Appealing or Not?

Baen’s catalogue is out for Fall 2008 (link via Lois McMaster Bujold’s email list).  Scanning quickly, these are the releases that caught my eye:

“Gentleman Takes a Chance” by Sarah A Hoyt (Oct 2008 hc, urban fantasy)


There are those living secretly among us who have the power to change their physical form from that of a human to an animal, even animals thought to be mythical, such as dragons. Throughout the ages, these shape shifters have come together in a loose organization to protect themselves from humans—and other shape shifters. According to their code, killing another shifter is a crime, no matter if the shifter was slaughtering humans. Kyrie Smith, a young panther shifter, must decide where she will stand: with her group or with humanity at large. And she’ll have to do it while both older shifters and her boyfriend Tom Ormson—a dragon shifter—push her from quandary to quandary and police detective Rafiel Thrall—a lion shifter—demands her help in solving mysterious murders. Someone—or something—has been killing shifters in large numbers, and the most ancient and powerful of shifters are converging on the city to find the killer. And anyone, human or shifter, who gets in their way will be eliminated without mercy.

The tagline was “The Sequel to “Draw One in the Dark” – Romantic Adventure by a  New Star of Urban Fantasy”.  LOL.  I don’t think they could have written a phrase more likely to grab my attention.  I’ve never heard of the first book, so I may have to track that one down.


“The Vorkosigan Companion” ed. Lilian Stewart Carl (Dec 2008 hc)


Lois McMaster Bujold’s best-selling Vorkosigan series is a publishing phenomenon, winning record-breaking sales, critical praise, four Hugo Awards and a Nebula Award. And the thousands of devotees of the series now have a book that will be a goldmine of information, background details, and little-known facts about the Vorkosigan saga. Included are an all-new interview with Bujold as well as essays by her on crafting the Vorkosigan universe, articles on the biology, technology and sociology of the planet Barrayar, appreciations of the individual novels by experts, maps, a complete timeline of the series, and more. Readers can’t get enough of the Vorkosigan series and they’ll jump at the chance to read this story behind the stories. (And Baen has a new novel in the Vorkosigan series under contract.)

Ooooh.  I want.  Doesn’t sounds as though there will be any new short stories, dammit.  But I still want.  Apparently there will be new covers as well for some of the Vorkosigan books.  About time too.  (Sigh.  I’ve just reached p.38 and they show the new covers.  Not good – they’ve just added a thick black border around most of the original covers.)


“Lucy’s Blade” by John Lambshead (Jan 2009 mmp, historical fantasy)


Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s Secretary of State, was the greatest spymaster the world had ever seen. But when he asked Dr. Dee to summon a demon the result was unexpected, especially for his orphaned niece Lucy. Sir Francis’ duty as her guardian was to find Lucy a suitably aristocratic husband, not to let her fight demons and witchcraft for the Queen’s Secret Service. But his—and Lucy’s—duty to protect Queen and country from enemies both natural and supernatural kept getting in the way. And so did all those demons….

The tagline was “Sir Francis Walsingham Was Queen Elizabeth’s Top Spymaster but His Niece Lucy Was the Queen’s Daemon fighter. First Time in Paperback for This Fast-Moving Historical Fantasy Adventure.” 

There’s a Buffy comparison in the Key Selling Points section, which I’ll take with a pinch of salt – Buffy doesn’t really do it for me.  But these sentences “A stunningly original novel from a new author, set in one of the pivotal and most interesting periods of western history, that combines science fiction, espionage and magic in a new mix” and “This science fantasy novel is set within an accurately described Elizabethan England—with a young girl who fights the forces of evil for the Queen’s Secret Service” do.

I may pop over to the Baen site and have a look at these…


9 thoughts on “Appealing or Not?

  1. Hmm…
    The first book seems interesting ^^

    Regarding Eva Ibbotson, I’ve planned to read A Company of Swans. Actually I had planned to read The Secret Countess but I flipped through it, and it didn’t look interesting enough. But you gave an “A”, if I remember well, to A Company of Swans so I’ll read it.

    I’ve noticed Lord of the Fading Lands is still in your TBR pile! That’s a crime I tell you!
    I started it yesterday, slept at 2 a.m, and though it’s currently 12:43 pm in France and I still have to get up at 6 tomorrow, or to be more accurate today, I still have trouble putting down the second of the series : Lady of Light and Shadows. If it was not school, I would have finished it today, AHHHHHH I SO WANT TO SKIP!!!
    It’s no paranormal Romance though. On C.L Wilson website, it’s written “epic fantasy” but in fact, for the first two books it’s Fantasy Romance all the way, and to be honest, the best in the genre I’ve read so far.
    Once you’ll start, you won’t be able to put it down, so you’d better err… start it when you know you’ve got time – not like me, I actually got so obsessed I thought about it the whole night, and the whole day, and I even RUN to be at home fast enough to read it on my comp.
    Last note/ the first two books were to be only one, so if you start it, better be with the other one at hand because the end of the first volume is pretty err abrupt? I don’t know how to say that in English.

    Btw, I’m impressed of the 41 books you’ve already read since January! I’ve read something like 20 books and even that took almost all of my free time.

  2. I agree with la Plume, the first book Gentleman Takes a Chance sounds interesting.

    and oh, I sent you the draft for Dagger Star 😀 Take a look 😀

  3. La Plume – Thanks for the CL Wilson info. I started reading the few pages, but couldn’t get past the name Rain Tairen Soul 😀 Will have to try again – everyone just raves about this book!

    Re A Company of Swans, I was going to review it for tomorrow, but ran out of time! Am going to do another book instead, but I honestly couldn’t decide which was my favourite out of The Secret Countess, The Morning Gift, or ACoS.

    Nath – Baen is normally really good about putting long excerpts on their website. I haven’t looked yet, but am pretty sure they would have the excerpt for the first book up. Will check my email 🙂

  4. I’m reading Heart of Light by Hoyt which came out in February (published by Bantam). It’s fantasy set in a Victorian British Empire with magic and shifters. It sounds like such a great book (starts with a magic carpet ship from London to Cairo which is almost capsized by a dragon shapeshifter!) So far though it’s rather slow going so I’ve put it down to read some other books.

    This book sounds good though, so I’ll have to head over to Baen and take a look!

    I agree with nath and La Plume that the two books by C. L. Wilson are excellent.

  5. Dear Li

    I work in central London. If you would like a review copy of Lucy’s Blade, I have some available. All the best, John Lambshead

    PS You can find out where I work including email, phone by looking me up on the web.

  6. Hi John – I didn’t realise you were London-based 🙂

    Thanks ever so much for the offer, but I’ve bought the ebook version off Baen’s site! Like I said, I loved the premise – thought it was intriguing and I liked the sample chapters posted online. I haven’t yet read it, but will post my thoughts once I do.

  7. Dear Li

    It was my first novel and second fiction sale.I’m a scientist by profession. I look at it now and see nothing but errors but I will always remember Lucy with affection.

    As Black As Hell and Night of the Wold are modern short stories set in the same ‘world’. I have a contract for a new novel, Wolf in Shadow which is a modern urban fantasy set in the modern East London of Lucy’s World. But in the meantime, I am working on an SF novel with David Drake (a privalege).

    Hope you like Lucy’s Blade but forgive the naiveties of a first author.


  8. John – Thanks for the background info, it’s always interesting to know more about how a novel came about (and congrats on your new collaboration!). I’m slightly embarassed to admit that I still have not gotten around to reading Lucy’s Blade, but I will 🙂

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