Book cover: Echo Cycle - Patrick Edwards20 years ago, three boys went on an ill-fated school trip to Rome. One lost an eye. One lost his only friend. One lost himself. Now all three are back in the newly-rebuilt capital of the European Confederacy, and their schoolboy feud will be nothing next to the ancient vengeance taking shape.

Book cover: The Near Witch - V E Schwab (a tree of coiling green and red vines reaches out across a white background, a crow saw on one branch)There are never any strangers in the isolated moorland village of Near. Until now. A mysterious young man has been glimpsed in the moonlight. A child disappears each night. Is the stranger to blame, or does the moor harbour dark secrets?

I’m delighted to hand over today to the award-winning Gareth L Powell, whose new space opera Embers of War is out this week. Gareth’s alternate history thriller Ack-Ack Macaque won the 2013 BSFA Award for Best Novel (tying with Ancillary Justice, no less), and was a Seiun Award finalist. I will be reviewing Embers of War this weekend (spoiler: IT’S REALLY GOOD).

Nell Crane is the girl with the clockwork heart, daughter of two revolutionary thinkers whose contributions have improved the lives of everyone in Black Water City. Great things are expected of her, but she’s running out of time to make a contribution that will keep her free of a life of manual labour. When inspiration finally strikes, her idea is so bold it may destroy her ties to everyone she loves…