There are 18 debut novels for February 2020.
Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.
The February debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite February cover for the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on February 15, 2020.
The Last Smile in Sunder City
The Fetch Phillips Archives 1
Orbit, February 25, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
A former soldier turned PI tries to help the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in a world that’s lost its magic in a compelling debut fantasy by Black Sails actor Luke Arnold.
Welcome to Sunder City. The magic is gone but the monsters remain.
I’m Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:
1. Sobriety costs extra.
2. My services are confidential.
3. I don’t work for humans.
It’s nothing personal–I’m human myself. But after what happened, to the magic, it’s not the humans who need my help.
Walk the streets of Sunder City and meet Fetch, his magical clients, and a darkly imagined world perfect for readers of Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.
Black Rose Writing, February 6, 2020
Trade Paperback, 320 pages
"Legacy is nothing but history, if it doesn't have a future.”
When her father threw her out, sacrificing his only living daughter for the good of his shipping conglomerate, Lena Lomasky swore she could make it on her own. But now she’s broke and desperate, and pride won’t fuel her spaceship. Her latest job is simple: carry a datastick of state secrets home to her father. The same man who cut her off without a cent. Whatever. She can do this. Pass the whiskey.
An ill-timed royal assassination ignites a war and Lena’s crew is blamed. When she thinks to use her cache of state secrets to save them, Lena discovers she’s actually smuggling the only known plans for her father’s invention: a gravity bomb that can vaporize entire cities.
Lena must decide: continue on and hope her father can design a defense to save millions of lives, or leverage the plans to save the only people who really matter.
Little, Brown and Company, February 4, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
Reality and dream collide in Amy Bonnaffons’s dazzling, darkly playful debut novel about a love affair between the living and the dead.
For weeks, Rachel has been noticing the same golden-haired young man sitting at her Brooklyn bus stop, staring off with a melancholy air. When, one day, she finally musters the courage to introduce herself, the chemistry between them is undeniable: Thomas is wise, witty, handsome, mysterious, clearly a kindred spirit. There’s just one tiny problem: He’s dead.
Stuck in a surreal limbo governed by bureaucracy, Thomas is unable to “cross over” to the afterlife until he completes a 90-day stint on earth, during which time he is forbidden to get involved with a member of the living — lest he incur “regrets.” When Thomas and Rachel break this rule, they unleash a cascade of bizarre, troubling consequences.
Set in the hallucinatory borderland between life and death, The Regrets is a gloriously strange and breathtakingly sexy exploration of love, the cataclysmic power of fantasies, and the painful, exhilarating work of waking up to reality, told with uncommon grace and humor by a visionary artist at the height of her imaginative power.
MIRA, February 11, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 576 pages
A penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride…The Unwilling is the story of Judah, a foundling born with a special gift and raised inside Highfall castle along with Gavin, the son and heir to Lord Elban’s vast empire. Judah and Gavin share an unnatural bond that is both the key to Judah’s survival—and possibly her undoing.
As Gavin is groomed for his future role, Judah comes to realize that she has no real position within the kingdom and, in fact, no hope at all of ever traveling beyond its castle walls. Elban—a lord as mighty as he is cruel—has his own plans for her, and for all of them. She is a mere pawn to him, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
But outside the walls, in the starving, desperate city, a magus, a healer with his own secret power unlike anything Highfall has seen in years, is newly arrived from the provinces. He, too, has plans for the empire, and at the heart of those plans lies Judah. The girl who started life with no name and no history will soon uncover more to her story than she ever imagined.
An epic tale of greed and ambition, cruelty and love, this deeply immersive novel is about bowing to traditions and burning them down.
Justin T. Call
Master of Sorrows
Silent Gods 1
Blackstone Publishing, February 25, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 577 pages
You've heard the story before: an orphaned boy, raised by a wise old man, comes to a fuller knowledge of his magic and uses it to fight the great evil threatening his world.
But what if that hero were destined to become the new dark lord?
The Academy of Chaenbalu has stood against magic for centuries. Hidden from the world, acting from the shadows, it trains its students to detect and retrieve magic artifacts, which it jealously guards from the misuse of others. Because magic is dangerous: something that heals can also harm, and a power that aids one person may destroy another.
Of the academy's many students, only the most skilled can become Avatars -- warrior thieves, capable of infiltrating the most heavily guarded vaults -- and only the most determined can be trusted to resist the lure of magic. More than anything, Annev de Breth wants to become one of them.
But Annev carries a secret. Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital city, Annev was born in the village of Chaenbalu, was believed to be executed, and then unknowingly raised by his parents killers. Seventeen years later, he struggles with the burdens of a forbidden magic, a forgotten heritage, and a secret deformity. When Annev is subsequently caught between the warring ideologies of his priestly mentor and the Academy's masters, he must finally decide whether to accept the truth of who he really is ... or embrace the darker truth of what he may one day become.
The Light Years
Angry Robot Books, February 11, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
The captain of a family-owned starship arranges a marriage for her son in hopes of achieving faster-than-light travel and maybe, just maybe, marital bliss.
Before Hisako Saski is even born, her parents make a deal on her behalf. In exchange for a first-class education and a boost out of poverty, Hisako will marry Adem Sadiq, a maintenance engineer and self-styled musician who works the trade lanes aboard his family’s sub-light starship, the Hajj.
Hisako is not happy when she finds out about the plan. She has little interest in the broken branch of physics the deal requires her to study, and is not keen on the idea of giving up her home and everything she knows to marry a stranger.
Sparks fly when Adem and Hisako meet, but their personal issues are overshadowed by the discovery of long-held secrets and a chance at faster-than-light travel.
File Under: Science Fiction[ E=mc2 | Happy wife, Happy life | Marital Bliss | Light Years Away ]
A. K. Larkwood
The Unspoken Name
The Serpent Gates 1
Tor Books, February 11, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages
A. K. Larkwood's The Unspoken Name is a stunning debut fantasy about an orc priestess turned wizard's assassin.
What if you knew how and when you will die?
Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.
But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard's loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.
But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.
“In the vein of Le Guin's magnificent Tombs of Atuan—if Arha the Eaten One got to grow up to be a swordswoman mercenary in thrall to her dubious wizard mentor. I love this book so much."—Arkady Martine, author of A Memory Called Empire
“Hooked me in from the first page and never let go. Fabulous, in every meaning of the word."—Jenn Lyons, author of Ruin of Kings
Oona Out of Order
Flatiron Books, February 25, 2020
Hardover and eBook, 352 pages
Oona Out of Order is a remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of sequence.
Just because life may be out of order, doesn’t mean it’s broken.
It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order...
Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met?
Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.
"Reminiscent of Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot and Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, Oona Out of Order is a delightfully freewheeling romp.” —Booklist (starred review)
S E Moorhead
Trapeze, February 6, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
From one of the most original new voices in fiction comes a startling vision of a world where hero Kyra must fight the past to save our future. A genre-bending thriller for the Netflix generation, for fans of Altered Carbon, Dark and Mindhunter.
Fourteen years ago, the police caged a notorious serial killer who abducted and butchered two victims every February. When a body is discovered, and a second person is reported missing, the race is on to catch the real killer. Neuropsychologist Kyra Sullivan, a police psychologist on the original investigation, fights to use a new technology that accesses the minds of the original witnesses. Will Kyra discover the truth, and if so, at what cost?
From an exciting debut talent, Witness X is a brilliantly twisty tale that is at once mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human - an addictive thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we'll go to change the past, perfect for fans of Stranger Things, Altered Carbon and Ready Player One.
Andrew Hunter Murray
The Last Day
Dutton, February 4, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages
A visionary and powerful debut thriller set in a terrifyingly plausible dystopian near-future—with clear parallels to today’s headlines—in which the future of humanity lies in the hands of one woman, a scientist who has stumbled upon a secret that the government will go to any lengths to keep hidden.
A world half in darkness. A secret she must bring to light.
It is 2059, and the world has crashed. Forty years ago, a solar catastrophe began to slow the planet’s rotation to a stop. Now, one half of the globe is permanently sunlit, the other half trapped in an endless night. The United States has colonized the southern half of Great Britain—lucky enough to find itself in the narrow habitable region left between frozen darkness and scorching sunlight—where both nations have managed to survive the ensuing chaos by isolating themselves from the rest of the world.
Ellen Hopper is a scientist living on a frostbitten rig in the cold Atlantic. She wants nothing more to do with her country after its slide into casual violence and brutal authoritarianism. Yet when two government officials arrive, demanding she return to London to see her dying college mentor, she accepts—and begins to unravel a secret that threatens not only the nation’s fragile balance, but the future of the whole human race.
The Goblets Immortal
Flame Tree Press, February 20, 2020
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages
In a land where magic’s feared, a rare magical kind exists: the Blest, products of the Goblets Immortal. Aidan’s a Blest on the run, forced to return home. He made his family vanish decades ago, but believes there’s a way to bring them back.
Whispers of a new fear take shape in Meraude, a mage who hates all magic-kind. When she appears in Aidan’s dreams offering a bargain for the return of his family, Aidan’s desires battle with his self-preservation.
Is it wise for Aidan to seek the Goblets Immortal for Meraude’s unknown purposes? Friend and foe blur the magical lines, and Aidan must discern who will shake his hand or slit his throat.
FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Tor Books, February 25, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
Melville’s Moby Dick unfolds in a world of dragon hunters in Black Leviathan, an epic revenge fantasy from German award-winning author Bernd Perplies.
Beware! A shadow will cover you, larger than that cast by any other dragon of this world. Black as the lightless chasm from whence it was born at the beginning of time.
In the coastal city Skargakar, residents make a living from hunting dragons and use them for everything from clothing to food, while airborne ships hunt them in the white expanse of a cloud sea, the Cloudmere.
Lian does his part carving the kyrillian crystals that power the ships through the Cloudmere, but when he makes an enemy of a dangerous man, Lian ships out on the next vessel available as a drachenjager, or dragon hunter.
He chooses the wrong ship. A fanatic captain, hunts more than just any dragon. His goal is the Firstborn Gargantuan—and Adaron is prepared to sacrifice everything for revenge.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, February 4, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 256 pages
"A powerfully doomy debut" (The Guardian), Shaun Prescott’s The Town is a novel of a rural Australian community besieged by modern day anxieties and threatened by a supernatural force seeking to consume the dying town.
This is Australia, an unnamed, dead-end town in the heart of the outback—a desolate place of gas stations, fast-food franchises, and labyrinthine streets: flat and nearly abandoned. When a young writer arrives to research just such depressing middles-of-nowhere as they are choked into oblivion, he finds something more sinister than economic depression: the ghost towns of Australia appear to be literally disappearing. An epidemic of mysterious holes is threatening his new home’s very existence, and this discovery plunges the researcher into an abyss of weirdness from which he may never escape.
Dark, slippery and unsettling, Shaun Prescott’s debut resurrects the existential novel for the age of sprawl and blight, excavates a nation’s buried history of colonial genocide, and tells a love story that asks if outsiders can ever truly belong anywhere. The result is a disquieting classic that vibrates with an occult power.
The Baudelaire Fractal
Coach House Books, February 4, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 160 pages
A debut novel by acclaimed poet Lisa Robertson, in which a poet realizes she has written the works of Baudelaire. One morning, the poet Hazel Brown wakes up in a strange hotel room to find that she's written the complete works of Charles Baudelaire. Surprising as this may be, it's no more surprising to Brown than the impossible journey she's taken to become the writer that she is. Animated by the spirit of the poète maudit, she shuttles between London, Vancouver, Paris, and the French countryside, moving fluidly between the early 1980s and the present, from rented room to rented room, all the while considering such Baudelairian obsessions as modernity, poverty, and the perfect jacket. .. Part memoir, part magical realism, part hilarious trash-talking take on contemporary art and the poet's life, The Baudelaire Fractal is the long-awaited debut novel by the inimitable Lisa Robertson.
A Witch in Time
Redhook, February 11, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
A young witch is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist, in this haunting debut novel.
In 1895, sixteen-year-old Juliet LaCompte has a passionate, doomed romance with the married Parisian painter Auguste Marchant. When her mother — a witch — attempts to cast a curse on Marchant, she unwittingly summons a demon, binding her daughter to both Auguste and this supernatural being for all time.
Born and re-born, Juliet is fated to live her affair and die tragically young across continents and lifetimes.
But finally, in present-day Washington D.C., something shifts. In this life, Juliet starts to remember her tragic past. And this time, she begins to develop powers of her own that might finally break the spell…
A Witch in Time is perfect for fans of A Secret History of Witches, Outlander, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
K. S. Villoso
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro
Chronicles of the Bitch Queen 1
Orbit, February 18, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 496 pages
A queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.
“They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.”
Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves, which nearly tore her nation apart. But her arranged marriage with the son of a rival clan should herald peaceful days to come.
However, her husband’s sudden departure before their reign begins puts a quick end to those dreams, and the kingdom is fractured beyond repair.
Years later, Talyien receives a message, one that will send her across the sea. What’s meant to be an effort at reconciling the past becomes an assassination attempt. Stranded in a land she doesn’t know, with no idea whom she can trust, Talyien will have to embrace her namesake.
A wolf of Oren-yaro is not tamed.
Mazes of Power
The Broken Trust 1
DAW, February 4, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages
This debut work of sociological science fiction follows a deadly battle for succession, where brother is pitted against brother in a singular chance to win power and influence for their family.
The cavern city of Pelismara has stood for a thousand years. The Great Families of the nobility cling to the myths of their golden age while the city’s technology wanes.
When a fever strikes, and the Eminence dies, seventeen-year-old Tagaret is pushed to represent his Family in the competition for Heir to the Throne. To win would give him the power to rescue his mother from his abusive father, and marry the girl he loves.
But the struggle for power distorts everything in this highly stratified society, and the fever is still loose among the inbred, susceptible nobles. Tagaret’s sociopathic younger brother, Nekantor, is obsessed with their family’s success. Nekantor is willing to exploit Tagaret, his mother, and her new servant Aloran to defeat their opponents.
Can he be stopped? Should he be stopped? And will they recognize themselves after the struggle has changed them?
The Golden Key
Titan Books, February 18, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
“A fantastic new talent” HELEN MARSHALL
An extraordinary, page-turning Gothic mystery set in the wilds of the Norfolk Fens from the BSFA-shortlisted author.
London, 1901. After the death of Queen Victoria the city heaves with the uncanny and the eerie. Séances are held and the dead are called upon from darker realms.
Samuel Moncrieff, recovering from a recent tragedy of his own, meets Helena Walton-Cisneros, one of London’s most reputed mediums. But Helena is not what she seems and she’s enlisted by the elusive Lady Matthews to solve a twenty-year-old mystery: the disappearance of her three stepdaughters who vanished without a trace on the Norfolk Fens.
But the Fens are a liminal land, where folk tales and dark magic still linger. With locals that speak of devilmen and catatonic children found on the Broads, Helena finds the answer to the mystery leads back to where it started: Samuel Moncrieff.