The latest New Zealand Fiction

From Short Stories to Science Fiction and Fantasy, this selection of new fiction show cases the diversification and skill of New Zealand writers.

cover imageGeist / Philippa Ballantine.
“The first in a new series. Between the living and the dead is the Order of the Deacons, protectors of the Empire, guardians against possession, sentinels enlisted to ward off malevolent hauntings by the geists. Sorcha Faris , a powerful member of the Order of the Deacons, is dispatched to an isolated village to aid a Priory plagued by violent Geist activity.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA man melting : short stories / Craig Cliff.
“This collection of stories moves from the serious and realistic to the humorous and outlandish, each story copying an element from the previous piece in a kind of evolutionary chain. “A Man Melting” was awarded the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTortolona / Thomas W. Devine.
“Seven Caribbean tourists become pawns in the struggle for ideological and political control of Tortolona when a Cuban-trained army officer, Martin Levera, seeks to overthrow the dictatorship of Mathew Duppie. When Levera lead his mutineers aggainst the rest of the Tortolonan Army all their lives are in peril whatever the outcome.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe below country / Nicholas Edlin.
“Mae Glass is the daughter of a once famous American novelist. From New York to Auckland via post-war Korea, her colourful childhood is itself the stuff of stories. More than thirty years later she travels back to booming Seoul, which is preparing to host the Olympic Games. Accompanied by a quirky, dubious team of guides, she tries to uncover the dark secret of her father’s wartime exploits, only to be besieged by all manner of ghost from her past.” – (adapted from Book cover )

Syndetics book coverThe circus of ghosts / Barbara Ewing.
“New York, late 1840s, and in the wild, noisy, brash and beautiful circus of Silas P. Swift a shadowy, mesmeric woman entrances crowds because she can unlock the secrets of troubled minds. Above them all her daughter sweeps and soars: acrobat and tightrope-walker. The mysterious woman can help so many others, but she cannot unlock dark, literally unspeakable, memories of her own. In London memories fester in the mind of an old and venomous duke of the realm. He plots, with an unscrupulous lawyer (and a huge financial reward) against the mother and the daughter: to kill one, and to abduct the other and bring her across the Atlantic to him”. – (adapted from description)

Syndetics book coverThe trouble with fire / Fiona Kidman.
“This collection of short stories range in time from the colonial period to present day New Zealand, all written with subtlety and insight. They explore how we are all touched and sometimes scarred by the flames of emotion.” – (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe conductor / Sarah Quigley.
“In June 1941, Nazi troops march on Leningrad and surround it. Hitler’s plan is to shell, bomb, and starve the city into submission. Most of the cultural elite are evacuated early in the siege, but Dmitri Shostakovich, the most famous composer in Russia, stays on to defend his city, digging ditches and fire-watching. At night he composes a new work. But after Shostakovich and his family are forced to evacuate, only Karl Eliasberg, a shy and difficult man, conductor of the second-rate Radio Orchestra, and an assortment of musicians are left behind in Leningrad to face an unendurable winter and start rehearsing the finished score of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony.” – (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverScarlet / Leigh Marsden.
“George is captivated by Cass and who could blame her? Cass is beautiful, sexy and outgoing and she and George run riot through the bars and beds of night-time Auckland. But are George and Cass just girls having fun, or is there something more going on? As George sinks deeper into the nightlife her dark past begins to emerge.” – (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe sweet second life of Darrell Kincaid / Catherine Robertson.
“No one knows ‘happy endings’ like romance novelist Darrell Kincaid. In the act of adding the final full stop to her ninth book, Darrell has a revelation: it’s not the ending that really matters but what comes next. Darrell now sees that when her husband Tom died she lost more than the man she loved. She lost her own ‘happy ever after’. Darrell knows she has a choice. She can stay in New Zealand and live a half-life, or she can leave in search of something, perhaps someone else.” – (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverBy any means / Ben Sanders.
“Friday rush hour, Auckland city. A lone shooter fires across a packed street and kills a man. Detective Sergeant Sean Devereaux is assigned the case. He’s not complaining, his Friday nights are seldom better spent. But the inquiry is not straightforward. Witness accounts are conflicting. The dead man appears to be an unintended victim, with the true target unknown. It’s a homicide that leaves police with no initial suspects and no apparent motive.” – (adapted from Book cover)

Recent New Zealand Fiction

This month’s selection ranges from historical fiction, to science fiction and speculative fiction; from Te Rauparaha to post-apocalyptic futures and strange creatures loose in Miramar.

Syndetics book coverWulf / Hamish Clayton.
Early nineteenth-century New Zealand, the great chief Te Rauparaha has conquered tiny Kapiti Island, from where Ngati Toa launches brutal attacks on its southern enemies. Off the coast of Kapiti, English trader John Stewart seeks to trade with Te Rauparaha, setting off a train of events that changes the course of New Zealand history. Narrated by two English sailors on board Stewart’s ship, these events are eerily resonant of a more distant memory, stretching back into mythology, of the charismatic leader Wulf and an ancient lament. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverUnnatural selection : a novel / Philip Eastwood.
Loki Blake has never seen the sun, the sky or the stars. No one has. For centuries they’ve been hidden by an oily blanket of cloud the never breaks or disperses. This is the city of Luxor. Long ago when oceans flooded and fossil fuels ran out Luxor rose out of the chaos, becoming the most powerful city in the world, thanks to its industries, fuelled by the fat of animals. As the fumes from burning tallow spread outward, so did Luxor’ s influence. Now Loki’s going to a place beyond the tallow clouds, to a faraway colony of Trasmundo to search for strange and mythical animals, trying to save them from extinction before the clouds of Luxor’s industries spread further. But someone wants Loki to fail and they’re prepared to kill. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverA foreign country : New Zealand speculative fiction / edited by Anna Caro and Juliet Buchanan.
Strange creatures are loose in Miramar, desperate survivors cling to the remains of a submerged country, humanity’s descendants seek to regain what they’ve lost, and the residents of Gisborne reluctantly serve alien masters. The visions of New Zealand, and beyond, painted in this collection of short stories are both instantly recognisable and nothing like the place we know. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverFrom under the over coat / Sue Orr.
This collection of vivid, accessible, contemporary stories can be read purely for the immense pleasure they offer. However, the stories can also be read for the way they explore elements from earlier works: from Maori myth and fairy tale to masterpieces by writers such as Katherine Mansfield, James Joyce and Anton Chekov. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverDolci di love / Sarah-Kate Lynch.
The Tuscan town of Montevedova is famous for its rolling green hills, long lazy lunches and delectable cantucci biscuits. It even has its own patron saint. But Manhattan workaholic Lily Turner is not interested in any of that. She’s only there to find her cheating husband.  What Lily doesn’t know, however, is that beneath the cobbled lanes of this charming hilltop village, an underground network of ancient widows is working tirelessly on finding her a happy ending, whether she wants it or not. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverFosterling / Emma Neale.
A young man is found unconscious in a remote forest. He is over seven-feet tall, his skin covered in thick hair, which reminds onlookers of an animal’s pelt. When has wakes in a city hospital, he is eerily uncommunicative. Speculation begins. (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverHokitika town / Charlotte Randall.
Hokitika, 1865, at the height of the Gold Rush. In a town with a hundred pubs, young Halfie, aka Harvey, Thumbsucker, Bedwetter, Cocoa and Pipsqueak, gets by as best he can. Most of the time he hangs around the Bathsheba pub, washing dishes, running errands and making the odd coin. When you’re a coin boy you see a lot of life and from low down. But how much do you really understand. What’s going on in young Halfie’s world? (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverBound / Vanda Symon.
A brutal home invasion shocks the nation. A man is murdered, his wife bound, gagged and left to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard scatches the surface, the victim, a successful business, is not all he seems to be. And when the evidence points to two of Dunedin’s most hated criminals, the case seems cut and dried, until the body count starts to rise. (Book cover)

Being Daisy / Kate Spencer.
Being Daisy is an emotionally charged slice of life for an irrepressible young woman who roller coasters her way through ten years of married life with humour and optimism. Her journey typified that of many 60’s brides who sought more than just a husband as they embarked on married life in the middle of free love and the background drone of The Rolling Stones. (Book cover)

The flax trader : a historical novel / Brad Bradley. A historical novel based on the adventurous life og Jon W. Harris, earliest settler of Poverty Bay.
Going to sea at an early age, he works as a convict overseer in NSW where he encounters the infamous Rev. Samuel Marsden and suffers his first tragedy. Later trading around the coast of New Zealand, he marries high-born Tukura. The clash of Harris’s rationality with religious and superstitious beliefs in Maroi and European society leads to dire consequences, as his world is turned upside down by the deaths and betrayal of the women he loves, and finally the Hauhau and Te Kooti rebellion. (Book cover)