Henry L Lazarus                                                                                                                                                            HOME
4715 Osage Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143                                
Science Fiction for August 2022
by Henry L Lazarus
    Science Fiction and Fantasy have tales set in decadent periods like our present. Things never end well.
Tanya Huff tells of a small expedition Into The Broken Lands (hard from DAW) on a quest to retrieve fuel for the flame that has burned over Marssen for sixtty some years since thye last expedition. Included are the new and unexpcted heir (his older brothers recently died accidently), two scholars including hs cousin who had insisted on coming along, and a few soldiers. The lands were broken after a major mage, and things are very weird inside them. Their only hope of survival is a weapon left behind in Gateway. The weapon is not what they expect, and  the broken lands far more deadly.  This is a very intense tale.
Alastair Reynolds tells the tale of Doctor Silas Coade ship doctor on the 19th century sailin ship Demeter that is exploring a strange fjord in Northern Finland which contains and unusual object. In an Eversion (hard from Orbit), the Demeter might be a Zepellin and the strange object in a hole at the south pole. Or he is on a space ship, and the object in an unexplored system. In all cases, the ship is in trouble and he has been killed. The truth is much stranger, and he has to somehow come back to reality to save his crew. Fun.
Melissa Blair tells of A Broken Blade (paper from Union Square & Co) in the kingdom of Elverath ruled by a king who doesn’t age. All halfling children of the fae with their amber blood are slaves of the king. Keera, the King’s blade, is the king’s assassin and has been for thirty years, though she also does not age. The Shadow has been causing problems for the kingdom, and the trail leads to the city of the Dark Fae, Aralinth. There’s a lot of secrets that the book reveals slowly leaving plenty of room for a sequel. This is an intense tale, and I hope to read the sequel.
W.A. Simpson offers a sequel to Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of a magical Tinderbox (hard from Flame Tree Press) in which a soldier kills a witch and gains control of three magical dogs. He then kills the king and Queen and marries their daughter. A few years later the granddaughter of the witch, Isbet,  returns home to discover the murder of her beloved grandmother and vows revenge. The soldier, Wilheim Stark, has been using the dogs to conquer neighboring kingdoms and calling the hostage princes his sons. Bram has risen to act as Wilheim’s agent, but he wishes for his kingdom’s freedom. The main problem is that the use of the magical dogs has corrupted the magical vines (planted by Jack the Giant Killer) and that could destroy their world. So Bram and Isbet have to work with the other magical creatures of this world to sever the contagion. The original fairy tale always felt unsatisfactory to me, and this gives a satisfying ending.
Catalina Baylor has to save Houston and her boss, the warden of Texas from her arch enemy in Ruby Fever (paper from Avon). I haven’t read the previous tales in this series by husband and wife, Ilona Andrews. I had no problem following this fun tale of a world where magic is out in the open, and powerful mages can wreck a lot of damage. The tale starts with a locked room murder, and continues to Catalina discovering her boss in a coma after an magical attack,It doesn’t help that her Fiancé,  Alessandro Sagredo, has been sold by his family to another woman. Lots of fun. I may read the first two books sometime.
Catherine Asaro has another case for retired Major Bhaajan. This time she has to leave the undercity on the dry and dying planet Raylicon, to help solve three murders in the capitol of the Skolian Empire, Selei City at the request of the Ruby Pharaoh.  But The Jigsaw Assassin (paper from Baen) drops  a balcony on her head and blows up her condo. Other players from the various political parties soon kidnap her, and others attempt assassination. There’s an AI that seems new to the world and not created by humans who is either responsible or trying to help. Great series.
Captain Evridiki “EB” Bardacki of the freighter Evasion (ebook) have been hired to carry weapons through a blockade to arm one of the sides. Then he is separated from his navigator and lover, his adopted daughter, and the ships medic. They have to survive and help deal with both disease and a member of the syndicate who knew that had been left in Trace’s head. With the Evasion captured by the blockading forces, EB has to use Discretion (ebook) to somehow force a peace on the warring planet. As usual Glynn Stewart has a fun and compelling tale.
I thought that Seanan McGuire’s tale of October Daye’s marriage would end the series. Be the Serpent (hard from DAW) proves that even just married, our PI hero still has work to do. This time an ancient fae returns to take October’s best friend and kill her daughter. The monster can literally drain magic from the fae, and stopping her will take all that October can give. Warning, the last few page end in a cliffhanger. Up to that point our heroine had won everything and it was a satisfactory ending.
In Orders of Battle(paper). Marko Kloos sent Major Andrew Grayson and the crew of the NACS Washington to a Lankie home world 900 lightyears from earth. With only limited stores and no way home. They have to investigate the Centers of Gravity (ebook from 47north) of the worlds in the new system to find supplies and hopefully a way home. But keeping hidden from the Lankies is not possible, and the ship has to do the impossible to get home. This may be the last book in the exciting  Frontlines series whicch is a must for space war fans.
Coyote shifter, Mercy Thompson, is back for her 13th adventure. A new horror movie in town about a cursed sickle, seems to bring the sickle, the movie was based on, to the town killing witches in its effort to collect magical souls. Patricia Briggs has Mercy and her werewolf husband on the trail of the wielder. Soul Taken (hard from Ace) sends them into a swirl of vampire politics to stop the murders. Great series.
George Mann completes his Newbury & Hobbes Sherlockian series of mysteries with The Albion Initiative (hard from Tor). The series takes place in an alternate England in which, using horrific science, Queen Victoria is kept alive long after her natural life span. Our heroes along with the head of Scotland Yard, and the head of the British Secret Service, first rescue the Prince of wales from Bedlam, a place where horrible experiments are prerformed on inmates. Some of the inmates are surgically transformed into boltheads, able to electrocute the Queen’s enemies. Eventually all is revealed with a proper conclusion. Disturbing.  
Aileen Erin conpletes her five part tale of Amihanna, who is half-Aunare and was trapped on Earth when Space Tech, the corporation that controls Earth, decided to kill all the Aunare still on Earth. Now she is On Destiny (paper from  Ink Monster, LLC ) when she goes back to Earth with her her High King husband Lorne, to rescue old friends and somehow cause a revolution against Space Tech. Lot of romantic adventure, and fun.
L. E. Modesitt Jr is one of my favorite authors, but I find his Grand Illusion series a bit dry. Steffan Dekkard, and Isolate (ebook) working as security for one of the Councilors of the legislative body has married his his empath partner and become Councilor (ebook from TOR). Over the to months he has to deal with numerous assisination attempts and learn to deal with coleagues as he shepherds a security bill through the council of sixty-six. One of the three major parties dislikes their loss of power and will do anything to reccover their control. Fun, with more to come.                                         
Tad Williams writes epics. His  Last King of Osten Ard tale, which is a sequel to his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series of fifteen years ago, sends the characters Into the Narrow Dark (hard from DAW) as the Queen of the Norns attacks the Hayholt castle while both its king and queen are thought dead and the heir is missing. There are monsters galore and an evil traitor. The world is in desperate danger and a final massive volume is need to conclude the tale. Great beach read.                      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.