The Bittlemores by Jann Arden (November 2023)
A heartfelt, comic, and deeply satisfying debut novel from the #1 bestselling author, singer-songwriter, member of Canada’s Music Hall of Fame and star of her own hit TV sitcom. A little bit All Creatures Great and Small, a little bit Fargo and all Jann Arden!On mean Harp Bittlemore’s blighted farm, hidden away in the Backhills, nothing has gone right for a very long time. Crops don’t grow, the pigs and chickens stay skinny and the three aged dairy cows, Berle, Crilla and Dally, are so desperate they are plotting an escape. The one thing holding them back is the thought of abandoning young Willa, the single bright point in their life since her older sister, Margaret, ran away. But Willa Bittlemore, just turning 14, is planning her own rebellion. Something doesn’t add up in the story she’s been told about her missing sister, and she’s beginning to question if her horrible parents are even her parents at all. Just as things are really coming to a head, a bright young police officer starts investigating a cold case involving a baby stolen from a little rural hospital 28 years earlier, and Willa and the cows find out exactly how far the Bittlemores will go to protect a festering secret. Written with Jann’s trademark outrageous humour and full of her down-to-earth wisdom, The Bittlemores is a rural fairytale, a coming-of-age story and a prairie mystery all-in-one, saturated with her observations of the world she grew up in and her deep connection to the animals we exploit. This marvel of a first novel digs into how people come to be so cruel, but it also glories in the miracle of human kindness.
Warrior of the Wind by Suyi Davies Okungbowa (November 2023)
From city streets where secrets are bartered for gold to forests teeming with fabled beasts, Suyi Davies Okungbowa’s sweeping epic of forgotten magic and violent conquests continues in this richly drawn fantasy inspired by the pre-colonial empires of West Africa. The empire has been reshaped. There is no peace in the season of the Red Emperor. Traumatized by their escape from Bassa, Lilong and Danso have found safety in a vagabond colony on the edge of the emperor’s control. But time is running out on their refuge. A new bounty makes every person a threat, and whispers of magic have roused those eager for their own power. Lilong is determined to return the Diwi – the ibor heirloom – to her people. It’s the only way to keep it safe from Esheme’s insatiable desire. The journey home will be long, filled with twists and treachery, unexpected allies and fabled enemies. But surviving the journey is the least of their problems. Something ancient and uncontrollable awakens. Trouble heads for Bassa, and the continent of Oon will need more than ibor to fix what’s coming. Praise for The Nameless Republic: “A thrilling, fantastical adventure that introduces a beguiling new world … and then rips apart everything you think you know.
Saevus Corax Captures the Castle by K. J. Parker (November 2023)
It’s important to look after your crew when you’re in the battlefield salvage business. It’s stressful work at the best of times, and although your employees are unlikely to be happy it makes sense to keep them alive.
So when Saevus Corax finds himself having to capture a castle to stop his men from being killed, he has no choice but to give it a try. Needless to say, the conventional rules of siegecraft are unlikely to be followed.
Sacraments for the Unfit by Sarah Tolmie (February 2023)
The isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic brought out the ritualist in many of us. In this collection of contemporary weird short fiction, a variety of different persons and beings try to fill up their days in varying states of isolation and mystery, real or imaginary. An angel outlives the Apparat that used to employ him; a deity complains about no longer feeling seen; a museum curator living alone begins to inexplicably alter; a medievalist suffering from vision loss gets into a strange relationship with the ghost of the codicologist M. R. James; enigmatic objects begin to work themselves out of the ground by the grave of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, prompting scholarly speculation. Sacraments For the Unfit is a series of vignettes about the transformations that can happen while staying in place.
Talonsister by Jen Williams (September 2023)
Uncover a magical past that refuses to be forgotten in a world of mythical creatures and ruthless religion in this brand-new duology from the multi-award winning author of The Ninth Rain, perfect for fans of John Gwynne and Andrea Stewart.
Leven has no memory of her life before she was a soldier. The process of turning her into a Herald – a magical killing machine – was traumatic enough that it wiped her mind clean. Now, with the war won and the Imperium satisfied, she finds herself unemployed and facing a bleak future. Her fellow Heralds are disappearing, and her own mind seems to be coming apart at the seams. Strange visions, memories she shouldn’t have, are resurfacing, and none of them make any sense. They show her Brittletain, the ancient and mysterious island that the Imperium was never able to tame. Leven resolves to go to this place of magic and warring queens, with the hope of finding who she really is.
Envoy Kaeto has done a number of important little jobs for the Imperium, most of them nasty, all of them in the shadows. His newest assignment is to escort the bone-crafter Gynid Tyleigh as she travels across the Imperium – as the woman responsible for creating the Heralds, his employers owe her a great deal. But Tyleigh’s ambition alarms even Kaeto, and her conviction that she has found a new source of Titan bones, buried deep in the earth, could lead to another, even bloodier war.
Ynis was raised by the griffins, and has never seen another human face. She lives wild, as they do, eating her meat raw and flying with her talon-sister, T’rook. The griffins fiercely protect their isolation – the piles of skulls that litter the mountains of Brittletain are testament to that – but the magic they guard will always make them a target for the greed of men. By choosing not to kill Ynis when she was just a baby, the griffins may have doomed themselves – because the girl’s past is coming for her, and it carries a lethal blade.