SFX - - Re­views -

Pick of the pa­per­backs this month is GUNS OF THE DAWN ( , 19 Novem­ber, Pan), the first in a new fan­tasy se­ries by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It cen­tres on a woman drafted into a civil war, who swaps her big old house and the un­wanted at­ten­tions of a bu­reau­crat for slow-fir­ing mus­kets and mys­te­ri­ous war­locks – think Mr Darcy with fire­balls. We said: “Slow to ig­nite, more plod­ding Pride And Prej­u­dice at first than Sharpe. But once the mus­ket balls start to fly, Tchaikovsky keeps you hooked with breath­less bat­tle scenes and well-drawn char­ac­ters”. The lat­est by Sarah Pin­bor­ough, THE DEATH HOUSE ( ,12 Novem­ber, Gol­lancz), down­plays its SF el­e­ments as it fol­lows the lives of a bunch of kids with a rare ge­netic de­fect which could erupt at any time with deadly re­sults, liv­ing in an iso­lated school/ prison on an is­land. We said: “Not a book for lovers of plot. In­stead, it’s fo­cused on char­ac­ter and the theme of liv­ing with your own mor­tal­ity… it’s heavy stuff, but han­dled deftly. Im­pres­sive and mov­ing.” Fi­nally, for­mer The Tube pre­sen­ter Muriel Gray’s tersely writ­ten hor­ror de­but THE TRICK­STER (3 De­cem­ber, Harper Voy­ager) is get­ting a 20th an­niver­sary reis­sue, with a new fore­word by Mark Mil­lar. The tit­u­lar char­ac­ter is a shapeshift­ing de­mon from Na­tive Cana­dian mythol­ogy that’s butcher­ing peo­ple at a ski re­sort. Brace your­self for full-blooded gore. Gray’s Fur­nace and The An­cient are also get­ting an­other run out.

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