by extension, The Typhon Pact - free access to what is essentially a gateway to anywhere and anywhen, as a single operative could use the Nexus to change the course of galactic history . . .
The Daylight War: Book Three of The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett
With The Warded Man and The Desert Spear, Peter V. Brett surged to the front rank of contemporary fantasy, standing alongside giants in the field such as George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, and Terry Brooks. The Daylight War, the eagerly anticipated third volume in Brett’s internationally bestselling Demon Cycle, continues the epic tale of humanity’s last stand against an army of demons that rise each night to prey on mankind.
On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men, both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all.
Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.
The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic.
Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons—a spear and a crown—that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control.
But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her.
Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all—those lurking in the human heart.
Fake Girls by Matthew Sloan
IT'S TEN P.M. DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE? Molloy is a problem-solver. For a price, he'll find anyone-or help you hide from anyone. Too bad he can't fix any of his own problems. He's already turned down his latest job offer, but Mr. Knott is the kind of client who won't take 'no' for an answer. Or, rather, it's Mr. Knott's boss who refuses to be denied. They want Molloy to find a missing woman named Nada Klone before a psychotic killer, an insanely jealous husband, and the world's most powerful secret organization finds her first. Mobsters, X-rated internet entrepreneurs, rogue government agents-they all seem to be searching for Nada Klone. There's only one problem: she doesn't exist. A rollicking adventure into the mysteries of love, sex, murder, and identity, FAKE GIRLS is a novel that's never quite what it seems. But, then, what is?
IN SITU edited by Carrie Cuinn
From independent publisher Dagan Books, IN SITU is a new anthology of science fiction stories featuring alien archeology, hidden mysteries, and things that are better off left buried.
A quiet man finds more than he bargained for when he sets out with his metal detector on a lonely hill ... A soldier meets a new kind of enemy fighting an altogether different kind of war ... On a distant swamp planet, a woman questions what kind of human she's becoming ... a pregnant archeologist finds a connection with a long-dead alien child ... while deep space scavengers wonder what it ever meant to be human at all.
These fifteen evocative science fiction stories will take you from dusty archaeologists digging up our alien past into a distant future where we've become the relics. Thought-provoking and entertaining, IN SITU explores science, theology, preservation, and the art of alien finance, in a whole new way.
Edited by Carrie Cuinn. Contains stories by Ken Liu, KV Taylor, Paul A. Dixon, Bear Weiter, Mae Empson, Jason Andrew, Greg Burch, Sarah Hendrix, R.S. Hunter, Rebecca Lloyd, Alex Shvartsman, Kelly C. Stiles, Graham Storrs, David J. West, and Dawn Vogel.
As for what I'm reading, I'm juggling a hardcover, a paperback ARC, and my e-reader . . .
What's topping your shelves this week?