Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New stories of fantasy are found on the shelves @ your library

Dark Predator by Christine Feehan
From the Publisher - 
All New from the #1 "New York Times" bestselling author.

As brutal as the undead he hunted, Zacarias De La Cruz was a master executioner. Now his stark and savage journey has ended. For his brothers, Zacarias had walked to the edge of madness, but with centuries as a killing machine now left to the past and without a hunt to define him, Zacarias wonders, for the first time in his life, who he really is.

The answer awaits him back home, in Peru, in the betrayal of a woman who is readying her trap, in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the inevitable consequences of a bloody family legacy-and in the deliverance of a lifemate he never could have imagined...

Halo: Glasslands by Karen Traviss

From Barnes & Noble -
The Human-Covenant War may be over, but the age of good feelings has not begun. In fact, with the unity that war brings now gone, old divisions once again become visible. Even more ominous are rumblings of a new uprising in the heart of the former Covenant Empire. With dangers on all sides, the UNSC must somehow reassert its presence in hostile territories. A reliable author in a potent trilogy starter set in the post-HALO 3 world.

How Firm a Foundation by David Weber

Library Journal -

The island empire of Charis struggles for survival against the powerful Church of God Awaiting, unable to gain ground against the church's superior numbers. At the heart of Charis's effort is a secret known only to the Emperor Cayleb, the Empress Sharleyan, and Merlin Athrawes, the avatar of a woman killed a thousand years ago in a hopeless galactic war against an alien race intent on exterminating humans. Though the world of Safehold has remained hidden from the aliens by forswearing most forms of high technology, Cayleb and his companions know that the only way to survive their inevitable discovery is to acquire the technology necessary to defeat their enemy, despite the church's brutal punishments for what they consider heresy. When Merlin finally makes a shattering discovery about what lies beneath the distant Temple in the church's city of Zion, the war takes on an even more desperate significance. VERDICT With each installment in this epic sf/fantasy blend, Weber sharpens his storytelling skills. The sixth volume (after Out of the Dark) creates a unique world in which medieval trappings serve as a buffer against an alien threat and generations live in blissful ignorance of the danger than lurks beyond the stars. Series readers and the author's wide fan base will want this.

Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman

Kirkus Reviews -
A thick medieval oater in which Richard Coeur de Lion meets Al-Malik al-Nasir Salah al-Din, heads roll and the world shakes and shivers.
A little exposition in describing a book full of it: As fans ofThe Lion in Winterwill remember, Henry II, King of England and Duke of Normandy, married the phenomenally smart Eleanor of Aquitaine and had five sons, three of whom rose up against him in rebellion. One of his heirs was Richard, who was no stranger to either intrigue or war. As Penman (Time and Chance, 2002, etc.) picks up her saga of the Angevins and Plantagenets in the present volume, Richard has dispatched with a pesky sibling and is now off in the Near East, embarking on the great task of freeing the Holy Land from the Muslims. Such big jobs need lots of support staff, and Penman fills her pages with characters, some colorful and some not, who do little bits of work to move the story along—but, sometimes, to make a long and complicated tale even more diffuse than it might have been. Mostly, though, Penman centers on the usual stuff of what, in the end, is an elevated gothic romance ("I think he had a nunnery in mind. He promised, though, to look after me, to make sure that I was always safe..." "Her veil slipped, as if by chance, and his pulse quickened, for she had skin as golden as her eyes and a full, ripe mouth made for a man's kisses")—though, thankfully, there's plenty of crowd-pleasing hacking of swords and twanging of catapults, too. Indeed, if the great flaw of the book is talkiness and, yes, a surfeit of exposition ("Henri had no liking for Baldwin, who'd been one of the two knights who'd broken formation at Arsuf, forcing Richard to commit to a premature charge"), the descriptions of action are uniformly well handled.
In the hands of Robert Graves or Mary Renault, the material might have yielded a classic. As it is, a sturdy historical fiction.

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