Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Novel: Winterstrike by Liz Williams

Winterstrike, the sixth novel from Liz Williams and the first in a Gothic science fiction trilogy, was published in early September 2008 by Tor UK. Set in the same world as her Banner of Souls, here’s a description of the new novel, taken from the website of Blackwell Bookshop in the UK:

"In the centre of Winterstrike, Mars's first city, in the middle of the meteorite crater that gave the city its name, stands the fortress: a mass of vitrified stone striped as white as a bone and as red as a still-beating heart. And on one particular night, at the top of the fortress and on the eve of war, at the summit of a tower so high that from it one could see out across the basalt walls to the dim, shimmering slopes of Olympus, stood a woman ...

Winterstrike spy Hestia Mar has been sent to Caud to recover details of an ancient weapon. During her stay in the Martian city, she encounters the ghost of a warrior, who turns out to be the encoded representation of the city's bombed library. Hestia Mar manages to access the library's data, but realizes too late what she has done: by downloading the information, she has virtually guaranteed the use of the weapon against Caud by her own government. Desperate to rescue the situation, she makes her way back home across the dangers of the Crater Plain.

Meanwhile, in Winterstrike itself, the festival of Ombre has been taking place on the eve of war. Hestia's cousin Shorn - imprisoned by her family for accidentally consorting with a male - manages to escape. Her sister Essegui, pursuing her to the dangerous mountains of Mars, discovers a plot by creatures who hold the secrets of the Martian past, and its future. While Essegui battles forces back in Winterstrike, Hestia travels to Earth in an attempt to save her city."

Detailed reviews of Winterstrike are available at TheBookbag.co.uk and the blog Walker of Worlds. Shorter reviews are available at the newspaper The Guardian, the blog Cheryl’s Mewsings, and the message boards at sffworld.com.

As one blogger has pointed out, Winterstrike is not listed at Amazon in the United States, but it is available at Amazon UK. Hopefully, it will be released in the United States at some point in the future.

Also, it is unclear to us whether Winterstrike is an expansion of Williams' short story "The Age of Ice," which was published in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine in April/May 2006. (Reviewed by Tangent: Short Fiction Review)

A British science fiction and fantasy writer, Liz Williams is the daughter of a stage magician and a gothic novelist. She earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Science from Cambridge, and her career has ranged from reading tarot cards to teaching. Her fifth book, Banner of Souls, was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. She maintains her own online journal.

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