Robert Ferrigno's Sins of the Assassin is, of course, the sequel to Prayer for the Assassin, the novel about the cold civil war being fought between moderate and modern Muslims on the one side and the fundamentalist Black Robes on the other for control of the Islamic Republic of America. With the Old One temporarily thwarted, Rakkim Epps is tapped for a mission into the Bible Belt, the breakway Southern states where Protestantism and a heavily armed citizenry are a bulwark against the Islamic threat to the north. However, there are larger stakes: Canada and the Aztlan Empire threaten to slice away more of what used to be the United States as the infrastructure and strength of the successor states continues to dwindle. Epps' mission is to find out what super-secret weapon of the old Federal government is under a mountain being dug up by one of the Belt warlords, and if possible, retrieve it for the IR. Unfortunately for Rakkim, he's not going alone. This is good brain candy, and while it's occasionally frustrating not to have a fuller picture of this dystopia, there's a promise of a payoff down the line in the third novel, which is supposed to be out sometime this year. Recommended.
William Tenn is one of those writers who's been undeservedly forgotten by modern fans, and I hope Immodest Proposals does something to change that. This thick volume by NESFA Press has a ton of Tenn's excellent work in it, from the macabre "Child's Play" to the wonderful "Firewater" by way of the chilling "Down Among The Dead Men", and while some of the stories show their age, most of them still pack plenty of punch. Highly recommended.
It's easy to forget that before Pirates of the Caribbean came out, Tim Powers was mixing (pirate) swords and (Haitian) sorcery to produce an explosive mix about a young man come to the New World in search of revenge...and finds himself becoming enmeshed in the gears of a devious plan concocted by the most feared pirate of all time. While not nearly as funny (or romantically complicated) as Fraser's The Pyrates, On Stranger Tides is a crackling tale of courage, sharp wits, and sharp swords set against not only ancient evils but the modern bureaucratic state as well, and just like everything else Tim Powers has created, is Highly Recommended. READ EET.
These and other reviews have been linked at the Book Review site, which I'm going to need to move somewhere else this year as Yahoo is discontinuing their free web hosting service and I can't afford to be shelling out $5/month at this point. Well, I'll burn that bridge when I get to it, I suppose.