Friday, February 01, 2013

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts

There are 10 debuts for February.  Please note that I use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The February debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Pick one or more and let us know in the comments which one(s) you'll be reading. If I've missed any, let me know in the comments.

Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite February cover for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place later this month.

NB: Updated to include The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian, whose debut I found while working on the February release list.  Also updated to include Gideon's Angel by Clifford Beal.

Gideon's Angel
Author:  Clifford Beal
Publisher:  Solaris, February 26, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
Price:   $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781781080849 (print)

He came back to kill a tyrant. He found the Devil instead. An amazing historical novel with a supernatural twist set after the English Civil War. This is the stunning debut from Clifford Beal.

He came back to kill a tyrant. He found the Devil instead.

1653: The long and bloody English Civil War is at an end. King Charles is dead and Oliver Cromwell rules the land as king in all but name. Richard Treadwell, an exiled royalist officer and soldier-for-hire to the King of France and his all-powerful advisor, the wily Cardinal Mazarin, burns with revenge for those who deprived him of his family and fortune. He decides upon a self-appointed mission to return to England in secret and assassinate the new Lord Protector. Once back on English soil however, he learns that his is not the only plot in motion.

A secret army run by a deluded Puritan is bent on the same quest, guided by the Devil’s hand. When demonic entities are summoned, Treadwell finds himself in a desperate turnaround: he must save Cromwell to save England from a literal descent into Hell. But first he has to contend with a wife he left in Devon who believes she’s a widow, and a furious Paris mistress who has trailed him to England, jeopardising everything. Treadwell needs allies fast. Can he convince the man sent to forcibly drag him back to Cardinal Mazarin? A young king’s musketeer named d’Artagnan.

Black dogs and demons; religion and magic; Freemasons and Ranters. It’s a dangerous new Republic for an old cavalier coming home again.

Yesterday's Sun 
AuthorAmanda Brooke
Publisher:  Harper Paperbacks, February 12, 2013
Format: Trade Paperback and eBook
Price:  $14.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780062131836 (print)
US Debut

A suspenseful tale of free will versus fate—an extraordinary story of love and family, and the risks we take to break free from the past

Newlyweds Holly and Tom have just moved into their dream home, a charming English carriage house in the London suburbs. A rising television journalist, Tom can't wait to fill the house with children. Holly, a budding artist, isn't so sure. She fears that as a mother, she will repeat the terrible mistakes of her own neglectful parents. But Holly and Tom are young and deeply in love, and they have time to decide.

While renovating the house, Holly finds an unusual crystal orb—the missing top to the moondial in their garden. She soon discovers this is no ordinary timepiece. Under the full moon's brilliant light, it reveals the future—a future in which Tom cares for their baby daughter . . . alone.

Holly's new friend in the village, an elderly woman named Jocelyn, reveals the cursed secret of the moondial's power. Now Holly must choose between herself and her future child—a painful decision that will ultimately teach her about motherhood and sacrifice . . . and reveal how far she will go in the name of love.

Dreams and Shadows
AuthorC. Robert Cargill
Publisher:  Harper Voyager, February 26, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780062190420 (print)
Fiction Debut

A brilliantly crafted modern tale from acclaimed film critic and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill—part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Toro, part William S. Burroughs—that charts the lives of two boys from their star-crossed childhood in the realm of magic and mystery to their anguished adulthoods

There is another world than our own—one no closer than a kiss and one no further than our nightmares—where all the stuff of which dreams are made is real and magic is just a step away. But once you see that world, you will never be the same.

Dreams and Shadows takes us beyond this veil. Once bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm, Ewan is now an Austin musician who just met his dream girl, and Colby, meanwhile, cannot escape the consequences of an innocent wish. But while Ewan and Colby left the Limestone Kingdom as children, it has never forgotten them. And in a world where angels relax on rooftops, whiskey-swilling genies argue metaphysics with foul-mouthed wizards, and monsters in the shadows feed on fear, you can never outrun your fate.

Dreams and Shadows is a stunning and evocative debut about the magic and monsters in our world and in our self.

How Dark the World Becomes
AuthorFrank Chadwick 
Publisher:  Baen. February 5, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
Price: $14.00 (print)
ISBN:  978-1-4516-3870-7 (print)

Sasha Naradnyo is a gangster. He's a gangster with heart, sure, but Sasha sticks his neck out for no man. That's how you stay alive in Crack City, a colony stuffed deep into the crust of the otherwise unlivable planet Peezgtaan. Alive only—because if you're human, you don't prosper, at least not for long. Sasha is a second generation City native. His parents came to this rock figuring to make it big, only to find that they'd been recruited as an indentured labor force for alien overlords known as the Varoki.

Now a pair of rich young Varoki under the care of a beautiful human nanny are fleeing Peezgtaan, and Sasha is recruited to help. He'd prefer to rather leave the little alien lordlings to their fate, but certain considerations—such as Sasha's own imminent demise if he remains—make it beneficial for him to take on the job.

Sasha discovers his simple choice has thrust him in the midst of a political battle that could remake the galactic balance of power and save humanity from slow death by servitude. Now all he has to do is survive and keep his charges alive on a hostile planet undergoing its own revolution.

But it's the galaxy that had better watch out. For now the toughest thug in Crack City has gotten his first taste of real freedom. He likes it, and he wants more. 

The Office of Mercy
Author: Ariel Djanikian
Publisher:  Viking Adult, February 21, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
Price:  $26.95 (print)
ISBN:  9780670025862 (print)

A thrilling debut of a postapocalyptic world for fans of The Hunger Games

Weaving philosophy and science together into a riveting, dystopian story of love and adventure, The Office of Mercy illuminates an all-too-real future imagined by a phenomenal new voice in fiction.

Twenty-four-year-old Natasha Wiley lives in America-Five—a high-tech, underground, utopian settlement where hunger and money do not exist, everyone has a job, and all basic needs are met. But when her mentor and colleague, Jeffrey, selects her to join a special team to venture Outside for the first time, Natasha’s allegiances to home, society, and above all to Jeffrey are tested. She is forced to make a choice that may put the people she loves most in grave danger and change the world as she knows it.

The Office of Mercy is speculative fiction at its best with a deeply imagined, lush world, high-stakes adventure, and romance that will thrill fans of Suzanne Collins, Margaret Atwood, Justin Cronin, and Kazuo Ishiguro.

Author: Betsy Dornbusch
Series:  Seven Eyes
Publisher:  Night Shade Books, February 5, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
Price:  $26.99 (print)
ISBN:  978-1-59780-452-3 (print)

Draken vae Khellian, bastard cousin of the Monoean King, had risen far from his ignominious origins, becoming both a Bowrank Commander and a member of the Crown’s Black Guard. But when he is falsely condemned for the grisly murder of his beloved wife, he is banished from the kingdom and cast upon the distant shore of Akrasia, at the arse-end of the world.

Compared to civilized Monoea, Akrasia is a forbidding land of Moonlings, magic, and restless spirits. It is also a realm on the brink of a bloody revolution, as a sinister conspiracy plots against Akrasia’s embattled young queen–and malevolent banes possess the bodies of the living.

Consumed by grief, and branded a murderer, Draken lives only to clear his name and avenge his wife’s murder. But the fates may have bigger plans for him. Alone in a strange land, he soon finds himself sharing the bed of an enigmatic necromancer and a half-breed servant girl, while pressed into the service of a foreign queen whose life and land may well depend on the divided loyalties of an exiled warrior . . .

Exile is the beginning of an ambitious fantasy saga by an acclaimed new author.

Fade to Black
AuthorFrancis Knight
Series:  Rojan Dizon
Publisher:  Orbit, February 26, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Price:  $14.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780316217682  (print)

From the depths of a valley rises the city of Mahala

It's a city built upwards, not across - where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under.

Rojan Dizon doesn't mind staying in the shadows, because he's got things to hide. Things like being a pain-mage, with the forbidden power to draw magic from pain. But he can't hide for ever.

Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic. And unlucky for Rojan - this is going to hurt.

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow
AuthorRita Leganski
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks, February 26, 2013
Format: Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Price:  $14.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780062113764 (print)

Conceived in love and possibility, Bonaventure Arrow didn't make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. No one knows that Bonaventure's silence is filled with resonance—a miraculous gift of rarified hearing that encompasses the Universe of Every Single Sound. Growing up in the big house on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline, Bonaventure can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. He can also hear the gentle voice of his father, William Arrow, shot dead before Bonaventure was born by a mysterious stranger known only as the Wanderer.

Bonaventure's remarkable gift of listening promises salvation to the souls who love him: his beautiful young mother, Dancy, haunted by the death of her husband; his Grand-mère Letice, plagued by grief and a long-buried guilt she locks away in a chapel; and his father, William, whose roaming spirit must fix the wreckage of the past. With the help of Trinidad Prefontaine, a Creole housekeeper endowed with her own special gifts, Bonaventure will find the key to long-buried mysteries and soothe a chorus of family secrets clamoring to be healed.

Blood's Pride
AuthorEvie Manieri
Series:  Shattered Kingdoms
Publisher:  Tor Books, February 19, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 528 pages
Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780765332349 (print)
US Debut

Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope of salvation.

Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their fledgling uprising—but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution, or for a more sinister purpose all her own?

This thrilling new epic fantasy is set in a quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region, drawing together the warrior culture of Vikings, the wanderlust of desert nomads, and the oracles of ancient Greece. Evie Manieri's Blood's Pride is an intricate, lush fantasy novel full of taut action, gut-wrenching betrayal, and soaring romance.

AuthorGillian Philip
Series:  Rebel Angels
Publisher:  Tor Books, February 19, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN:   9780765333223 (print)
US Adult Debut

It is the last decade of the sixteenth century: a time of religious wars in the mortal world. But the Sithe are at peace, hidden behind the Veil that protects their world until their queen, Kate NicNiven, determines to destroy it.

Seth MacGregor is the half-feral son of a Sithe nobleman. When his father is assassinated and Seth is exiled with his brother Conal to the full-mortal world, they vow not only to survive, but to return to reclaim their fortress and save the Veil.

But even the Veil's power cannot protect the brothers when the brutal witch-hunts begin….

Brimming with intrigue and rebellion, Firebrand is the first book in the Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip, the Carnegie Medal–nominated author of Crossing the Line and multi-award-nominated Bad Faith.


  1. A couple of these look interesting, especially Fade to Black and Blood's Pride

    1. Yes! I especially am looking forward to reading those. If I have time I'll probably read all of them.