New Graphic Novels for September

This month’s selection of new Graphic novels illustrates the diversity of this collection. The narratives range from comedy to tragedy, from modern life to horror, from the sublime to the surreal, and all with extraordinary art work. Highly recommended this month, but not for the faint hearted is Little Tulip, by Jerome Charryn and Francois Boucq.

Syndetics book coverHerman Melville’s Moby Dick / Chabouté ; translation, Laure Dupont.Moby Dick
“In striking black-and-white illustrations, Chaboute retells the story of the Great American Novel. Captain Ahab strikes out on a voyage, obsessively seeking revenge on the great white whale that took his leg.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLittle Tulip / Jerome Charyn and François Boucq.
“A serial killer haunts the city streets, a stalker of isolated women who leaves a Santa Claus hat at the scene of his crimes. Pavel, a Russian emigre assists the police investigation as a sketch artist. But Pavel’s true calling is as a tattoo artist, and the so-called Bad Santa killings conjure up memories of the nightmarish world in which he learned his craft: a Russian prison camp that shattered his childhood and destroyed his family. Shifting between the living hell of a 1940s Siberian gulag and the crime-ridden chaos of New York City during the 1970s, this graphic novel’s stunning artwork provides an atmospheric backdrop to its tale of corruption, murder, and revenge.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpaniel rage / Vanessa Davis.
“Semi-autobiographical but more observational than confessional, a young single Jewish woman in New York accounts of dating woes, misunderstandings between her and her mother, and conversations with friends, anecdotes about her anxieties and wry truths about the contradictions of life in the big city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPretending is lying / Dominique Goblet ; translated by Sophie Yanow in collaboration with the author.
“The first book to appear in English by the acclaimed Belgian artist Dominique Goblet, Pretending is Lying is a memoir unlike any other. In a series of dazzling fragments–skipping through time, Goblet examines the most important relationships in her life: with her partner, Guy Marc; with her daughter, Nikita; and with her parents.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Black Monday murders. Volume 1, All hail, God Mammon / words by Jonathan Hickman ; art by Tomm Coker.
“A new crypto-noir series about the power of dirty, filthy money and exactly what kind of people you can buy with it. THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is classic occultism where the various schools of magic are actually clandestine banking cartels that control all of society: a secret world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund work together to keep global control.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe coldest winter / written by Antony Johnston ; illustrated by Steven Perkins.
“A pre-equal to The Coldest City, again set in Cold War-ear Berlin. After a string of botched assignments for MI6 in Berlin, David Perceval is being sent home. His final mission before leaving, the defection of a Soviet scientist, goes badly wrong, as the coldest winter for 30 years descends on Europe. With transport out of Berlin impossible, and the KGB searching everywhere for their lost scientist, Perceval must improvise a deadly game of cat and mouse through the frozen city to keep the Russians at bay, and deliver his own unique brand of revenge.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSnotgirl. Vol. 1, Green hair don’t care / script, Bryan Lee O’Malley ; art, Leslie Hung ; created by Bryan Lee O’Malley & Leslie Hung.
“Who is Lottie Person? Is she a gorgeous, fun-loving social media star with a perfect life or a gross, allergy-ridden mess?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeven to Eternity. Vol. 1, The god of whispers / written by Rick Remender ; drawn by Jerome Opeña ; edited by Sebastian Girner.
“The God of Whispers has spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdom of Zhal; his spies hide in every hall spreading mistrust and fear. Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, must decide about joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperate bid to free their world of the evil God.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWeird detective / script by Fred Van Lente ; art by Guiu Villanova.
“The streets of New York have been plagued by a pattern of crimes too weird and bizarre for the average detective. Lurking in the evidence are shadows of loathsome horrors from beyond space and time, seeking to usher in the unimaginable evil of the Old Ones. The only man capable of fighting against the unspeakable terrors isn’t a man at all. Detective Sebastian Green is one of them it takes a monster to catch a monster.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSnow day / Pierre Wazem, writer ; Antoine Aubin, artist ; Mark Bence, translator.
“A young outsider sheriff struggles in a small, isolated, snow-covered town populated by hard, brutal people who don’t take kindly to strangers. It’s a place where everyone minds their own business and folks do as they please. That is, until the calm, quiet sheriff decides to do his job properly and uphold the law.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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.

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)

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 coverInto the water / Paula Hawkins.
Another brilliant, complex spine chilling thriller, from a very skilled writer.

Syndetics book coverStar sailors / James McNaughton.
An exciting, compelling dystopian novel set in Wellington in a not too distant future.

Syndetics book coverGrizzlyshark / Ryan Ottley, story, art, & letters.
A blood-splattered adventure, fabulous illustrations, but definitely not for the faint hearted.

Syndetics book coverThe stars are fire / Anita Shreve.
Based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine’s history, this is a suspenseful, but heartwarming story, from a much acclaimed best-selling author.

Syndetics book coverBefore the dawn / Jake Woodhouse.
A gripping, but at times darkly humorous, detective mystery with a fast paced twisting plot.

Fiction Newsletter for June

Welcome to the latest Fiction Newsletter. We hope you will find some great reading from these highlighted titles. This month’s ‘Other Genre’ novels category features New Zealand Fiction, new work from some very talented writers.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

There is some wonderful new contemporary fiction in this month’s selection from the recently received new material. With many much acclaimed writers, along with several new novelists, this selection is just a sample of the exciting reading added each month to the Wellington City Libraries fiction collection.

Syndetics book cover Larchfield / Polly Clark.
“It’s early summer when a young poet, Dora Fielding, moves to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and her hopes are first challenged. Newly married, pregnant, she’s excited by the prospect of a life that combines family and creativity. She thinks she knows what being a person, a wife, a mother, means. She is soon shown that she is wrong. As the battle begins for her very sense of self, Dora comes to find the realities of small town life suffocating, and, eventually, terrifying; until she finds a way to escape reality altogether. Another poet, she discovers, lived in Helensburgh once. Wystan H. Auden, brilliant and awkward at 24, with his first book of poetry published, should be embarking on success and society in London. Instead, in 1930, fleeing a broken engagement, he takes a teaching post at Larchfield School for boys where he is mocked for his Englishness and suspected, rightly, of homosexuality.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Birdcage walk / Helen Dunmore.
“It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants. In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner’s passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Erotic stories for Punjabi widows / Balli Kaur Jaswal.
“When Nikki takes a creative writing job at her local temple, with visions of emancipating the women of the community she left behind as a self-important teenager, she’s shocked to discover a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals. Yet to her surprise, the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just their modesty, these are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands; being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories. But as they begin to open up to each other about womanhood, sexuality, and the dark secrets within the community, Nikki realises that the illicit nature of the class may place them all in danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

The Graphic Novel collection never fails to provide hours of entertainment. With such a variation of new material added each month, there will always be something to satisfy every reader. This month’s selection is a great example of the diversity within this collection. From artist skill to writing brilliance, it is all there.

Syndetics book cover Death of the artist : a graphic novel / by Karrie Fransman and friends.
“On 13 August 2013 graphic novelist Karrie Fransman invited four old friends from university to an isolated cottage on the misty moors of the Peak District to join her for a week of hedonism and creativity. Like Shelley and Byron before them, they would use the retreat to tell stories. Except these would be comics, collected together in this very book. The theme would be The Death of the Artist. None of the five friends realised how appropriate this theme would become.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The Arab of the future 2 : a graphic memoir : a childhood in the Middle East (1984-1985) / Riad Sattouf ; translated by Sam Taylor.
“Riad has settled in his father’s hometown of Horms, gets to go to school, where he dedicates himself to becoming a true Syrian in the country of the dictator Hafez Al-Assad. Told simply yet with devastating effect, Riads story takes in the sweep of politics, religion, and poverty, but is steered by acutely observed small moments: the daily sadism of his schoolteacher, the lure of the black market, with its menu of shame and subsistence, and the obsequiousness of his father in the company of those close to the regime. As family strains to fit in, one chilling, barbaric act drives the Sattoufs to make the most dramatic of changes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Disillusioned illusions : a graphic novel / Greg Stump.
“When a pair of washed-up silhouettes abandon the optical illusion business to make a graphic novel, they desperately hope the book will rocket them to fame and fortune. They’ll do just about anything to finish their project, anything, that is, except put forth any kind of effort whatsoever. Instead, they enlist a Juilliard-trained actor named Rodney to bear the burden of the work while they bicker, smoke, and relax in the break room. But their ingenious attempts at evading the hard labors of proper storytelling backfire when the three become entangled in a labyrinthine narrative of deception, adoption, and betrayal. Alliances and identities are forged and discarded with the turn of a page as the trio hurtles towards a thrilling courtroom conclusion that threatens to pull back the curtain on closely-guarded secrets and conspiracies” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Mystery novels range from the cosy and gentle, to the horrific and shocking, with everything in-between. With our monthly selections of recently received material, we try to give a wide range of variations within this genre, and hope readers will find some great reading.

Syndetics book cover A high mortality of doves / Kate Ellis.
“1919. The Derbyshire village of Wenfield is still reeling from four terrible years of war, and now, just when the village is coming to terms with the loss of so many of its sons, the brutal murder of a young girl shatters its hard-won tranquillity. Myrtle Bligh is found stabbed and left in woodland, her mouth slit to accommodate a dead dove, a bird of peace. During the war Myrtle worked as a volunteer nurse with caring for badly wounded soldiers at the nearby big house, Tarnhey Court. When two more women are found murdered in identical circumstances, Inspector Albert Lincoln is sent up from London. Once in Wenfield, Albert begins to investigate the three recent murders and the Cartwright family of Tarnhey Court and their staff fall under suspicion as their hidden lives and secrets are uncovered.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Blue light Yokohama / Nicolás Obregón.
“Setagaya ward, Tokyo Inspector Kosuke Iwata, newly transferred to Tokyo’s homicide department, is assigned a new partner and a secondhand case. Blunt, hard as nails and shunned by her colleagues, Assistant Inspector Noriko Sakai is a partner Iwata decides it would be unwise to cross. A case that’s complicated, a family of four murdered in their own home by a killer who then ate ice cream, surfed the web and painted a hideous black sun on the bedroom ceiling before he left in broad daylight. A case that so haunted the original investigator that he threw himself off the city’s famous Rainbow Bridge. Fearing corruption among his fellow officers and trying to put his own shattered life back together, Iwata knows time is running out before he’s taken off the case or there are more killings.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Snowblind / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
“Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: is a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik, with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theater, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

Many hours of reading pleasure for lovers of science fiction and fantasy are provided in this month’s new book selection. Follow the link to the full list of sci-fi selections to ensure you do not miss any new books from favourite authors or series.

Syndetics book cover Sins of empire / Brian McClellan.
“A world on the cusp of a new ag, the young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place, a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires. The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Seven surrenders / by Ada Palmer.
“It is a world in which near-instantaneous travel from continent to continent is free to all. In which automation now provides for everybody’s basic needs. In which nobody living can remember an actual war. In which it is illegal for three or more people to gather for the practice of religion, but ecumenical “sensayers” minister in private, one-on-one. In which gendered language is archaic, and to dress as strongly male or female is, if not exactly illegal, deeply taboo. In which nationality is a fading memory, and most people identify instead with their choice of the seven global Hives, distinguished from one another by their different approaches to the big questions of life. It is a world in which, unknown to most, the entire social order is teetering on the edge of collapse, because even in utopia, humans will conspire. Also because something new has arisen: Bridger, the child who can bring inanimate objects to conscious life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Slow bullets / Alastair Reynolds.
“A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur and for humanity, peace is not to be. On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship. Passengers,ombatants from both sides of the war, are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

New Zealand writers feature in this month’s selection from the new ‘Other Genres’ category. Included were several very promising debut novelist and of course new titles from some very popular veteran authors. The three titles chosen for this newsletter provide only a small sample from the new material available.

Syndetics book cover The Chinese proverb / Tina Clough.
“Army veteran Hunter Grant thought he had left war behind in Afghanistan, a conflict that left him with physical and psychological scars. But finding an unconscious girl in the Northland bush and gradually untangling her story involves him in a war of a different kind in his own country. Hunter sets out to find and punish the man Dao calls Master, but he soon finds there is more to this story than enslavement.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Leap of faith/ Jenny Pattrick.
“Billy is a young, impressionable dreamer. In 1907, he strikes off on his own, keen to prove himself an able worker on the new railroad. It’s being cut through steep mountainsides and across deep gullies to join the two ends of the Main Trunk Line. Also drawn to the remote worker settlements is a preacher, Gabriel Locke, who is running from a shady past and determined to avoid the daily grind. With untimely and suspicious deaths, the horrendous weather, impossible deadlines, the rugged landscape and a blossoming romance, it will take a lot more than a leap of faith for this disparate group to complete the railroad and build the magnificent Makatote viaduct.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Obsession / Elspeth Sandys.
“Two men and woman: the woman obsessed with her husband; the husband obsessed with his island home and the country whose stories he had made it his mission to tell; the man obsessed with the couple whose dynamic both fascinates and repels him. Against a background of two decades of social upheaval, this bitter-sweet tale of tangled relationships moves towards its dramatic unpredictable conclusion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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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 earth cries out / Bonnie Etherington.
An exciting, brilliantly written debut novel.

Syndetics book coverRolling blackouts : dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq / Sarah Glidden.
The impact of the Iraq War on Middle Eastern inhabitants is told through a two-month journey through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. This is a precise and topical graphic novel from an award winning writer.

Syndetics book coverExit west : a novel / Mohsin Hamid.
An amazing story of love and hope from an internationally acclaimed writer.

Syndetics book coverSnowblind / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
An extraordinary debut novel, from a new Iceland writer, filled with gripping suspense and terror.

Syndetics book coverThe collapsing empire / John Scalzi.
A bawdy, brutal, and brilliant political adventure from one of Science Fiction’s, best writers.

Fiction Newsletter for May

Welcome to the Fiction Newsletter for May. Here we are almost into the middle of the year, with short days and long colder nights. One of the pleasures of winter is being able to spend long hours reading some great fiction. We hope that you will find much enjoyment from our selection of recently received new material, and that a new author may become a favourite.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

There is a fabulous selection of new contemporary fiction this month, illustrating the diversity of theme, plot, location and protagonist in modern fiction. The three novels chosen for this newsletter truly illustrate this diversification

Syndetics book cover The heart’s invisible furies / John Boyne.
“Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he? Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from, and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Harmless like you / Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.
“Set across New York, Berlin, and Connecticut, following Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl fighting Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl fighting to make it as an artist, and Yuki’s son Jay who, as an adult in the present day, is forced to confront the mother who abandoned him when he was only two years old. The novel opens when Yuki is sixteen and her father is posted back to Japan. Though she and her family have been living as outsiders in New York City, Yuki opts to stay, intoxicated by her friendship with the beautiful aspiring model Odile, the energy of the city, and her desire to become an artist. But when she becomes involved with an older man and the relationship turns destructive, Yuki’s life is unmoored.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Exit west : a novel / Mohsin Hamid.
“In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet, sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors, doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. Exit West follows the couple as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

With some amazing art work enhancing the brilliant story lines in the New Graphic novels selection this month, it has been difficult to select titles for this newsletter. Hopefully the three chosen will be not only visually pleasing, but will also provide some great thought provoking reading.

Syndetics book cover Hubert / Ben Gijsemans ; translated from the Dutch by Julia Blackburn and Sandra van Beek.
“Hubert is a solitary man who shapes his life by going to museums. He talks to few people and only about museums and art. When his neighbor downstairs, a lonely woman, tries to seduce him, he doesn’t understand. He takes photos of the pictures he likes, usually of beautiful women, and paints copies of the paintings at home. There is only one real woman who fascinates him; she lives in the opposite building and he can see her balcony from his window.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Lucia / Andy Hixon.
“Lucia is a hard town, full of hard people. It stands looking out across the unforgiving sea that is slowly swallowing it. Its people are all unemployed, with nothing to live for but a pint and fight. Among them are Brick and Morty, one a disabled, heartbroken divorcee and aspiring writer, the other his best friend and protector, a fantasist and aspiring Ultimate Fighting Welterweight Champion of the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Garbage / Mathew Reichertz ; [introduction by Benjamin Woo ; afterword by Robin Metcalfe].
“Garbage is an architectural-scale series of panels that transform a gallery into a comic book. Taken together the paintings tell the story of neighbours in Halifax’s North End and a mysterious couch which shows up one morning on the narrator’s front curb. As the narrator confronts his neighbours, asking where it came from, he gains insight into their lives as well as his own. Garbage collects these paintings into a graphic novel with a commentary by curator Robin Metcalfe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

New mysteries from some very popular writers of this genre have been added to the library fiction collection. We are sure all avid mystery readers will enjoy many of these new titles.

Syndetics book cover The trespasser / Tana French.
“Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point. Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. There’s nothing unusual about Aislinn Murray–except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before, and that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover For time and all eternities / Mette Ivie Harrison.
“Mormon bishop’s wife Linda Wallheim knows a bit about the LDS church’s history of polygamy, but for mainstream Mormons, that epoch ended in the 1890s. However, there are still sects of fundamentalist Mormons who still practice ‘the Principle of plural marriage’, in fact, some of them are living in plain sight here in Utah. Linda’s son Kenneth is marrying a young woman who was raised in a polygamist family, and tragically one of her family members is found murdered.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Who watcheth / Helene Tursten ; translation by Marlaine Delargey.
“A woman is found dead in a cemetery, strangled and covered in plastic. Just a few days before her death, the victim had received a flower, an unintelligible note, and a photograph of herself. Detective Inspector Irene Huss and her colleagues on the Goteborg police force have neither clue nor motive to track in the case, and when similar murders follow, their search for the killer becomes increasingly desperate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

The imagination goes wild, as always in novels in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre. This month’s selection from our recently receive new material is no exception. With subjects ranging from cloning to slave trading, spiders to reincarnation, there always something new and exciting for devotees of this genre.

Syndetics book cover Spaceman of Bohemia / Jaroslav Kalfař.
“Orphaned as a boy, raised in the Czech countryside by his doting grandparents, Jakub Procha has risen from small-time scientist to become the country’s first astronaut. When a dangerous solo mission to Venus offers him the chance at heroism he’s dreamt of, he ventures boldly into the vast unknown. But in so doing, he leaves behind his devoted wife, Lenka, whose love, he realizes too late, he has sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions. Alone in Deep Space, Jakub discovers a possibly imaginary giant alien spider, who becomes his unlikely companion. Over philosophical conversations about the nature of love, life and death, and the deliciousness of bacon, the pair form an intense and emotional bond. Will it be enough to see Jakub through a clash with secret Russian rivals and return him safely to Earth for a second chance with Lenka?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Six wakes / Mur Lafferty.
“It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood. At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone; her first memory was of how she died. Maria’s vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn’t the only one to die recently.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover New York 2140 / Kim Stanley Robinson.
“As the sea levels rose, every street became a canal, every skyscraper an island. For the residents of one apartment building in Madison Square, however, New York in the year 2140 is far from a drowned city. There is the market trader, who finds opportunities where others find trouble. There is the detective, whose work will never disappear, along with the lawyers, of course. There is the internet star, beloved by millions for her airship adventures, and the building’s manager, quietly respected for his attention to detail. Then there are two boys who don’t live there, but have no other home, and who are more important to its future than anyone might imagine. Lastly there are the coders, temporary residents on the roof, whose disappearance triggers a sequence of events that threatens the existence of all and even the long-hidden foundations on which the city rests.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

Psychological thrillers are the featured this month in our ‘Other Genres” category. These novels will ensure the reader is gripped in suspense, with at times moments of unease and menace.

Syndetics book cover Rattle / Fiona Cummins.
“A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter. He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum. Now the time has come to add to his collection. Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs for his collection. So begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The black sheep / Sophie McKenzie.
“Francesca was widowed a year ago. Since then she has focused on her children, trying to soothe their grief as well as her own. Her husband and father never quite saw eye to eye but no one could have cared more for her in the past year than her close-knit family. Finally, she feels she might be ready to move on with life. Until she is contacted out of the blue by someone who says he must get information to her. That her husband’s death wasn’t what it seemed and that her family knows more than they say. Who can Francesca trust? What will happen to her if she puts her faith in the wrong person?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Image from Amazon.com Fever dream / Samanta Schweblin ; translated by Megan McDowell.
“A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Graphic Novels for May

This month’s selection of recently received new Graphic Novels includes the first volumes in three new series with one by the prolific Brian Wood. There is also the continuation of the award winning graphic memoir by Riad Sattouf, The Arab of the Future 2: a graphic memoir: a childhood in the Middle east (1984-1985)

Syndetics book coverBecoming Andy Warhol / by Nick Bertozzi ; illustrated by Pierce Hargan.
“Celebrated during his lifetime as much for his personality as for his paintings, Andy Warhol (1928-87) is the most famous and influential of the Pop artists, who developed the notion of 15 minutes of fame, and the idea that an artist could be as illustrious as the work he creates. This graphic novel biography offers insight into the turning point of Warhol’s career and the creation of the Thirteen Most Wanted Men mural for the 1964 World’s Fair, when Warhol clashed with urban planner Robert Moses, architect Philip Johnson, and Governor Nelson Rockefeller.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath of the artist : a graphic novel / by Karrie Fransman and friends.
“On 13 August 2013 graphic novelist Karrie Fransman invited four old friends from university to an isolated cottage on the misty moors of the Peak District to join her for a week of hedonism and creativity. Like Shelley and Byron before them, they would use the retreat to tell stories. Except these would be comics, collected together in this very book. The theme would be The Death of the Artist. None of the five friends realised how appropriate this theme would become.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRolling blackouts : dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq / Sarah Glidden.
“Cartoonist Sarah Glidden accompanies her two friends, reporters and founders of a journalism non-profit, as they research potential stories on the effects of the Iraq War on the Middle East and, specifically, the war’s refugees. Joining the trio is a childhood friend and former Marine whose past service in Iraq adds an unexpected and sometimes unwelcome viewpoint, both to the people they come across and perhaps even themselves. As the crew works their way through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, Glidden observes the reporters as they ask civilians, refugees, and officials, “Who are you?” Everyone has a story to tell: the Iranian blogger, the United Nations refugee administrator, a taxi driver, the Iraqi refugee deported from the US, the Iraqis seeking refuge in Syria, and even the American Marine.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMarch. Book one / John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell.
“This graphic novel is Congressman John Lewis’ first-hand account of his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a climax on the steps of City Hall.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHead Lopper. Vol. 1, The island or A plague of beasts / written and drawn by Andrew Maclean.
“The Head Lopper, Norgal, and the nagging severed head of Agatha Blue Witch arrive on the Isle of Barra to find it overrun with beasts; minions of the Sorcerer of the Black Bog. When Queen Abigail hires Norgal and Agatha to slay the Sorcerer, they trek across the island relieving the horrors of their heads, and playing right into the hands of a master manipulator.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe discipline. Volume 1, The seduction / writer, Peter Milligan ; artist, Leandro Fernández ; colorist, Cris Peter ; letterer, Simon Bowland.
“When frustrated Manhattan wife Melissa Peake allows herself to be seduced by a mysterious stranger, she is drawn into an ancient war between The Discipline and the creatures known as The Stalkers. She must discover previously unimagined potential within herself to survive, but at what cost?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEquinoxes / Pedrosa ; translation by Joe Johnson.
“In an equinox, day is as long as night, as if the world found perfect equilibrium between shadow and light, a fleeting equilibrium, similar to the stakes of our human destinies. Segmented into four tableaux for four seasons, unrelated people of all social backgrounds seeking equilibrium cross paths with other solitudes, weaving in and out of one another’s lives- all captivated and tormented by the enigmatic meaning of life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Arab of the future 2 : a graphic memoir : a childhood in the Middle East (1984-1985) / Riad Sattouf ; translated by Sam Taylor.
“Riad has settled in his father’s hometown of Horms, gets to go to school, where he dedicates himself to becoming a true Syrian in the country of the dictator Hafez Al-Assad. Told simply yet with devastating effect, Riads story takes in the sweep of politics, religion, and poverty, but is steered by acutely observed small moments: the daily sadism of his schoolteacher, the lure of the black market, with its menu of shame and subsistence, and the obsequiousness of his father in the company of those close to the regime. As family strains to fit in, one chilling, barbaric act drives the Sattoufs to make the most dramatic of changes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDisillusioned illusions : a graphic novel / Greg Stump.
“When a pair of washed-up silhouettes abandon the optical illusion business to make a graphic novel, they desperately hope the book will rocket them to fame and fortune. They’ll do just about anything to finish their project, anything, that is, except put forth any kind of effort whatsoever. Instead, they enlist a Juilliard-trained actor named Rodney to bear the burden of the work while they bicker, smoke, and relax in the break room. But their ingenious attempts at evading the hard labors of proper storytelling backfire when the three become entangled in a labyrinthine narrative of deception, adoption, and betrayal. Alliances and identities are forged and discarded with the turn of a page as the trio hurtles towards a thrilling courtroom conclusion that threatens to pull back the curtain on closely-guarded secrets and conspiracies” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack Road. Vol. 1. The holy North / story, Brian Wood ; art and cover, Garry Brown ; colors, Dave McCaig ; lettering and production, Steve Wands.
“1000 A.D. The Christian conversion of pagan lands is well underway, turning the Viking north into a bleak war zone of occupation and violence. Magnus The Black is an ex-warrior turned fixer for the Church, only looking to ease his people through this painful time. But when a Vatican official under his care is murdered on the infamous “Black Road”, he uncovers a secret, something so big it threatens to change the balance of power in all of Europe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)