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January 24, 2013 Edition

Between Two Fires

Written by Christopher Buehlman

Thomas, Godefroy, Jacquot, and the fat one are disgraced knights wandering the empty roads and pillaging the dead villages of Normandy. Itís 1348, the Black Death is raging across the world, and they are nearly the only people left alive except for the abominations they come across with increasing frequency. But soon after the four encounter a young girl named Delphine, there is only Thomas left. Delphine sees devils and souls and know something about the Black Deathís origins and end that no one else can imagine. And to keep the world from ending, she convinces Thomas to accompany her to Avignon, the seat of the Pope. Against his better judgment, Thomas agrees and finds that Delphine is an extraordinary traveling companion. Is she a witch? Blessed by God? Or perhaps driven insane by all the horrors she has seen? Medieval history meets horror in this rich and evocative novel.

Eventide

Written by Tracy and Laura Hickman

If Scheherazade were a stringy old bard named Edvard and her king were a scaly, firebreathing dragon called Khrag, this would be her story. Khrag is bent on eating Edvard, but is intrigued by Edvardís offer to tell him stories instead. Hooked on the lives of those heíll never get to know (how exactly does a dragon make himself part of a community?), Khrag sends the bard off to gather more stories when heís run out. And so Edvard heads to the nearest town, Eventide, to satisfy the old dragonís hunger for funny and exciting, but most of all ĖNOT heroic Ė stories. Fortunately, Eventide is populated by quite a mixed bag of humans and otherworldly creatures, and Edvard has until midsummer to gather enough to last a year. And the stories become even more exciting once Edvard has given them his own special twist. Pick this up if, like Khrag, you enjoy hearing about the everyday lives of centaurs, fairies, and sprites that you suspect go on right under your nose, but which youíll never hear otherwise.

Baba Yagaís Daughter

Written by C.E. Murphy

Baba Yaga, with her iron teeth, house on chicken feet, and inclination to eat men, is bad enough, but her daughter, who is beautiful and powerful, is planning the birth of a whole new world. This is more than a collection of stories, itís a tapestry of lives woven together that stretches across centuries and a story of generations of daughters who are sometimes more and sometimes less, but never exactly what their mothers hoped for. Throughout the ages, Janx, the Dragonlord and his companion Eliseo, a master vampire, have vied for attention, for prizes, and to steal each otherís treasures. They first meet Baba Yagaís daughter in Old Russia, where a little friendly competition leads to her impermanent death. In modern times, they each meet her again on their own, first to exchange secrets, and then to have them revealed. Dark and brooding, shot through with humor, this kaleidoscopic look into the realm of the Old Races will leave you wanting more.

Care of Wooden Floors

Written by Will Wiles

Housesitting for a long-lost friend can be quite nerve-wracking, as our unnamed hero discovers. He arrives to watch over his friend Oskarís cats and apartment to discover that Oskar is apparently unchanged from the fastidious college studen who exasperated and amused his friends. His apartment is white and clean and minimalist and in addition to several pages of instructions for caring for the flat and the cats and the newly renovated French oak floors, the narrator finds, with an increasing sense of unease, slips of paper with further instructions and admonitions flying out at him from cupboards. Is he really such an unreliable caretaker? Well, perhaps so, since he drips red wine on the precious fine floors on the very first night. In a Kafka-esque horror, the narrator finds the wine stain growing and skewing every other part of his life in Oskarís apartment until the reader is left wondering what has really happened. Skirting the edge of farce, but always in control, this novel of bad choices and bad luck will have readers cringing in sympathetic embarrassment and smirking with discomfort.

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