Ben Peek’s The Godless blew me away. I really loved it. I never got to reading the second book in the Children trilogy, Leviathan’s Blood, because time and it is a bloody BIG book. However, once all our books have been unpacked after the house renovation, I intend to rectify that and roll on into the final book of the trilogy, The Eternal Kingdom. In the meantime, Ben was gracious enough to come back to the blog and write a piece about his favourite fantasy tropes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! The Eternal Kingdom is out from Macmillan tomorrow. Read More …
After last week’s posts on my Anticipated Books for Winter/Spring 2013, today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. Last year I couldn’t get the number down to ten so I stuck to fifteen and since I struggled to get the list down to even fifteen, I stuck with that number. I had to do a lot of gouging to get the list down from the initial twenty-five books to fifteen. There are a lot of books I’m really anticipating reading that I decided to exclude right off the bat, such as all the next books in series I’ve started in the past year. If I loved a book last year, you can bet that I’ll want to read the next instalment. Examples of these are Anne Lyle’s The Merchant of Shadows, Lou Morgan’s Blood and Feathers: Rebellion and Giles Kristian’s Brothers’ Fury. Another book that would have been sure to have been on this list is Laura Lam’s Pantomime if not for the fact I’ve already read and reviewed it here on the blog. And there a couple of historical novels and YA novels that I went back and forth over, but ended up scrapping. So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from last week’s lists?
Clifford Beal – Gideon’s Angel (Solaris)
Ever since reading Anne Lyle’s Alchemist of Souls I’ve become more and more enchanted with historical fantasy. Of course this shouldn’t be surprising as it combines my two most favourite genres into a fabulous new whole. Add that to the fact that Beal’s debut novel is set in an era of British history that I’ve only recently come to read more about, but has demons and magic to boot and it had to be a given that I’d want to read this book.
Lauren Beukes – The Shining Girls (HarperCollins)
My favourite read for 2011 was Zoo City, while Moxyland grabbed third place last year, and I’ve been waiting impatiently for a new novel by Lauren Beukes ever since finishing Moxyland. And now The Shining Girls is almost here! I can’t wait to see what Beukes has in store for us, but the premise sounds amazing and I really look forward to seeing her take on a crime novel.
C. Robert Cargill – Dreams and Shadows (Gollancz)
Look at that cover. Tell me that isn’t a pretty cover! But more importantly, the book sounds really interesting and whisky-swilling genies and foul-mouthed wizards can’t be anything other than a good thing. Besides, comparisons to Gaiman, Del Torro, and Burroughs? I’m intrigued.
Cassandra Rose Clarke – The Mad Scientist’s Daughter (Angry Robot Books)
One of my favourite debuts this year was Cassandra Rose Clarke’s YA fantasy The Assassin’s Curse. So when Angry Robot announced they were publishing her first novel for adults and it was an SF story about robots, I was immediately on board. Then they released the cover and I really couldn’t wait for the book. Luckily, I received and ARC, so I’ll be able to read and review the book sooner rather than later!
Tara Conklin – The House Girl (William Morrow)
The first historical novel on the list and it’s one that piqued my interest for a number of reasons. First of all, it deals with one of the most difficult subjects to write about in US history: slavery. Set in the frame of a modern day law firm setting, the synopsis drew me in immediately. This looks like a very interesting story and as I know embarrassingly little of the history of slavery beyond what I was taught in grammar school, I thought this might be a good place to learn some more.
Neil Gaiman – The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Headline)
When Headline announced that they’d signed Neil Gaiman for a new adult novel, the internet went kind of crazy. While reading The Graveyard Book and Neverwhere finally clued me in on why people turn into such rabid fans and Gaiman charmed my socks off with his ‘Make Good Art’-commencement speech, I’m still woefully under-read in his works, so I have to read this one, just to make sure I don’t get farther behind. Plus, that synopsis? It sounds amazing!
Rosie Garland – The Palace of Curiosities (HarperCollins)
Set in the Victorian age, in a circus and the characters are a lion-faced girl and a man risen from the dead? Done. What more can I add? Oh, perhaps that this is another title I have an ARC for, so look for a review of this title soon!
Helen Grant – Silent Saturday (Random House Children’s Books)
For Christmas 2010 I was given a copy of Helen Grant’s The Glass Demon by Liz. And oh, how I loved that book. Then I went to London and got my hands on Helen’s two other books The Vanishing of Katharina Linden and Wish Me Dead and devoured both of those. And then I had to wait, and wait… I had to wait till 2013 to get my hands on Helen’s next book. Fortunately, Silent Saturday is part of a trilogy and even more fortunately, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a very early ARC. So now I won’t have to wait so very long to finally return to the mysteries and creepiness that always pervade Grant’s writing.
Snorri Kristjansson – The Swords of Good Men (Jo Fletcher Books)
I’m going to cheat and just quote what I wrote over on the Jo Fletcher Books blog for my look at their spring 2013 debuts:
Vikings! What more do I need to say? Well, actually, there is a lot more to say about this debut. It’s a book in which the Old Gods confront the new and where betrayal is just around the corner. It’s also written by a true Viking descendant, as Snorri is originally from Iceland. However, the book was written in English, a feat I find astonishing, because even if my English isn’t shabby, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to write an entire novel in it. Then again, I can’t imagine writing a novel in Dutch either, so I’m impressed by anyone who can write a good story. The Swords of Good Men has been on my radar ever since Jo announced she’d signed Snorri and I’m looking forward to finally being able to read the book come June.
Elizabeth May – The Falconer (Gollancz)
Again Victorian –
not steampunk the author let me know that the story is steampunk – Edinburgh, an aristocratic young Lady out for revenge, fairies?! Count me in. This is another book that’s been on my radar since its acquisition was announced and I can’t wait to read it.
Amy McCulloch – The Oathbreaker’s Shadow (Random House Children’s Books)
The Oathbreaker’s Shadow is the debut for Amy McCulloch, commissioning editor over at HarperVoyager UK and part of the Lucky 13’s. I love the premise of this one: that the promises you make are binding, even if they are made for you. From the synopsis, it also looks to have an interesting setting and a great classic fantasy feeling, so this is another one I’ve been eagerly awaiting for months.
Will McIntosh – Love Minus Eighty (Orbit)
Love Minus Eighty is based on Bridesicle, a short story McIntosh wrote for which he won a Hugo and which I heard on Escape Pod during their Hugo Month in 2010. I adored the story and I was really excited to hear that McIntosh was developing the story into a novel. The story sounds amazing and I know the concept for the world is strong, so roll on June.
Terence Morgan – The Shadow Prince (Macmillan)
This is a book I discovered going through the catalogues in preparation for this season’s Anticipated Books and the subject immediately caught my eye. The story of the Princes in the Tower has always fascinated me and some part of me always hopes they were smuggled out and lived happily ever after, or at least long and peaceful lives, away from the turbulence and violence their family was caught up in, however unlikely the chance that happened is. So the legend of Perrin Warbeck was one that has always been attractive to me and Terrence Morgan’s take on his story sounds like an intriguing one.
Emma Newman – Between Two Thorns (Angry Robot Books)
I’ve posted about Emma Newman and Between Two Thorns before and I’ve even hosted a story in her Split Worlds project on the blog. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Between Two Thorns is included on this list. In fact, I think you can well say that this is my most anticipated read for the next few months! I’m lucky enough to have received an ARC for it, so this is one title you can be sure will be reviewed sooner rather than later!
Benjamin Percy – Red Moon (Hodder & Stoughton)
A month or two ago a mysterious envelope appeared in my mailbox. In it was nothing but a business card with on it the title Red Moon with the subtitle They Are Amongst Us. On the back it said ‘Have there been lycans sightings in your local area? Do you think someone you know might be infected? Please report any suspicious activity. Call the Lobos Helpline:’ with a UK number listed, followed by ‘Or go to www.banthelycans.co.uk.’ To say I was intrigued was putting it mildly and from what I’ve been able to find out about the novel so far, I really want to read it, when it comes out.
Murder, mayhem, sleuthing… who doesn’t like a good crime story every once in a while? Today my Anticipated Books post focuses on crime and historical crime fiction. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!
In New York’s East Village a young girl is brutally raped, tortured and murdered. Detective Callum Doyle has seen the victim’s remains. He has visited the distraught family. Now he wants justice.
Doyle is convinced he knows who the killer is. The problem is he can’t prove it. And the more he pushes his prime suspect, the more he learns that the man is capable of pushing back in ways more devious and twisted than Doyle could ever have imagined.
Add to that the appearance of an old adversary who has a mission for Doyle and won’t take no for an answer, and soon Doyle finds himself at risk of losing everything he holds dear. Including his life.
Chris Kuzneski – The Hunters (Headline)
Chris Kuzneski, bestselling author of the Payne and Jones series, including Sign of the Cross and The Death Relic, moves to Headline for his brand new series, The Hunters.
The Hunters: a team of renegades, an ex-military leader, a historian, a computer whiz, a weapons expert and a thief – financed by a billionaire philantropist are tasked with finding the world’s most legendary treasures.
A.K. Benedict – The Beauty of Murder (Orion)
Stephen Killigan has been cold since the day he came to Cambridge. Then he finds the body of a missing beauty queen and thinks he’s found the reason why. But the police go to retrieve the body and find no trace…So begins a trail of tattooists, philosophers and scholars as Killigan must question how a corpse can be found before someone goes missing…
Jonathan Kellerman – Guilt (Headline)
When a young couple takes possession of their dream home, they can’t wait to remodel the neglected mansion. That is until they make a gruesome discovery of a rusted metal strongbox containing two rotting leather doctor’s bags. And inside each bag, swaddled in sheets of sixty-year-old newspaper, lies a tiny human skeleton. The case hits the media, and theories abound. The most likely culprit is a mysterious woman, employed as private nurse to wealthy L.A. families during World War Two and Lieutenant Milo Sturgis consults psychologist Alex Delaware for insight into the perpetrator’s motives. But the horror is just beginning. Two more bags are discovered, but this time the infants inside have been dead less than a month. Is a copycat at work? Or is there a link between the two finds which goes back decades? By the time both cases close, Alex and Milo will have confronted unprecedented narcissism, cruelty, deceit and a cold but fiendish objectification of the human spirit that shakes both men to the core…
Becky Masterman – Rage Against the Dying (Orion)
In her hey-day, Brigid Quinn worked serial killer cases. Small and blonde, she was the perfect bait to catch a killer. But as Quinn got older, she realised she needed to find a protégé. So Quinn trains a twenty-two year old to take her place. The plan works, Until the killer not only takes the bait, but kills it.
Mark Roberts – The Sixth Soul (Corvus)
London is in the grip of a barbaric serial killer. Four women have been abducted in quick succession, their bodies mutilated and dumped. When a fifth woman is taken from her home, DCI David Rosen knows that time is running out…
Then Rosen gets a mysterious phone call from Father Sebastian Flint, an enigmatic priest who seems to know rather too much about the abductions. But it isn’t until Rosen discovers the existence of an ancient text – said to be the devil’s answer to the bible – that the true horror of Herod’s plan begins to unfold.
Lachlan Smith – Bear is Broken (Headline)
Leo Maxwell grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Teddy, a successful yet reviled criminal defence attorney, who racked up enemies as fast as he racked up acquittals.
The two are at lunch when Teddy is shot, the gunman escaping through a crowd. As Teddy lies in a coma, Leo realises that the search for his brother’s shooter falls upon him, as Teddy’s enemies are not just among his criminal clients but embedded within the police department as well…
Leo must navigate the seedy underbelly of San Francisco, but the deeper he digs into his brother’s life, the more questions arise: about Teddy and his estranged ex-wife, about the ethics of Teddy’s career, and about the murder that tore their family apart decades ago. And somewhere, the person who shot Leo’s brother is still on the loose, and there are many who would happily kill Leo in order to keep it that way.
Today, twelve golden tablets sit in museums around the world, each created by unknown hands and buried in ancient times, and each providing the dead with the route to the afterlife.
And archaeologist Lily Barnes, working on a dig in southern Italy, has just found another. Then Lily vanishes. Has she walked out of her job, her marriage and her life – or is the explanation more sinister? Her husband, Jonah, is desperate to find her.
But not everyone who journeys to the hidden place where Lily has gone can return.
Julia Keller – A Killing in the Hills (Headline)
Nestled in the breathtaking beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, Acker’s Gap is a town rife with problems. Bell Elkins is a single mother with a sister in prison and a background full of secrets. She has returned to Acker’s Gap to become Raythune county’s prosecuting attorney and is desperate to bring stability to the town. But when her daughter is witness to a multiple murder, Bell must work fast to find the truth before her daughter pays the price.
If you believe in God, you’ve got to believe in the Devil.’
Deepest winter. Darkest Philadelphia.
A murder shocks the frozen city – the most spectacular homicide in its 300-year-old history: an ex-cop has been lured to the basement of an abandoned chapel, wrapped in barbed wire – and kept alive for ten days.
Twenty-four hours after the discovery, Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano find another victim in another church, encased in a pristine block of ice.
Someone is transforming the city’s cathedrals into killing rooms, someone who is determined to raise hell on earth.
Roberta Kray – Bad Girl (Sphere)
It’s 1959 and Lynsey Quinn has done the unthinkable. She’s got herself pregnant by a cop. Rejected by her criminal family, she will pay the price for her betrayal, and so too will her daughter.
At the age of eleven, Helen is returned to the clan. Hated by her grandfather, loved only by her uncle, she struggles to fit into a world she doesn’t understand. As warring factions battle for control of the East End, tragedy is about to strike again.
How can she survive? And who can she trust as the murderous past comes back to haunt her?
Andrew Pyper – The Demonologist (Orion)
Professor David Ullman, an authority on Christian religion and myth, accepts a mysterious offer to visit Venice with his teenage daughter in order to offer his expertise in an undisclosed case. But what he experiences when he gets there is horrifying beyond belief and leaves him with the unshakeable feeling he isn’t alone…
1930’s America: Lee Curtis Harper is a delusional, violent drifter who stumbles on a house that opens onto other times.
Driven by visions, he begins a killing spree over the next 60 years, using an undetectable MO and leaving anachronistic clues on his victims’ bodies.
But when one of his intended ‘shining girls’, Kirby Mazrachi, survives a brutal stabbing, she becomes determined to unravel the mystery behind her would-be killer. While the authorities are trying to discredit her, Kirby is getting closer to the truth, as Harper returns again and again…
Historical Crime Fiction
After five years in an Australian penal colony, the Artful Dodger returns to London in search of a hidden fortune. Unaware of the fate that befell Twist, Fagin and Sykes, Dodger revisits the criminal underworld of Dickensian London to seek out his old comrades, any of whom might possess the key to the treasure.
He finds the city a changed place from his youth: with law and order upheld by a new police force, Fagin gone to the gallows, his old gang scattered and danger around every corner.
Alex Connor – Isle of the Dead (Quercus)
In 15th Century Venice it is a dangerous time to be alive. A permanent winter has rolled in over the canals and bodies keep washing up on the banks of the city, especially hard to identify, since they have been skinned.
In the present day, a famous portrait by Titian has been discovered of the 15th Century murderer Angelico Vespucci. It is rumoured that when the portrait arises, so will the man. And when flayed bodies start turning up all over the world, it looks like this is more than just a superstition.
Based in real historical events: mysterious poisonings, in which victims died, often unaware they had been attacked. Albia is now twenty-eight and an established female investigator.
We meet Albia’s personal circle, glimpse old haunts and hear of old friends, but the focus is on Albia herself, a tough, witty, winning personality who fearlessly tackles inhumanity and injustice, braving any risks and winning the friendship of unexpected allies.
A new killer is stalking the streets of London’s East End. Though newspapers have dubbed him ‘the Torso Killer’, this murderer’s work is overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel crimes.
Mayhem is a masterwork of narrative suspense: a supernatural thriller set in a shadowy, gaslit London, where monsters stalk the cobbled streets and hide in plain sight.
Fear stalks the town of Aberdeen as a ship recruiting for the wars lies at anchor in the river mouth. A sinister figure watches from the shadows as apprehension grows and culminates in the disappearance of the son of a Highland chief – a student of Alexander Seaton.
When the frozen body of a young woman is found in the garden of a prominent citizen, Alexander becomes more deeply embroiled. He realises that the figure in the shadows is known to him and has come for him. He can hide from his past no longer.
Steven Saylor – The Seven Wonders (Constable & Robinson Crime Fiction)
Steven Saylor, the bestselling author of Empire and Roma, turns the clock back to 92 BC, where Gordianus, just turned 18, is set to embark on the adventure of a lifetime: a far-flung expedition to see the Seven Wonders of the World, the most spectacular constructions ever devised by mankind. Accompanied by his tutor, the celebrated poet Antipater of Sidon, he will journey to the fabled cities of Greece and Asia Minor, to Babylon and Egypt.
In this compelling prequel, Gordianus is not yet called ‘The Finder’ – that title still belongs to his father. But at each of the Seven Wonders, the wide-eyed Roman encounters a mystery to challenge his deductive powers. Here is a portrait of a master sleuth in the making, the earliest exploits of the man who will become Rome’s most sought-after investigator.
Today we’re doing some time travel for my Anticipated Books posts by looking at historical fiction. I rediscovered historical fiction in 2011 and 2012 only strengthened my love for the genre, so here’s another list that’s become a little longer. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!
Isabella was the notorious warrior-queen who, along with her husband Ferdinand, transformed Spain forever. Popular belief has her as a religious fanatic persuaded into the horrific excesses of the Inquisition by her confessor, Torquemada; but C.W. Gortner paints a picture of her early life, showing us a headstrong, passionate girl who grew into the most powerful queen Spain ever knew and whose vision and imagination allowed Columbus to discover America.
Katherine Keenum – Where the Light Falls (Berkley)
At the dawning of the Belle Epoque, Paris attracts artists from everywhere, including Jeanette Palmer, daughter of a prominent Ohio family, who has left Vassar College under a cloud of scandal.
Amid the city’s great bohemian neighborhoods and studios, Jeanette meets an American Civil War veteran named Edward Murer. As she begins to achieve artistic success, Jeanette’s relationship with Edward begins to flourish—but he is plagued by addiction and personal demons. Just as the world opens its arms to Jeanette, she finds herself torn between pursuing a burgeoning career or following her heart.
Annabel Lyon – The Sweet Girl (Atlantic Books)
Pythias is her father’s daughter, right down to her hard, slate-grey eyes. Aristotle’s child should be content with a life of childbearing. But she is smart, able to match wits with a roomful of Athenian thinkers. Is she a freak or a harbinger of what women can really be?
When Aristotle finally dies, however, the orphaned sixteen-year-old Pythias quickly discovers that the world is not a place of logic, but one of superstition. To reach her full potential, Aristotle’s daughter will need every ounce of wit she possesses, but she must also learn, quickly, to nurture her capacity to love.
Perkin Warbeck is an ordinary young man in fifteenth-century Tournai. The son of a port official, he loves nothing more than swimming, singing and fishing with his father. But Perkin has a secret. His real name is Richard, and he is the rightful Prince of England.
Thought to have been murdered with his brother, Edward, in the Tower of London, he was covertly taken to the continent and placed with an adoptive family under an assumed identity. But when his enemies seek him out he must flee, and embarks on a new life of derring-do, sailing the high seas with the era’s greatest adventurers. But Richard cannot avoid his fate forever. He knows he must return to England, to assume the throne that is his birthright. But what for Richard is a homecoming, for the new king, Henry Tudor, is nothing less than an invasion, and ‘Perkin’ slowly comes to learn that the price of his goal is the blood of innocent men.
Tara Conklin – The House Girl (William Morrow)
Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: she must find the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.
It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine’s would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit—if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl’s faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina’s mother die? And why will he never speak about her?
Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice.
Elizabeth Gill – Miss Appleby’s Academy (Quercus)
Emma Appleby’s ordered and loving existence in New England comes to an abrupt and painful end with the death of her father. Emma plots her escape to the town in England where he was born. Opening an academy, she sets herself up in competition with the local school, provoking a savage response from the community. But she will not be deterred – even when her past catches up with her.
When young, aspiring playwright William Shakespeare encounters Lucy Morgan, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s ladies-in-waiting, his life is turned upside-down as the two fall passionately in love, He declares Lucy the inspiration for his work, but what secret is Will hising from his muse?
Meanwhile, Lucy has her own secret – and one that could destroy her world if exposed. For she bore witness to the clandestine wedding of the Queen’s cousin Lettice Knollys to Robert Dudley, rumoured to be the Queen’s lover. In a court where any slight against the monarch is considered treasonous, what will happen if Lucy’s secret is revealed?
With England in perilous times, Queen Elizabeth’s health begins to deteriorate, her throne under siege from Catholic plotters and threats of war with Spain. Faced with more than she can cope with, she longs for a confidante. But who can she turn to when those closest to her have proved untrustworthy?
Times have never been so precarious. And these two women, with polar-opposite lives, soon find that they are both in danger…
Lynn Shepherd – A Treacherous Likeness (Corsair)
This compelling follow-up to the acclaimed Tom-All-Alone’s sees the return of Charles Maddox in a new literary mystery that is inspired by the Young Romantics – the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife, Mary, author of Frankenstein, and Lord Byron, famously ‘mad, bad, and dangerous to know’. Beginning in London in 1850, the story takes the reader back through time and across Europe, to reveal the dark secrets and tangled lives of a dazzling but doomed generation. Drawing on rigorous research, Lynn Shepherd finds new and explosive answers to questions that even modern biographers of the Shelleys still cannot explain.
He is Queen Elizabeth’s last, perhaps her greatest, love – Robert Deveraux, Earl of Essex. Champion jouster, dashing general…and the man that John Lawley, England’s finest swordsman, most wishes to avoid. For John knows the other earl – the reckless melancholic – and has had to risk his life for him in battle one time too many.
All John wants is to be left alone to win back the heart of the woman he loves, be the kind of father that his son can look up to, and arrange the fight scenes for the magnificent new theatre, the Globe. To realise these dreams, John must dodge both Essex and his ruthless adversary for the queen’s affections, Robert Cecil, and remain free to help his oldest friend Will Shakespeare finish the play that threatens to destroy him: THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET.
But John is doomed by his three devils: whisky, women and Mad Robbie Deveraux. Despite every effort to evade the clutches of Elizabeth and her cohorts, John is soon enmeshed in the intrigues of court and dragged into the seemingly hopeless war in Ireland, forced to play his part in a deadly game of power and politics, conspiracy and rebellion.
From the scaffold of the Globe to the one in the Tower. From ambush in Ireland to even greater menace in Whitehall, John Lawley must strive to be – or not to be – the man who might just save England.
Richard Blake – The Ghosts of Athens (Hodder & Stoughton)
It is 612 AD and Aelric &8211; senator of the Roman Empire, fresh from a bloodbath in Egypt – is forced to divert the Imperial galley to Athens.
He finds a demoralized and corrupt provincial city threatened by and an army rumoured to contain twenty million starving barbarians.
Not to mention an explosive religious dispute, an unexplained corpse, and hints of something worse than murder…
He will have to call upon all his formidable intellect and lethal ingenuity to survive his enemies inside and outside the city walls…
Iain Gale – Keane’s Company (Heron Books)
James Keane, officer in the 27th Foot, card sharp, ladies’ man and one of the finest but most rebellious soldiers in the British army, is under threat of court martial for disobeying Wellesley’s strict rules. Buthis special, even ungentlemanly, skills have caught his general’s eye, so he is selected to form a unique unit which will work behind enemy lines.
Keane’s next task is to hand-pick his band of men, some from prison for their aptitude at lock-picking and forgery as well as fighting skills, and form them into an effective unit before being sent on their first intelligence-gathering special mission, this time to link up with a lethal Spanish guerrilla leader.
Stealing into Oporto, Keane’s men have to hold a vital post over the river a crossing against overwhelming forces, before being detached once more into the high mountains on another mission where the strains of the diverse characters of the unit test Keane’s leadership skills to the uttermost.
Tim Leach – The Last King of Lydia (Atlantic Books)
Croesus, once the richest man of the ancient world, remembers how he once asked the old philosopher, Solon, who was the happiest man alive? Croesus used to think it was him. Yet his wealth could not remove the spear from his dying son’s chest; could not make him as wise as his own slave; could not bring his wife’s love back; could not stop his army being torn apart, his kingdom defeated.
As the old philosopher replied, a man’s happiness can only be measured when he is dead. And Croesus is about to be burned alive.
Imogen Robertson – The Paris Winter (Headline)
Paris, 1909, Grieving the loss of her father, Maud travels to Paris to paint. Slipping into poverty, she is hired as a companion to young, beautiful Sylvie. But Sylvie is a prisoner in her own home, controlled by her addiction to opium. As Maud uncovers the secrets within this world of luxury, she is both fascinated and repelled by what she finds. Will she be able to resist the temptations of Paris and the seductions of wealth?
David Thomas – Killer at the End of the Line (Quercus)
Berlin, 1941: The battered remains of a woman: the seventh victim of a serial killer who has cast a pall of terror over the city. With SS-General Heydrich demanding immediate results, detective Georg Heuser races to catch the killer before he strikes again.
Minsk, 1942: Thousands of Jews arrive in cattle trucks. Among the policemen about to commit some of the most terrible crimes is detective Georg Heuser.
Koblenz 1962: One young lawyer closes in on her prey, and wonders – just how bad can a good man become?
Eva Weaver – The Puppet Boy of Warsaw (Weidenfeld)
Mika, a Jewish boy, inherits a coat from his grandfather and discovers a puppet in one of its many secret pockets. He becomes a puppeteer in the Warsaw ghetto, but soon his talent is discovered and Mika is forced to entertain the occupying German troops instead of his countrymen. There is one soldier, Max, with a heavy conscience, and when Max is handed one of Mika’s puppets, a war-torn legacy is passed from one generation to another.
Helene Wecker – The Golem and the Jinni (HarperCollins)
A marvelous and absorbing debut novel, an enchanting combination of vivid historical fiction and magical fable about two supernatural creatures in turn-of-the-century immigrant New York.
Christian Cameron – The Ill-Made Knight (Orion)
William Gold comes into the world as his family slides down the social ladder. His head filled with tales of chivalry, instead he is branded a thief, and must make do with being squire to his childhood friend Sir Robert, a knight determined to make a name for himself as a man at arms in France. While William himself slowly acquires the skills of knightly combat, he remains an outsider – until the Battle of Poitiers when Sir Robert is cut down by the greatest knight of the age, Sir Geoffry de Charny, and William, his lowly squire, revenges him. But with his own knight dead, no honour acrrues to William for this feat of arms, and he is forced to become a mercenary. Scavenging a mis-matched set of armour from the knightly corpses, he joins one of the mercenary companies now set to pillage a defenceless France, and so begins a bloody career that sees William joining forces with the infamous Sir John Hawkwood and immersing himself in a treacherous clandestine war among the Italian city states. But paradoxically it is there, among the spies, assassins and hired killers serving their ruthless masters, that William finally discovers the true meaning of chivalry – and his destiny as a knight.
Sarah Dunant – Blood and Beauty (Virago)
By the end of the fifteenth century, the beauty and creativity of Italy is matched by its brutality and corruption, nowhere more than in Rome and in the Church. When Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way into the papacy as Alexander VI, he is defined not just by his wealth or his passionate love for his illegitimate children, but by his blood: he is a Spanish Pope in a city run by Italians. If the Borgias are to triumph, this charismatic, consummate politician with a huge appetite for life, women and power must use papacy and family to succeed.
His eldest son Cesare, a dazzlingly cold intelligence and an even colder soul, is his greatest – though increasingly unstable – weapon. Later immortalised in Machiavelli’s The Prince, he provides the energy and the muscle. His daughter Lucrezia, beloved by both men, is the prime dynastic tool. Twelve years old when the novel opens, hers is a journey through three marriages: from childish innocence to painful experience, from pawn to political player.
Philip Kazan – Appetite (Orion)
Nino knows that having a passion is the key to surviving in Florence without losing yourself completely. But Nino’s greatest gift will be his greatest curse; every flavour, every ingredient comes alive for him as vividly as a painting. His desire to create the perfect recipe and his love for Tessina soon lead him into danger, and Nino is forced to battle his deadly sins.
Giles Kristian – Brothers’ Fury (Transworld)
Rebel Cast out from his home, rejected by his family, Tom Rivers returns to his regiment. But his former commander believes the young hothead’s recklessness and contempt for authority has no place in his troop. And yet to a spymaster like Captain Crafte, Tom’s dark and fearless nature is in itself a weapon to be turned upon the hated cavaliers. For who else would dare to infiltrate Oxford, now the Royalist capital, to destroy the King’s printing press and strike a blow at the very heart of the enemy?
Renegade Raw with grief at the death of his father, Edmund Rivers rejects the peace talks between Parliament and the King. Instead, he leads a ragged but hardened band of amrauders across the moors, appearing out of the frozen world to fall on unsuspecting rebel columns like wolves. But Prince Rupert, who recognizes in Mun a fellow child of war, has other uses for him, from stealing an enormous gun, to burrowing through mud beneath the walls of Lichfield. The only peace the enemy will get from Mun Rivers is that of the grave.
Huntress Her heart broken from the loiss of her beloved Emmanuel and her father, Bess Rivers must make the hardest decision of her life. Leaving her new-born son behind she rides from Sheer House seeking Lady Mary’s estranged father, for she hopes he will help her re-unite what is left of her broken family. Risking her own life on the road, Bess will do whatever it takes to find her brother Tom and secure his Royal pardon – can she douse the flames of her brothers’ fury and see them reconciled?
James MacManus – Black Venus (Thomas Dunne Books)
For readers who have been drawn to The Paris Wife or Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Black Venus captures the artistic scene in the great French city decades earlier, when the likes of Dumas and Balzac argued literature in the cafes of the Left Bank. Amongst the bohemians the young Charles Baudelaire stood out—dressed impeccably thanks to an inheritance that was quickly vanishing. Still at work on the poems which he hoped would make his name, he spent his nights enjoying the alcohol, opium, and women who filled the seedy streets of the city.
One woman would catch his eye—a beautiful Haitian cabaret singer named Jeanne Duval. Their lives would remain forever intertwined thereafter, and their romance would inspire his most infamous poems—leading to the banning of his masterwork Les Fleurs du Mal and a scandalous public trial for obscenity.
Black Venus recreates the classic Parisian literary world in vivid detail, complete with not just an affecting portrait of the famous poet but also his often misunderstood, much-maligned muse.
After a blighted childhood, young Laura finds peace and purpose in the home of a midwife and healer. Later, she enrolls in Salerno’s famed medical school—the first in the world to admit women. Laura and her adoptive mother hope that Laura can build a bridge between women’s herbal healing and the new science of medicine developing in thirteenth century Italy.
The hardest lessons are those of love; Laura falls hard for a fellow student who abandons her for a wealthy wife. Worse, her mother rejects her as “impure.” Shattered, Laura devotes herself to her work, becoming a respected medico. But her heart is still bitter, and when she sees a chance for revenge, she grabs it—and takes for her own Bieta, the newborn daughter of a woman whose husband regularly raided the physician’s garden for bitter herbs to satisfy his pregnant wife’s cravings.
Determined to protect her adored daughter from the ravages of the world, Laura isolates the young woman in a tower. Bieta, as determined as her mother, escapes, and finds adventure—and love—on the streets of Salerno.
Bieta’s betrayal of her mother’s love comes at a terrible price as lives are ruined and families are torn apart. Laura’s medical knowledge cannot heal her broken heart; only a great act of love can bring everyone forgiveness and peace.
M.J. Rose – Seduction (Atria)
In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, Hugo began participating in hundreds of of séances to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with the likes of Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus–and even the Devil himself. Hugo’s transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it was believed.
Recovering from her own losses, mythologist Jac L’Etoile arrives on the Isle of Jersey–wher Hugo conducted the séances–hoping to uncover a secret about the island’s Celtic roots. But the man who’s invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, has hopes she’ll help him discover something quite different–Hugo’s lost conversations with someone called the Shadow of the Sepulcher.
Royalism’s last hope is Sir Mortimer Shay, a ruthless veteran of decades of intrigue who must rebuild a credible threat to Cromwell’s rule, whatever the cost.
John Thurloe is a young official in Cromwell’s service. Confronted by the extent of the Royalists’ secret intelligence network, he will have to fight the true power reaching into every corner of society: the Comptrollerate-General for Scrutiny and Survey.
This stunning novel introduces an Eleanor that all other writers have missed. Based on the most up-to-date research, it is the first novel to show Eleanor beginning her married life at 13. Barely out of childhood, this gives an entirely new slant to how Eleanor is treated by those around her. She was often the victim and her first marriage was horribly abusive.
Overflowing with scandal, passion, triumph and tragedy, Eleanor’s legendary story begins when her beloved father dies in the summer of 1137, and she is made to marry the young prince Louis of France. A week after the marriage she becomes a queen and her life will change beyond recognition . . .
Eighteenth century Admiralty Regulations forbade women living on board ship, but many found ways around this. George served on a number of ships, both as a man and unmasked. As Nan narrates her mother’s history she becomes obsessed by the idea that Nelson could have been her father. She meets a young man, Baltic Nelson, who clings to the same belief. Could her mother’s wild stories really be true?
Edward Rutherfurd – Paris (Hodder & Stoughton)
Edward Rutherfurd, the world’s greatest writer of historical epics, turns his attention to Paris and the lives of the men and women who, in two thousand years, transformed a humble Roman trading post on the muddy banks of the Seine to the most beautiful and celebrated capital in the world.
From its founding under the Romans to the timeless love story of Abelard and Heloise and the martyrdom of Joan of Arc; from the gilded glories of the Bourbon kings to the horrors of the French Revolution; from the glittering Napoleonic empire to the Nazi occupation and the incredible efforts of the French Resistance: PARIS brings the sights, scents, and tastes of the City of Lights to sumptuous life.
Henry Venmore-Rowland – The Sword and the Throne (working title) (Transworld)
AD 69. Aulus Caecina Severus has thrown in his lot with the hedonistic Vitellius and prepares his legions for a gruelling march over the Alps.
Driven by the desire to repay the treachery of his former patron, the Emperor Galba, and to keep his rival Valens in check, Severus leads his army against barbarian rebellions and against the mountains themselves in his race to reach Italy first. With the vast Po valley almost in sight, news reaches the army that Galba has been killed in a coup, and that Otho has been declared Emperor by the Praetorians who he had bribed to murder their own emperor.
But there is no turning back for Severus, even if he wanted to. The Rhine legions want their man on the throne, and they won’t stop until they reach Rome itself. Even once Otho is defeated, the battle for supremacy between Severus and Valens is far from over. The politics of the court and the mob is the new battleground, and Severus needs the help of his wife Salonina and his freedman Totavalas in this constant game of thrones. When stories spread of a new power in the east, Severus has to decide where his real loyalty lies: to his Emperor, to his city or to himself?
Kate Worsley – She Rises (Bloomsbury)
It is 1740 and Louise Fletcher, a young maid, has been warned of the lure of the sea for as long as she can remember—after all, it stole away her father and brother. But when she is offered work in the bustling naval port of Harwich serving a wealthy captain’s daughter, she leaps at the chance to see more of the world. There she meets Rebecca, her haughty and fascinating mistress.
Intertwined with Louise’s story is that of fifteen-year-old Luke, who is beaten and press ganged, sent to sea against his will on board the warship Essex in the service of His Majesty’s Navy. He must learn fast and choose his friends well if he is to survive the brutal hardships of a sailor’s life and its many dangers, both up high in the rigging and in the dark decks down below.
The final post of my Anticipated Books (Summer/Fall) 2012 series is dedicated to Young Adult fiction. I’ve been working on reading more YA novels and I’ve read some fabulous ones so far this year, so here’s hoping the trend will continue for the second half of 2012! For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. This is the last Anticipated Books, tomorrow I’ll share my Anticipated Reads for the rest of the year.
Jody Lynn Anderson – Tiger Lily (Fantasy, HarperTeen)
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.
With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.
Lil Chase – Secrets, Lies & Locker 62 (Contemporary, Quercus)
Secrets have a special home at Mount Selwyn High. For years, students have posted their deepest desires and fears in Locker 62.
And then this locker is assigned to new girl Maya. She could use the knowledge to help people.
Or she could use it to become popular.
Maya, who was bullied, who has never been cool, who will do anything to be popular, is now the most powerful girl at school. What will she choose to do next?
Bethany Griffin – Masque of the Red Death (Fantasy, Indigo)
Death is impossible and living is impossibly hard for 17-year-old Araby Worth in this sexy, post-Apocalyptic reimagining of Poe’s gothic horror story of the same name.
It’s 1870 and a deadly virus has decimated the population of North America. Masked corpse-collectors roam the streets, removing the bodies before the contagion can spread. Though Araby tries to escape it all with drugs and parties, even at her most intoxicated she can’t forget her brother’s death – or her guilt for causing it.
But things begin to change when William, the fascinating proprietor of The Debauchery Club where she searches for oblivion, and Elliott, nephew of the insane dictator, enter her life. One wants her heart, and the other her name. Convinced that he has won over his uncle’s army, Elliott believes that having Araby on his arm will charm the populace into supporting a new government. After all, her father is the inventor of the mask which prevents the spread of the plague and saved civilisation – for those who can afford it.
… but Araby’s greatest interest is that his plans will make protective masks available to all citizens and, in particular, to Will’s young siblings, whom she has come to love despite herself. But nothing is what it seems. A new contagion called the Red Death is sweeping the city and a shocking revelation about the origin of the new virus puts Araby’s life in danger.
The mob wants her. The rebels want her. And both boys want her. In this superb two-book series, what and who Araby chooses may just decide the fate of humanity …
Gwenda Bond – Blackwood (Fantasy, Strange Chemistry)
On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.
Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.
Libba Bray – The Diviners (Supernatural crime, Atom)
It’s 1920s New York City. It’s flappers and Follies, jazz and gin. It’s after the war but before the depression. And for certain group of bright young things it’s the opportunity to party like never before.
For Evie O’Neill, it’s escape. She’s never fit in in small town Ohio and when she causes yet another scandal, she’s shipped off to stay with an uncle in the big city. But far from being exile, this is exactly what she’s always wanted: the chance to show how thoroughly modern and incredibly daring she can be.
But New York City isn’t about just jazz babies and follies girls. It has a darker side. Young women are being murdered across the city. And these aren’t crimes of passion. They’re gruesome. They’re planned. They bear a strange resemblance to an obscure group of tarot cards. And the New York City police can’t solve them alone.
Evie wasn’t just escaping the stifling life of Ohio, she was running from the knowledge of what she could do. She has a secret. A mysterious power that could help catch the killer – if he doesn’t catch her first.
Kim Curran – Shift (SF, Strange Chemistry)
When your average, 16-year old loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he’s not so average after all. He’s a ‘Shifter’. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world quickly starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.
Ellen Hopkins – Tilt (Contemporary, Margaret K. McElderry)
Three teens, three stories—all interconnected through their parents’ family relationships. As the adults pull away, caught up in their own dilemmas, the lives of the teens begin to tilt….
Mikayla, almost eighteen, is over-the-top in love with Dylan, who loves her back jealously. But what happens to that love when Mikayla gets pregnant the summer before their senior year—and decides to keep the baby?
Shane turns sixteen that same summer and falls hard in love with his first boyfriend, Alex, who happens to be HIV positive. Shane has lived for four years with his little sister’s impending death. Can he accept Alex’s love, knowing that his life, too, will be shortened?
Harley is fourteen—a good girl searching for new experiences, especially love from an older boy. She never expects to hurdle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be.
Martine Leavitt – My Book of Life by Angel (Contemporary, Margaret Ferguson Books)
When sixteen-year-old Angel meets Call at the mall, he buys her meals and says he loves her, and he gives her some candy that makes her feel like she can fly. Pretty soon she’s addicted to his candy, and she moves in with him. As a favor, he asks her to hook up with a couple of friends of his, and then a couple more. Now Angel is stuck working the streets at Hastings and Main, a notorious spot in Vancouver, Canada, where the girls turn tricks until they disappear without a trace, and the authorities don’t care. But after her friend Serena disappears, and when Call brings home a girl who is even younger and more vulnerable than her to learn the trade, Angel knows that she and the new girl have got to find a way out.
Gennifer Albin – Crewel (Fantasy, MacMillan)
Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.
Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
Katherine Applegate & Michael Grant – Eve and Adam (SF, Macmillan)
Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.
While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything… until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.
Cassandra Rose Clark – The Assassin’s Curse (Fantasy, Strange Chemistry)
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. And when Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn’t really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together. To break the curse, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks—all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic, and the growing romantic tension between them.
Sean Cummings – Poltergeeks (Fantasy, Strange Chemistry)
15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it’s pretty obvious to Julie there’s a supernatural connection.
In fact, there’s a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie’s high school, her mother falls victim to the spell Endless Night. Now it’s a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won’t just lose her mother’s soul, she’ll lose her mother’s life.
Jonathan L. Howard – Katya’s World (SF, Strange Chemistry)
The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent. Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history like that, though. She is making her first submarine voyage as crew; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career. There is nothing nice and simple about the deep black waters of Russalka, however; soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges. For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin, and when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet.
Ingrid Paulson – Valkyrie Rising (Fantasy, HarperTeen)
Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.
What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.
Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.
Annabel Pitcher – Ketchup Dreams (Contemporary, Indigo)
Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret – a dark and terrible secret that she can’t confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.
Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can – in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.