Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived in the mail here at the Geek Compound.
The War That Came Early: West and East by Harry Turtledove
In 1938, two men held history in their hands. One was Adolf Hitler. The other was British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, who, determined to avoid war at any cost, came to be known as “the great appeaser.” But Harry Turtledove, the unrivaled master of alternate history, has launched a gripping saga that springboards from a different fateful act: What if Chamberlain had stood up to Hitler? What would the Nazis’ next move have been? And how would the war—which Hitler had always regretted waiting eleven months to start—have unfolded and changed our world?
Here, Turtledove takes us across a panorama of conflict fueled by ideology and demagoguery. Nations are pitted against nations, alliances are forged between old enemies, ordinary men and women are hurled into extraordinary life-and-death situations. In Japanese-controlled Singapore, an American marine falls in love with a Russian dance hall hostess, while around him are heard the first explosions of Chinese guerilla resistance. On the frontlines of war-ravaged rural France, a weary soldier perfects the art of using an enormous anti-tank gun as a sniper’s tool—while from Germany a killer is sent to hunt him down. And in the icy North Atlantic, a U-boat bearing an experimental device wreaks havoc on British shipping, setting the stage for a Nazi ground invasion of Denmark.
From an American woman trapped in Germany who receives safe passage from Hitler himself to a Jewish family steeped in German culture and facing the hatred rising around them, from Japanese soldiers on the remote edge of Siberia to American volunteers in Spain, West and East is the story of a world held hostage by tyrants—Stalin, Hitler, Sanjuro—each holding on to power through lies and terror even in the face of treacherous plots from within.
As armies clash, and as the brave, foolish, and true believers choose sides, new weapons are added to already deadly arsenals and new strategies are plotted to break a growing stalemate. But one question looms over the conflict from West to East: What will it take to bring America into this war?
Mass Effect: Retribution by Drew Karpyshyn
Humanity has reached the stars, joining the vast galactic community of alien species. But beyond the fringes of explored space lurk the Reapers, a race of sentient starships bent on “harvesting” the galaxy’s organic species for their own dark purpose.
The Illusive Man, leader of the pro-human black ops group Cerberus, is one of the few who know the truth about the Reapers. To ensure humanity’s survival, he launches a desperate plan to uncover the enemy’s strengths—and weaknesses—by studying someone implanted with modified Reaper technology. He knows the perfect subject for his horrific experiments: former Cerberus operative Paul Grayson, who wrested his daughter from the cabal’s control with the help of Ascension project director Kahlee Sanders.
But when Kahlee learns that Grayson is missing, she turns to the only person she can trust: Alliance war hero Captain David Anderson. Together they set out to find the secret Cerberus facility where Grayson is being held. But they aren’t the only ones after him. And time is running out.
As the experiments continue, the sinister Reaper technology twists Grayson’s mind. The insidious whispers grow ever stronger in his head, threatening to take over his very identity and unleash the Reapers on an unsuspecting galaxy.
This novel is based on a Mature-rated video game.
City of Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, Book 3) by Stacia Kane
IT’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN ALIVE AND UNDEAD.
Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess’s bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.
Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city’s most notorious crime boss—and Chess’s drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn’t bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he’s not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.
Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.
A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks
Ben Holiday, mere mortal turned monarch of the magic kingdom of Landover, has grappled with numerous contenders for his throne, but nothing could have prepared him for the most daunting of challengers: his headstrong teenage daughter, Mistaya. After getting suspended from an exclusive private school in our world, Mistaya is determined to resume her real education—learning sorcery from court wizard Questor Thews—whether her parents like it or not. Then, horrified that a repulsive Landover nobleman seeks to marry her, Mistaya decides that the only way to run her own life is to run away from home.
So begins an eventful odyssey peppered with a formidable dragon, recalcitrant Gnomes, an inscrutable magic cat, a handsome librarian, a sinister sorcerer, and more than a few narrow escapes as fate draws Landover’s intrepid princess into the thick of a mystery that will put her mettle to the test—and possibly bring the kingdom to its knees.
Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey
Young Fiona, rider of the gold queen Talenth, has returned from the past, where she and a group of dragons and riders fled so that the wounded could heal from their previous battles with Thread and the younger dragons could safely grow to fighting age. Gone only three days, yet aged more than three years, Fiona is no longer a child but a woman prepared to fight against the Thread that threatens to destroy her world.
Fiona’s life takes a pivotal turn when a shocking tragedy thrusts her into a position of authority. Now she finds herself leading weyrfolk who have a hard time trusting a senior Weyrwoman who is both young and an outsider.
But even greater challenges lie ahead: Thread is falling and there are too few dragons to stem the tide. Many have died from the recent plague, and even with the influx of newly mature dragons from the past, the depleted fighting force is no match for the intensifying Threadfall. Fiona knows that something must be done, and what she proposes is daring and next to impossible. But if her plan succeeds, it just might save them all.
With a cast of familiar characters from previous Pern novels—including Lorana, who sacrificed her own queen dragon so that all the dragons of Pern would have a chance to survive, and Kindan, the harper Fiona has loved her whole life—Dragongirl is another triumph for Todd McCaffrey, and a riveting new chapter for the Dragonriders of Pern.