On the Radar

On The Smugglers’ Radar

“On The Smugglers’ Radar” is a new feature for books that have caught our eye: books we heard of via other bloggers, directly from publishers, and/or from our regular incursions into the Amazon jungle. This is how the Smugglers’ Radar was born, and because there are far too many books that we want than we can possibly buy or review (what else is new?) we thought we could make it into a weekly feature – so YOU can tell us which books you have on your radar as well!

On Ana’s Radar:

Sometimes smaller publishers go under our radar but this week I found Snowbooks, a small independent publisher in the UK and DEAR LORD, DON’T THESE BOOKS LOOK AWESOME?

Cassie’s day as a guide at Westminster Abbey begins badly when zombies storm into the building and eat the tourists. Carrie escapes – but finds London choked with the undead. She has no idea where they came from, no idea how to stop them – all she knows is she has to race through dangerous, gore-soaked streets and find her daughter. And her day doesn’t get any better .

“I fell into this job quite by accident, when I discovered that I possessed the ability to see the preternatural world. There are a handful of people with similar abilities, and part of my job is to locate them, since Government Central and Infrastructure Canada like to keep track of these things. Don’t ask me why…” There’s a malevolent force in town, and it’s quite literally Valerie Steven’s job to determine who’s behind it and why they want to destroy the world, starting with Calgary. She’ll have help, in the form of her best friend (now more or less a zombie, unfortunately), a powerful dwarf troll, and th ghost of former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (but he goes by ‘Bill’ these dayys). But that’s not all – Valerie has some tricks up her sleeve and, she hopes, luck on her side. Oh, and her boyfriend, Dave. He drives a dump truck.

It is 1861, and Albertian Britain is in the grip of conflicting forces. Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labour; Libertines oppose restrictive and unjust laws and flood the country with propaganda demanding a society based on beauty and creativity; while The Rakes push the boundaries of human behaviour to the limits with magic, sexuality, drugs and anarchy. Returning from his failed expedition to find the source of the Nile, explorer, linguist, scholar and swordsman Sir Richard Francis Burton finds himself sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, employs him as “King’s Spy.” His first mission: to investigate the sexual assaults committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack; to find out why chimney sweeps are being kidnapped by half-man, half-dog creatures; and to discover the whereabouts of his badly injured former friend, John Hanning Speke. Accompanied by the diminutive and pain-loving poet, Algernon Swinburne, Burton’s investigations lead him back to one of the defining events of the age: the brutal assassination of Queen Victoria in 1840; and the terrifying possibility that the world he inhabits shouldn’t exist at all.

Plus, I also saw these from Simon and Schuster:

My name is Gin, and I kill people.

They call me the Spider. I’m the most feared assassin in the South — when I’m not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don’t use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I’m out for revenge. And I’ll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I’m still one of the bad guys. Which is why I’m in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I’m battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction…especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

For Kira Solomon, normal was never an option.

Kira’s day job is as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission, dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she’s got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside down in search of a millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira’s hands.

Then there’s Khefar, the dagger’s true owner — a near-immortal 4,000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow forces, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever….

On Thea’s Radar:

I gotta thank good ol’ book pimp KB (of Babbling About Books, and More!) for the heads up on the following books. They look delectable!

Set in an apocalyptic future where rising oceans have swallowed up entire regions and people live packed like sardines on the dry land left, DARK LIFE is the harrowing tale of underwater pioneers who have carved out a life for themselves in the harsh deep-sea environment, farming the seafloor in exchange for the land deed.
The story follows Ty, who has lived his whole life on his family’s homestead and has dreams of claiming his own stake when he turns eighteen. But when outlaws’ attacks on government supply ships and settlements…

… threaten to destroy the underwater territory, Ty finds himself in a fight to stop the outlaws and save the only home he has ever known.

Joined by a girl from the Topside who has come subsea to look for her prospector brother, Ty ventures into the frontier’s rough underworld and begins to discover some dark secrets to Dark Life.

As Ty gets closer to the truth, he discovers that the outlaws may not be the bloodthirsty criminals the government has portrayed them as. And that the government abandoning the territory might be the best thing for everyone, especially for someone like Ty, someone with a Dark Gift.

This next one cover is awesome and hilarious, and it holds a special place in my heart – because if there ever was a monster capable of driving me insane, it would be in the form of an RSS Feed. I’m sure Ana can relate – our RSS Feed has been the bane of my existence for a year now. What’s even cooler about Feed is the fact that its author is none other than Seanan McGuire – whose Rosemary and Rue I adored last year – writing under another pen name!

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.

Stephen King has emphatically endorsed this book. SOLD. Not to mention, Ridley Scott (director of Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, etc fame)’s production company had already purchased the rights to adapting this book into a film – before the book was completed! Now that is some serious book mojo.

Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she’s the most important person in the whole world. She is. Anthony Carter doesn’t think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row. He’s wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming. It is. THE PASSAGE…

PLUS, you can read an excellent excerpt for The Passage online HERE.

This next title just looks cool.

The Natural History Museum’s prize exhibit – a giant squid – suddenly disappears. This audacious theft leads Clem, the research scientist who has recently finished preserving the exhibit, into a dark urban underworld of warring cults and surreal magic. It seems that for some, the squid represents a god and should be worshiped as such. Clem gradually comes to realise that someone may be attempting to use the squid to trigger an apocalypse. And so it is now up to him and a renegade squid-worshiper named Dean to find a way of stopping the destruction of the world as they know it whilst themselves surviving the all out-gang warfare that they have unwittingly been drawn into…

And, a lovely reader emailed us recently with a book suggestion that sounds AWESOME. It’s on my to-buy list. Plus, I’ve been meaning to try Kit Whitfield for a while now – ever since the epic ARC!FAIL of In Great Waters – so, this sounds like a good place to start.

Biology is destiny.

For those born feet-first, life is normal. Civil rights are enshrined in law, the world is a comfortable place, and every full moon night, you lock yourself in a secure room to fur up in peace. But for those born head-first, the damage done is more than just physical. For a non, locked in his or her human skin, is first and foremost a conscript, drafted at eighteen into DORLA, the Department for the Ongoing Regulation of Lycanthropic Activity.

For a DORLA agent, insultingly referred to as a ‘bareback’, full moon creates a battle zone, where they patrol the silent night in search of citizens breaking the curfew. The rest of the month is a civil service nightmare, mopping up the after-effects of the trespasses, the fights and the maulings. DORLA has lasted centuries, since the Inquisition first set it up, and it’s no less hated now than it was then.

Lola Galley, twenty-eight and already a scarred veteran, is assigned to defend a curfew-breaker who mutilated a good friend of hers. She doesn’t want the case, but she’s used to doing things she doesn’t want. Only something happens: her maimed friend is murdered before her client can be tried.

Lola wants justice. She’ll settle for the truth. But in a divided world, asking for the truth may bring answers that you don’t want to hear.

And that’s it from us today! What about you? Any books on your radar that we should know about?


  • Mandi
    January 9, 2010 at 5:55 am

    You must read Spider’s Bite! A really, really great book.

  • Danielle
    January 9, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I should stop reading this blog. I’ll be homeless, living in makeshift fort of books.

  • Emma
    January 9, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Ooh, thank you for the lovely mention! I also think our books are awesome but I would say that. You might like to know that we’re currently gifting a completely free ebook of Skarlet, the previous book by Thomas Emson who wrote Zombie Britannica (above), from snowbooks.com/ebooks. And we have an open submissions policy, if you’re an author. Thanks again! Emma from Snowbooks.

  • katiebabs
    January 9, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Such pretty, pretty books. The Passage netted almost 4 million dollars for the author. I am so jealous!

  • AnimeJune
    January 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Hahaha – Shade Fright? Finally a fantasy story that takes place in Canada! In Alberta, no less!

    Wait … in CALGARY? BOOOO! (Edmonton 4 LIFE).

  • orannia
    January 9, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I’m definitely hanging out for Dark Life – it sound very different and interesting 🙂 I’m looking forward to the third Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett book (Dragon Soul), the next Michelle West book (City of Night), Juliet Marillier’s Seer of Sevenwaters and even though I’d heard only a little about it I quite like the sound of Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke!

    Cassie’s day as a guide at Westminster Abbey begins badly when zombies storm into the building and eat the tourists.

    That line completely cracks me up 🙂

  • Tiah
    January 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    The cover for the next book by Jennifer Estep (Web of Lies) is really cool. Except the saying on the top is really lame. “She might look good but she is all bad” Ha ha ha…lame.

  • Celia
    January 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Wow. Some of these look frighteningly awesome. Take Kraken, for example. MUST have that one. And I’ll be keeping my eye out for the rest. Great picks, Smugglers!

  • Veronica F.
    January 10, 2010 at 12:01 am

    oooh, crazy gOod finds!
    I really wanna read Zombie Britannica and Dark life! so far everything on my radar is on yalls too, so I’ll keep an eye out & let ya know if I do find something…

  • Joanne
    January 10, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Fantastic list! Many of these are on my wants list – Snowbooks looks like it will be a treasure trove of awesome.

  • Dreadful Penny
    January 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    China Mieville wrote a book about giant squid?! SO PUMPED!

  • Akin
    January 13, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Okay, you guys, I know I wasn’t the only one who got the chills after reading the excerpt for The Passage. I am so getting that book when it comes out. I hope it’s good!

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