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Reviews in Project: Special Requests (358)

When the Wolves Run Back

The Black Coast  (The God-King Chronicles, volume 1)

By Mike Brooks  

13 Sep, 2021

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2021’s The Black Coast is the first volume of Mike Brooks’ secondary universe epic fantasy The God-King Chronicles.

For generations, the Thanes of Black Keep and their dragon-riding sars have defended their stretch of the Naridan coastline from the Raiders, sea people from distant, unknown islands. 

It’s been a decade without a Raider visit. The folks of Black Keep hope that this means that there will be no more raids. Their hopes are especially fervent because a plague has left the Black Keep undermanned.

The appearance of a fleet vaster than any before confronts the current Thane — Lord Asrel — and his sons with the prospect of heroic, futile deaths at the axes of a vastly superior force. However, this is no raiding fleet. This time, the Raiders are fleeing something terrible. They have come to stay.

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Foxes Hunt the Hounds

Foxhunt

By Rem Wigmore  

31 Aug, 2021

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Rem Wigmore’s 2021 Foxhunt is a stand-alone near-future science fiction novel.

Imbued by nanotech with abilities beyond baseline human (imbued = Blooded with a capital B, in this era’s vernacular), travelling entertainer Orfeus pursues many possible romantic connections with varying degrees of success. Life for Orfeus in the ecologically sensible world of tomorrow is sweet. 

Dealing with jealous spouses is well within Orfeus’ skillset. Bloodthirsty super-powered vigilantes are another matter.

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Far From The World Below

The House of Styx  (Venus Ascendant, volume 1)

By Derek Künsken  

19 Aug, 2021

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2020’s The House of Styx is the first volume in Derek Künsken’s Venus Ascendant series.

The floating colonies high in Venus’ dense atmosphere were intended to be a triumphant example of the strengths of independent Quebec. Triumphant is debatable; the colonies were definitely expensive. When the four thousand colonists agitated for independence, Quebec was happy to let the colonists go.

The colony is technologically advanced but resource constrained and debt-ridden. The colonists are extremely poor. To survive, they must pull together. 


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All I’m Asking

Sibyl Sue Blue  (Sibyl Sue Blue, volume 1)

By Rosel George Brown  

17 Aug, 2021

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2 comments

Rosel George Brown’s 1966 Sibyl Sue Blue is the first of two books featuring detective Sibyl Sue Blue. 

1990! A decade after scaled Centaurians began moving to the USA, they have settled in slum ghettos, where they are the newest minority hate target for bigoted nativists, replacing the Italians, Irish, and others of earlier times. Undercover cop Sibyl Sue Blue becomes interested in Centaurians when every Centaurian she encounters tries to kill her. The cigar-smoking widow isn’t putting with any of that; she beats up her assailants. Oddly enough, this doesn’t put a stop to the attempted murders.

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Little Evil Me

When True Night Falls  (Coldfire, volume 2)

By C. S. Friedman  

12 Aug, 2021

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1 comment

1993’s When True Night Falls is the second book in C. S. Friedman’s Coldfire Trilogy. 

Having vanquished a Big Bad in the first volume (as explained in the lengthy mission report provided at the beginning of the novel), Damien Vryce (Warrior Priest), Hesseth (a rakh, native to the planet), and Gerald Tarrant (former Prophet of the Church for Human Unification on Erna) head East, pursuing some as yet unidentified great evil they believe resides there. 

The expedition is not the first to set out from the West for the East. There have been several previous expeditions, all of which vanished without a trace. Now Damien and his allies get to find out why. 

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Tremble, Tyrants and Traitors

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians  (Shadow Histories)

By H. G. Parry  

5 Aug, 2021

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2020’s A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is the first volume in H. G. Parry’s Shadow Histories.

Centuries after the Vampire Wars, European monarchies agree on one thing: magic must be carefully managed, certain schools of magic banned outright, and commoners must be denied the use of any inborn magic they might have. All the nations of Europe rely on the Templars, who are given the authority and tools needed to ensure stability … regardless of the cost to lower orders.

As unpleasant as the life of a commoner can be, it would be paradise for those who fall prey to Europe’s slavers. Africans are kidnapped and transported to the New World, where they face brutal, merciless exploitation for the remainder of their lives. To ensure compliance, slaves are forced to consume an alchemical potion that renders them prisoners in their own bodies. They may be screaming in defiance internally, but they cannot disobey orders.

In the late 18th century, the aristocrats and slavers discover the limits of the oppressed’s tolerance for abuse.


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O For a Draught of Vintage

The Broken Citadel  (Tredana, volume 1)

By Joyce Ballou Gregorian  

3 Aug, 2021

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3 comments

1975’s The Broken Citadel is the first volume in Joyce Ballou Gregorian’s Tredana young-adult portal-fantasy series. The series is Gregorian’s only published fantasy of which I am aware, no doubt because the author died shortly after the third book was published. 

Intrigued by the library she glimpses through the windows of a long-empty Victorian mansion, eleven-year-old Sybil Sibby” Barron breaks into the house. Her visit to the library is a short one. When she exits, intending to rush home, she finds herself on an unfamiliar seashore on another world.

It’s a world rich in ways for naïve young women to die horribly, so it’s all for the best that the first people Sibby meets are Leron, Mara, Gannoc, Dansen, and their guide One-Eye. They are a band of kind-hearted adventurers on a great quest. Sibby joins their party.

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Oh Where, Oh Where

One Night in Boukos

By A. J. Demas  

21 Jul, 2021

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1 comment

A. J. Demas’ 2018 One Night in Boukos is a standalone novel that shares a setting with the author’s Sword Dance secondary universe series. 

The Pseuchaian city Boukos is home to a thousand brothels. Small wonder that the town hosts the Psobion festival, which offers participants the opportunity for extensive debauchery. The festival is a new and alarming thing to most of the Zashian embassy … but not to the ambassador, his Excellency Zukohashkra. He’s in town to negotiate a trade deal between Boukos and Zash and intends to take full advantage of barbarian delights.

The slave eunuch Bedar accompanies Zukohashkra to a party but finding it not to his taste, returns alone to the embassy quarters. He assumes that Zukohashkra can find his own way home. 

Zukohashkra does not.

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