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Bane of Kings continues the Notable Sci-Fi/Fantasy Releases feature on The Founding Fields, by looking back at the novels that you should have been reading in July 2012, with three books from Black Library, two from Orbit, two from Angry Robot, one from Sceptre, and one from Bantam.
Note: Audio-Dramas, Omnibuses and re-releases are not included in this article.
In order to start things off, I’m going to look at Black Library’s July releases with two Warhammer 40,000 novels and one Warhammer Fantasy Book. The two Warhammer 40k books are Angel of Fire by William King and Wrath of Iron by Chris Wraight, whilst Valkia the Bloody by Sarah Cawkwell is the other Black Library Novel here. You can check out Black Library’s page here.
Valkia the Bloody by Sarah Cawkwell (Warhammer Heroes #6)
Warrior-maiden and consort of the blood god Khorne, the name Valkia the Bloody is feared among all the tribes of the north – friend and foe alike. From her earliest days as a shield bearer for her father King Merroc, she has known nothing but unending warfare and the brutal politics of the tribal leaders, and soon reaches out to seize power for herself. Though her feral beauty might attract unlikely suitors and her enemies may plot against her in secret, Valkia holds the patronage of the Ruinous Powers, and Khorne will not allow his chosen queen to fall.
I own a copy of this novel and will be reading and reviewing this as soon as I can.
Lord of the Night’s Verdict: 9.2/10
Shadowhawk’s Verdict: 9/10
EJ Davies’ Verdict: A Solid read with some good features.
Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 3.5/5
Angel of Fire by William King (Macharian Crusade #1)
At the dawn of the forty-first millennium, Lord Commander Macharius and his forces embark upon the re-conquest of over a thousand worlds. A man of steel and fire, Macharius is the only one with the will to lead the massed armies of the Imperium to victory. As the crusade rolls onwards, it reaches the world of Karsk. In the city of Irongrad, the Imperial forces face the crusade’s end, unless Macharius and his army can defeat the dreaded Angel of Fire.
Lord of the Night’s Verdict: 9/10
Bane of Kings’ Verdict: 4/5
Shadowhawk’s Verdict: 9.5/10
Wrath of Iron by Chris Wraight (Space Marine Battles #11)
After months spent in the service of the Chaos god Slaanesh, the ruling classes of the Contqual sub-sector have finally brought true damnation upon their people – innumerable hordes of foul and lascivious daemons swarm from a tear in the fabric of reality to embrace their mortal pawns and drive them on to ever more depraved acts of worship. It falls to the merciless Space Marines of the Iron Hands Chapter to cleanse these worlds of the warp’s unholy taint, and it is upon the surface of Shardenus that the fate of a billion lost souls will be decided.
Lord of the Night’s Verdict: 8.8/10
Bane of Kings’ Verdict: 3.5/5
Next up, we’re moving away from Black Library to Orbit novels. You can check out Orbit’s official page here, where I’m looking at three novels, KJ Parker’s Sharps and God Save the Queen by Kate Locke. There’s fantasy, and alternate history novels here, that will provide an interesting look for fans looking for something new. I would have included Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregellis on this list, but it was published in the US before its UK release date.
Sharps by KJ Parker
For the first time in nearly forty years, an uneasy truce has been called between two neighbouring kingdoms. The war has been long and brutal, fought over the usual things: resources, land, money . . .
Now, there is a chance for peace. Diplomatic talks have begun and with them, the games of skill and chance. Two teams of fencers represent their nations at this pivotal moment.
When the future of the world lies balanced on the point of a rapier, one misstep could mean ruin for all.
I own a copy of this novel and will be reading and reviewing it it as soon as I can.
Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 4/5
God Save the Queen by Kate Locke (The Immortal Empire #1)
The Year is 2012 – and Queen Victoria still rules with an immortal fist.
She’s the undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where technology lives side by side with magic, where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath) and Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day.
Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it’s her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But things get complicated when her sister goes missing. Xandra will not only realise she’s the prize in a dangerous power struggle – but she’ll also uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire itself.
Lord of the Night’s Verdict: 8.5/10
Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 3/5
That’s the two Orbit novels that we have for you today. Next up, is Angry Robot, with another two novels, fantasy and sci-fi. Suited by Jo Anderton, the sequel to the fascinating Debris which I read last year, and Paul S. Kemp’s wonderful The Hammer and the Blade, the fantasy novel that has the potential to be the start of a fantastic new series.
Suited by Jo Anderton (The Veiled Worlds #2)
Tanyana has chosen to help the Keeper, to stand against the Puppet Men, who continue to force the Debris into unnatural creations.
And when even her own suit becomes aggressive against her, Tanyana must weigh some very personal issues against her determination to serve the greater good.
Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 4/5
The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp (Egil and Nix #1)
A fast paced adventure redolent with the best of classic sword and sorcery tales…
Kill the demon.
Steal the treasure.
Retire to a life of luxury.
Sounds easy when you put it like that.
Unfortunately for Egil and Nix, when the demon they kill has friends in high places, retirement is not an option.
Bane of Kings’ Verdict: 4.5/5
Shadowhawk’s Verdict: 9.5/5
Now we’ve got two novels by Sceptre and Bantam Books respectivley, The House of Rumour by Jake Arnott and The Devil’s Army by Jake Arnott, both novels which are kind of historical fiction but set in very different periods and both revolve around very different topics. I’ve reviewed both, and I found The Devil’s Army to be more enjoyable than The House of Rumour.
The House of Rumour by Jake Arnott
Larry Zagorski spins wild tales of fantasy worlds for pulp magazines. But as the Second World War hangs in the balance, the lines between imagination and reality are starting to blur.
In London, spymasters enlist occultists in the war of propaganda. In Southern California, a charismatic rocket scientist summons dark forces and an SF writer founds a new religion. In Munich, Nazis consult astrologists as they plot peace with the West and dominion over the East. And a conspiracy is born that will ripple through the decades to come.
The truth, it seems, is stranger than anything Larry could invent. But when he looks back on the 20th century, the past is as uncertain as the future. Just where does truth end and illusion begin?
THE HOUSE OF RUMOUR is a novel of soaring ambition, a mind-expanding journey through the ideas that have put man on the moon yet brought us to the brink of self-destruction.
What will you believe?
Bane of Kings’ Verdict: 3/5
1067. The battle of Hastings has been lost; Harold Godwinsson is dead. The iron fist of William the Bastard has begun to squeeze the life out of England. Villages are torched and men, women and children put to the sword as the Norman king attempts to impose his cruel will upon this unruly nation.
But there is one who stands in the way of the invader’s savagery. He is called Hereward. He is a warrior and master tactician and as adept at slaughter as the imposter who sits upon the throne. And he is England’s last hope.
In a Fenlands fortress of water and wild wood, Hereward’s resistance is simmering.
His army of outcasts grows by the day – a devil’s army that emerges out of the mists and the night, leaving death in its wake.
But William is not easily cowed. Under the command of his ruthless deputy, Ivo Taillebois – the man they call ‘the Butcher’ – the Norman forces will do whatever it takes to crush the rebels, even if it means razing England to the ground.
Bane of Kings’ Verdict: 4.5/5