Here we are at Volume 3 of SFF books That You May Have Heard of But Should Read. Continuing with the theme of gems you might have not heard of, the lovely author Janny Wurts has provided us with another seven wonderful novels to add to our TBR. Adventures await in these books!
If you wish to see previous recommendations, go here:
7 SFF Books That You May Not Have Heard of But Should Read – Vol 2
1. (published 1991)
by Megan Lindholm
About Cloven Hooves
Evelyn is a solitary child, preferring to wander in the woods in all weathers rather than socialise. Her secret is a fantastic companion: a faun with whom she plays in the woods.
Years later Evelyn finds happiness as a wife and mother, but life turns sour when the family move to Tacoma where her husband is asked to fill in at his father’s business. Evelyn’s husband’s wish for them to stay permanently with his family causes a rift between them and then a terrible tragedy makes the situation even more impossible.
Miraculously, when she needs a friend, Evelyn’s childhood companion reappears in Tacoma. Pan, now an adult satyr and a secret friend to both her and her son, eventually becomes her lover. He leads Evelyn on an odyssey out of her failed marriage to fulfillment in the woods of Alaska.
2. (published 2003)
by Steven Barnes
“Not for the first time, Aidan reflected that those titillated by horror were least likely to have ever experienced it personally.”
About Zulu Heart
Zulu Heart returns to the 19th Century of Steven Barnes’s justly acclaimed novel Lion’s Blood, a brilliant alternate history in which black Africans have colonized the New World with white Europeans as their slaves.
As Zulu Heart opens, New World nobleman Kai ibn Jallaleddin is a senator of New Djibouti, an envied plantation owner, and a loving family man. His ex-slave and friend, the Irishman Aidan O’Dere, is on the Ouachita frontier, helping other ex-slaves build a settlement for themselves. But ex-slaves are always at risk, and an angry mob threatens Aidan, his family, and his entire village with slaughter or re-enslavement. Meanwhile, Kai is entangled in intrigues among not only his fellow senators, but the lords of Egypt and Abyssinia, who have sinister plans for the New World colonies. Pharaoh takes Kai’s sister hostage to manipulate Kai, even as Aidan discovers his twin sister, lost since childhood, is the property of a powerful foe of New Djibouti. Aidan has a slight possibility of rescuing his beloved sister, and of helping Kai thwart his enemies, but the only chance of achieving these near-impossible goals requires that Aidan go undercover–a slave once more.
by Judith Tarr
About Ars Magica
Gerbert was a farmer’s son in an obscure town in France, but his gifts of mind and intellect were so remarkable that even in the feudal world of the tenth century, he could rise far above his station. Princes and prelates courted him; emperors called him friend and teacher. He brought the lost art of mathematics back into Europe; he was an astronomer, a musician, a builder of strange and wonderful devices. In the end he reached the pinnacle of the world, a seat so lofty and an authority so great that he answered only to God Himself.
But Gerbert was more than a simple professor of the mathematical arts, or even a prince of the Church. As a young student in Spain, guided by his priestly patron, he entered into the study of another art altogether, a hidden art, mastering mighty powers of mystery and magic.
Magic, as every student of the art knows, has a price—and the greater the magic, the higher the price. The magic that came to Gerbert was very great indeed.
4. (published 1983)
by Steven R. Boyett
At four-thirty one Saturday afternoon the laws of physics as we know them underwent a change. Electronic devices, cars, industries stopped. The lights went out. Any technology more complicated than a lever or pulley simply wouldn’t work. A new set of rules took its place—laws that could only be called magic. Ninety-nine percent of humanity has simply vanished. Cities lie abandoned. Supernatural creatures wander the silenced achievements of a halted civilization.
Pete Garey has survived the Change and its ensuing chaos. He wanders the southeastern United States, scavenging, lying low. Learning. One day he makes an unexpected friend: a smartassed unicorn with serious attitude. Pete names her Ariel and teaches her how to talk, how to read, and how to survive in a world in which a unicorn horn has become a highly prized commodity.
When they learn that there is a price quite literally on Ariel’s head, the two unlikely companions set out from Atlanta to Manhattan to confront the sorcerer who wants her horn. And so begins a haunting, epic, and surprisingly funny journey through the remnants of a halted civilization in a desolated world.
5. (published 1998)
by Matthew Woodring Stover
“A lie is like a pet- you have to take care of it, or it’ll turn on you and bite you in the ass.”
About Heroes Die
Renowned throughout the land of Ankhana as the Blade of Tyshalle, Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners, villains and heroes. He is relentless, unstoppable, simply the best there is at what he does.
At home on Earth, Caine is Hari Michaelson, a superstar whose adventures in Ankhana command an audience of billions. Yet he is shackled by a rigid caste society, bound to ignore the grim fact that he kills men on a far-off world for the entertainment of his own planet–and bound to keep his rage in check.
But now Michaelson has crossed the line. His estranged wife, Pallas Rill, has mysteriously disappeared in the slums of Ankhana. To save her, he must confront the greatest challenge of his life: a lethal game of cat and mouse with the most treacherous rulers of two worlds…
6. (published 2010)
The Merro Tree
by Katie Waitman
About The Merro Tree
In the far reaches of our galaxy, the artist will face the ultimate censorship.
Mikk of Vyzania, the galaxy’s greatest performance master, commanded stages on all the myriad worlds. His sublime, ethereal performances were unforgettable, drawing on the most treasured traditions of every culture, every people, throughout inhabited space. His crowning achievement, and his obsession: the Somalite song dance, an art form that transcends both song and movement to become something greater and more spectacular . . . almost divine.
When tragic events caused performance of the song dance to be proscribed, Mikk was devastated . . . until his strong sense of justice forced him to defy the ban. His trial will be the most sensational in the recent history of the galaxy; the sentence he faces is death.
Now the greatest performance master must hope to become the greatest escape artist. Somehow Mikk must break the stranglehold of censorship and change the law . . . or die trying!
7. (published 2007)
by Emma Bull
Wyatt Earp. Doc Holliday. Ike Clanton.
You think you know the story. You don’t.
Tombstone, Arizona in 1881 is the site of one of the richest mineral strikes in American history, where veins of silver run like ley lines under the earth, a network of power that belongs to anyone who knows how to claim and defend it.
Above the ground, power is also about allegiances. A magician can drain his friends’ strength to strengthen himself, and can place them between him and danger. The one with the most friends stands to win the territory.
Jesse Fox left his Eastern college education to travel West, where he’s made some decidedly odd friends, like the physician Chow Lung, who insists that Jesse has a talent for magic. In Tombstone, Jesse meets the tubercular Doc Holliday, whose inner magic is as suppressed as his own, but whose power is enough to attract the sorcerous attention of Wyatt Earp.
Mildred Benjamin is a young widow making her living as a newspaper typesetter, and–unbeknownst to the other ladies of Tombstone–selling tales of Western derring-do to the magazines back East. Like Jesse, Mildred has episodes of seeing things that can’t possibly be there.
When a failed stage holdup results in two dead, Tombstone explodes with speculation about who attempted the robbery. The truth could destroy Earp’s plans for wealth and glory, and he’ll do anything to bury it. Meanwhile, outlaw leader John Ringo wants the same turf as Earp. Each courts Jesse as an ally, and tries to isolate him by endangering his friends, as they struggle for magical dominance of the territory.
Events are building toward the shootout of which you may have heard. But you haven’t heard the whole, secret story until you’ve read Emma Bull’s unique take on an American legend, in which absolutely nothing is as it seems…