On the bookshelves this month: A Soviet Koschei the Deathless, magical gambling, and one faerie girl-fight.
Deathless, Catherynne M. Valente (Tor)
Catherynne Valente has taken the menacing Koschei the Deathless, a villainous figure from Russian folklore, and transplanted him to twentieth century. Alongside him: Marya Morevna, first his bride and then his enemy. For a taste, check out the first chapter.
Point, Thomas Blackthorne (Angry Robot)
Already in a dark place after his daughter's death, ex-Special Forces commando and heroic bad-ass Josh Cumberland faces a rash of teen deaths. Even worse, they're not even isolated. In the wake of pervasive hopelessness, a dark, dystopic, near-future Britain is facing the emergence of Cutter Circles, cult-like suicide clubs.
Daybreak Zero, John Barnes (Ace)
America lies in ruins, but governments have risen from the ashes in Athens, GA, and Olympia, WA. As this sequel to Directive 51 opens, they're reached a shaky peace as survivors begin to rebuild. But there's a lot they still don't know, including the identity and nature of Daybreak, the all-powerful force behind the apocalyptic attacks. What is certain: Daybreak isn't gone and could strike again.
Other Kingdoms, Richard Matheson (Tor)
Discharged from the Army in 1918, Alex White heads for rural Gatford, England, instead of returning home to the States. He's soon caught between two women: a witch named Magda and a faerie named Ruthana. You'll not be surprised to learn this love triangle creates some problems for all involved.
Vegas Knights, Matt Forbeck (Angry Robot)
When you're young and too smart for your own good, it's easy to think you can beat the house. In Vegas Knights, a couple of college kids who obviously never saw Casino decide to make some quick cash using magic. Big mistake.
Slight of Hand, Peter Beagle (Tachyon Publications)
This new collection features a wide range of fantastical contemporary stories. A dragon and an author battle it out over a neglected story; a grieving woman attempts a card trick on Death itself.
The Gravity Pilot, M.M. Buckner (Tor)
Orr and Dyce are scraping by in a patched-together, polluted Alaska. Orr doesn't mind, as he just wants to skydive and enjoy life with Dyce. Then he pulls off a spectacular jump, attracting unwelcome attention from would-be corporate sponsors. Dyce leaves, taking a promising job in the media metropolis of Seattle. But she's sucked into an addiction to virtual reality and Orr has to find a way to break through and get her out.
Grail, Elizabeth Bear (Spectra)
Bear brings her Jacob's Ladder trilogy to a close with Grail. When the generation ship introduced in Dust finally reaches a suitable planet, they find another group of humans already there. The culture clash is immediate: The Jacobites' new neighbors have been genetically modified to keep them on an even keel emotionally, and neither bunch of leaders wants to populations mixing. To further complicate matters, a murder on the Ladder proves they're facing threats internal and external.
River Marked, Patricia Briggs (Ace)
Nothing in Mercy Thompson's life is ever simple. As the sixth book in Patricia Brigg's series opens, the mechanic and coyote shifter is headed up the Columbia River with her new husband, the werewolf Adam, for their honeymoon. Her father's ghost promptly shows up and asks that they help with an ancient evil.
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, Mark Hodder (Pyr)
In their second outing together, Sir Richard Burton and Algernon Swinburne investigate the origins of a mysterious clockwork man dumped in Trafalgar Square. They quickly find themselves dealing with riots and plots and stolen diamonds and shadowy villainous.