Melissa Scott, Fairs’ Point. Lethe Press, 2014.
The long-awaited new novel of Astreiant. An absolutely excellent book, with brilliant worldbuilding, characterisation, great writing, a solid mystery plot, and terrier-racing. Everyone should read this series. It is really good.
William C. Dietz, Legion of the Damned. Titan Books, 2014. Originally published 1993. Copy courtesy of Titan Books.
I believe this was Dietz’s first novel. Heaven help him, it’s terrible. Not just full of shitty male gaze shit, but boring too. Fortunately, he’s improved at least some since then, as witness his Andromeda novels, which have been fun so far – but this one? Seriously not worth it.
Lilith Saintcrow, The Ripper Affair. Orbit, 2014. ARC courtesy of Orbit US.
Read for review for Tor.com. The third in Saintcrow’s “Bannon and Clare” series, it marks a fun entry in her quasi-Victorian magical steampunk not-England series of mysteries.
Sarah J. Maas, Heir of Fire. Bloomsbury Young Adult, 2014. ARC via Tor.com.
Read for review for Tor.com. The kind of book I love to hate.
Emma Christopher, A Merciless Place: The Lost Story of Britain’s Convict Disaster in Africa. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011. First published in Australia by Allen & Unwin in 2010.
Christopher writes a solid and engaging history of the British experiment with sending convicts to act as soldiers in Africa between the American Revolutionary War and the founding of the penal colony at Botany Bay in Australia. It is not entirely comprehensive: it could use more background about the Company of Merchants Trading To Africa and their relations with the Dutch and the indigenous peoples, and Christopher is too willing not to tie off threads in her narrative once they pass away from the African coast – what did become of Ensign John Montagu Clarke, accused of mutiny? – but on the whole, it’s an interesting and readable examination of an overlooked piece of British penal history.