This week in new hardcovers: An island’s defiance against a church’s power brings about cascading turmoil for Siddermark; a prequel tells of the early days of Malazan; a dark force in 19th century Amsterdam threatens the soul of a mysterious man’s only mortal son; plus new editions, analysis, and parodies of Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
by David Weber
Safehold. "After centuries of stasis, the island kingdom of Charis began to defy the edicts of the Church of God Awaiting—egged on, some say, by the mysterious warrior-monk Merlin Athawes. Now, in the wars and intrigues that have cascaded from Charis's declaration of independence, the populous Republic of Siddermark is sliding into chaos. Vicar Clytahn of the Church of God at harvest time. King Cayleb of Charis, his queen Sharleyan, and Merlin Arthawes will have their hands full trying to stave off wholesale starvation in Siddermark while at the same time shipping in enough land combat units to fend off the "volunteers" from the Church's Temple Lands. And while Vicar Clyntahn is hailed in the Church for his boldness and audacity, there are those who remember how dependent Church power is on money from Siddermark...and who wonder what will happen if Siddermark starves." Tor Books, 608 pages, Sep 18.
by Steven Erikson
"It's a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the realm of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power. and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners' great hero, Vatha Urusander, is being promoted by his followers to take Mother Dark's hand in marriage, but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such ambitions. The impending clash sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the First Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold. Steven Erikson entered the pantheon of great fantasy writers with his debut Gardens of the Moon. Now he returns with the first novel in a trilogy that takes place millennia before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen and introduces readers to Kurald Galain, the warren of Darkness. It is the epic story of a realm whose fate plays a crucial role in shaping the world of the Malazan Empire." Tor Books, 688 pages, Sep 18.
by Chris Butler
"A dark force has risen in 19th century Amsterdam. Elizabeth saw her best friend consumed by it. She is afraid her soul was tainted that day. Huginn lost his son to it, and his wife to madness. He is a man with secrets, his past shrouded in mystery. The darkness retreated into hiding, but soon it will return. Elizabeth and Huginn must unite against it, to fight for Amsterdam's survival and for the eternal soul of Huginn's only mortal son." Immersion Press, 102 pages, Sep 17.
by Corey Olsen
"Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” is a fun, thoughtful, and insightful companion volume, designed to bring a thorough and original new reading of this great work to a general audience. Professor Corey Olsen takes readers on an in-depth journey through The Hobbit chapter by chapter, revealing the stories within the story: the dark desires of dwarves and the sublime laughter of elves, the nature of evil and its hopelessness, the mystery of divine providence and human choice, and, most of all, the transformation within the life of Bilbo Baggins. Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” is a book that will make The Hobbit come alive for readers as never before." Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 336 pages, Sep 18.
by Douglas Nicholas
"During the thirteenth century in northwest England, in one of the coldest winters in living memory, a formidable yet charming Irish healer, Molly, and the troupe she leads are driving their three wagons, hoping to cross the Pennine Mountains before the heavy snows set in. Molly, her lover Jack, granddaughter Nemain, and young apprentice Hob become aware that they are being stalked by something terrible. The refuge they seek in a monastery, then an inn, and finally a Norman castle proves to be an illusion. As danger continues to rise, it becomes clear that the creature must be faced and defeated—or else they will all surely die. It is then that Hob discovers how much more there is to his adopted family than he had realized." Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 336 pages, Sep 18.
by Jay Kristoff
The Lotus War Book One. "The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever. The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death. Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire." Thomas Dunne Books, 336 pages, Sep 18.
by A.R.R.R. Roberts
"Bingo Grabbins is a soddit who enjoys a comfortable life (apart from his feet, of course). But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandef, and a company of bizarrely Welsh dwarves drag him away on an adventure. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard (or so they say) guarded by Smug, a large and very tedious dragon. Bingo is reluctant to take part in this insane venture, but a dwarven dagger held to his throat soon surprises even himself and off the companions go on a quest that seems truly epic (well, until you read about what later happened to Bingo's cousin, at any rate). Oh, and Bingo finds this ring thing..." Orbit, 368 pages, Sep 18.