Sunday, May 01, 2016

2016 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts

There are 17 debut novels for May. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The May debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite May cover for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on May 15, 2016.

If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery @ gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2016 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for May 2016 The list is correct as of the day posted.

Basma Abdel Aziz

The Queue
Melville House, May 24, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook,
Translator: Elisabeth Jaquette

Set against the backdrop of a failed political uprising, The Queue is a chilling debut that evokes Orwellian dystopia, Kafkaesque surrealism, and a very real vision of life after the Arab Spring.

In an unnamed Middle Eastern city, a centralized authority known as the Gate has risen to power in the aftermath of the “Disgraceful Events,” a failed popular uprising. Citizens are required to obtain permission from the Gate for even the most basic of their daily affairs, yet the building never opens, and the queue in front of it grows longer and longer.

Citizens from all walks of life wait in the sun: a revolutionary journalist, a sheikh, the brother of a security officer killed in the clashes with protestors, and a man with injuries The Gate would prefer to keep quiet.

Written with dark, subtle intelligence, The Queue describes the sinister nature of authoritarianism, and illuminates the way that absolute authority manipulates information, mobilizes others in service to it, and fails to uphold the rights of even those faithful to it.

Kurt Anderson

Pinnacle, May 31, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

It Lurks

Deep beneath the ice of the Arctic Circle, something has awakened. A primordial creature frozen in time, it is the oldest, largest, most efficient predator that nature has ever produced. And it is ravenously hungry…

It Hunts

Thirty-five miles off the Massachussetts coast, a small research ship is attacked. All but one of its crew is killed by the massive serpentine horror that rises from the sea. The creature likes this human prey. The chewy outer hide. The tender saltiness within. And it wants more…

It Feeds

Responding to a distress signal, fishing-boat captain Brian Hawkins arrives in time to save the ship’s last survivor. But the nightmare is just beginning. A casino cruise ship carrying high-stakes passengers—and a top-secret cargo—becomes the creature’s bloodsoaked hunting ground. Desperate but determined, Hawkins goes after the biggest catch of the century.

Mike Brooks

Dark Run
Keiko 1
Saga Press, May 24, 2016
Hardcover (352 pp.), Trade Paperback (368 pp.) and eBook (368 pp.)

In this debut space epic, a crew of thieves and con artists take on a job that could pay off a lot of debts in a corrupt galaxy where life is cheap and criminals are the best people in it.

The Keiko is a ship of smugglers, soldiers of fortune, and adventurers travelling Earth’s colony planets searching for the next job. And they never talk about their past—until now.

Captain Ichabod Drift is being blackmailed. He has to deliver a special cargo to Earth, and no one can know they’re there. It’s what they call a dark run…And it may be their last.

Sean Danker

An Evagardian Novel 1
Roc, May 3, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages


“I was on a dead ship on an unknown planet with three trainees freshly graduated into the Imperial Service. I tried to look on the bright side.”

He is the last to wake. The label on his sleeper pad identifies him as an admiral of the Evagardian Empire—a surprise as much to him as to the three recent recruits now under his command. He wears no uniform, and he is ignorant of military protocol, but the ship’s records confirm he is their superior officer.

Whether he is an Evagardian admiral or a spy will be of little consequence if the crew members all end up dead. They are marooned on a strange world, their ship’s systems are failing one by one—and they are not alone.

G.S. Denning

Warlock Holmes - A Study in Brimstone
Titan Books, May 17, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius. Warlock Holmes is an idiot. A font of arcane power, certainly. But he’s brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldn’t deduce his way out of a paper bag. The only thing he has really got going for him are the might of a thousand demons and his stalwart companion. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety… and save him from a gruesome death every now and again.

Antonia Hayes

Gallery Books, May 3, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

A “beautifully written, heartbreaking” (S. J. Watson) debut novel about a gifted boy who discovers the truth about his past, his overprotective single mother who tries desperately to shield him from it, and the father he has never met who has unexpectedly returned.

Twelve-year-old Ethan Forsythe, an exceptionally talented boy obsessed with physics and astronomy, has been raised alone by his mother in Sydney, Australia. Claire, a former professional ballerina, has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he’s becoming increasingly curious about his father’s absence in his life. Claire is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son—and of her own feelings. But when Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event that occurred during his infancy, her tightly-held world is split open.

Thousands of miles away on the western coast of Australia, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart, but an unexpected call forces him to confront his past and return home. When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that—like gravity—pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

Told from the alternating points of view of Ethan and each of his parents, Relativity is a poetic and soul-searing exploration of unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts, the limits of science, and the magnitude of love.

Patrick Hemstreet

The God Wave
The God Wave Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager, May 17, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

A team of neuroscientists uncover amazing new capabilities in the brain that may steer human evolution toward miraculous and deadly frontiers in this spectacular debut work of speculative science fiction—Limitless meets James Rollins—that combines spirituality and science in an inventive, mind-blowing fashion.

For decades, scientists have speculated about the untapped potential of the human brain. Now, neuroscientist Chuck Brenton has made an astonishing breakthrough. He has discovered the key—the crucial combination of practice and conditioning—to access the incredible power dormant in ninety percent of our brains. Applying his methods to test subjects, he has stimulated abilities that elevate brain function to seemingly “godlike” levels.

These extraordinary abilities can transform the world, replacing fear and suffering with tranquility and stability. But in an age of increasing militarization, corporate exploitation, and explosive technological discovery, a group of influential power brokers are determined to control Brenton’s new superbeings for their own manipulative ends—and their motives may be far from peaceful.

Kat Howard

Rose and Rot
Saga Press, May 17, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Publishers Weekly Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Novel of Summer 2016

Imogen and her sister Marin escape their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, whether it be art or love in this haunting debut novel from “a remarkable young writer” (Neil Gaiman).

What would you sacrifice for everything you ever dreamed of?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

Andrew Michael Hurley

The Loney
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 10, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

The eerie, suspenseful debut novel — hailed as “an amazing piece of fiction” by Stephen King — that is taking the world by storm.

When the remains of a young child are discovered during a winter storm on a stretch of the bleak Lancashire coastline known as the Loney, a man named Smith is forced to confront the terrifying and mysterious events that occurred forty years earlier when he visited the place as a boy. At that time, his devoutly Catholic mother was determined to find healing for Hanny, his disabled older brother. And so the family, along with members of their parish, embarked on an Easter pilgrimage to an ancient shrine.

But not all of the locals were pleased to see visitors in the area. And when the two brothers found their lives entangling with a glamorous couple staying at a nearby house, they became involved in more troubling rites. Smith feels he is the only one to know the truth, and he must bear the burden of his knowledge, no matter what the cost. Proclaimed a “modern classic” by the Sunday Telegraph (UK), The Loney marks the arrival of an important new voice in fiction.

Todd Lockwood

The Summer Dragon
First Book of the Evertide
DAW, May 3, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 512 pages

The debut novel from the acclaimed illustrator–a high fantasy adventure featuring dragons and deadly politics.

Maia and her family raise dragons for the political war machine. As she comes of age, she hopes for a dragon of her own to add to the stable of breeding parents. But the war goes badly, and the needs of the Dragonry dash her hopes. Her peaceful life is shattered when the Summer Dragon—one of the rare and mythical High Dragons—makes an appearance in her quiet valley. The Summer Dragon is an omen of change, but no one knows for certain what kind of change he augurs. Political factions vie to control the implied message, each to further their own agendas.

And so Maia is swept into an adventure that pits her against the deathless Horrors—thralls of the enemy—and a faceless creature drawn from her fears. In her fight to preserve everything she knows and loves, she uncovers secrets that challenge her understanding of her world and of herself.

Emily B. Martin

Harper Voyager Impulse, May 17, 2016
     eBook, 336 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, June 14 , 2016
     Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages

“What on earth would I gain from that?” I asked him. “Risk my own neck by violating my banishment just to leave you? The sentence placed on me if I return is execution. If I’m entering the mountains again, I’d damn well better get something out of it.”

Exiled from the Silverwood and the people she loves, Mae has few illusions about ever returning to her home. But when she comes across three out-of-place strangers in her wanderings, she finds herself contemplating the unthinkable: risking death to help a deposed queen regain her throne.

And if anyone can help Mona Alastaire of Lumen Lake, it is a former Woodwalker—a ranger whose very being is intimately tied to the woods they are sworn to protect. Mae was once one of the best, and despite the potential of every tree limb to become the gibbet she’s hung from, she not only feels a duty to aide Mona and her brothers, but also to walk beneath her beloved trees once more.

A grand quest in the tradition of great epic fantasies, filled with adventure and the sharp wit—and tongue—of a unique hero, Woodwalker is the perfect novel to start your own journey into the realm of magical fiction.

Ada Palmer

Too Like the Lightning
Terra Ignota 1
Tor Books, May 10, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer--a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competion is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destablize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life...

Martin Seay

The Mirror Thief
Melville House, May 10, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 592 pages

A globetrotting, time-bending, wildly entertaining literary tour de force in the tradition of Cloud Atlas.

The Mirror Thief is a dazzling combination of a genre-hopping adventure, a fast-paced mystery, and literary verve. Set in three cities in three eras, The Mirror Thief calls to mind David Mitchell and Umberto Eco in its serendipitous mix of entertainment and literary mastery.

The core story is set in Venice in the sixteenth century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world’s most wondrous inventions: the mirror. An object of glittering yet fearful fascination — was it reflecting simple reality, or something more spiritually revealing? — the Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage by desirous sultans and royals world-wide. But for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, however — a world-weary war hero with nothing to lose — has a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city’s terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten …

Meanwhile, in two other iterations of Venice — Venice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa today — two other schemers launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret …
All three stories will weave together into a spell-binding tour-de-force that is impossible to put down — an old-fashioned, stay-up-all-night novel that, in the end, returns the reader to a stunning conclusion in the original Venice … and the bedazzled sense of having read a truly original and thrilling work of literary art.

Anna Smaill

The Chimes
Quercus, May 3, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

After the end of a brutal civil war, London is divided, with slums standing next to a walled city of elites. Monk-like masters are selected for special schooling and shut away for decades, learning to write beautiful compositions for the chimes, played citywide morning and night, to mute memory and keep the citizens trapped in ignorance.

A young orphan named Simon arrives in London with nothing but the vague sense of a half-forgotten promise, to locate someone. What he finds is a new family--a gang of scavengers that patrols the underbelly of the city looking for valuable metal to sell. Drawn in by an enigmatic and charismatic leader, a blind young man named Lucien with a gift for song, Simon forgets entirely what originally brought him to the place he has now made his home.

In this alternate London, the past is a mystery, each new day feels the same as the last, and before is considered "blasphony." But Simon has a unique gift--the gift of retaining memories--that will lead him to discover a great injustice and take him far beyond the meager life as a member of Lucien's gang. Before long he will be engaged in an epic struggle for justice, love, and freedom.

The Chimes is an impressive work of speculative fiction, an imaginative adventure elegantly told. The Chimes reveals the human capacity to create both beauty and terror, in art and in life.

Fred Strydom

The Raft
Talos, May 3, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

“The day every person on earth lost his and her memory was not a day at all. In people's minds there was no actual event. . . and thus it could be followed by no period of shock or mourning. There could be no catharsis. Everyone was simply reset to zero.”

On Day Zero, the collapse of civilization was as instantaneous as it was inevitable. A mysterious and oppressive movement rose to power in the aftermath, forcing people into isolated communes run like regimes. Kayle Jenner finds himself trapped on a remote beach, and all that remains of his life before is the vague and haunting vision of his son. . .

Kayle finally escapes, only to find a broken world being put back together in strange ways. As more memories from his past life begin returning, the people he meets wandering the face of a scorched earth—some reluctant allies, others dangerous enemies—begin to paint a terrifying picture. In his relentless search for his son, Kayle will discover more than just his lost past. He will discover the truth behind Day Zero—a truth that makes both fools and gods of men.

Adrian Van Young

Shadows in Summerland
ChiZine Publications, May 17, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 350 pages

Boston, 1859. A nation on the brink of war.

Confidence men prowl the streets for fresh marks. Mediums swindle the newly bereaved. Into this world of illusion and intrigue comes William Mumler, a manipulating mastermind and criminal jeweler. Mumler hopes to make his fortune by photographing spirits for Boston’s elite. The key to his venture: a shy girl named Hannah who sees and manifests the dead and washes up on Boston’s harbor along with her strange, intense mother, Claudette.

As Mumler and Hannah’s fame grows throughout Boston, everybody wants a piece: Bill Christian, a brothel tough; Algernon Child, a drunken rival; Fanny A. Conant, a sly suffragette; and William Guay, a religious fanatic. These rogues among a host of others, including the great spirit rapper Kate Fox, form powerful bonds with the spirit photographers, one of which will end in murder. Mumler’s first and last mistake: the dead cannot be made to heel.

Roughly based on the real-life story of William H. Mumler, spirit photographer and his clairvoyant wife, Hannah Mumler, Shadows in Summerland immerses the reader in a shifting world of light and shade where nothing is quite what it seems at first glance. A soaring and resplendently Gothic novel spanning three decades, it is as much an homage to the Golden Age ghost stories of Edith Wharton and Henry James as it is a companion to the revisionist historical epics of Peter Carey and Sarah Waters, with a little steampunk all its own.

Ruth Vincent

A Changeling P.I. Novel 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, May 3, 2016
eBook, 384 pages

Mabily "Mab" Jones is just a twenty-something, over-educated, under-employed New Yorker trying to survive as a private eye's unpaid intern . . . or is she? Once a powerful fairy, but tricked by the Fairy Queen into human form, Mab is forced to face her changeling past when investigating a missing person case at a modern speakeasy.

Obadiah Savage bootlegs fairy Elixir to human customers thirsting for a magical fix. But when Mab and Obadiah become joint suspects in a crime they didn't commit, the only way to prove their innocence is to travel back to the fairy realm. And when Mab confronts the Fairy Queen and learns the depth of her betrayal, she must decide if the fate of the fey world is worth destroying the lives of the humans she's come to love.


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