Henry L Lazarus                                                                                                                                                            HOME
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Science Fiction for June 2022
by Henry L Lazarus

    Hard to believe it's summer again and Science Fiction and Fantasy provide hints to survival in a changing world.                 
Brian McClellan starts an exciting tale about Demir Grappo, once a politician on the rise and a general. He broke when his troops sacked a city against his orders. Nine years later his mother is assassinated and her murder used as an excuse to attack a neighboring city state. There are many puzzles for Demir and his friends to make sense of, and then all the officers are murdered by an enemy glassdancer (with the ability to move glass). At the heart of this world is magical glass that can heal wounds or provide extra strengh. People who can maximize their strength and agility are breachers and they can tear through enemy lines. Demir has to win the war against a famous mercenary general In the Shadow of Lightning (hard from Macmillan-Tor/Forge) but his friends have to face the horrors that caused his mother’s murder. I look forward to more in this series.
Katherine Addison kept me up late reading her The Grief of Stones (hard from Macmillan-Tor/Forge) a second fantasy mystery about Celehar, who as a witness for the dead, finds himself solving mysteries like the murder of an older lady thought to have died of a heart attack and a suicide of a founding girl that also turns out to be murder. In this current tale, Celehar gains an apprentice, a widow who found her ability to talk to the dead when she touched her dead husband. Excellent series. I hope there will be more.
 Ed McDonald tells of Raine, Daughter of Redwinter (hard from Tor) who had run from her single mother, only to be trapped as a member of a cult whose leaders claim to speak to the dead. Raine hides the fact that she can really see ghosts, for she would be stoned to death if discovered. Then, looking for a rear exit she finds a girl almost dead, and brings her into the catacombs where her group has been hiding. Unfortunately the girl releases a demon. A powerful Draoihn of Redwinter, Ulovar,  helps save her and takes her to that fortress to hopefully become an apprentice because she has found the ability to the first step (or trance) of magic. The girl she had rescued had been his apprentice, but had stolen an magical object from the vaul that corrupted her mind.  Unfortunately the Grandmaster refuses to have Raine trained, but that allows her the freedom to discover a horrible plot that could destroy the fortress. This is a nicely drawn world and an exciting beginning to a fun series.     
Alex Livingston introduces us to a group of card sharks in a Renascence like city in a world where magicians ply their trade in a neutral fashion and gaming is all the rage of the elite. When The Knave of Secrets (hard from  Solaris),  Valen Quinol, is asked to ruin a noble at a tournament where secrets can be used in the betting, he finds that the secret he has won is potential disaster for his city. To save his city, and with the help of his friends, he has to win another gaming tournament and use the publicity to reveal the secret. That’s if he can survive the assassins sent against him.
Jeff Wheeler’s new series goes back to the establishment of Muirwood Abbey. Eilean was a working foundling when she is picked as one of the workers at the new abbey. Her job is to be the servant to The Druid (paper from 47 North). . Mordaunt has hidden an ancient text that dates back to the beginning of the current religion. The new Aldermaston of the Abbey hopes that Eilean’s innocense will get Mordaunt  to reveal his secret.  Unfortunately for him, Eilean has strong magical gifts and Mordaunt starts training her before she and a friend start a quest to retrieve the book. Nice start of the series.
Anthony Ryan continues his medieval tale of Alwyn Scribe on a world where they worship The Martyr (paper from Orbit). After he got a witch to save Lady Evadine Courlain’s life, she has become the Risen Martyr and Alwyn, raised as an outlaw, has become a captain in her guard, his fortunes rising with hers. She believes a new scourge is coming, and Alwyn has discovered evidence of an ancient scourge that wiped out civilization. War is truly hell in this exciting continuation of  The Pariah (paper). There’s at least one more in this excellent series.
Robert Jackson Bennett concludes his excellent Founders Trilogy in a world in which scriving can rework the laws of physics. In Foundryside (hard)  Sancia Grado stole a new technology and discovered ancient, immortal scrivers. Shorefall (hard) an AI using the same magic that was committed to turning humans into it’s slaves. Now, to save their world, Sancia and her friends have to quest across the Locklands (hard from Del Rey) to find a door into the space that controls the world. The AI will stiop at nothing to get both the key and the door so it can force the return of the world’s creator. Impossible superscience daring follows as our heroes stay one step ahead of disaster. Excellent ending to an amazing series. I hope this finds its way to award nomination.
I’m always excited by a new Rachel Morgan adventure by Kim Harrison. This time there’s Trouble with the Cursed (Hard from ACE) as a new undead vampire comes to town to prove Rachel killed the last vampire head of Cincinnati. She hadn’t, only turned the vamp into a rat. Unfortunately one of the people she trusts, turns on her creating problems with other demons. Not only that but some of the demons have found a looplole and are taking human slaves again. Still a fun series.  
    Dr. Henry Lazarus is a retired Dentist and the author of A Cycle of Gods (Wolfsinger Publications) and Unnaturally Female (Smashwords).Check out his unified field theory at henrylazarus.com/utf.html that suggests fusion generation requires less energy.