New Graphic Novels for August

This month we have a wonderful selection of new graphic novels that covers many genres. From mystery to science fiction, fantasy to thrilling suspense, and of course several first volumes of new series. All this and the typically brilliant variation in art work, provides a reading pleasure for all graphic novel enthusiasts.

Syndetics book coverKill or be killed. Volume one / Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser.
“The twisted story of a young man forced to kill bad people, and how he struggles to keep his secret from destroying his life. Both a thriller and a deconstruction of vigilantism.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverElias the cursed / Sylviane Corgiat [writer] & Corrado Mastantuono [artist].
“Fallen king Elias is on a quest to reclaim the face that was stolen from him by the mighty sorcerer Melchior. With the help of an unlikely gang, of all fantastical shapes and sizes, and amidst magic both good and evil, Elias The Cursed will attempt to save his face, and perhaps his soul.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeowulf : a graphic novel / by Santiago García and David Rubín ; edited by Image Comics ; translation, Sam Stone and Joe Keatinge.
“The myth of Beowulf, which has endured for a thousand years and inspired an epic poem of the same name, became a foundational piece of English literature. It tells of the tale of a Scandinavian hero in lands that would become what is now Denmark and Sweden: A monster, Grendel, has arrived in the kingdom of the Danes, devouring its men and women for 12 years until Beowulf arrives to save them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLaid waste / Julia Gfrörer.
“In a plague-ravaged medieval city, survival is a harsher fate than death. As corpses accumulate around her, Agnes, a young widow possessed of supernatural strength, must weigh her obligations to the dead and dying against her desire to protect what little remains. Laid Waste is a graphic novella about love and kindness among vermin in the putrid miasma at the end of the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlabaster : the good, the bad, and the bird / written by Caitlín R. Kiernan ; drawn by Daniel Warren Johnson.
“A new evil haunts the sun-scorched back roads and ghost towns of the American South, murderous twins who command a legion of ghouls. Once again, Dancy must face down demons, those who walk the world unchallenged and those in her own shattered mind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBy the numbers / Laurent Rullier, writer ; Stanislas Barthélémy, artist.
“The misadventures of Victor Levallois, a timid accountant that gets pulled into a life of danger. It all starts in 1948 when Victor is entrusted with an unusual errand: to deliver a suitcase to the port of Marseilles. But, when the suitcase is stolen, Victor finds himself bound for Saigon and the decadence, intrigue and ‘adventure’ of a colonial war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverClear blue tomorrows / Meyer, Gazzotti, Vehlmann.
“In the future, the entire population is under a de facto dictatorship because of cerebral implants invented by one F.G. Wilson. Nolan Ska, an engineer, manages to travel back in time, with the intention of changing history by encouraging Wilson’s first career as a novelist. But the man who will eventually become a seemingly immortal despot turns out to be a poor writer, and it will be up to Nolan to use his own memories to be his ghost writer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe abominable Mr. Seabrook / Joe Ollmann.
“In the early twentieth century, travel writing represented the desire for the expanding bourgeoisie to experience the exotic cultures of the world past their immediate surroundings. Journalist William Buehler Seabrook was emblematic of this trend-participating in voodoo ceremonies, riding camels cross the Sahara desert, communing with cannibals and most notably, popularizing the term “zombie” in the West. He had a list of bestselling books, but of course, there was a dark side. Seabrook was a barely functioning alcoholic who was deeply obsessed with bondage and the so-called mystical properties of pain and degradation. What led the popular and vivid writer to such a sad state? Cartoonist Joe Ollmann spent seven years researching Seabrook’s life, accessing long neglected archives in order to piece together the peripatetic life of a forgotten American writer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Spire / written by Simon Spurrier ; illustrated by Jeff Stokely.
“The Spire is a mountain of metal and stone, a vast city that rises out of the middle of the radioactive desert. Filled with twisting tunnels, grinding elevators, and ancient machinery, it is home to over a million human and non-human residents. Sha, the last of the species known as the Medusi, is responsible for keeping the hodgepodge of forgotten technology and new biology safe as Commander of the City Watch. But when a string of grisly murders are committed just as a new Baroness of the Spire is about to be sworn in, Sha will have to find the killer and bring that individual to justice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBalkans arena / Philippe Thirault [writer] & Jorge Miguel [artist] ; Mercedes Claire Gilliom, translator.
“When widowed former soldier Frank Sokol returns to his native Croatia with his Canadian-born son, Ben, he must face his estranged family and the ghosts of the civil war. When 11-year old Ben is kidnapped by the local mafia and forced into the underground world of illegal online cage-fighting, Frank will stop at nothing to get him back. But the cost may be even higher than he’s willing to pay, and his son could be changed forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The best of the best: must reads from this month’s fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverThe shadow district / Arnaldur Indriðason ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
The first of a new series, by this very popular mystery writer. With his skill of twisting plot, great character development and wonderful atmosphere, further books in this series will be longingly awaited.

Syndetics book coverHeloise / Mandy Hager.
An exceptionally well researched historical novel, from a very talented New Zealand writer. Set in early 16th century Paris, this is a story of romance, intrigue, and political change.

Syndetics book coverHow to survive in the North / Luke Healy.
With true life narratives from 1912, 1926 and a fictional story set in the present day, this stunning graphic novel is an unforgettable story of love and loss, and what it takes to survive in the harshest conditions.

Syndetics book coverThe wanderers / Meg Howrey.
A thought provoking science fiction novel about astronauts training for a mission to Mars and the repercussions this has on their inner and outer lives.

Syndetics book coverThe leavers : a novel / Lisa Ko.
An heart rendering, absorbing novel about belonging and rejection.

Longlist for the 2017 Man Booker Prize announced

Syndetics book coverThe judging panel for the 2017 Man Booker Prize have chosen 13 novels from the 144 submitted for this year’ longlist. The longlist includes four American authors, Paul Auster, George Saunders, Colson Whitehead, and debut novelist Emily Fridlund. One other debut novelist is Fiona Mozley from the United Kingdom.
Four of the longlisted authors have previously been shortlisted for this prize, but have never won; they are Sebastian Barry, Mohsin Hamid, Ali Smith and Zadie Smith.
The shortlist of six novels will be announced in September, with the winner of the £50,000 announced in October.

New ‘Other Genre’ fiction for July featuring NZ writers

New Zealand writers are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category. This selection highlights the diversity of subject and genres in New Zealand fiction, from historical to science fiction, romance to biographical, horror to contemporary New Zealand life. Highly recommended, both historical, are Heloise by Mandy Hager, her first adult novel and Through the Lonesome Dark by much acclaimed writer Paddy Richardson.

Syndetics book coverThe Nam legacy : a novel / Carole Brungar.
The Nam Legacy is an epic love story set during the ’60s and ’70s. When the Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane drove parents crazy, teenagers found sexual freedom and peace slogans covered placards. When Vietnam abducted the nation’s young men and sent them to fight in New Zealand’s most controversial campaign. After 18 months in Vietnam, New Zealand soldier Jack Coles thought killing others to stay alive would be the hardest thing he would ever have to live with. He was wrong. Although the nightmare of what he saw and did still haunts him constantly, what tortures him the most is what he has left behind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe last McAdam / Holly Ford.
“This romantic, irresistibly entertaining novel tells the story of Tess Drummond, who’s been sent to turn around the fortunes of a remote sheep and cattle station her employer has taken over. What Tess hasn’t counted on is coming up against the station’s handsome and charismatic head stockman, Nate McAdam, whose family owned the property for generations.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHeloise / Mandy Hager.
“What happens when the 12th century’s most famous French lovers are caught in the crossfire of factions, religious reform and zealotry? Heloise has an exceptional mind. In her determination to pursue learning rather than marriage or life as a cloistered nun, her path inevitably crosses with Peter Abelard, the celebrity philosopher, theologian and master at Paris’ famed Cathedral School. When two such brilliant minds meet and engage, sparks are likely to fly. But theirs is an impossible love. At a time when the Gregorian Reforms are starting to bite and celibacy among the clergy and church officials is being rigorously imposed, these two embark on an affair that will see their lives forever changed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmpress of the fall / David Hair.
“Emperor Constant is dead and his rivals are scrabbling for power, but any misstep could plunge the land, already devastated by the shocking outcome of the Third Crusade, into a calamitous civil war. The Imperial throne is not the only one in jeopardy. Two brothers, imprisoned veterans of the Crusades, finally return home to find their father’s kingdom being plundered but the price of regaining their birthright will have far-reaching implications for the entire empire.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGood sons : a novel of the Great War / Greg Hall
“In early 1914 Frank Wilson and his two close friends, Tom Davis and Robert Sutherland, are growing up in Oamaru in the South Island of New Zealand. The coming war in Europe arouses the hopes and dreams of a generation of young men. The pressure becomes irresistible and one by one the boys become soldiers. Frank delays his decision but in 1916 a strange encounter shocks him into enlisting. After a rapid coming-of-age in the training camps of the North Island the novel moves to France. A reunion, the insanity of a love affair in the midst of a terrible war and a brutal event set Frank on course for the best and worst days of his young life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInto the mist / Lee Murray.
“When New Zealand Defense Force Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army. Militant Tahoe separatists are active in the area, and with its cloying mist and steep ravines, the forest is a treacherous place in winter. Yet nothing has prepared Taine for the true danger that awaits them. They backtrack toward civilization, stalked by a prehistoric creature intent on picking them off one by one. With their weapons ineffective, the babysitting job has become a race for survival.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe suicide club / Sarah Quigley.
“When Bright is suddenly catapulted to fame, he can’t cope with the pressure. He decides to end it all by jumping from the 20th floor of a high-rise on his twentieth birthday. He’s saved by the quirky, eccentric Gibby, and soon the two boys find themselves in a love triangle, vying for the attention of the beautiful, brilliant, unreachable Lace, and also trying to protect her from harm. The three misfits, close to genius, close to the brink, travel from England to a beautiful old spa town in Bavaria. Here, in an experimental institution under the colourful Dr Geoffrey, the pressure mounts. Soon it’s no longer clear who’s in the greatest danger and who needs saving the most.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThrough the lonesome dark / Paddy Richardson.
“Blackball, West Coast, pre-World War I. For three youngsters; Pansy, Clem and Otto, life had an idyllic surface with a far from idyllic underside in this mining town. As a World War approaches, the harsh realities become apparent, just because you are smart and motivated there is no certainty that you can advance yourself in this world, especially if you are a girl. With a light hand on a dark time in history, Paddy Richardson navigates the territory between.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe insides of banana skins / Jane Seaford.
“Sukey, seventeen, lost and uncertain, shares a crowded, shabby flat with Kitty, who becomes a stripper, with Malc, a drug dealer, and Jaz, a drama student with sexual identity issues. Bridie, who lives downstairs, sells sex to support her two kids This is Sukey’s story, told from her point of view, about a young girl in a strange world and how she gradually learns to live in it.” (Adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverFive Strings / Apirana Taylor.
“Mack is a larger-than-life street philosopher and Puti’s a former gang member looking for something more. Together they’re at the bottom of the heap. They live out their lives in a haze of smoke and alcohol, accompanied by a host of other characters scraping by on the fringes of society. Will any of them be redeemed?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSouthern gold : survival and desire in a raw new land / Jude Thomas.
“Set in Dunedin and Central Otago during the gold rush period, from 1858 to1876. The story revolves around an illegitimate baby who is found on the road and brought up in the notorious community of Maclaggan Street. She grows into a singular girl, and into a young woman to be reckoned with. This is the story of courage and love against the odds.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Contemporary Fiction for July

With the large number of new fiction received this month, it was difficult to select only ten novels that will tempt readers. We hope that we have catered to most reader’s preferences, but all provide brilliant, exciting, and at times thought provoking reading. Highly recommended is Spoils: a novel by Iraq War veteran Brian Van Reet.

Syndetics book coverDragon teeth : a novel / Michael Crichton.
“The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe summer house party / Caro Fraser.
“In the gloriously hot summer of 1936, a group of people meet at a country house party. Then a shocking death puts an end to their revelry, changing everything in an instant.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEleanor Oliphant is completely fine / Gail Honeyman.
“No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe leavers : a novel / Lisa Ko.
“One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents’ desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe nothing / Hanif Kureishi.
“Waldo, a feted filmmaker, is confined by old age and ill health to his London apartment. Frail and frustrated, he is cared for by his lovely younger wife, Zee. But when he suspects that Zee is beginning an affair with Eddie, “more than an acquaintance and less than a friend for over thirty years,” Waldo is pressed to action: determined to expose the couple, he sets himself first to prove his suspicions correct and then to enact his revenge.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRich people problems : a novel / Kevin Kwan.
“When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside, but he’s not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park, a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore, the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises, as relatives’ claw over heirlooms.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fractured life of Jimmy Dice / Ronan Ryan.
“Jimmy is born a twin, and while he doesn’t know it, his nearest sibling has stayed with him forever, overseeing the drama of his life played out and acting as a narrative voice. When young, Jimmy loses a lower limb to a starving attack dog, the first of many disasters and one that shapes him to become a chancer, a willful man unafraid to stand up to a notorious Dublin gangster but also a young man with heart and belief: a loyal son, a good friend, a courageous brother and a sweet and passionate lover.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKruso / Lutz Seiler ; translated by Tess Lewis.
“It is 1989, and a young literature student named Ed, fleeing unspeakable tragedy, travels to the Baltic island of Hiddensee. On the island, Ed stumbles upon the Klausner, Hiddensee’s most popular restaurant, and ends up washing dishes there, despite his lack of papers. Ed feels drawn towards the charismatic Kruso, unofficial leader of the seasonal workers. He is on a mission, but to what end, and at what cost? Ed finds himself drawn ever deeper into the island’s rituals, and ever more in need of Kruso’s acceptance and affection. As the wave of history washes over the German Democratic Republic, the friends’ grip on reality loosens and life on the island will never be the same.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe women in the castle / Jessica Shattuck.
“Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpoils : a novel / Brian Van Reet.
“It is April 2003. American forces have taken Baghdad and are now charged with winning hearts and minds. But this vital tipping point is barely recognized for what it is, as a series of miscalculations and blunders fuels the already smoldering insurgency intent of making Iraq the next graveyard of empires. This novel explores the lives on both sides of the battle lines: Cassandra Wigheard, a nineteen-year-old gunner on an American Humvee who is captured during a deadly firefight and awakens in a prison cell; Abu Al-Hool, a lifelong Mujahedeen beset by a simmering crisis of conscience as he struggles against enemies from without and within, including the next wave of far more radicalized jihadists; and Specialist Sleed, a tank crewman who goes along with a “victimless” crime, the consequences of which are more awful than any he could have imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mystery novels for July

There are several translated mystery novels included in this month’s selection from our recently received material. Highly recommend is the latest mystery from the very popular Icelandic writer Arnaldur Indriason, titled The Shadow District.

Syndetics book coverLove me not / M. J. Arlidge.
“A woman’s body lies in the road. At first it looks like a tragic accident. But when Helen Grace arrives on the scene it’s clear she’s looking at a coldblooded killing. But why would anyone target a much-loved wife and mother? Across town, a shopkeeper is killed while his customers are left unharmed. But what lies behind the killer’s choices? Who’s next? The clock is ticking. If Helen can’t solve this deadly puzzle then more blood will be shed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe shadow district / Arnaldur Indriðason ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
“In wartime Reykjavik, a young woman is found strangled behind the National Theatre, a rough and dangerous area of the city known as ‘the shadow district’. An Icelandic detective and a member of the American military police are on the trail of a brutal killer. In the present a 90-year-old man is discovered dead on his bed, smothered with his own pillow. Konrad, a former detective now bored with retirement, finds newspaper cuttings in the dead man’s home reporting the shadow district murder that date back to the second world war. Why, after all this time, would an old crime resurface? Did the police arrest the wrong man? How are these cases linked across the decades?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLove like blood / Mark Billingham.
“DI Nicola Tanner needs Tom Thorne’s help. Her partner, Susan, has been brutally murdered and Tanner is convinced that it was a case of mistaken identity, that she was the real target. The murderer’s motive might have something to do with Tanner’s recent work on a string of cold-case honor killings she believes to be related. Tanner is now on compassionate leave but insists on pursuing the case off the books and knows Thorne is just the man to jump into the fire with her. He agrees but quickly finds that working in such controversial territory is dangerous in more ways than one. When a young couple goes missing, they have a chance to investigate a case that is anything but cold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCorpus / Rory Clements.
“1936. Europe is in turmoil. The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland. In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror. Spain has erupted in civil war. In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers. In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division. When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe night bird / Brian Freeman.
“Homicide detective Frost Easton doesn’t like coincidences and when a series of bizarre deaths rock San Francisco, as seemingly random women suffer violent psychotic breaks, Frost looks for a connection that leads him to psychiatrist Francesca Stein. Frankie’s controversial therapy helps people erase their most terrifying memories and all the victims were her patients. As Frost and Frankie carry out their own investigations, the case becomes increasingly personal and dangerous. Long-submerged secrets surface as someone called the Night Bird taunts the pair with cryptic messages pertaining to the deaths.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStill dark / Alex Gray.
“Called to a house after gunshots are reported, the carnage Detective Superintendent William Lorimer finds there leaves him traumatized and questioning his future with Police Scotland. Meanwhile, the body count is rising on Glasgow’s streets. A number of known addicts are dying from accidental overdoses, but something’s not adding up. Where would the city’s poorest residents get hold of high-quality morphine? As Lorimer struggles to return to duty, he spots a link between the deaths and a previous case involving the euthanasia of vulnerable patients. It seems the man responsible has resurfaced and this time he’s got the backing of a dangerous criminal from Glasgow’s underworld. Can Lorimer and his team get the killer off the streets for good before more innocent people die?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOdd numbers : a Hanne Wilhelmsen novel / Anne Holt ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
“On an early April afternoon, a bomb goes off in the Islamic Cooperation Council’s offices in Oslo, killing twenty-three people. The Police and Security Service suspect an extremist organization to be responsible for the attack, a suspicion that grows stronger when threats of yet another, bigger explosion reach the authorities. As a special adviser on cold cases, Hanne Wilhelmsen has cut all of her official ties to the Security Service and lives contentedly with her partner and their young daughter. A small computer monitor is Hanne’s only window to the outside until the day of the attacks, when her closed-off world is broken open. As the mood of the city darkens, Hanne realizes that Oslo is up against forces far more terrible and menacing than ever before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA cold case in Amsterdam Central / Anja de Jager.
“Detective Lotte Meerman is convinced the death of Frank Stapel, a painter and decorator, isn’t an accident after she and his widow Tessa find a skeleton in a sports bag in his left luggage locker at Amsterdam Central train station. The remains date from the Second World War and Lotte’s colleagues consider it of minor importance until forensic tests show that amongst the bones is the arm bone of a crime boss who recently went missing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNeed you dead / Peter James.
“What does it take for a decent man to turn into a killer? Greg, a married man, has been having an affair for three years with another man’s wife. One evening, after a fight with her at their rented love nest, he storms out. When he returns an hour later she is dead. Did he kill her in a fit of rage and blank it out, or did someone else do it while he was out of the building? Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of the Sussex Police, assigned to the case, soon discovers that there is more than one person who had a reason to kill her. But only one man has the most to lose and when his marriage and career are at stake, what lengths will he go to protect all that he holds dear? And what will he do next?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNightblind / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
“The peace of a close-knit Icelandic community is shattered by the murder of a policeman shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark Arctic waters closing in, it falls to Ari Thor to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik where someone is being held against their will.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for July

This month’s selection from the Science Fiction and Fantasy novels recently added to our collection includes nearly everything from magic to murder, alternative histories to life on other planets, from astronautics to robots. There will be many hours of reading pleasure for enthusiasts of this genre.

Syndetics book coverFlames of rebellion / Jay Allan.
“The planet Haven slides closer to revolution against its parent nation, Federal America. Everett Wells, the fair-minded planetary governor, has tried to create a peaceful resolution, but his failure has caused the government to send Asha Stanton, a ruthless federal operative, to quell the insurgency. Wells quickly realizes that Stanton has the true power and two battalions of government security troops, specifically trained to put down unrest, under her control. Unlike Wells, Stanton is prepared to resort to extreme methods to break the back of the gathering rebellion, including unleashing Colonel Robert Semmes, the psychopathic commander of her soldiers, on the Havenites. But the people of Haven have their own ideas.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRotherweird / Andrew Caldecott ; illustrated by Sasha Laika.
“The town of Rotherweird stands alone, there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant-garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird’s independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history. For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused. But secrets have a way of leaking out. Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town’s long-derelict Manor House.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVanguard / Jack Campbell.
“Earth is no longer the center of the universe. After the invention of the faster-than-light jump drive, humanity is rapidly establishing new colonies. But the vast distances of space mean that the old order of protection and interstellar law offered by Earth has ceased to exist. When a nearby world attacks, the new colony of Glenlyon turns to Robert Geary, a young former junior fleet officer, and Mele Darcy, a onetime enlisted Marine. With nothing but improvised weapons and a few volunteers, Geary and Darcy must face down warships and armored soldiers, or die trying. This is the first volume in a new series title Genesis fleet.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStandard Hollywood depravity / Adam Christopher.
“The moment Raymond Electromatic set eyes on her, he knew she was the dame marked in his optics, the woman that his boss had warned him about, Honey. As the band shook the hair out of their British faces, stomping and strumming, the go-go dancer’s cage swung, and the events of that otherwise average night were set in motion. A shot, under the cover of darkness, a body bleeding out in a corner, and most of Los Angeles’ population of hired guns hulking, sour-faced over un-drunk whiskey sours at the bar. But as Ray tries to track down the package he was dispatched to the club to retrieve, his own programming might be working against him, sending him down a long hall and straight into a mobster’s paradise. Is Honey still the goal, or was she merely bait for a bigger catch?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wanderers / Meg Howrey.
“The best of Helen Kane exists in space. If she doesn’t go back up, she’ll be consigned to a lesser version of herself on a planet that has also seen better days. Helen is an experienced astronaut with a NASA position and a struggling grown-up daughter who needs her but when, at fifty-three, she is offered a place on the training program for the first mission to Mars, the most realistic simulation ever, she cannot refuse a last chance to walk among the stars. How far will the wanderers travel in the pursuit of endeavor, and what will it be like to come home?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNemesis / Alex Lamb.
“Years ago, one starship and its crew discovered an alien entity which changed everything. Its discovery finally bought an end to the interstellar war being fought between the masses of humanity and the few pockets of genetically engineered colonists. An uneasy peace was negotiated as the human race realized there was something else sharing our universe. But the aliens have remained silent. The earth people have begun to test the edges of the peace treaty. Will, once a roboteer, once a human, now the most powerful being alive, has been sidelined and ignored. And a system-wide conspiracy threatens to plunge humanity back into war. Now one man, his head full of alien technology that lets him interact with machinery, must get to the bottom of the plot, find out what the aliens want, stop the oncoming war and save Will. His journey will uncover a new threat to humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVoid star / Zachary Mason.
“Not far in the future the seas have risen and the central latitudes are emptying, but it’s still a good time to be rich in San Francisco, where weapons drones patrol the skies to keep out the multitudinous poor. Irina isn’t rich, not quite, but she does have an artificial memory that gives her perfect recall and lets her act as a medium between her various employers and their AIs, which are complex to the point of opacity. Thales is from a different world entirely-the mathematically inclined scion of a Brazilian political clan, he’s fled to L.A. after the attack that left him crippled and his father dead. A ragged stranger accosts Thales and demands to know how much he can remember. Irina finds a secret in the reflection of a laptop’s screen in her employer’s eyeglasses. None are safe as they’re pushed together by subtle forces that stay just out of sight.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dispatcher / John Scalzi.
” This noir novella will be a surprise for Scalzi’s fans, who are used to his relatively sunny Heinleinesque yarns. Exploring how people in a near-future society would adjust to one enormous change in the basic facts of human life: unaccountably but inescapably, death is no longer permanent. Specifically, humans who die naturally or commit suicide stay dead, but those who are murdered revive. Therefore, to save lives, government “dispatchers” are appointed to kill people who are about to die. Dispatcher Tony Valdez is comfortable with that role until the disappearance of a fellow dispatcher forces him to reconsider how his own grey-area activities have exploited the new rules of life and death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rise and fall of D.O.D.O / Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.
“When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidentally meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and human history itself. Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. Something about the modern world “jams” the “frequencies” used by magic, and it’s up to Tristan to find out why. And so the Department of Diachronic Operations–D.O.D.O.–gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that can bring magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive. and meddle with a little history at the same time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPawn : a chronicle of the Sibyl’s War / Timothy Zahn.
“Nicole Lee’s life is going nowhere. No family, no money, and stuck in a relationship with a thug named Bungie. But, after one of Bungie’s “deals” goes south, he and Nicole are whisked away by a mysterious moth-like humanoid to a strange ship called the Fyrantha .Once aboard, life on the ship seems too good to be true. All she has to do is work on one of the ship’s many maintenance crews. However, she learned long ago that nothing comes without a catch. Nicole soon discovers that many different factions are vying for control of the Fyrantha , and she and her friends are merely pawns in a game beyond their control. But, she is tired of being used, and now Nicole is going to fight.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Graphic Novels for July

Another wonderful selection from our recently received new Graphic Novels. Included are the first volumes in two new series that are bound to become readers’ favourites. The first is action packed, titled Klaus and written by the brilliant, prolific Grant Morrison, and the second is a survivalist story titled The Empty by Jimmie Robinson.

Syndetics book coverAt the shore / story and art by Jim Campbell.
“Bernard, Dean, and Jorge look forward to some serious Frisbee-tossing and are psyched when Astrid shows up to swim, but Gabi is so freaked out she doesn’t want to leave the car. Why is Gabi demanding they head home before dark? Maybe if anyone paid attention to her childhood tales of seaweed harvesting, they’d know something lurks beneath the waves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBand for life / Anya Davidson.
“This is a graphic novel about a noise rock band, based in an alternate reality version of Chicago, and their community of friends and acquaintances. Though beset with disaster at every turn and frequently reduced to squabbling, they stick together because the band is the core of their existence, and they help each other find their way.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCreatures of the night / story, Neil Gaiman ; art, Michael Zulli.
“In The Price, a mysterious feline engages in a nightly conflict with an unseen, vicious foe. The Daughter of Owls recounts an eerie tale of a beautiful orphan girl who was found clutching an owl pellet and how those who did her wrong would face bizarre, unforeseen consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to survive in the North / Luke Healy.
“With stunning narrative skill, this compelling graphic novel intricately weaves together true-life narratives from 1912, 1926 and a fictional story set in the present day. How To Survive in the North is an unforgettable journey of love and loss, showing the strength it takes to survive in the harshest conditions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEinstein : an illustrated biography / Corinne Maier, Anne Simon.
“This is the third in Corinne Maier and Anne Simon’s collection of graphic novels exploring the lives of some of the most influential figures in modern history. lAlbert Einstein, the German-born physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He is considered the most influential physicist of the twentieth century.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKlaus / written by Grant Morrison ; illustrated by Dan Mora.
“He’s a myth. He’s a legend. He’s loved worldwide by children and adults alike but does anyone truly know the origins of Santa Claus? Set in a dark fantastic past of myth and magic, Klaus tells the origin story of Santa Claus. It’s the tale of one man and his wolf against a totalitarian state and the ancient evil that sustains it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEchoes / story, Mike Richardson ; art, Gabriel Guzmán.
“To prevent a murder, would you become a murderer? Troubled charter pilot Fred Martin is caught in a bizarre and violent storm and loses control of his aircraft. Martin later awakens unharmed only to discover that he is thirty years in the past with the impossible opportunity to right the terrible wrong that ruined his future.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe empty. Volume one / created, written, illustrated, lettered, and colored by Jimmie Robinson.
“Tanoor is a hunter struggling to feed her village in an apocalyptic world of poison and decay, but Tanoor finds hope when she discovers a stranger named Lila who has the ability to grow life from death, a power that could change the world of The Empty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMuhammad Ali / written by Sybille Titeux de la Croix ; illustrated by Amazing Ameziane.
“Cassius Clay is a kid who rushes into boxing by accident, following the theft of his bike. Clay becomes Muhammad Ali, and his talent for the sport is proven when he wins an Olympic Gold Medal. The World Heavyweight Champion never takes a hit without fighting back. Civil Rights activist, contemporary of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, Ali is one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Zone Continuum / script, art, and cover, Bruce Zick.
“High atop the New York City skyline, an invisible war has raged for generations. As two nigh-immortal champions brawl for dominance of the ever shrinking extra-dimensional Zone 27, the populace below remains oblivious of the cataclysm that could cause their annihilation from the rooftops above.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Graphic novels

This selection of new graphic novels is unique in that is consists almost entirely of first volumes in new series. There will be many narratives that will keep readers anticipating the next installments. Highly recommended is the first volume of the cult hit by Ryan Ottley titled Grizzlyshark.

Syndetics book coverSurvivors’ Club / Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen, writers ; Ryan Kelly, artist ; Inaki Miranda, guest artist.
“In 1987 a wave of horrors struck six communities around the globe. Six traumatized kids survived those events, and grew up haunted by what happened to them. Almost 30 years later, the six survivors are drawn together in Los Angeles to confront a terrifying childhood nightmare that has returned, bringing up their own traumas and dragging their dark secrets into the light. Somehow, they’re all connected. But when personal horrors collide, they’ll be forced to confront one another’s demons.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHellbreak. Volume one, Don’t look back / written by Cullen Bunn ; illustrated by Brian Churilla.
“There are thousands of Hells, each unique, each terrible. Mega-cities ruled by vicious gangs, empires where the most perverse are well-respected. Wastelands roamed by prehistoric monstrosities. With the proper tools and know-how, you can infiltrate Hell, whether you’re dead or not, and break out. Project Kerberos has developed this forbidden technology, and a special-forces extraction team is dispatched to rescue lost souls from the infernal realm.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaints : the Book of Blaise / writer, Sean Lewis ; created by Sean Lewis & Benjamin Mackey ; artist, Benjamin Mackey.
“When a group of misfits discover themselves to be there-incarnations of Catholic Saints they must put aside their differences to battle the fallen angel Michael and his army of Doomsday Zealots.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJustice League. Volume 1, Origin / Geoff Johns, writer ; Jim Lee, penciller ; Scott Williams, inker.
“In a world where inexperienced superheroes operate under a cloud of suspicion from the public, loner vigilante Batman has stumbled upon a dark evil that threatens to destroy the earth as we know it. Now, faced with a threat far beyond anything he can handle on his own, the Dark Knight must trust an alien, a scarlet speedster, an accidental teenage hero, a space cop, an Amazon Princess and an undersea monarch. Will this combination of Superman, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Aquaman be able to put aside their differences and come together to save the world? Or will they destroy each other first?” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverGrizzlyshark / Ryan Ottley, story, art, & letters.
“The long awaited and blood-splattered Grizzleyshark trilogy. What began as cult hit one shot comic is now a full color slaughter-fest that contains, continues and concludes the bloody adventures of the world’s most feared animal: the Grizzleyshark.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Tomorrows [1] / story, Curt Pires ; art, Jason Copland, Alexis Ziritt, Ian MacEwan, Andrew MacLean, Liam Cobb, Kevin Zeigler.
“The Future: art is illegal. Everything everyone ever posted online has been weaponized against them. The reign of The Corporation is quickly becoming as absolute as it is brutal unless The Tomorrows can stop it. Artists, terrorists, they fight with explosives, they fight with ideas, they fight to reclaim the future we sold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBig man plans / written by Eric Powell & Tim Wiesch ; art by Eric Powell.
“The complete brutal and heartbreaking revenge tale.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTokyo ghost. Volume one, The atomic garden / written by Rick Remender ; art by Sean Murphy.
“The Isles of Los Angles 2089, humanity is addicted to technology. Getting a virtual buzz is the only thing left to live for, and gangsters run it all. And who do these gangsters turn to when they need their rule enforced? Constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay are about to be given a job that will force them out of the familiar squalor of LA and into the last tech-less country on Earth: The Garden Nation of Tokyo.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHopeless Savages [4] : break / written by Jen Van Meter ; illustrated by Meredith McClaren.
“All the Hopeless-Savages are back in this fourth volume of the critically-acclaimed series! Zero’s in college (and hating it), though a tour with the Dusted Bunnies promises to rejuvenate her spirits, at least, that’s what she’s telling her therapist. But a rival band threatens to end the tour early, and without her family, Zero’s is in no position to fight back. Meanwhile, the rest of the Hopeless-Savages are dealing with their own problems, including babies, contracts, and drug addictions. But if there’s one family who can pull it all off, it’s this one.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShaft [1] : a complicated man / written and lettered by David F. Walker ; illustrated by Bilquis Evely.
“Created by author Ernest Tidyman and made famous in a series of novels and films, iconic hero Shaft makes his graphic novel debut in an all-new adventure. Who was John Shaft before he became the hard boiled investigator with a reputation as big as New York City itself? After recently arriving home from his tour of duty in Vietnam, his first case is tracking down a missing person for his girlfriend that quickly turns into a matter of life and death, making him a target of gangsters and the police.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New ‘Other Genres’, this month featuring Historical Fiction

Recently received historical novels are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category. Included are three translated historical novels, and the latest novel by Colm Toibin, a re-working of Greek mythology. Highly recommended is The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve, set in Maine in 1947.

Syndetics book coverThe revolution of the moon / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Sicily, 1677. From his deathbed, Charles III’s viceroy, the marquis of Castle Rodrigo, names his wife as his successor. Eleanora de Moura is a highly intelligent and capable woman who immediately applies her political acumen to heal the scarred soul of Palermo, a city afflicted by poverty, misery and the frequent uprisings that are their consequences. But the machinations of powerful men soon result in Donna Eleanora, whom the Church sees as a dangerous revolutionary, being recalled to Spain. Her rule lasted 27 days, the exact time it takes for the moon to complete a cycle.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe principle / Jérôme Ferrari ; translated from the French by Howard Curtis.
“Beguiled by the figure of German physicist Werner Heisenberg, who, with his notorious uncertainty principle disrupted the assumptions behind quantum mechanics, earning him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1932, a young, disenchanted philosopher attempts to right his own intellectual and emotional course, and take the measure of the evil at work in the contemporary world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe confessions of young Nero / Margaret George.
“In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman, or child. As a boy, Nero’s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead. While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina’s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero’s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become an Emperor who became legendary.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe evening road / Laird Hunt.
“Ottie Lee Henshaw, is a startling, challenging beauty in small-town Indiana. Quick of mind, she navigates a stifling marriage, a lecherous boss, and on one day in the summer of 1930 an odyssey across the countryside to witness a dark and fearful celebration. Calla Destry is a determined young woman desperate to escape the violence of her town and to find the lover who has promised her a new life. On this day, the countryside of Jim Crow-era Indiana is no place for either. It is a world populated by frenzied demagogues and crazed revelers, by marauding vigilantes and grim fish suppers, by possessed blood hounds and, finally, by the Ku Klux Klan itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe patriots : a novel / Sana Krasikov.
“When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe frozen hours : a novel of the Korean War / Jeff Shaara.
“June 1950. The North Korean army invades South Korea, intent on uniting the country under Communist rule. In response, the United States mobilizes a force to defend the overmatched South Korean troops, and together they drive the North Koreans back to their border with China. But several hundred thousand Chinese troops have entered Korea, laying massive traps for the Allies. In November 1950, the Chinese spring those traps. Allied forces, already battling stunningly cold weather, find themselves caught completely off guard as the Chinese advance around the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. A force that once stood on the precipice of victory now finds itself on the brink of annihilation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe stars are fire / Anita Shreve.
“In October 1947, after a summer long drought, fires break out all along the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Kittery and are soon racing out of control from town to village. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her husband, Gene, joins the volunteer firefighters. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie’s two young children, Grace watches helplessly as their houses burn to the ground, the flames finally forcing them all into the ocean as a last resort. The women spend the night frantically protecting their children, and in the morning find their lives forever changed: homeless, penniless, awaiting news of their husbands’ fate, and left to face an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists. In the midst of this devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms, joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain. And then the unthinkable happens and Grace’s bravery is tested as never before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHouse of names / Colm Toibin.
“Judged, despised, cursed by gods she has long since lost faith in, the murderess Clytemnestra tells of the deception of Agamemnon, how he sacrificed her eldest daughter, her beloved Iphigenia, to the Trojan campaign; how Clytemnestra used what power she had, seducing the prisoner Aegisthus, turning the government against its lord; plotting the many long years until her beacon fires announce the king’s return. Electra, daughter of a murdered father, loyal subject of the rightful king, studies Clytemnestra and her lover with cold anger and slow-burning cunning. She watches as they walk the gardens and corridors of the palace. She waits for the traitors to become complacent, to believe they are finally safe; she waits for her exiled brother, Orestes, for the boy to become a warrior, for fate to follow him home. She watches and she waits, until her spies announce her brother’s return.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRetribution Road / Antonin Varenne ; translated from the French by Sam Taylor.
“Burma, 1852. Arthur Bowman, a sergeant in the East India Company, is sent on a secret mission during the Second Anglo-Burmese War. But the expedition is foiled, his men are captured and tortured. Throughout their ordeal, a single word becomes Bowman’s mantra, a word that will stiffen their powers of endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering: “Survive”. But for all that, only a small number escape with their lives. Some years later in London, battling his ghosts through a haze of alcohol and opium, Bowman discovers a mutilated corpse in a sewer. The victim appears to have been subjected to the same torments as Bowman endured in the Burmese jungle. And the word “Survive” has been daubed in blood by the body’s side. Persuaded that the culprit is one of the men who shared his captivity, Bowman resolves to hunt him down.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnne Boleyn : a king’s obsession / Alison Weir.
“The second captivating novel in the series. An unforgettable portrait of the ambitious woman whose fate we know all too well, but whose true motivations may surprise you. Fresh from the cultivated hothouse of Renaissance France, Anne draws attention at the English court. A nobleman, a poet and a king vie for her love. She has a spirit worthy of a crown and a crown is what she seeks. It is a more powerful aphrodisiac than love. So she embarks on her perilous course, which will plunge a kingdom into turmoil.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)