Plunge into a dangerous world of secrets and murder

Science Fiction

October 02, 2005|By ROBERT FOLSOM


Courtenay Grimwood

Spectra (paperback)

432 pages.

Ashraf "Raf" Bey is a good chief of detectives in the bad city of El Iskandryia in this sequel to Pashazade, which established a 21st-century world under Ottoman Empire rule. Raf has to investigate the case of billionaire Hamzah Effendi, the father of the woman Raf should have married. But Raf has his hands full: trying to protect the daughter from atrocious secrets, solving murders related to the case, and trying to stay alive. Grimwood's evocative language puts you in the middle of the city and the action.

Looking for Jake

China Mieville

Del Rey (paperback)

320 pages.

It's high time Mieville took on a setting other than the cruel and creepy one he masterfully established in Perdido Street Station, revisited in The Scar and made a clunker of in Iron Council. He writes in mainly British settings for his newest, which is a short-story collection.

Shaman's Crossing

Robin Hobb

Eos/592 pages

Master fantasist Hobb sets out on her next trilogy with the adventures of young nobleman Nevare Burvelle from the colonizing empire of Gernia. Burvelle is met with political prejudice within his own class, which adds to his conflict when he meets the Speck people. The Speck have been looked down on, but their magic, as Burvelle learns, had better be respected.

High Druid of Shannara: Straken

Terry Brooks

Del Rey / 384 pages

Straken brings to conclusion Brooks' latest trilogy based on his long-running Shannara books. The young Pen Ohmsford must rescue his aunt, Grianne, Ard Rhys of the Druid order, from the horrific dimension of the Forbidding that she has been trapped in by Shadea aRu. As difficult as that may be for the boy, it's a mission he cannot fail, or everything that lives in the Forbidding will be loosed upon his world.

The Protector's War

S.M. Stirling

Roc / 496 pages

In a follow-up to Dies the Fire, Stirling speculates about the consequences of a world that has lost its technology, rendered inoperable by the Change. Communities form, clans survive. But what if someone comes into possession of pre-Change technology and, with it, forces his will upon others in a way that's to be feared? Like Hurricane Katrina, such conditions bring out the true self of those caught in the storm.

The Road to Dune

Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Tor / 496 pages

Here's a must-read for fans of Dune. This companion publication celebrates the 40th anniversary of Frank Herbert's groundbreaking novel about all things spice and spice to all things. It includes previously unpublished chapters from Dune and Dune Messiah, as well as artifacts such as They Stopped the Moving Sands, an unpublished magazine article of Herbert's that laid the groundwork for Dune. Brian Herbert (Frank's son) and Anderson sorted through the late Herbert's files to bring this together, as well as writing a novella for The Road to Dune.

Robert Folsom writes for The Kansas City Star.

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