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Books Received, June 10 — June 16

17 Jun, 2023


The Ghost Wrangler

The Ghost-Wrangler by Matthew Hughes (June 2023)

In a world of wizards and walled cities, Galabras Nachecko is a necromancer in the seaport metropolis of Golathreon, connecting the living with deceased relatives and associates to answer questions left unresolved at the time of death.

Then he is tasked by Duke Simisson’s conniving seneschal to capture the ghost of a notorious land pirate scheduled for execution. He snags the spirit but finds that the assignment has made him a man who knows too much.

Nachecko is propelled into a new career — secret agent segueing into diplomat — that leads him far from home, plunges him into perilous adventures, and brings him both true love and tragedy.

Shadow Speaker The Desert Magicians Duology Book One

Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor (September 2023)

Deluxe, expanded edition of an out-of-print early novel from Africanfuturist luminary Nnedi Okorafor, with a brand-new introduction from the author. Haunted by vengeance. Destined for peace. 

Niger, West Africa, 2074When fifteen-year old Ejii witnesses her father’s beheading, her world shatters. In a time of mind-blowing technology and seductive mysticism, Ejii embarks on a journey to track down her father’s killer. With a newfound friend by her side, Ejii comes face to face with an earth turned inside out — and with her own mystical ability. And then she discovers that her travels across the sands of the Sahara have a deeper purpose. 

Nnedi Okorafor says this about Shadow Speaker: An unexpected apocalypse, spontaneous forests, polyandry, strange insects, fast cars, a new type of Sahara Desert, male beauty contests, death, robust chiefs schooled in martial arts, crafty assassins, this novel has many lives.”Now in an updated edition with a new introduction from the author herself, Shadow Speaker contains the powerful prose and compelling stories that have made Nnedi Okorafor a star of the literary science fiction and fantasy space and put her at the forefront of Africanfuturist fiction. 

Like Thunder The Desert Magicians Duology Book Two

Like Thunder by Nnedi Okorafor (December 2023)

This brand-new sequel to Nnedi Okorafor’s Shadow Speaker contains the powerful prose and compelling stories that have made Nnedi Okorafor a star of the literary science fiction and fantasy space and put her at the forefront of Africanfuturist fictionNiger, West Africa, 2077 Welcome back. This second volume is a breathtaking story that sweeps across the sands of the Sahara, flies up to the peaks of the Aïr Mountains, cartwheels into a wild megacity — you get the idea. I am the Desert Magician; I bring water where there is none. This book begins with Dikéogu Obidimkpa slowly losing his mind. Yes, that boy who can bring rain just by thinking about it is having some…issues. Years ago, Dikéogu went on an epic journey to save Earth with the shadow speaker girl, Ejii Ubaid, who became his best friend. When it was all over, they went their separate ways, but now he’s learned their quest never really ended at all. So Dikéogu, more powerful than ever, reunites with Ejii. He records this story as an audiofile, hoping it will help him keep his sanity or at least give him something to leave behind. Smart kid, but it won’t work — or will it? I can tell you this: it won’t be like before. Our rainmaker and shadow speaker have changed. And after this, nothing will ever be the same again. As they say, Onye amaro ebe nmili si bido mabaya ama ama onye nyelu ya akwa oji welu ficha aru.’ Or, If you do not remember where the rain started to beat you, you will not remember who gave you the towel with which to dry your body.’ 

No Choice

No Choice by K.J. Parker (June 2023)

In this all-new tale, published here for the first time, World Fantasy Award winner K.J. Parker delivers his signature blend of action, humor, and unexpected but perfectly logical twists. Set in the tantalizingly detailed world of much of his other work, No Choice tells the story of a narrator from a landed and politically connected family with a history of losing scions in battle.

At first, it isn’t a stalled and seemingly doomed war that concerns the main character, but the fact that his father has been sentenced to death for a murder he most definitely did commit. Political maneuvering and family dynamics come in to play, but to no avail, so off to the wars the narrator sails.

There, he conceives a series of nested plans that may very well preserve the life of a man who deserves to die, win a war that nobody should be fighting, and maybe, just maybe, save his own skin in the bargain. 

The Surviving Sky

The Surviving Sky by Kritika H. Rao (June 2023)

Enter a lush world of cataclysmic storms, planet-wide jungles, floating cities and devastating magic in this first book of an explosive new science fantasy trilogy, perfect for fans of N.K. Jemisin, Tasha Suri and Martha Wells. 

High above a jungle-planet float the last refuges of humanity — plant-made civilizations held together by tradition, technology, and arcane science. Here, architects are revered deeply, with humanity’s survival reliant on a privileged few. If not for their abilities, the cities would plunge into the devastating earthrage storms below. 

Charismatic and powerful, Iravan is one such architect. His abilities are his identity, but to Ahilya, his archeologist wife, they are a method to suppress non-architects. Their marriage is thorny and fraught — yet when a jungle expedition goes terribly wrong, jeopardizing their careers, Ahilya and Iravan must work together to save their reputations. But as their city begins to plummet, their discoveries threaten not only their marriage, but their entire civilization. 

The Frugal Wizards Handbook for Surviving Medieval England

The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson (June 2023)

A man awakes in a clearing in what appears to be medieval England with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he is there. Chased by a group from his own time, his sole hope for survival lies in regaining his missing memories, making allies among the locals, and perhaps even trusting in their superstitious boasts. His only help from the real world” should have been a guidebook entitled The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England, except his copy exploded during transit. The few fragments he managed to save provide clues to his situation, but can he figure them out in time to survive? 

A Sword of Bronze and Ashes

A Sword of Bronze and Ashes Anna Smith Spark (September 2023)

Readers of Shauna Lawless and Thilde Kold Holdt will love this Celtic-inflected adventure by critically acclaimed, grimdark epic fantasy novelist, Anna Smith Spark. 

A Sword of Bronze and Ashes combines the fierce beauty of Celtic myth with grimdark battle violence. It’s a lyrical, folk horror high fantasy. 

Kanda has a good life until shadows from her past return threatening everything she loves. And Kanda, like any parent, has things in her past she does not want her children to know. Red war is coming: pursued by an ancient evil, Kanda must call upon all her strength to protect her family. But how can she keep her children safe, if they want to stand as warriors beside her when the light fades and darkness rises?

Womb City

Womb City by Tlotlo Tsamaase (January 2024)

This genre-bending Africanfuturist horror novel blends The Handmaid’s Tale with Get Out in an adrenaline-packed, cyberpunk body-hopping ghost story exploring motherhood, memory, and a woman’s right to her own body. Nelah seems to have it all: fame, wealth, and a long-awaited daughter growing in a government lab. But, trapped in a loveless marriage to a policeman who uses a microchip to monitor her every move, Nelah’s perfect life is precarious. After a drug-fueled evening culminates in an eerie car accident, Nelah commits a desperate crime and buries the body, daring to hope that she can keep one last secret. The truth claws its way into Nelah’s life from the grave. As the ghost of her victim viciously hunts down the people Nelah holds dear, she is thrust into a race against the clock: in order to save any of her remaining loved ones, Nelah must unravel the political conspiracy her victim was on the verge of exposing – or risk losing everyone. Set in a cruel futuristic surveillance state where bodies are a government-issued resource, this harrowing story is a twisty, nail-biting commentary on power, monstrosity, and bodily autonomy. In sickeningly evocative prose, Womb City interrogates how patriarchy pits women against each other as unwitting collaborators in their own oppression. In this devastatingly timely debut novel, acclaimed short fiction writer Tlotlo Tsamaase brings a searing intelligence and Botswana’s cultural sensibility to the question: just how far must a woman go to bring the whole system crashing down?