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No. 43, November 2011


Prometheus Books Holiday Gift Guide

Best-bets for everyone on your list

Affordable, portable, and with something for everyone, books make wonderful gifts. If you are giving (or getting) an e-reader this year, many of our titles are also available in e-book editions. This holiday gift guide, part one of two, has some suggestions to get you started:



Smashing YA science fiction adventure for older kids, teens, and adults:


Planesrunner from Pyr™


With starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly, this series opener is deemed "chock-full of awesome" by Paolo Bacigalupi and "action packed, wildly imaginative, and full of heart" by Cory Doctorow. Kirkus Reviews says, "In his debut for teens, established science-fiction writer McDonald builds a world just different enough to charm readers into believing... Shining imagination, pulsing suspense and sparkling writing make this one stand out."

YA paranormal romance for   

older kids, teens, and adults: 
Lightbringer from Pyr™


Robin Wasserman, author of The Cold Awakening trilogy, calls this debut novel "Thrilling, beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking, all at the same time-Lightbringer will haunt you long after you've turned the final page." Kristopher Reisz, author of Unleashed, says, "Lightbringer's beautiful, haunted world will swallow you up. You'll never escape it; you'll never want to."

For fans of mythological creatures,   

both nonfiction and fiction:
Deadly Powers
Barbara Ehrenreich calls Deadly Powers "fascinating... the most ambitious survey to date of the relationship between humans and the wild carnivores that have preyed on them." Author Adrienne Mayor notes, "Cave bears, saber-tooth cats, giant raptors, tigers, serpents, crocodiles: early humans lived in constant fear of being devoured by these powerful predators. Over the millennia, as we evolved from prey to hunters, the ancient dread and awe of predators remained embedded in myths about bloodthirsty creatures... Paul Trout's deeply researched and compelling Deadly Powers reveals the visceral impact and survival of the primal human fear of dying by carnivore. A wonderful book!"




Wolfsangel and Fenrir from Pyr™

Of Fenrir, Publishers Weekly writes, "M. D. Lachlan doesn't skip a beat in this fast-paced sequel to Wolfsangel, immersing the reader in a richly imagined fantasy fashioned from history, mythology, and strange destinies. Lachlan's rousing tale is enlivened by surprising plot twists and populated with earthy, well-developed characters, making this one of the most entertaining historical fantasy sagas of recent years."




Blackdog from Pyr™


Library Journal says this "high fantasy for lovers of mythology and of powerful beings in human form...should appeal to fans of Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series." World Fantasy Award-nominated author James Enge says, "I'm hooked. The mix of magic, Tibetan-style religion, and Harold Lamb-style adventure is pretty addicting."


Sword of Fire and Sea (The Chaos Knight Book One) 
from Pyr™


Bestselling author Piers Anthony says, "If you like hard-hitting fantasy adventure with a lot of magic, this is your series." Library Journal adds, "This series debut...features well-drawn characters, both human and mythical... Introducing a world of elemental magic, intelligent gryphons, and warring forces, this fantasy adventure is suitable for both YA and adult readers."

For the kids on your list:


 Bang!: How We Came to Be 


PZ Myers, in his Pharyngula blog, writes, "There aren't enough children's books telling the story of evolution...clean, simple, and true stories about where we came from are scarce. Here's one... Easy concept, nice execution, and it fills a gap in children's literature. It's short enough to be good bedtime reading... ." Independent Publisher calls Bang! "an eloquent blend of art and science... Simple but brilliant in its straightforward style, Rubino's passion for the topic and talent for painting combine to create a classic book that deserves a wide audience and great acclaim."





Philip Bigler, 1998 National Teacher of the Year, calls this "a book all young people should read. It contains the stories of real-life heroes and heroines who showed the courage and inspiration to truly make a difference in the world. The twenty-five men and women featured in this book are an eclectic group ranging from scientists and explorers to civil rights activists and authors. Their dedication and commitment encourage all of us to strive to do our best and to live a meaningful life."

Want vampire fiction that's a cut above the norm? 
Try ruthless vampires crossed with steampunk, pulp adventure, romance, and alternate history:


The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1) from Pyr™


"So much more than a vampire novel," says Explorations, the B&N SciFi and Fantasy Blog. "It's an insanely appetizing m´┐Żlange of genre fiction ingredients... The future of genre fiction is now--and it's The Greyfriar." San Francisco Book Review calls it "a definite must-read for fans of YA and adult fiction who also enjoy fantasy, mythology, steam punk, and, of course, vampires. If you're burnt out by all of the lackluster vampire stories out there, I guarantee that The Greyfriar will redeem the vampire genre for you."



The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire, Book 2) from Pyr™ 

The Rift Walker  

"There is something here for everyone, from treachery, to political maneuvering, romance and even darker moments," says Bookworm Blues. "The plot speeds forward at a breakneck pace. The characters are engaging, realistic and expanded upon just like the world. The writing is fluid and visual. of the series...won't be disappointed."

Or bloodthirsty vampires combined with richly detailed Russian military history:


Twelve from Pyr™


"A gang of bloodthirsty vampires operating as partisans against the invading French army, both in its investment of Moscow and its long, and long-suffering, retreat-I don't know about you, but that setup makes my mouth water," says Realms of Fantasy, "The moral dimension of the novel...really distinguishes this book from typical vampire fare... Twelve is a strong and original debut by a talented young writer who brings fresh psychological and moral sophistication to his subject."



Thirteen Years Later from Pyr™


"This is where vampire and historical fiction meet." says San Francisco Book ReviewLibrary Journal adds, "Capturing the essence of the 19th-century Russian novel, this richly detailed book will appeal to Russophiles as well as fans of vampire fiction."



The Third Section from Pyr™ 

The Third Section  

"Brimming with betrayals and violence, seductions and patience, this is the series you've been waiting for if you prefer your vampire fiction to be more Bram Stoker than sparkly," says Little Red Reviewer. "Vampire stories are a dime a dozen in this day and age," adds Pat's Fantasy Hotlist. "Yet by mixing his tale with Russian historical fiction, Jasper Kent created something unique, compelling, and thoroughly enjoyable."

History, travel, and memoir readers will enjoy:


Einstein on the Road


 Einstein on the Road

"Just when one thinks that one has read every possible book about Einstein there comes along the new and delightful Einstein on the Road," says Jeremy Bernstein, author of Quantum Leaps. "The book is full of surprises and is a pleasure to read." Alice Calaprice, author of Dear Professor Einstein, calls it "a delightful addition to the ever-expanding genre of Einstein studies." Bookviews wrote, "Anyone interested in Einstein and the history of his times will find this a very enjoyable read."



Toward a Better Life


Lee Iacocca, former CEO and chairman of Chrysler Corporation, and founding chairman of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, calls this "a wonderful book that takes you up close and into the lives of America's immigrants, revealing their hopes and dreams, sorrows and fears." The New York Times says it's "a welcome reminder that the vast majority of today's newcomers are tomorrow's productive citizens and that they gravitate here for the same reasons their predecessors did for centuries."

For your favorite skeptic:


Believing Bullshit


"A primer not only on how not to believe but also on why so many people do believe bullshit, despite the lack of evidence for such beliefs, or even in the face of disconfirmatory evidence," says D. J. Grothe, President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. "It should be read by every college freshman and every person seeking public office, and its strategies memorized and put to use by every critical thinker."



How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass 

How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass  

"A perceptive, incisive critical thinker is the very best pain in the ass there is," says Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry magazine. "This book is an enlightening master class in critical thinking, couched in language any curious reader can profit from. From an introduction to formal logic that everyone can understand to a guide to the big questions about knowledge, meaning, ethics, and purpose in life, it's all in here."



Denying Science


The New York Journal of Books calls it "an intelligently researched book that adheres to rational thought and rejects the increasingly common denialist view that dismisses science, evidence, and reason as being 'elitist' or a part of some type of conspiracy. Informed decision-making is crucial for those in positions of responsibility... [John] Grant has...taken an essential step toward this end."

For the true-crime junkie:


From Crime Scene to Courtroom 

  From Crime Scene to Courtroom

"What happens when hard science intersects with compelling storytelling? You get a fresh analysis and incisive perspective," says victims' advocate Marc Klaas. In this book, he adds, "[Dr. Cyril] Wecht and [Dawna] Kaufmann explore seven cases as diverse as the death of Rolling Stone Brian Jones and the murder trial of Casey Anthony, without losing the humanity behind the scenes."



Delayed Justice


"An insightful book about the unique issues of  'cold cases' and some of the new approaches that have given closure to many friends and family members of victims," says Dr. Henry C. Lee, world-renowned forensic scientist and co-author of Shocking Cases from Dr. Henry Lee's Forensic Files and The Real World of a Forensic Scientist. "These case examples illustrate the rewards and frustrations of re-examining evidence from unsolved cases. It is a must read for every student of forensic investigation and every citizen interested in how forensic and investigative techniques are applied in real cases."

We hope these suggestions help you find just the right gifts for the readers on your list, or inspire you to give yourself the gift of a good book!


Don't see the ideal book for that special someone? Part two of our holiday gift guide is coming soon, or browse online at and for more great options.


Next year, watch for mystery and thriller selections, courtesy of our new imprint, Seventh Street Books™! 


Happy holidays and happy reading!


Jill Maxick

Vice President of Marketing; Director of Publicity

Prometheus Books

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