This Week’s New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: The Expanse Expands, an Intergalactic Empire Falters, and a Killer Stalks a Fantasy City

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Tiamat’s Wrath, by James S.A. Corey
The eighth book in The Expanse book arrives just as excitement over the continuing television adaptation of the series reaches a fever pitch. As this penultimate entry opens, human space is controlled by the Laconian empire and Winston Duarte, who seeks to make evolution happen on his timeline using the same alien technology that operates in the ring gates humans use to travel between thousands of livable worlds. The survivors of the gunship Rocinante work with the growing rebellion to throw off Duarte’s control. Their best hope might just be Duarte’s own daughter, who doesn’t relish the idea of being part of her father’s ultimate science experiments. Fast-paced, smartly plotted, and nuanced—this is one of the best SF series of the decade.

Miranda in Milan, by Katharine Duckett 
Reinterpreting the Bard through a queer prism, Katharine Duckett’s rich debut novella provides a more complete journey for Miranda from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Arriving in a Milan falling under the control of her father, Miranda is more or less imprisoned in his castle. The servants hate her, and when she is allowed outside—accompanied always by her Agata—she is veiled. A miserable life is lightened when she meets Dorothea, a maid of the castle, who shows Miranda a series of secret tunnels—and much more. The two forge close relationship as Miranda discovers the existence of magic both occult and physical.

Black City Dragon, by Richard A Knaak
Knaak is a frequent author of tie-in novels, contributing books to massive shared worlds like Pathfinder and Warcraft, but his latest is an original—and the third book in a series following Nick Medea, a denizen of 1920s Chicago who has devoted his life to guarding the gate that offers passage between the human and faerie realms. Despite his recent victories, however, more and more malevolent fey are slipping into the Windy City, which has kept Nick and his shapeshifting faerie partner Fetch scrambling. As the duo continues to encounter evidence that suggests Nick’s ancient enemy, a dangerous dragon, has returned, his lover Claryce is dodging attempts on her life… or her most recent one, anyway—she’s the latest incarnation of an immortal, and her past lives may hold the secrets to Nick’s latest troubles.

A Parliament of Bodies, by Marshall Ryan Maresca
For the past four years, Marshall Ryan Maresca has been toiling away at an impressive feat for storytelling and worldbuilding, exploring, in four interlocking series, every facet of a fictional city through the strata of the people who inhabit it: criminals, peacekeepers, political power players, and hapless heroes alike. In A Parliament of Bodies—the third volume in the Maradaine Constabulary sub-series, following police Inspectors Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling as they attempt to foils the foul schemes of the criminals and killers who would despoil the grand city they serve—Maradaine is plagued by a string of bloody crimes dubbed the Gearbox Murders. A fiend with a penchant for feindish invention is trapping his victims in cruel machines of death, and the poor unfortunate souls so tortured seem to have been chosen at random. With few clues to go one, Rainey and Welling can only wait for the next corpse to appear—but the killings are growing more elaborate, and after a dozen mangled bodies appear on the floor of parliament, the case may be taken out of their hands altogether.

A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine 
Martine’s ornate debut space opera constructs a fully realized world. The new ambassador from a small mining Station, Mahit Dzmare, arrives at the court of the ever-expanding Teixcalaanli Empire to find that the previous ambassador is dead. Very likely, she was murdered—though no one will admit that, or the fact that Dzmare is the next most likely victim. Aided by her expertise in the Teixcalaani language and an outdated—and possibly untrustworthy—memory implant from the prior ambassador, Dzmare must negotiate both her own survival and that of the Station in the face of an implacable empire. Meanwhile, the aging emperor seeks to become immortal by any means science can grant him, even as his army plots a coup. In the tradition of Ann Leckie and Iain M. Banks, this is bold, complex space opera with a political bent.

What new SFF is on your radar this week?

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