Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Shape of Things to Come: Books for 2012

Some books to look out for this year. As always, cover art and release dates are not finalised and believe nothing before you see it on the shelves :-)

A Path to the Coldness of Heart by Glen Cook
Night Shade Books (UK & USA): 10 January

The eighth and apparently final book in the Dread Empire sequence, delayed by twenty years after the manuscript for the original book was stolen. Eagerly awaited by Cook's numerous fans.

Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds
Gollancz (UK): 19 January
Ace (USA): 15 June

The first novel in the Poseidon's Children sequence, which will chronicle the next eleven thousand years of human history as man evolves from a colonised Solar system to a galaxy-spanning civilisation (probably). A new Reynolds is always an exciting prospect, and this being the first in a 'sequence' (don't mention the word 'trilogy'...damn!), his first series book (but not really) since Absolution Gap nine years ago, makes it all the more interesting.

Orb, Sceptre, Throne by Ian Cameron Esslemont
Bantam (UK): 19 January
Tor (USA): 22 May

The main Malazan sequence may be concluded, but the world goes on. Orb, Sceptre, Throne takes us back to Darujhistan, city of blue fires, and reunites us with the surviving Bridgeburners and Kruppe as a new (or old) threat descends on the city). Expect lots of Seguleh and some answers to some long-standing questions.

A Crown Imperilled by Raymond E. Feist
HarperCollins Voyager (UK): 30 January
HarperCollins Voyager (USA): 13 March

The middle volume of the Chaoswar Saga is the penultimate-ever Riftwar sequence. Twenty-eight books in, and it's fair to say that a new Feist novel is not the big event it used to be, but nevertheless it's good to see him drawing his massive saga to a close after thirty years and preparing to move on to new pastures.

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
DAW Books (USA): 7 February

An epic fantasy inspired by The Arabian Nights, complete with genies, ghouls and a master thief called the Falcon Prince. Sounds fun.

City of Dragons by Robin Hobb
HarperCollins Voyager (USA): 7 February
HarperCollins Voyager (UK): 23 April

The third and penultimate book in the Rain Wild Chronicles (which is odd, as I thought this series was one book split in two due to length). American Amazon Vine customers already have had a preview of the book and the early reception has not been great, but Hobb's legions of fans will snap it up anyway.

Know No Fear by Dan Abnett
Black Library (UK & USA): 28 February

The nineteenth volume in The Horus Heresy series sees Dan Abnett describing a particularly iconic battle of the lengthy civil war, as the rival Astartes chapters known as the Word Bearers and the Ultramarines clash over the planet Calth.

Kings of Morning by Paul Kearney
Solaris (UK & USA): 1 March

Delayed several times, Kearney's Mach Trilogy finally reaches its epic conclusion.

Shadow's Master by Jon Sprunk
Gollancz (UK): 19 July
Pyr (USA): 27 March

The Shadow Saga reaches its conclusion.

The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
Hodder & Stoughton (UK): 24 April
Scribner (USA): 24 April

King returns to his Dark Tower sequence to fill in a blank bit between volumes 4 and 5. Should be worth a look for fans of the series.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Gollancz (UK): 1 May
Dial (USA): 1 May

The third book in the Graceling sequence continues the story begun in Graceling and focuses on the secondary character of Bitterblue from that novel.

The King's Blood by Daniel Abraham
Orbit UK: 3 May
Orbit USA: 22 May

The second volume in the Dagger and the Coin sequence sees the stories of Mercus, Cithrin and Geder continue, as war and intrigue seethes around them.

Jack Glass by Adam Roberts
Gollancz (UK): 9 May

Three murders are committed by Jack Glass. Yet how he performs each murder, and why, is a surprise. Adam Roberts seems to be getting better with every book, so it'll be interesting to see how this fusion of SF and the crime thriller works out.

Railsea by China Mieville
Macmillan (UK): 10 May
Del Rey (USA): 15 May

Mieville returns with a steampunk Moby Dick, a tale of moldywarpes and moletrains, vengeance and obsession.

The Black Mausoleum by Stephen Deas
Gollancz (UK): 17 May
Roc (USA): 2013

The sequel to the Memory of Flames trilogy is a semi-stand-alone setting up further books set in the Dragon Realms. Essentially, the Realms are in chaos as dragons continue hatching free. A small group of people set out to put the genie back in the bottle and re-enslave the dragons, if they can before humanity is wiped out.

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
Orbit UK: 24 May
Orbit USA: 22 May

Robinson returns to epic, futuristic SF. In the city of Terminator on Mercury, a discovery is made that will change the history of humanity, forever.

Black Opera by Mary Gentle
Gollancz (UK): 16 August
Night Shade (USA): 5 June

A major new novel from Gentle, set in a world where music has tremendous magical power. An atheist musician, Conrad, creates an opera which unleashes miracles, to the fury of the Church which claims all such magic comes from God. Conrad is recruited by the King of the Two Sicilies to create more miracles at his command. An interesting concept from the writer of Ash: A Secret History.

Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck)
Orbit UK: 7 June
Orbit USA: 26 June

The second volume in The Expanse and the sequel to the very popular Leviathan Wakes sees Jim Holden back in the thick of the action as war again threatens the Solar system and the alien protomolecule continues to do something on the surface of Venus.

Existence by David Brin
Orbit UK: 7 June
Tor (USA): 29 June

David Brin's first novel in eleven years should be an interesting read, though the plot at the moment is being kept under wraps.

Lord of Slaughter by M.D. Lachlan
Gollancz (UK): 21 June

Lachlan's third Wolfsangel novel takes us to Constantinople in the 10th Century.

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
Gollancz (UK): 21 June
Del Rey (USA): 29 May

The third volume in Aaronovitch's enjoyable Rivers of London series sees magic-using cop Peter Grant teaming up with a born-again Christian FBI agent to solve a crime with international repercussions. Expect a culture and religious clash as well as the normal magical shenanigans.

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
Gollancz (UK): 21 June
Doubleday (USA): 10 July

A new Graham Joyce is always intriguing, and this sounds no different. A long-lost girl returns home after twenty years, sparking the beginnings of a story about woodlands and folk tales.

The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp
Angry Robot (UK & USA): 26 June

Popular tie-in author Paul S. Kemp launches his first original series, featuring the adventuring duo Egil and Nix. Expect old-school, fast-paced fun.

The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis
Orbit UK: February 2013
Tor (USA): 17 July

The long, long-delayed middle volume of The Milkweed Triptych, Tregillis' account of an alternate Second World War and Cold War where the opposing powers have access to superhumans. One beneficial side-effect of the long delay is that Tregillis has already completed the final volume, Necessary Evil, which will be simultaneously published in the UK and USA in April 2013.

Sharps by K.J. Parker
Orbit (UK & USA): 17 July

Two warring kingdoms forge a new peace. Fencers from the two kingdoms fight an honorable and sportsmanlike competition to celebrate this peace, but things rapidly take a turn for the bloody. Parker returns to where her career began, with fencing and swords (the focus of her debut 1997 novel Colours in the Steel) and, it should be suspected, bloody mayhem.

The Air War by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Macmillan (UK): August
Pyr (USA): tbc

Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt sequence reaches its eighth volume, which is also the first in the final arc of the series (which will take things up to the tenth and final book). Expect a resumption of hostilities as the Wasp Empire makes good on new technological innovations and discoveries.

The Middle Kingdom by David Wingrove
Corvus (UK): 1 August 2012

Expect bibliographical confusion as Wingrove's twenty-volume recasting of his Chung Kuo sequence catches up with the beginnings of the original series. The 'new' Middle Kingdom is the third volume of the 'new' Chung Kuo but shares the name and much of is material from the first volume of the 'old' Chung Kuo. With the series due to kick into a much more ambitious schedule in 2013 (with six novels planned for publication that year), this is the calm before the storm and presumably a good jumping-on point for new readers.

Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
Bantam (UK): 2 August
Tor (USA): tbc

Hundreds of thousands of years before the events of Gardens of the Moon, the Tiste Andii of Kharkanas - including Anomander Rake - are forced to confront a moment of crisis. The first in an epic trilogy that details some of the mythic underpinning of the Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence.

King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
HarperCollins Voyager (UK): 16 August
Ace (USA): 7 August

The middle volume of The Broken Empire trilogy furthers the adventures of Jorg and his post-apocalyptic world.

Night of the Swarm by Robert V.S. Redick
Gollancz (UK): 16 August
Del Rey (USA): tbc

The Chanthrand Voyage sequence reaches its epic conclusion.

Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski
Gollancz (UK): 16 August

Finally! After almost three years of delays, Polish superstar Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher sequence resumes with the publication of the second in five novels featuring Geralt, the witcher.

The Twelve by Justin Cronin
Ballantine (USA): 28 August
Orion (UK): 30 August

The sequel to the critically-acclaimed and mega-selling The Passage. The survivors of The Passage go on the offensive and launch the Second Viral War, determined to destroy the Twelve, the leaders of the viral infection, and free the world from their shadow.

The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi
Gollancz (UK): 20 September
Tor (USA): 4 September

The sequel to the well-received Quantum Thief, seeing posthuman con artist Jean le Flambeur having to break into the mind of a living god. Expect weirdness.

The Three Prince War by Pierre Pevel
Gollancz (UK): 20 September

Following up on his Cardinal's Blades trilogy, this is an epic fantasy featuring a conflict that erupts between brothers feuding for the throne of a kingdom.

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
Gollancz (UK): 18 October
Bantam Spectra (USA): tbc

We may have gotten A Dance with Dragons and The Wise Man's Fear last year, but the third of the long-awaited fantasy novels remains MIA. Hopes were high that Lynch would have been able to deliver the novel before Christmas for a rapid release in the Spring, but this has clearly not happened, with Gollancz now listing a very late 2012 release. Hardcore fantasy fans remain eager for the new book, but with the fifth anniversary of the publication of Red Seas Under Red Skies approaching, this is one series that's going to need some re-establishing to get more casual readers fired up about it.

Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton
Macmillan (UK): October
Del Rey (USA): tbc

Hamilton's new novel is his longest in some time - the longest since The Naked God, in fact - but is a stand-alone, set in a brand new universe and features shenanigans and whatnot in the year 2143 on a colony planet.

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Orbit UK: November
Tor (USA): November

By far the highest-profile speculative fiction release of 2012, A Memory of Light brings the massive Wheel of Time sequence to a close, fourteen volumes and almost twenty-three years after it began. If Sanderson can close the story with the aplomb he showed in The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight, this book should be a triumph.

Legends of the Red Sun #4 by Mark Charan Newton
Macmillan (UK): Late 2012
Del Rey (USA): tbc

Mark Charan Newton's Legends of the Red Sun reaches its conclusion this year. Interesting what to see Newton has in store for us given the fairly apocalyptic ending to The Book of Transformations.

Dangerous Women, edited by Gardner Dozois & George R.R. Martin
Tor Books (USA): Late 2012

Martin and Dozois' latest collection of short fiction from some of the biggest names in fantasy. A key highlight will be the fourth Dunk 'n' Egg novella, The She-Wolves (working title), which takes them to Winterfell some eighty years before the events of A Game of Thrones.

A Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
Gollancz (UK): Late 2012
Orbit USA: Late 2012

Joe Abercrombie's third semi-stand-alone, set in the world of The First Law trilogy. This is Abercrombie's homage to Westerns, filtered through the lens of fantasy. If there isn't at least one grizzled gunslinger riding into a dustbowl town on unicorn-back, I'll be disappointed.

Godborn by Paul S. Kemp
Wizards of the Coast (UK & USA): Late 2012

After a lengthy break tackling Star Wars and his own original fiction, Kemp returns to the character who made him famous, Erevis Cale, and the Forgotten Realms setting for the first volume of the Cycle of Night trilogy.

Requiem by Ken Scholes
Tor (USA): Late 2012

Delayed by the author's unfortunate illness, the penultimate volume of the Psalms of Isaak series is eagerly awaited by fans of the first three books.

Endlords by J.V. Jones
Orbit UK: Late 2012
Tor Books: Late 2012

The fifth and penultimate volume of the Sword of Shadows sequence, which from the title sounds like it will be concentrating a lot on the main enemies of the sequence.

The Sea-Beggars by Paul Kearney
Solaris (UK & USA): Late 2012

Paul Kearney's Sea-Beggars sequence was almost left unfinished forever when it was abruptly cancelled after the second volume, but the original publishers refused to let go of the publication rights. Following a lengthy struggle, the author and Solaris managed to regain the rights. All three books - including the never-before-seen grand finale, Storm of the Dead - will now be published in a new omnibus edition at the end of 2012.

The Adjacent by Christopher Priest
Gollancz: Late 2012

Typical. You spend ten years waiting for a Christopher Priest novel and then two turn up in rapid succession. Following on from the success of The Islanders last year, Priest's new novel should be interesting. Although we so far don't know a thing about it.

The World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Elio Garcia & Linda Antonsson
Bantam (USA): Late 2012

Companion books are usually so much filler, but this looks like being something special. Written over a long period by webmasters Garcia and Antonsson, using new information from George R.R. Martin (who is also providing editing and some new material for the book), this book will feature new, never-before-seen maps (including a 'world map' showcasing all the locations seen in the series), an extremely detailed history of the Seven Kingdoms and significant amounts of new artwork (including some additional Ted Nasmith castle pictures that haven't been seen so far). It's not The Winds of Winter, but should help make the wait a little more bearable.

The Unholy Consult by R. Scott Bakker
Overlook (USA): Late 2012
Orbit UK: Late 2012

Orbit seem to be adamant this will be published in 2012, though I suspect it may slip into 2013. The Unholy Consult will bring The Aspect-Emperor, the second movement of the massive Second Apocalypse series, to a monumental and epic conclusion.

Pariah by Dan Abnett
Black Library (UK & USA): Late 2012

Abnett unleashes the third and final trilogy in his Inquisitors sequence, following on from the excellent Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies. This final series - The Bequin Trilogy - focuses on Inquisitor Bequin and the confrontation between Ravenor and his former mentor, Eisenhorn.

2013 releases:
City in the Jungle by Ian Cameron Esslemont
Highprince of War by Brandon Sanderson (likely to have a title change)
The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett
Ketty Jay Book 4 by Chris Wooding
Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb
Gaunt's Ghosts #14 by Dan Abnett
Cold Days by Jim Butcher (apparently a delay from mid-2012, but not confirmed yet)
Tales of Dunk & Egg by George R.R. Martin (collects the first four prequel novellas)


Jebus said...

Looks like August onward is gonna kick a whole lot of arse.

Wastrel said...

Since it's only about once a decade that I can think of an upcoming release that others haven't noticed, I must re-iterate this one:

The Brides of Rollrock Island, by Margo Lanagan - published next month in some places, in other places not until near the end of the year, and called "Sea Hearts" in Australia. It's a novel with half a dozen narrators set over several generations of a community in which a witch has been creating women out of seals.

I've only found two reviews so far.

One, a brief note at Strange Horizons, warns "watch out for this book; it will put you through the wringer", and summarises the difference from Tender Morsels as "less brutality, more emotional desolation".

The other said "She has a true and unique voice, a poetic prose that catches you up and throws your heart around like a seal in a storm. Nothing I can write here can do justice to this beautiful book, so all I can say is, if you love good writing, really good writing, then read it."

Did I mention the four WFAs she's won?

I don't imagine it'll be happy reading (although actually I thought Tender Morsels was mostly a pretty fun and gentle book, if you don't count the repeated brutal rape scenes), and it's not exactly populist either - but then you're ARE listing a Christopher Priest novel, so...

[Side-note: I don't understand "YA" at all. Two descriptions I think would spring to mind for many people to describe Lanagan's writing: "poetic and literary" and "brutal and adult". Yet everything she writes is marketed as Young Adult. Huh? Sure, young adults can enjoy her work, but to single it out as aimed as that market? Most teenagers wouldn't get it, and many parents wouldn't want their children reading it. No wonder she doesn't sell many copies.]

Russ said...

I've stopped anticipating 'Republic of Thieves.' If and when it is released, I'll be overjoyed, but I've mentally taken it off my "To Read" list.

atlas said...


The City of Dragons is not the last novel in The Rainwild Chronicles. Blood of Dragons is and is due out in 2013.

Luke said...

A lot of "epic conclusion"s to look forward, as well as one "monumental and epic conclusion".

Surprised you didn't mention the new Paul McAuley. No interest in that one?

Todd said...

Thanks for the great post and breakdown for the year to come. Very informative and handy for sure!

Bibliotropic said...

I'm really looking forward to "The King's Blood." I quite enjoyed "The Dragon's Path," and I'm hoping the sequel will be just as entertaining.

Marc said...

Sorry if this appears twice, my first comments were apparently deleted by Google not recognizing my ID.

I just tried to note that Glen Cook's A Path to Coldness of Heart is already available from leading online retailers. I ordered my copy from one of them at the end of 2011, and received it on January 4. I'm one of those who has actually been waiting since 1988 to see how the story ends, so I'm enjoying reading it now.

I hope you read and enjoy more Black Company books. If you then go on, sooner or later, to the Dread Empire, bear in mind that the books get better as you progress. The first one, A Shadow of All Night Falling, is different and stranger than what follows. Some people are thrown off by it, but it is worth it to get to the later titles.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Tad Williams` "The Dirty Streets of Heaven", the first volume in his new sequence. Coming in fall 2012 (September most likeley) from Daw (US) and Hodder & Stoughton (UK).

His new story collection, "A Stark and Wormy Knight" (already out as e-book), will have a print edition from Subterranean Press in June/July 2012.


Chris M said...

2012 is looking to be an amazing year for spec-fic releases (not to mention GoT dvd release!). Not so good for my bank account though. :P

Matt said...

Concerning City of Dragons: The Rain Wilds Chronicles was indeed originally one book that got split into two because of its length. Then Hobb decided to write a sequel that also grew to two books. So it's basically two duologies... or two single split-up books, or however you want to look at it.

Anyway, I belong to Hobb's "legion of fans" and am very much looking forward to this book.

Anonymous said...

Thx, great list.
Can't find much information about JVJones lately. Her homepage is without new information for over a year. Her FAQ (from 2008) tells that the series should be ready in five books. Where did you get the date and info about a sixth book?

Jussi said...

Great list! According to Amazon UK, Tad Williams' "The Dirty Streets of Heaven" will be released in September:

This seems possible, because Williams finished the novel last year. He is now writing the second book in the "Bobby Dollar" series.

Alex said...

Looking forward to J.V. Jones Endlords. She doesn't get any recognition whatsoever but her current series has really seen her develop massively as a writer IMHO

Anonymous said...

I'll chime in with Luke - I'm anticipating McAuley's "In the Mouth of the Whale", another Quiet War sequel farther in the future.

Tanaros said...

Lot of releases to look forward to this year. Thanks for a very extensive list.
I presume that you are not following David Weber's Honorverse, otherwise you would have probably included A Rising Thunder, book 13 in the ongoing series. I am eagerly expecting that one. This is the longest series I have read and I still cannot get enough.

Anonymous said...

Nice work - thanks for compiling a posting it.

You might add The Last Dark, final book in The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R Donaldson to your list for 2013.