Most Anticipated Fantasy Novels of 2015: Publishers’ Choice

Most Anticipated - Publishers 2015Every year we take some time visiting and talking to SFF publishers about what their most anticipated novels for the year are. The idea is that the people working in the publishing houses are the ones who actually have laid their eyes on the manuscripts. In terms of the already popular authors they know whether Mr Bestseller has taken their upcoming work to a new level or totally dropped the ball with it. When it comes to debut authors they’ve read the work of future superstars we’ve not yet even heard of.

This publishers’ choice article has quickly become one of Fantasy-Faction’s most popular and for good reason: Below you will find an incredible 50+ books to look out for during the course of 2015. That’s about a book a week that you should be reading if you trust our publishing friends’ word! We’ve included the title, the author, the release date (if we were given it), the cover art or author photo, and a description for each. The result is an article that touches on 8,000 words (so you will understand why it’s a little delayed!).

What’s incredible about the list we’ve put together below is the variety of its titles. There’s a little bit of everything in there – you can’t place your finger on heavy trends flowing throughout and the cover art is just…wow! Gone are the hooded men, in come some truly original and eye-catching works. We know you shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but in the cases of Daniel Polansky or Guy Adams, for example, it is going to be very hard not to!

If you enjoy this article all we ask is that you leave a comment. Simply tell us what you are looking forward to, what jumped out at you that you’d never heard of before, and what covers you most appreciate. Now – let’s get those to-be-read lists to astronomical sizes! 🙂

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Tor Books

Tor Logo (wide)

Marc you are a cruel, cruel man. How can you expect us to select our favourite ones to watch for 2015 when ALL of our books for 2015 are ones to watch? It is like asking us to select our favourite child/cast member of Game of Thrones. You know we love all of them equally!

Since you insist, we have narrowed it down to five of our new writers for 2015 – a selection of debuts and writers who are being published by Macmillan for the first time. You can see the rest of our lineup here.

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Louise Buckley, Editorial:

Uprooted (cover)

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
July 2015

“I haven’t read Novik’s Temeraire series, but when Uprooted came into us on submission I was blown away as soon as I started reading it. In many ways, it’s a straightforward coming-of-age fantasy novel, rooted in folk stories and legends, but in other ways it’s so much more than that – the writing is fresh, the story is exciting, the world-building real and believable and the heroine Agnieszka is strong and easy to identify with. Unsurprisingly, Uprooted has garnered some amazing quotes from the likes of Robin Hobb, Tamora Pierce, Cassandra Clare, Lev Grossman, Gregory Macguire and Ursula K. Le Guin, among others, and I fully expect there to be a raft of other fans once people cotton on to how wonderful this book is.”

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Bella Pagan, Editorial:

The Invisible Library (cover)

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
January 2015

The Invisible Library is an explosion of book amazingness in the brain. This wonderful debut grabbed me from the start and to read it is to love it! For me, it’s the perfect blend of adventure, wit, worldbuilding and pace. It’s also steeped in all manner of tempting influences, for example, one character has been crafted in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes. And it also made me think of Doctor Who in places – if the Doctor were a female librarian spy.

In the book, our resourceful protagonist Irene is a dimension-hopping ‘book spy’ for the secretive Library. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, they’re sent to an alternative London to retrieve a book. But some will kill to retain it. Irene must be on her game or she’ll be off the case. Permanently. And this is just as ominous as it sounds. Soon she’s up to her eyebrows in thieves, murderers and secret societies – with a dash of the supernatural in store. N. K. Jemisin is also a big fan, saying: ‘I absolutely loved this … flavored with truly unique mythology and a dash of the eldritch. Such clever, creepy, elaborate worldbuilding and snarky, sexy-smart characters!’

As an editor the timescales for books are so long, that it takes ages before readers can share in your excitement about a book. But it’s amazing to say that after months of editorial processes, cover design discussions and planning, it’s out in Jan! And the ebook is out a little earlier even. It certainly is an adventuresome romp from beginning to end — clever and a lot of fun so I wish you happy reading. Get ready for a slice of pure entertainment.

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Julie Crisp, Editorial:

The Traitor Baru Cormorant (cover)

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
August 2015

“This debut novel by Seth Dickinson is a fabulous read. With the insidious Masked Empire conquering country after country, not through warfare but through trade, economic dependency and political manipulation, the young girl Baru Cormorant grows up knowing if she is to get justice for her people then she needs to do so from within. But in doing so, will she become just as corrupt as the Empire she’s trying to overcome? Beautifully imagined with original characters, sumptuous world building and lots of action and skullduggery I just could not put this down.”

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Lauren Welch, Communications:

Lucy Hounsom

Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
May 2015

“Starborn by debut author Lucy Hounsom is most definitely one of our most anticipated books of 2015. The magical world Hounsom has created is completely captivating, and the fast paced story makes it a really exciting and accessible read. We were entirely drawn in by Hounsom’s characters, particularly Kyndra, the reluctant hero, who is forced to flee her village after accidentally breaking a sacred artefact at her coming-of-age ceremony, and find all hands turned against her.

Then, following too swiftly for coincidence, a madness sweeps her home, along with unnatural storms. An angry mob blame her and she fears for her life — until two strangers, wielding a power not seen for centuries, take her to safety. They flee to the sunken citadel of Naris, but worse dangers will lie ahead, amongst the underground city’s politicians, fanatics and rebels. But in its subterranean chambers, she will find her true path – facing betrayal and madness to find it.
Kyndra, like every reluctant hero, has a choice: seize her destiny with both hands or walk away, perhaps dooming a whole world to fall. Starborn is about a girl coming of age, but it’s also about heroism. Its strengths, burdens, responsibilities and – not least – its consequences.

Starborn is a classic coming-of-age fantasy that had us gripped to the very last page. Perfect for fans of Trudi Canavan, David Eddings and Karen Miller, it really is such a fantastic debut. You could easily devour it in one sitting. We can’t wait for the sequel!”

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Sam Eades, Communications:

SL Grey

Underground by SL Grey
July 2015

“One of my favourite books of 2014 was The Three by Sarah Lotz, so imagine my glee when I discovered that Macmillan are publishing a collaboration between Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg called Underground next Summer, written under the pen name SL Grey. And times that glee by a million when I discovered that Louise Greenberg is as cool as Sarah Lotz. He has a Master’s degree in Vampire Fiction! Underground is essentially what would happen if Stephen King woke up one morning as Agatha Christie – imagine a small group of people hiding from the apocalypse in an underground bunker. Each one harbours a dark secret, a reason to hide that they are keeping from everyone else. Whilst they are riding out the end of the world, the only person who has the code to get out of the bunker is found murdered, leaving them trapped inside.”

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Orbit Books

Orbit Logo (wide)

We’re very excited about our list of 2015 titles, and picking just a few is agonising for us, but here are five from new and up-and-coming authors we hope your readers will look out for:

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The Autumn Republic (cover)

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
February 2015

The third and final book in the Powder Mage Trilogy from an author who is in real danger of setting the fantasy world on fire. Literally.

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The Mechanical (cover)

The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis
March 2015

Set in a world that might have been, of mechanical men and alchemical dreams, the new novel from Ian Tregillis confirms his place as one of the most original new voices in speculative fiction. Look out for the red edges. You’ll see what we mean in March.

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A Crown for Cold Silver (cover)

A Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall
April 2015

A Crown For Cold Silver is an action-packed epic fantasy from a stunning new voice in the genre. A retired warrior queen returns to battle to seek revenge against an ancient foe, and old friends and old enemies will pay the price. This book is ideal for fans of Conan and Joe Abercrombie, or anyone who likes kick-ass female warrior queens. And who doesn’t?

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Queen of Fire (cover)

Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan
July 2015

The spectacular conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Raven’s Shadow series, which began with the critically acclaimed Blood Song. But then, you knew that already.

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Stephen Aryan

Battlemage by Stephen Aryan
September 2015

MOAR awesome is unleashed in this magic-fuelled fantasy debut from British author Stephen Aryan. This trilogy will change the way you think about mages. And maybe real ale.

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Harper Voyager

Harper Voyager Logo (wide)

2015 is the 20th anniversary of Voyager and my goodness we’re going to celebrate! We thought 2014 was big with some fantastic publishing and amazing conventions, and of course the cherry on the top – our exclusive event with George RR Martin and Robin Hobb. But this year promises amazing new work from some of fantasy’s finest and most loved authors, as well as the honour of introducing some incredible new voices into the genre. Herewith our five top picks for 2015:

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Half the World (cover)

Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

The first in Joe’s Shattered Sea trilogy was published in July 2014 to huge acclaim and Joe toured the country meeting fans at cons and bookshops across the UK. But don’t take our word for it:

‘My favourite Abercrombie book yet’ Patrick Rothfuss

‘Enthralling. An up-all-night read’ Robin Hobb

‘Joe Abercrombie is doing some terrific work’ GEORGE R.R. MARTIN

‘Joe Abercrombie is fast becoming my favourite writer.’ DEREK LANDY

With Half the World, Joe is back and better than ever with the masterful story of Thorn, a kick ass heroine desperate to avenge her dead father. Thorn lives to fight, she has been named murderer by the very man who trained her to kill. Fate traps her in the schemes – and on the ship – of the deep-cunning minister Father Yarvi. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit. Beside her on her gruelling journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill. A failure in his eyes and hers, he has one chance at redemption. Will Thorn forever be a tool in the hands of the powerful or can she carve her own path? Is there a place beyond legend for a woman with a blade?

Half the World will appeal to die-hard Abercrombie fans as well as new readers and is bound to make this SFF superstar even bigger in 2015.

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The Fire Sermon (cover)

The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

Sold in nearly 30 territories and optioned by Dreamworks, THE FIRE SERMON is the first of a trilogy set in a post-apocalyptic society where all children are born as twins: one perfect, one deformed.

In the world of THE FIRE SERMON all people are born in pairs, but they definitely aren’t born equal. You’re either Alpha: the elite, physically perfect, free to live as you choose and become what you want; or you’re Omega: mutations born with outward or inward disabilities. You’re the underclass, the unwanted, sent to live with other Omega twins far from Alpha settlements. But your Alpha twin needs you and you need them, because if one of you dies so does the other.
Francesca Haig has crafted a powerful story based around the sinister concept of joint destiny. One twin must defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.

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The Skull Throne (cover)

The Skull Throne by Peter V Brett

In the grand tradition of George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan, Sunday Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett continues his critically acclaimed Demon Cycle with the next dramatic instalment: THE SKULL THRONE. Peat left his readers will a real cliffhanger at the end of The Daylight War in 2013 so the fourth novel in his stunning series is the most hotly anticipated title ever. Plus massive news for fans – Peat will be touring the UK in April 2015 – watch this space!

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The Vagrant (cover)

The Vagrant by Peter Newman

Peter Newman is an exciting new novice for 2015. His debut novel, THE VAGRANT is set in a futuristic world filled with horrors, sure to capture the imagination of all fantasy fans. The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Years have passed since humanities destruction emerged from the Breach. The world and its inhabitants have been changed from what they once were. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place. A debut not to be missed.

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An Ember In The Ashes (cover)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Those looking for next fix of awesome YA crossover need look no further than Sabaa Tahir’s hot-anticipated debut novel. And with a seven-figure pre-emptive film option from Paramount, this is set to be the hottest YA novel since The Hunger Games.

Laia is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, she goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy to try and save him from execution. Elias the academy’s finest soldier— and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor. When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Vow your blood and body to the empire. Keep your heart for yourself.

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Hodder & Stoughton

Hodder & Stoughton Logo

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Those Above (cover)

Those Above by Daniel Polansky

Miss Low Town and the Warden? Daniel Polansky’s long-awaited new series kicks off next week with the publication ofThose Above, the first in a two-book epic called The Empty Throne. It’s a little bit Ancient Rome, a little bit The Wire, and all sneaky action and adventure – high fantasy as only Daniel Polansky can deliver it. There’s politics and statescraft and betrayal and tragedy and fighting – so much fighting – all featuring Polansky’s sharp, funny, unforgettable dialogue and characterisation. It’s amazing, it’s a blazing good time, and you’ll love it.

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The Long Way To Small Angry Planet (cover)

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Ebook: now! Hardback: 22.08.2015

By lucky accident, the day we had been planning to announce that we’d acquired the rights to Becky Chambers’ wonderful, warm self-published debut novel, it was announced as the first ever self-published novel to be shortlisted for a Kitschies Golden Tentacle. We’ll be keeping the ebook up and publishing a hardback edition – with a new cover, which we’re revealing tomorrow (Tuesday 17 Feb on Hodderscape) – in August of this year. The Long Way is the story of the Wayfarer, a wormhole-tunnelling spaceship, and its crew as they journey to the centre of the galaxy on their biggest mission yet. If they’re successful they’ll make more money than they could possibly imagine. But their journey will take them through dangerous, war-torn space controlled by fragile alliances of warmongering species… The book is a little like hanging out on the bridge of the Millennium Falcon between runs; it’s fun, it’s funny, the characters are memorable and the adventure is awesome. And it heralds the debut of a really fantastic new talent. In short, it’s a book for anyone who loves Firefly, Mass Effect and Ancillary Justice.

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Day Four (cover)

Day Four by Sarah Lotz

Sarah Lotz’s follow-up to The Three is set in the same world and references, obliquely, some of the action of the previous novel – but it’s not a sequel and can be read without having read The Three. And should. It’s one of the creepiest novels I’ve ever read. Four days into a singles’ cruise on the Gulf of Mexico, the Beautiful Dreamer, an old and problem-prone cruise ship, stops dead in the water. There’s no electricity or running water and no radio contact with the outside world – there isn’t even a mobile signal. The passengers and crew are stranded. And the longer the ship drifts, the worse things get. It seems there’s someone – or something – on board the Beautiful Dreamer that doesn’t want anyone to ever get off.

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Way Down Dark (cover)

Way Down Dark by JP Smythe

James Smythe’s first YA novel features the same brilliant writing and dark setting and characterization that has made his traditional SF so unforgettable. Seventeen-year-old Chan lives on the Australia, a ship that left a dying earth generations ago but never found a new planet to settle on. Now it floats derelict in space, controlled by violent gangs who prey on the weak and the isolated. Chan’s learned how to survive but the fight is killing her soul. Until the day she discovers an extraordinary secret about the Australia – one that could save everyone. We refer to this book around the office as ‘the dead body book,’ and trust me, you’ll know why when you read it. It has the action of Red Rising crossed with the darkness of The Bunker Diary. It’s unforgettable.

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Rebecca Levene

The Hunter’s Kind by Rebecca Levene

In Smiler’s Fair readers were introduced to a world where the sun and the moon have been at war for centuries and the shadows hold gruesome, terrifying secrets. Into this world was born Krish, humble goatherd and the moon god reborn. In The Hunter’s Kind, as Krish raises an army to retake his birthright, forces begin to gather in the northern forests of Ashanesland – monstrous, uncanny beasts and the riders who control them, who follow a god known only as the Hunter. And the Hunter has found a prey: Krish. Smiler’s Fair ushered in the start of a fantastic new high fantasy quadrilogy – but The Hunter’s Kind will blow everything you think you know about epic fantasy out of the water. It’s incredible.

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Del Rey

Del Rey Logo (wide)

It’s a cruel task, to pick just five books out of our 2015 line-up. Each and every book is special, so I’ve opted for these five for various but specific reasons. Some are exciting debuts, some landmark moments, one of the authors has the most fantastic hair and one book nearly broke my heart. I’ve included one more overtly sci-fi title, which hopefully doesn’t break too many Fantasy-Faction rules! In publication order they are:

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The Devil's Detective (cover)

The Devil’s Detective by Simon Kurt Unsworth
March 2015

Every now and again you get sent a book that is so well written, so fascinatingly different, you just have to publish it. Simon’s debut is a masterfully realised blend of crime thriller and horror novel about Hell’s very own policeman, Thomas Fool. It’ll keep you up reading and then give you sleepless nights.

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A Few Words For The Dead (cover)

A Few Words For The Dead by Guy Adams
April 2015

The third book in Guy’s amazing Clown Service series is here because, quite simply, it came close to breaking my heart. This is an emotional rollercoaster, and the blend of spy thriller and supernatural adventure mixed with Guy’s singular wit will have you on the edge of your seat.

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Dark Run (cover)

Dark Run by Mike Brooks
June 2015

Our second sci-fi debut this year is from a terrific new author who I think is set to take British sci-fi somewhere very special. Dark Run is an unashamedly fun, grungy, action-packed blend of sci-fi thriller and space opera with a terrific cast of misfit characters. This is perfect for fans of Firefly.

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The Price of Valor (cover)

The Price of Valour by Django Wexler
July 2015

Django’s third book in the Shadow Campaigns series is on my list for many reasons. Book one was a stunning blend of epic desert war and understated, yet fascinating magic. Book two was a perfect evolution into political conflict and revolution. Book three brings those two things together, and it’s just amazing.

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The Supernatural Enhancements (cover)

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero
Out Now!

Edgar’s first English-language book isn’t just a novel, it’s a living, breathing, literary creation that will captivate and enthral. Part ghost story, part cerebral mystery, this is a dazzling and wholly original supernatural adventure. If you like House of Leaves, The X-Files, Lovecraft and the gothic tradition, this is for you.

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Gollancz Logo (wide)

2015 is going to be an amazing year at Gollancz. We have so many astonishing projects to look forward to – for example, new novels from Sarah Pinborough (The Death House), Alastair Reynolds (Poseidon’s Wake), Charlaine Harris (Day Shift), Joe Hill (The Fireman), Scott Lynch (The Thorn of Emberlain) and Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn: Shadows of Self). We also have some fantastic brand-new series which we’re excited about, namely a brilliant new project from Paul McAuley (Something Coming Through), an exceptional new novel from Justina Robson (Glorious Angels) and something totally different from James Barclay (Blood and Fire – imagine a fantasy take on Battlestar Galactica . . . ).

But the lovely folk at FantasyFaction have asked us to pick just five of the projects we’re most excited about for 2015, so with a great deal of heart-wrench and hand-wringing, we’ve come up with five authors we’re really excited to be publishing. They’re all Gollancz Geek ( authors, so sign up to hear all the news about them first. Even better, all of them will be part of a brilliant £1.99 ebook pre-order campaign, so get ready to fill up your ereader with some incredible new novels!

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Alex Lamb

The Roboteer by Alex Lamb

A fast-paced, gritty, space-opera based on cutting edge science, THE ROBOTEER is set in a future in which the colonization of the stars has turned out to be anything but easy, and civilization on Earth has collapsed under the pressure of relentless mutual terrorism. Gollancz Commissioning Editor, Marcus Gipps said: ‘When I was sent ROBOTEER for consideration it only took me a few pages to know that it was something special. I’d been looking for some big old widescreen space opera, and Alex lamb delivered that in spades, along with a remarkably conceived bit of universe building and a lead character I wanted to shake as often as I wanted to cheer him on. It’s a remarkable bit of hard SF, especially for a debut, and I can’t wait for other people to read it!’

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Twelve Kings In Sharakhai (cover art)

Twelve Kings In Sharakhai by Bradley Beaulieu

The first novel of a compelling fantasy series, TWELVE KINGS IN SHARAKHAI is an epic tale of mystery, prophecy and death set within the ancient walled city of the Twelve Kings. Gollancz Publishing Director, Gillian Redfearn said: ‘If you love Peter Brett or Trudi Canavan, this is the fantasy novel for you. It’s a rich and evocative epic, with a fantastic central character, and I loved it from the first page. It’s so rare to be swept up and carried away by an adventure like this that, for me, this was a must-read!’

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Crashing Heaven (cover)

Crashing Heaven by Al Robertson

CRASHING HEAVEN is the most terrifying and enticing AI to grace SF since the works of Al Reynolds and Hannu Rajaniemi. Gollancz Associate Publisher, Simon Spanton said: ‘I wanted CRASHING HEAVEN on the Gollancz list because it is an artfully written but kinetic cyberpunk thriller for the 21st century from an exciting new voice. But mainly I wanted it on the list because one of its characters is Hugo Fist – an utterly hilarious and wholly terrifying accounting AI who manifests as a wooden ventriloquist’s dummy. He’s like nothing else in SF. Meet him and you’ll never forget him.’

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Aliette de Bodard

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

Comparable to works of China Mieville and Iain M. Banks in epic scale ambition, and exceptional skill, THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS is must-read dystopian murder mystery. Gillian Redfearn said: ‘This is a stunning, stunning work. De Bodard is rightly a much-lauded writer already, within the SF community, and has a vivid and sharp imagination –here, she’s used it to craft a superb murder mystery (with a twist I never saw coming) within the most extraordinary dystopian landscape. For me, she has redefined noir fantasy, and I’m so delighted we’re publishing this exceptional and genuinely exciting novel.’

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Tom Toner

The Promise of the Child by Tom Toner

Set against the epic scope of that backdrop ranging from 14th-century Prague, to a lonely cove near the Mediterranean Sea, to the 147th-century Amaranthine Firmament, THE PROMISE OF THE CHILD is an intelligent space opera filled with gripping action and an emotional scale that is wonderfully intimate. Simon Spanton said: ‘As soon as I read Tom’s description of “a sleet” of attack ships falling from the clouds onto a massive red-brick fortress I knew I was reading something astonishing. The rest of his amazing novel trumped that image. Here was a debut SF writer with the most unconstrained imagination and ambition. A debut writer with the controlled prose of longstanding author – a writer able to direct his imagination. THE PROMISE OF THE CHILD blew me away. I couldn’t not publish it.’

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Solaris & Abaddon Books

Solaris & Abaddon Logo (wide)

This list is brought to you by lots of arguing, negotiation and some, quite frankly, unnecessary name calling. We kid, of course, but it has been an exceptionally difficult task this year to narrow down just five titles from one of our strongest years to date, and we think this shows in the range our chosen five have: from black satire to Lovecraftian urban fantasy, epic fantasy adventures to gritty paranormal crime.

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Haterz (cover)

Haterz by James Goss
March 2015

Dave makes the internet a nicer place by killing off and silencing the very worst people on Twitter, Facebook and online. The night Dave killed his best-friend’s girlfriend he hadn’t been setting out to change the world, she was just really annoying on Facebook.

But someone saw, and someone made him an offer he couldn’t afford to refuse, and now the bodies are starting to mount up as Dave finds himself in the centre of a dark conspiracy that’s forming at the heart of the internet…

Haterz is deeply, darkly, terrifyingly funny: a fantastic black satire of social media murder (fans of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror this book is a must for you).

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Dreams of Shreds & Tatters (cover)

Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum
May 2015

When Liz Drake’s best friend vanishes, nothing can stop her nightmares. Driven by the certainty he needs her help, she crosses a continent to search for him.

She finds Blake comatose in a Vancouver hospital, victim of a mysterious accident that claimed his lover’s life–in her dreams he drowns. Soon nightmare creatures stalk the waking city, and Liz can’t fight a dream from the daylight world: to rescue Blake she must brave the darkest depths of the dreamlands, and if she succeeds, she must face the monstrous Yellow King, whose slave Blake is on the verge of becoming forever.

Stunning Lovecraftian Urban Fantasy with all the worst excess of Lovecraft removed to create a surreal nightmare of a tale. And look at that cover. Look at it! When Jeffery Alan Love sent this in there were tears of joy in the office.

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The Iron Ship (cover)

The Iron Ship by K. M. McKinley
June 2015

The order of the world is in turmoil. An age of industry is beginning, an age of machines fuelled by magic. Sprawling cities rise, strange devices stalk the land. New money brings new power. The balance between the Hundred Kingdoms is upset. For the first time in generations the threat of war looms.

In these turbulent days, fortunes can be won. Magic runs strong in the Kressind family. Six siblings strive – one to triumph in a world of men, one to survive murderous intrigue, one to master forbidden sorcery, one to wash away his sins, one to contain the terrible energies of his soul.

And one will do the impossible, by marrying the might of magic and iron in the heart of a great ship, to cross an ocean that cannot be crossed.

We strongly think new author K. M. McKinley is going to be one to watch for in 2015, and this progressive new fantasy aptly demonstrates why.

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The Fire Children (cover)

The Fire Children by Lauren Roy
June 2015

Fifteen years have passed since Mother Sun last sent her children to walk the world. When the eclipse comes, the people retreat to the caverns beneath Kaladim, passing the days in total darkness while the Fire Children explore their world. It’s death to even look upon them, the stories say.

Despite the warnings, Yulla gives in to her curiosity and ventures to the surface. There she witnesses the Witch Women — who rumours say worship dead Father Sea, rather than Mother Sun — capturing one of the Children and hauling her away. Yulla isn’t the only one who saw the kidnapping; Ember, the last of the Fire Children, reveals himself to Yulla and implores her to help.

It’s hard to express just how beautiful this story is, we just want to jump into the book and travel the streets of Kaladim with Yulla. This is YA Fantasy with the heart and soul of Ursula K Le Guin’s Earthsea.

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Disturbed Earth (cover)

Disturbed Earth by E E Richardson
April 2015

A hard-nosed career officer in the male-dominated world of British policing, DCI Claire Pierce of North Yorkshire Police heads Northern England’s underfunded and understaffed Ritual Crime Unit. Injured in the line of duty, Pierce returns to work to find her new Detective Inspector has brought in a self-proclaimed necromancer to question the victim of a murder, there’s a coven of druids outside protesting the sale of their sacred site, and an old iron lantern in the evidence room has just sent out a signal…

We ADORE this author (who came through our 2012 open subs month) and in this old-school British police procedural, with a capable and realistic female lead, she skilfully merges the paranormal and crime to produce a highly original, gritty new urban fantasy.

Now we’re going to lie down and recover until next year when (we hope) Marc will make us do this all over again… whelp.

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Transworld Publishers

Transworld Logo (wide)

We’re super excited to be sharing with you a sneak peek of our picks from our SFF list for 2015, including some brilliant well known and loved authors, a dazzling literary debut and the second in the Tearling series currently being turned into the Blockbuster Film starring Emma Watson.

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The Long Utopia (cover)

The Long Utopia by Terry Pratchett & Steven Baxter

The fourth novel in a collaborative series that has been hailed as ‘sense-of-wonder SF at its best’ (Independent on Sunday).

After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption humanity is spreading further into the Long Earth, and society, on a battered Datum Earth and beyond, continues to evolve.

Now an elderly and cantankerous AI, Lobsang lives in disguise with Agnes in an exotic, far-distant world. He’s convinced they’re leading a normal life in New Springfield – they even adopt a child – but it seems they have been guided there for a reason. As rumours of strange sightings and hauntings proliferate, it becomes clear that something is very awry with this particular world.
Millions of steps away, Joshua is on a personal journey of discovery: learning about the father he never knew and a secret family history. But then he receives a summons from New Springfield. Lobsang now understands the enormity of what’s taking place beneath the surface of his earth – a threat to all the worlds of the Long Earth.

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Good House (cover)

Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall

Set in a dystopian future, a coming-of-age literary thriller of love, war and genetic engineering set in a corrective school for boys with criminal genes – for fans of Never Let Me Go, The Road and Hunger Games.
A bold and page-turning look into a plausible near-future – where genetic profiling is meant to prevent crime, but instead becomes a tool for oppression. If, one day, we can see into our genetic make-up – both the good and the bad – places like GOODHOUSE could be just around the corner …

‘A page-turning account of one boy’s journey through a vivid and dangerous world’ – KAREN JAY FOWLER, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.

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Stella Gemmell

The Immortal Throne by Stella Gemmell

Epic, involving and thrillingly imagined – the powerful new fantasy novel by the acclaimed author of the bestselling THE CITY.

The emperor is dead… long live the emperor!

The fervent hope of the victorious rebels and the survivors of the uprising that liberated the City from tyranny is that the accession of Archange to the imperial throne will usher in a new era of freedom, peace and stability. If only that were so…

As the the City struggles to return to something resembling normal life after the devastation brought on by the rebellion, word arises of a massive army gathering to the north. No one knows where it has come from or who leads it, but it soon becomes apparent that its sole purpose is to destroy the City and annihilate all – man, woman and child – who live within its battered walls. And while warriors go forth to fight and die on the battlefield in defence of their homeland and all that they believe in, bitter family feuds and ancient rivalries, political and personal betrayals, and mindless murder surface within the palaces and corridors of power: it seems the City is under siege – from both without and within . . .

With this new novel, Stella Gemmell brings the astonishing story of the City to a spectacular climax and confirms her place as a master of the genre.

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Erika Johansen

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The breathtaking sequel to the international bestseller The Queen of the Tearling – that was hailed by the Daily Mail as ‘like Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games meets Pulp Fiction’.

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighbouring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling – and that of Kelsea’s own soul – may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

In this dazzling sequel to her bestselling debut The Queen of the Tearling, Erika Johansen brings back favourite characters, including the Mace and the Red Queen, and introduces unforgettable new players, adding exciting layers to her multidimensional tale of magic, mystery and a fierce young heroine.

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Steven Erikson

Fall of Light by Steven Erikson

Fall of Light is the second novel in the Kharkanas Trilogy.

It is a bitter winter and civil war now ravages Kurald Galain, as Urusander’s Legion prepares to march upon the city of Kharkanas. The rebels’ only opposition lies scattered, bereft of a leader since Anomander’s departure in search of his estranged brother, Andarist. The last brother remaining, Silchas Ruin, rules in Anomander’s stead. He seeks to gather the Houseblades of the Highborn Noble families and resurrect the Hust Legion in the southlands, but is fast running out of time.

Far to the west, an unlikely army has gathered, seeking an enemy without form, in a place none can find, and commanded by a Jaghut driven mad with grief. Soon, weapons will be drawn, with Death itself the enemy.

Beneath the chaos of such events, and spanning the realm and those countless other realms hidden behind its veil, magic now bleeds into the world. Unconstrained, mysterious and savage, the power that is the lifeblood of the Azathanai, K’rul, runs loose and wild. Following its scent, seeking the places of wounding where the sorcery rushes forth, entities both new and ancient are gathering. And they are eager to feed.

Comprehending the terrible risk of his gift of blood, a weakened, dying K’rul sets out, in the company of a lone guardian, to bring order to this newborn sorcery – alas, his choice of potential allies is suspect. In the name of order, K’rul seeks its greatest avowed enemy…

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Paul Witcover

The Watchman of Eternity by Paul Witcover

Set in a reimagined 18th-century, the enthralling sequel to the acclaimed historical fantasy, The Emperor of All Things that should strike a chord with readers of Susanna Clarke, Phillip Pullman and Neal Stephenson.

In the seventh year of its war against France, England faces threats from abroad and at home, from above – and below. Beneath the bustling streets of London, a subterranean race prepares to rise. And in the realm known as the Otherwhere – home to dragons, demons and gods – civil war has erupted, causing a great and powerful weapon to be cast into the world. That weapon is a clock – a watch, to be precise …a watch with a taste for blood – a mechanism that contains the doom of all that lives.

Daniel Quare, of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, was sent by his masters to find that deadly time- piece. But he was not alone in his pursuit: both the mysterious thief Grimalkin and the ruthless French spy and assassin Thomas Aylesford were on its trail. But with the help of Lord Wichcote – an aristocrat of many talents and more disguises – Quare succeeded in seizing the watch. But not for long: Aylesford took it from him – and with it, Quare’s hand. And now the French spy is on his way back to his masters, Lord Wichcote lies gravely wounded and Daniel Quare has vanished . . . which would seem to mean that all hope for the world is lost…

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Angry Robot Books

Angry Robot Logo (wide)

Asking any publisher to choose their most anticipated books can often feel like being asked to pick a favourite child, or book in general – so many, for so many reasons. We, at Angry Robot, have chosen to select novels that, for various reasons, we’re all individually excited about:

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Publicity Manager, Caroline Lambe:

Hidden Huntress (cover)

Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen
JUNE 2015

The much-anticipated sequel to Danielle L. Jensen’s Stolen Songbird, following Danielle’s transfer from Strange Chemistry to the Angry Robot family, Hidden Huntress takes the plot, characters, and world-building that Danielle excelled at in Stolen Songbird and further delves into the troll-filled world. Danielle recently placed in the Top 10 of the Best Debut Goodreads Author of 2014, and we’re excited to bring this series to both new and old fans and readers alike.

– – –

US Sales and Marketing Manager, Michael R. Underwood:

Flex (cover)

Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz
MARCH 2015

The debut novel from Nebula-nominated writer and noted blogger Ferrett Steinmetz. With obsession-driven magic (videogame-mancy, beuraucro-mancy, and more), a drug that let non-magicians cheat probability at a terrible price, Flex takes urban fantasy in exciting new directions, with strong concepts wrapped around a powerful, character-driven story.

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Angry Robot Publisher, Marc Gascoigne:

The Buried Life (cover)

The Buried Life by Carrie Patel
March 2015

This steampunk-tinged fantasy from Carrie Patel begins in an intriguing place – a detective seeking answers in a gas-lit underground city – but then pulls back to draw you into a whole rich new world, where the layered secrets of history have a massive bearing on the present. With its sequel Cities & Thrones following in July, this series feels like an unexploded bomb and we’re just about to light the fuse…

– – –

Angry Robot Publisher, Marc Gascoigne (so important he gets two votes!):

Kameron Hurley

Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley
October 2015

What more do I need to say other than: it’s the sequel to The Mirror Empire? A storming fantasy from an author at the very height of her powers, it’s wilder, darker, even more confident, even more epic in scope. Kameron blew open the door with TME, now she’s kicking all the windows in too.

– – –
Consultant Editor, Phil Jourdan:

Matthew De Abaitua

If Then by Matthew De Abaitua
September 2015

Matthew De Abaitua’s sci-fi interpretation of the First World War set in the near-future is the very best kind of troubling. He’s not just telling a good story: he’s playing with the concepts of time and space, the naturalization of technology, the meaning (or lack of meaning) in human suffering, the economic and historical forces we just don’t understand… but, yes, he’s also telling a damned good story.

– – –

Jo Fletcher Books

 Jo Fletcher Books Logo (wide)

Whenever we’re asked to contribute to this article on Fantasy-Faction, as we have done for the last couple of years, we find that we’re pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place: how on earth are we supposed to pick just 5 titles out of all the wonderful novels we have for you next year? It can’t be decided purely by the depth of our love for individual books because, as Jo explained last year, we love all of our novels equally! It can’t be decided on our love for the authors because, as Jo also explained last year, that would be like asking a parent to pick their favourite child – it just can’t be done. So before we start, we’d like to recommend that you read all of our novels next year! But whether we like it or not, we do have to pick five, and after a heated game of rock/paper/scissors/Cthulhu (Elder Gods trump all, as we know), these are the books left standing:

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The Galaxy Game (cover)

The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord
January 2015

First up – and incidentally first up in the year, too – is the long-awaited sequel to the highly acclaimed The Best of All Possible Worlds. Karen won numerous awards for her debut novel Redemption in Indigo and broke the SF mould with her second novel The Best of All Possible Worlds (aka BOAPW), which centres around a galaxy-spanning romance that restores one’s faith in humanity (whichever planet you’re from). She has been compared to Ursula Le Guin by the likes of The Guardian and described as ‘a class apart’ by There is no doubt that Karen Lord is a very talented writer who is getting better with every book. So why would you not pick up her SF Thriller The Galaxy Game? Not only will you meet some old friends, but you’ll find yourself immersed in games of all sorts as Rafi Delarua, Grace’s nephew, sets off to make his own way in a world suddenly fraught with dangers . . .

– – –

Marked (cover)

Marked by Sue Tingey
May 2015

Sue is not only Nicola’s first author to come from the unsolicited pile, she’s also our only debut author in 2015. She enters the fray in fine fettle with Marked, a fantasy with elements of romance, the first in The Soulseer Chronicles: a gripping, characterful, visual and feisty feast. Meet Lucky de Salle, a rather lonely young woman whose psychic ability has made her an outcast; even her best friend Kayla is a ghost. But Kayla’s about to drag Lucky into a whole new world; if she doesn’t learn fast, she may not survive the Court of the daemon Lord Baltheza! Marked is the first project Nicola has bought, overseen and edited (firsts abound!) and we at JFB are thrilled to be publishing it.

– – –

Knight's Shadow (cover)

Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell
March 2015

We chose Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade to go into last year’s Publisher’s Choice F-F article, and judging by the reviews and sales (‘Abercrombie combined with Dumas; what’s not to like’?), not to mention making the GoodReads semi-finals (huzzah!) it’s been as big a hit with you guys as it is with us. So how could we ignore the sequel, Knight’s Shadow? If Twitter is anything to go by, you can’t wait to get your hands on this, as Facio and his fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti—

No. We’re not going to tell you any more; you’ll just have to read it. Here’s a warning: this is a darker tale, but there’s no shortage of wit and swashbuckling as our favourite heroes set about putting Tristia to rights.

– – –

Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
August 2015

Robert Jackson Bennett has been something of a genre chameleon heretofore as his highly acclaimed works have ranged wild across the fantasy genre (which, thankfully for us readers who get bored easily, is a wide vista indeed). Like his previous books, City of Stairs might not have fitted neatly into any of the usual sub-genres, but RJB made it through to the final round, and finished in the top ten Best Fantasy Books in GoodReads’ poll – huge cheers all round! City of Blades, the sequel, is unique in its characters and its world, and added to the seamless melding of genres, it’s beautifully written to boot (check out the reviews for yourselves!). Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in this strange new world . . . you won’t regret it.

– – –

David Hair

Ascendant’s Rite by David Hair
October 2015

And finally, the fourth book in one of the first authors Jo brought to the list: New Zealander David Hair burst onto the epic fantasy world with Mage’s Blood and immediately started garnering starred reviews saying things like, ‘die-hard fans waiting for George R.R. Martin’s next instalment will find a similar voice in Hair’ (Library Journal); and ‘Hair portrays a stark and beautiful world breaking apart, with both good and evil characters desperate to reshape it through magic, war, and treachery’ (Publishers Weekly) – and when Amazon chose it as one of their top fantasies of the year, we knew we were onto a winner.

David just delivered this final volume in the quartet and we have had barely a peep out of Jo for days as she immerses herself in what she describes as one of the most convoluted and yet entirely believable plots it’s been her pleasure to read in years. There are sweeping battles, twisty spies, deep romances and evil incarnate, and at the heart of it all is a small band of ordinary men and women who have had to grow, not just in power, but in character, to face the end of their world . . . and though the books are long, they’re so gripping you’ll be finished and desperate to start from the beginning again before you know what’s hit you!

Final word from Jo: If you haven’t yet treated yourself to David Hair, now’s the time: pull up a chair, sit beside the fire and discover what the very best of epic fantasy has to offer. You won’t be disappointed. But if epic fantasy isn’t your thing, we have plenty of SF – Naomi Foyle, Stephanie Saulter and Peter Liney are just getting into their stride; if you prefer horror, Alison Littlewood’s sequel to her Richard & Judy pick, A Cold Season, is coming, and— Oh, okay. Cheating. Sorry . . .

– – –

And that’s your lot, Fantasy Fans!!!! I’m sure you will agree that this is going to be yet another special, special year for fantasy. There are so, so many novels waiting for us to dive into, characters for us to meet and bitter enemies to slay on the way: I can’t wait! Don’t forget to leave your comments. 🙂


By Overlord

is a Martial Artist, Reader, Student, Boston Terrier owner, Social Media Adviser (to UK Gov/Parliament) and the founder of It's a varied, hectic life, but it's filled with books and Facebook and Twitter and Kicking stuff - so he'd not have it any other way.

19 thoughts on “Most Anticipated Fantasy Novels of 2015: Publishers’ Choice”
    1. It’s not our most anticipated list, it’s the publishers and they tend to choose books that they know you won’t already be anticipating / we won’t choose when we release our list in a few days time – i.e. they avoid the obvious and seek to bring attention to those you may not have heard of 🙂

  1. Almost overwhelmed 🙂 but there are some (!) there that I’ve already marked ‘to buy’.

    Thank you for this amazing list! (I suppose if I start now, I MIGHT get through most of them by year-end) 🙂

  2. The book from this list I want to read most is Skullthrone. But it will be very expensive to buy it because dollar grew very expensive here in Brazil. So probably I’ll have to pay thrice its original price…including posting tax. 🙁

  3. Not a bad list! Found a lot of new books to check out. Looking forward to the site’s Most Anticipated though. Just came across this site a few months ago and already love it! Thanks!

  4. Its is worrying to see some novels being described as YA and with romance thrown in the description.

    PS: The book Dark Run is written by Mike Brooks. It is written as Mike Books

  5. Wow – great article!
    My TBR on Goodread keeps on growing…

    One I really hadn’t heard of before is “The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman”. You had me at “Doctor Who” 😉

    Others I added to the TBR right away are:
    Dark Run by Mike Brooks
    The Devil’s Detective by Simon Kurt Unsworth
    The Vagrant by Peter Newman
    Haterz by James Goss
    Shadow Police by Paul Cornell

    I didn’t like the texts by Orbit too much – first of, the texts are a bit “unemotional”. More like copy and paste of the sales pitch, than “we are so excited about this books!”.
    And also follow up books of already well known series is not what I would have expected on such a list. (Especially sind Tower Lord and Queen of Fire really didn’t hold up to the “critically acclaimed Blood Song” when you look at the fan reviews. So much for the publishers inside 😉

    I especially liked the ones by Tor and Hodder – they seemed like realy personal recommendations. You could almost “feel the love” in those 😉

  6. Great list! Can’t wait to start reading!

    I’ve been watching for Seth Dickinson’s book for a while now. So excited! If you can’t wait for the book or want a preview of his writing, many of his short stories are available for free on his website – just don’t read the one about Baru if you want to avoid spoilers.

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