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On My Radar: TWELVE KINGS IN SHARAKHAI by Bradley P. Beaulieu / THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT by Seth Dickinson / THE APEX BOOK OF WORLD SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad

Here’s a threesome of books I’m looking forward to. And since they are all scheduled to hit bookstore shelves pretty soon, I won’t have to wait very long. Which is a good thing, since I am so very impatient.


Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu
(DAW | Sept 1 2015| Cover illustration artist: Adam Paquette)


Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings — cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

Can you say no to that incredible cover art? Me neither. Synopsis also has the word “riddles”. I am SO in.


The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
(TOR | Sept 15 2015 | Cover illustration artist: Sam Weber)


In Seth Dickinson’s highly-anticipated debut The Traitor Baru Cormorant, a young woman from a conquered people tries to transform an empire in this richly imagined geopolitical fantasy.

Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul.

When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire’s civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.

Sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn, another conquered country, Baru discovers it’s on the brink of rebellion. Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help. As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize.

But the cost of winning the long game of saving her people may be far greater than Baru imagines.

I think Kameron Hurley said it best:

“You know when you read a book and you’re like THIS WAS WRITTEN JUST FOR ME? City of Stairs [by Robert Jackson Bennett] was like that for me last year. This year, it’s, The Traitor Baru Cormorant [And] bonus points for toppling countries via banking and borrowing schemes, epic reversals, betrayals, and one of the most heartbreaking love stories I’ve ever read.

I cried through the first forty pages of this book because I knew what was coming. I cried at the last forty because it was even worse than I thought.”


The Apex Book of World SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad
(APEX PUBLICATIONS | AUG 25 2015 | Cover illustration artist: Sarah Anne Langton)


Now firmly established as the benchmark anthology series of international speculative fiction, volume 4 of The Apex Book of World SF sees debut editor Mahvesh Murad bring fresh new eyes to her selection of stories.

From Spanish steampunk and Italian horror to Nigerian science fiction and subverted Japanese folktales, from love in the time of drones to teenagers at the end of the world, the stories in this volume showcase the best of contemporary speculative fiction, wherever it’s written.

I’m always on the lookout for speculative fiction from a different point of view, and if this volume is anything like the previous three, it will more than fit the bill.

About Andrea Johnson (99 Articles)
Andrea Johnson also blogs over at where she reviews science fiction and fantasy novels and talks about other nerdy stuff. She's also an interviewer at Apex Magazine. Her apartment looks like a library exploded, and that is how it should be.

1 Comment on On My Radar: TWELVE KINGS IN SHARAKHAI by Bradley P. Beaulieu / THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT by Seth Dickinson / THE APEX BOOK OF WORLD SF 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad

  1. Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) // August 8, 2015 at 7:00 am //

    Twelve Kings is indeed, most excellent.

    (Disclaimer: I am named in the acknowledgements since I read a small portion of the book–but my role was much smaller than other people who were much more influential in midwifing it)

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