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This month has seen a good showing of collections, including the much talked-about 999 original horror anthology, and Stephen King's collection of interconnected novellas. Other highlights include Jeff Long's hellishly hyped The Descent, Stephen Lawhead's vision of Arthur in the 21st century, and new titles by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, N. Lee Wood, Susan Sizemore, and more.

Books are listed alphabetically by author. Only books received are noted. Where available, links to SF Site reviews and book excerpts are provided. Click on the thumbnail image to get a closer look at the cover.

New Arrivals: September 1st - September 15th
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Ender's Shadow
Orson Scott Card
Tor (hardcover, 352 pages, $24.95 US/$34.95 Can)
Publication date: 1 September 1999

Ender Wiggin has proved to be a character strong enough to survive through 3 sequels. But the support characters in Ender's Game were relegated to the periphery. Card has now gone back to his original material to bring one of these characters, Bean, to the forefront. Bean's story is a novel in its own right, rather than a mere re-telling or a cashing in on Card's earlier successes.
review Review by Steven H Silver.
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Percival's Angel
Anne Eliot Crompton
Roc (paperback, 256 pages, $5.99 US/$7.99 Can)
Publication date: September 1999

A new novel of fantasy from the author of Gawain and Lady Green and Merlin's Harp. "Percival's Angel is the story of Percival and his quest for the Holy Grail, and Lili, the fairy that helps him. Together, the two travel beyond the limits of their home and closer to each other. Yet, to survive in the Human World it will take more than the passion for adventure and the desire to change their destiny. It will take the understanding of the pure magic that lives in the heart."
[Cover]
Lee MacLeod
Isaac Asimov's Werewolves
edited by Gardner Dozois and Sheila Williams
Ace (paperback, 256 pages, $5.99 US/$7.99 Can)
Publication date: 3 September 1999

Latest collection of reprint fiction assembled by the editors of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Unlike many other theme anthologies, Dozois and Williams seem to have the luxury of selecting a number of novellas -- including Suzy McKee Charnas' Hugo Award winner "Boobs," about a young woman who finds her days as a wallflower are forever ended when the onset of puberty brings truly unexpected changes, and S.P. Somtow's delightfully creepy "The Madonna of the Wolves."
review Review by Georges T. Dodds.
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Winter Knight (Black Oak, Book 3)
Charles Grant
Roc (paperback, 224 pages, $5.99 US/$7.99 Can)
Publication date: 13 September 1999

The first two Black Oak novels -- Genesis and The Hush of Dark Wings -- were well received in these offices, and the third is much anticipated. Fun, fast horror which puts the creep back in creepy. "Summoned to England to investigate an ongoing missing person case, Proctor stumbles upon a legendary forest. A ghost roams the Battle Wood granting favours to the townsfolk... for a price. Proctor would like nothing more than to forget the ghost tales, but he soon suspects the ghost may be the key to his case."
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Deathstalker Destiny (Deathstalker, Book 5)
Simon R. Green
Roc (paperback, 432 pages, $6.99 US/$8.99 Can)
Publication date: September 1999

Being the Fifth Part of the Life & Times of Owen Deathstalker. Get'cher action-packed space opera here. "Owen Deathstalker's greatest love, Hazel d'Ark, has been abducted by a cult dedicated to scientific experimentation. Stranded on Lachrymae Christi, Owen ensures the survival of the leper colony while awaiting an opportunity to rescue Hazel. But Humanity is once again in the struggle of intergalactic war. Will Owen help the Empire or forgo his destiny for the woman he loves?"
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John Howe
Merlin
edited by Martin H. Greenberg
DAW (paperback, 320 pages, $6.99 US/$8.99 Can)
Publication date: September 1999

A collection of all-original tales of Arthurian fantasy, focused on the world's most famous wizard. Contributors include Charles de Lint, Jane Yolen, Michelle West, Andre Norton, Jean Rabe, John Helfers and Alan Rodgers. Introduction by John Helfers. "You think you know the wizard Merlin? Think again. Merlin. His name alone conjures up images of ancient kingdoms and enchanted forests. And now King Arthur's beloved mentor is the subject of this collection of all-original stories from some of today's finest fantasy writers."
[Cover]
Peter Gudynas
Future Crimes
edited by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers
DAW (paperback, 320 pages, $6.99 US/$8.99 Can)
Publication date: 13 September 1999

Greenberg and his partner Helfers at Tekno Books have certainly been busy -- this is their second original anthology this month (see also Merlin, above). Future Crimes takes a look at "the con games and perils that may well be created by criminals the day after tomorrow" in 16 original tales from Peter Crowther, Craig Chaw Gardner, Ron Goulart, Janet Berliner, Alan Brennert, Jay Bonansinga, and others.
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Tim Barrall
A Red Heart of Memories
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Ace (hardcover, 336 pages, $21.95 US/$30.99 Can)
Publication date: 13 September 1999

Nina Kiriki Hoffman won the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel with her surprising debut, The Thread That Binds the Bones. Her second novel, The Silent Strength of Stones, was a finalist for both the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. Her third is the first to feature Matt (Matilda) Black, from her popular stories "Unmasking" and "Home For Christmas," a woman who possesses the unique ability to speak with inanimate objects and to witness the inner dreams of other people. "Matt spends her days travelling from place to place alone, yet never lonely -- for she can communicate with all that surrounds her. She finds a kindred spirit in Edmund Reynolds -- a wandering witch on a spiritual quest to help those in need. Together, these two special people will embark on an odyssey of the imagination. They will encounter things both wonderful and terrifying. And after so many years of solitude, they will learn to depend on one another -- as they look into the darkest depths of the past."
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MechWarrior: Ghost of Winter (A BattleTech Book)
Stephen Kenson
Roc (paperback, 288 pages, $5.99 US/$7.99 Can)
Publication date: 13 September 1999

The first BattleTech novel to be based on the bestselling MechWarrior computer game series from Activision/Microprose -- in itself based on FASA's MechWarrior role-playing game. "All his life, Strum Kintaro wanted to be a MechWarrior. Now he is -- untested in combat, but eager to show his prowess and be transferred away from the frozen planet Kore. But he is about to get a bigger opportunity than he ever wanted when a band of interstellar pirates launches a surprise attack and takes control of the planet." From the author of the Shadowrun novels Crossroads and Technobabel, and the Underground Sourcebook game accessory.
[Cover]
Rift
Kay Kenyon
Bantam Spectra (paperback, 513 pages, $5.99 US)
Publication date: 10 September 1999

The third SF novel from the author of Leap Point and The Seeds of Time, two very promising debut efforts. "Twenty-four-year-old Reeve Calder has spent his life on a high-tech space station, watching as terraforming gradually fails on his home planet of Lithia -- a failure that has doomed the colonists stranded there to short, brutish lives. Reeve's dream has always been to rebuild Lithia. But when a mysterious explosion destroys the station, he soon learns that the reality of saving a dying planet is quite different from what he imagined..."
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Hearts in Atlantis
Stephen King
Scribner (hardcover, 523 pages, $28 US)
Publication date: 14 September 1999

An unusual effort, even for King: a series of interconnected, sequential novellas set in the years 1960 to 1999, with each tale deeply rooted in the 60s. As King notes in the Afterward, "Although it is hard to believe, the 60s are not fictional; they actually happened." Is it horror? Hard to say from the first 60 pages -- in which we find a secret code buried in lost pets posters in a small town, and a man on the run from a very mysterious past -- but I'd say the creep index is very high already. "In his strongest collection since Different Seasons, Stephen King confirms the power of his storytelling with 5 brilliant, disturbing tales of an America shadowed by Vietnam: 'Low Men in Yellow Coats,' 'Hearts in Atlantis,' 'Blind Willie,' 'Why We're in Vietnam,' and 'Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling.'"
[Cover] Avalon: The Return of King Arthur
Stephen R. Lawhead
Avon Eos (hardcover, 448 pages, $25 US/$37 Can)
Publication date: September 1999

A new novel of King Arthur, this one set in 21st century Britain, from the author of the 5-volume Pendragon Cycle. "Edward the Ninth, reprobate King of England, is dead. A new political order -- encouraged by an ambitious Prime Minister and supported by a public wearied by a succession of royal scandals -- is about to render the old obsolete. With signed abdications of all potential throne claimants already in P.M. Thomas Waring's hands, it is a near-certainty that the British monarchy will not survive the 21st century. But in the Scottish Highlands, a young man makes a remarkable discovery that will change the seemingly unaltered path of his beleaguered nation."
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Kev Walker
Mercadian Masques (Magic the Gathering: Masquerade Cycle, Book 1)
Francis Lebaron
Wizards of the Coast (paperback, 341 pages, $6.50 US/$8.99 Can)
Publication date: September 1999

I recall a conversation over a decade ago in which an acquaintance expressed amazement at the wealth of AD&D novels coming out of TSR -- and this in the days before they really conquered the bookshelves. Synergistic book tie-ins may not have been invented by TSR, but they certainly made the concept their own. Wizards of the Coast obviously hoped they could pick up that expertise when they bought the company, and it looks like they have. Their line of fantasy novels based on their popular Magic the Gathering card game has been one of the most creative on the market.
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Jim Griffin
Exile
Anne Logston
Ace (paperback, 263 pages, $6.50 US/$8.99 Can)
Publication date: 3 September 1999

A new novel of romantic fantasy from the author of Waterdance and Firewalk.
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Michael Evans
Shackle and Sword
Alanna Morland
Ace (paperback, 272 pages, $5.99 US)
Publication date: September 1999

A new novel of romance and magic from the author of Leopard Lord.
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The Descent
Jeff Long
Gollancz (trade paperback, 415 pages, £9.99 UK)
Publication date: 23 September 1999

"Imagine hell really exists and you've just found it." Yeah, well let's just forget the handbasket -- it sounds like this book is taking us to hell in a rocket-propelled roller coaster car. "An extraordinary thriller that takes us into a world where technology cannot save us. A thriller that takes us on an odyssey, from the Himalayas, to Bosnia, to the bed of the Pacific; it is a headlong rush into the depths of greed, a foolish quest for forbidden knowledge..." And the movie rights have already been sold.
[Cover]
Amy Halperin
999
edited by Al Sarrantonio
Avon (hardcover, 666 pages, $27.50 US/$40 Can)
Publication date: 9 September 1999

A massive celebration of horror from over two dozen of the field's most famous practitioners -- including Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Gene Wolfe, Joyce Carol Oates, Joe R. Lansdale, William Peter Blatty, and many more. A major publishing event. "Al Sarrantonio challenged a distinguished roster of authors to demonstrate with all-new stories the shape of horror/suspense literature as we enter the 21st century. As you will read the 29 contributors responded by displaying the infinite variety which is the very hallmark of this field. Some of these stories will startle you or fill you with terror. Some will haunt you long after you finish reading them. There is even an eerily echoing chuckle or tow found inside. But together, these weirdest of tales join to form a great literary mosaic, a vivid contemporary portrait of a genre which is proud, potent, and irresistible. Not only is this the largest anthology of original horror/suspense fiction of all time -- not one story in 999 has ever been published before -- but it is also the finest. Here is a major publishing event with an attitude: to shake you up and scare you silly."
review See our 999 feature with review and interviews.
[Cover]
Dave Dorman
The Hunt (Laws of the Blood, Book 1)
Susan Sizemore
Ace (paperback, 288 pages, $5.99 US/$7.99 Can)
Publication date: 3 September 1999

Susan Sizemore is an established romance writer (Wings of the Storm, The Price of Innocence), and a noted SF writer of short stories. Here she kicks off a new horror/suspense series of an elite group of vampires known as the Enforcers -- vampires who must serve and protect their secret community by upholding the Laws of the Blood. (And of course, it's set in L.A., where it's presumably much easier for vampires to go unnoticed.)
review Review by Steve Lazarowitz.
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Aleta Jenks
Bloodrights
N. Lee Wood
Ace (hardcover, 320 pages, $22.95 US/$32.99 Can)
Publication date: September 1999

The third effort from the author of the well-received SF novels Looking for the Mahdi and Faraday's Orphans looks like a departure into the realm of fantasy. Another soul lost to the dark side... "Born of the royal leaders of Adalon and the White Sea Islands, Antonya Terhune was orphaned as a babe when her wicked uncle usurped her father's rule and invaded her mother's realm. She was raised by the Brothers of Blessed Reason, her existence a secret kept from her family's enemies. She learned skills most women of the land were never taught -- reading, writing, and mathematics -- but she yearned to be a warrior. Then when she left the monastery, she ventured out into the world under her uncle's dictatorship -- adopting and shedding disguises like snakeskin -- and witnessed firsthand how the common people slaved for church and state. Now Antonya has come of age, and she's ready to reclaim her lands. And with the aid of the lone defender Kerric of Myro, she will lead a small fighting force in an attempt to topple a tyrant... and set the people of two lands free."
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