Happy Release Day: Natania Barron, A.J. Hartley, and John Claude Bemis

Three — count ’em! — three North Carolina authors have new books out today:

Frost and Filigree by Natania Barron is a novella in the new The Shadow Council Case Files novella series from Falstaff Books, a spin-off shared world of stand alone novellas set in John Hartness’ Quincy Harker Demon Hunter series. “They have worked behind the scenes of society for centuries, protecting humans from threats beyond their understanding. They are The Shadow Council, and these Archives are the stories of their members and adventures throughout recorded history. From folk heroes to monsters out of darkest nightmare, the Shadow Council Archives explore the world beyond mundane understanding.” In Frost and Filigree, “Vivienne du Lac and Nerissa Waldemar — a.k.a. la belle dame sans merci and the lamia — have been living among the elite of Tarrytown for quite some time, undetected but for the trail of goats in their wake (one must eat, after all). But just as their eccentricities begin to raise eyebrows, a dark evil arises, intent on murder. They meet a with a young woman named Christabel Crane and a group of bumbling cultists calling themselves the Circle of Iapetus, who beg for help combating the creature. As they plunge deeper into the mysteries surrounding the New York elite, old flames rekindle, and old grudges, too. Vivienne and Nerissa agree to help fend off the darkness, but will spilled blood mean the end of their reform? And if not, at what cost?”

Firebrand by A.J. Hartley is the second book in his Alternative Detective series from Tor Teen, an intriguing, 19th-century South African-inspired fantasy world which he began with last year’s Steeplejack. Here, and be ye warned, in the publisher copy there be some slight spoilers for Steeplejack, “Once a steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga is used to scaling the heights of Bar-Selehm. Nowadays she assists politician Josiah Willinghouse behind the scenes of Parliament. The latest threat to the city-state: Government plans for a secret weapon are stolen and feared to be sold to the rival nation of Grappoli. The investigation leads right to the doorsteps of Elitus, one of the most exclusive social clubs in the city. In order to catch the thief, Ang must pretend to be a foreign princess and infiltrate Elitus. But Ang is far from royal material, so Willinghouse enlists help from the exacting Madam Nahreem. Yet Ang has other things on her mind. Refugees are trickling into the city, fleeing Grappoli-fueled conflicts in the north. A demagogue in Parliament is proposing extreme measures to get rid of them, and she soon discovers that one theft could spark a conflagration of conspiracy that threatens the most vulnerable of Bar-Selehm. Unless she can stop it.”

Lord of Monsters by John Claude Bemis is the second book in his Out of Abaton series from Disney-Hyperion, his absolutely fantastic retelling of Pinocchio set in an alchemical, Steampunk Venetian Empire and beyond. Again, warning of some slight spoilers of book one in the publisher copy: “Pinocchio can’t believe the Moonlit Court is his home! With royal banquets, a regal wardrobe, and a whole new set of rules, Pinocchio has a lot to adjust to in his new life as prester alongside Princess Lazuli. But before they can get comfortable in their thrones, a fancy dinner at the palace is interrupted by an unwelcome guest-a monster! And this isn’t just any monster; it’s a manticore, a beast that was imprisoned centuries earlier. Desperate to locate the prison and make sure none of its other monsters were able to escape, Lazuli, Pinocchio, and their Celestial Brigade set out to save Abaton from these ancient beings. Their journey requires intelligence, strength, and a dash of the magic only presters control. But when Pinocchio tries to use his powers, they have an unintended effect: he is turning back into a wooden automa. And if he’s not careful, he may lose his human form forever.”

Three cheers for three new books from three of my favorite people in North Carolina!

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