Readers Choice fiction selections

Reviews from library patrons are a great way to find out what people have loved reading from the new additions to the fiction collection. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material.  You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

Here are some recent reviews featuring an interesting mix of subjects and genres: mysteries, historical novels, science fiction, humour, psychological fiction, thrillers and New Zealand environmental activism.

The changeling : a novel / LaValle, Victor D.Book Jacket for: The changeling : a novel
“This captivating retelling of a classic fairy tale imaginatively explores parental obsession, spousal love, and the secrets that make strangers out of the people we love the most. It’s a thrilling and emotionally devastating journey through the gruesome legacies that threaten to devour us and the homely, messy magic that saves us, if we’re lucky.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Excellent. An unusual voice, but marvellous blend of modernity and fairy-tale, with powerful themes and insight.  Very Satisfying.” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: Stranded

Stranded / MacLeod, Bracken
“Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was suspenseful, gripping and well researched. Doesn’t lean on the numerous clichés of the horror genre which makes it so engaging.  A great read!” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: Hanna who fell from the skyHanna who fell from the sky / Meades, Christopher
“With lush, evocative prose, award-winning author Christopher Meades takes readers on an emotional journey into a fascinating, unknown world–and, along the way, brilliantly illuminates complexities of faith, identity and how our origins shape who we are.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “What a well written novel, thoroughly enjoyed it, well worth reading. Never read any of Meades novels before would love to read more of his material.” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: The last hoursThe last hours / Walters, Minette
“When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Well written, engaging, couldn’t put down – read all night. Can’t wait for the sequel this year.” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: EurekaEureka / Quinn, Anthony
“Summer, 1967. As London shimmers in a heat haze and swoons to the sound of Sergeant Pepper, a mystery film – Eureka – is being shot by German wunderkind Reiner Kloss. The screenwriter, Nat Fane, would do anything for a hit but can’t see straight for all the acid he’s dropping.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Was an enjoyable read, especially in it’s evocation of London in the ‘swinging sixties’.” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: KrusoKruso / Seiler, Lutz
“It is 1989, and a young literature student named Ed, fleeing unspeakable tragedy, travels to the Baltic island of Hiddensee. Long shrouded in myth, the island is a notorious destination for hippies, idealists, and those at odds with the East German state.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was compelling.  Via fantasy and fact Seiler deftly weaves a story about East German idealists, refugees and escapists told through the perspective of a challenged young man” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eye of the songbird / Munro, Michael
“What happens when a New Zealand team of scientists find one of the world’s largest flawless diamonds on the last piece of sovereign-less land, Antarctica?” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “A highly relevant New Zealand thriller with it’s plot centred on one of the big issues of the day; climate change.  Highly recommended” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The miranda : a novel / Nicholson, G. J.
“The Miranda is at turns a biting satire about the secrets we keep from our neighbors, and about the invisible and unceasing state of war in which most Westerners unconsciously live.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was like a Coen Brothers movie: darkly satirical. The detachment of the protagonist is key to this novel – he was a psychologist turned government agent training operatives to withstand torture. He is not disaffected, quite the reverse, but he is clinical , perceptive and interesting. A good dark read.” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Historical fiction features in this month’s fiction picks from other genres

The ‘other genres’ category this month features historical fiction. This latest selection includes a new novel by the popular, prolific Bernard Cornwell. Highly recommend is the much praised debut novel by Imogen Hermes Gowar, titled The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock.

Syndetics book coverCarnegie’s Maid : a novel / Marie Benedict.
“Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets, but the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home. If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills he doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does has is an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future and her family’s.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girls in the picture / Melanie Benjamin.
“It is 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the new industry of the silent moving pictures is enthralling theatergoers everywhere. In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford. The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution. But their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender and their astronomical success could come at a price.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWarriors of the storm / Bernard Cornwell.
“King Alfred’s son Edward and formidable daughter, Ãthelflaed, rule Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia. But all around the restless Northmen, eyeing the rich lands and wealthy churches, are mounting raids. Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the kingdom’s greatest warrior, controls northern Mercia from the strongly fortified city of Chester. But forces are rising up against him. Northmen allied to the Irish, led by the fierce warrior Ragnall Ivarson, are soon joined by the Northumbrians, and their strength could prove overwhelming. Despite the gathering threat, both Edward and Ãthelflaed are reluctant to move out of the safety of their fortifications. But with Uhtred’s own daughter married to Ivarson’s brother, who can be trusted?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreyfriars House / Emma Fraser.
“Once a home full of love, all that remains in Greyfriars House are secrets and lies. On a remote Scottish island sits Greyfriars House, a house haunted by unspoken words and family mysteries. But once it was a happy and comforting place and in the summer of 1939, family and friends gather to forget their fears about the impending war.”

Syndetics book coverThe mermaid and Mrs Hancock : a history in three volumes / written by Imogen Hermes Gowar.
“This voyage is special. It will change everything. One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid. As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr. Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe great alone / Kristin Hannah.
“Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture, soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sealwoman’s gift / Sally Magnusson.
“Barbary pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted some 400 of its people, including 250 from a tiny island off the mainland. Among the captives sold into slavery in Algiers were the island pastor, his wife and their three children. This story is told through the voice of the pastor’s wife Asta” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn unlikely agent / Jane Menczer.
“London, 1905. Margaret Trant lives with her ailing, irascible mother in a dreary boarding house in St John’s Wood. The pair have fallen on hard times, with only Margaret’s meagre salary from a ramshackle import-export company keeping them afloat. When a stranger on the tram hands her a newspaper open at the recruitment page, Margaret spots an advertisement that promises to ‘open new horizons beyond your wildest dreams!’ After a gruelling interview, she finds herself in a new position as a secretary in a dingy backstreet shop. But all is not as it seems; she is in fact working for a highly secret branch of the intelligence service, Bureau 8, whose mission is to track down and neutralise a ruthless band of anarchists known as The Scorpions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPale horse riding / Chris Petit.
“By 1943 Auschwitz is the biggest black market in Europe. The garrison has grown epically corrupt on the back of the transportations and goods confiscated, and this is considered even more of a secret than the one surrounding the mass extermination. Everything is done to resist penetration until August Schlegel and SS officer Morgen, after solving the case of the butchers of Berlin, are sent in disguised as post office officials to investigate an instance of stolen gold being sent through the mail. Their chances of getting out of Auschwitz alive are almost nil, unless Schlegel and Morgen accept that the nature of the beast they are fighting means they too must become as corrupt as the corruption they are desperate to expose. Even if they survive, will it be at the cost of losing their souls?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe shape of water / Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus.
“It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito, mute her whole life, orphaned as a child, is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore’s Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn’t know how she’d make it through the day. Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center’s most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions and Elisa can’t keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa’s sole reason to live. But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved.” (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)

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.

New eBook Fiction in April

Strange disruptions haunt this month’s new eBook fiction from Overdrive. Nightmares come to life in Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream. Disturbing images appear on rented videotapes in John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester. And in the Booker-nominated A General Theory of Oblivion, a woman bricks herself into her apartment, where she will stay for the next thirty years.

If you, too, are planning to seal yourself up for awhile, make sure you borrow some eBooks first – starting by signing in here to Wellington City Libraries!

Overdrive cover The Lucky One, by Caroline Overington
“For more than 150 years, a grand house known as Alden Castle has stood proudly in the hills above Paso Robles, home to a family weighed down by secrets and debt. When the castle is sold, billionaire developers move in, only to discover one skeleton after another, including a fresh corpse, rotting in the old family cemetery. As three generations of the well-respected Alden-Stowe family come in for scrutiny, detectives will discover a twisted web of rivalries, alliances, deceit and treachery.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Universal Harvester, by John Darnielle
“Jeremy works at the counter of Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa. It’s the 1990s, pre-DVD, and the work is predictable and familiar. But when a local schoolteacher comes in to return her copy of Targets, she has an odd complaint: ‘There’s something on it,’ she says. Curious, Jeremy takes a look. And what he sees on the video is so strange and disturbing that it propels him into a search for the tape’s creator…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover A General Theory of Oblivion, by José Eduardo Agualusa
“On the eve of Angolan independence, Ludo bricks herself into her apartment, where she will remain for the next thirty years. She lives off vegetables and pigeons, burns her furniture and books to stay alive and keeps herself busy by writing her story on the walls of her home. Then one day she meets Sabalu, a young boy from the street who climbs up to her terrace…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Just for Christmas, by Scarlett Bailey
“When Alex Munro learns the love of her life is getting married to another girl, all she wants is to be alone. Moving to a Cornish cottage, Alex finds that her new neighbours are determined to involve her in their madcap Christmas festivities. Then she meets her sexy neighbour Ruan – and somehow Alex doesn’t want to be alone this Christmas after all.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Bone Box, by Faye Kellerman
“On a crisp September morning, Rina Decker stumbles upon unearthed human remains. She calls her husband, Peter Decker, a former detective lieutenant with LAPD. Within hours, a woodland is transformed into a crime scene. And when more human remains are found, Decker knows this isn’t just a one-off murder case. Winding his way through a labyrinth of suspects, he races to protect their community from a psychopathic killer on the hunt for a fresh victim.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Perfect Days, by Alison Entrekin
“Teo meets Clarice at a party. Teo doesn’t really like people, but he immediately realises that he and Clarice are meant to be together. And if Clarice doesn’t accept that? Well, they just need to spend some time together. And yes, he has taken her prisoner and yes, he is lying to her mother, but it’s all for her own good. She’ll understand. She’ll fall in love. She’ll settle down and be his loving wife. Won’t she?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Bright Air Black, by David Vann
“It is 13th century B.C. and aboard the ship Argo, Jason and the Argonauts make their return journey across the Black Sea in possession of the Golden Fleece. David Vann, in brilliant poetic prose, tells their story through the eyes of Medea, a woman often cast as sorceress and monster – and one of Greek mythology’s most fascinating figures.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Scent of You, by Maggie Alderson
“Polly’s life is great. Her children are away at uni, her mother is happily settled in a retirement village and her perfume blog is taking off. Then her husband announces he needs some space and promptly vanishes. As Polly grapples with her bewildering situation, she clings to a few new friends to keep her going. And while she distracts herself with the heady world of perfume, she knows she can’t keep reality at bay forever…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Emperor of Lies, by Steve Sem-Sandberg
“In February 1940, the Nazis established what would become the second largest Jewish ghetto in the Polish city of Lódz. Its chosen leader: Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, a sixty-three-year-old Jewish orphanage director. The Emperor of Lies chronicles the tale of Rumkowski’s monarchical rule. Was he a ruthless opportunist, or a pragmatic strategist who managed to save Jewish lives?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Fever Dream, by Samanta Schweblin
“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. Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

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Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction shortlist announced

Seven novels have been shortlisted for the 2017 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. This annual British literary award was founded in 2010 and is open to novels first published in the UK, Ireland or Commonwealth in the preceding year. This year’s shortlist includes 2010 winner Sebastian Barry for his most recent novel, set during the American Civil War, titled Days without End.

The winner of the £25,000 award will be announced on 17th June 2017.

Syndetics book coverSyndetics book coverSyndetics book cover

New eBook Fiction in March – Volume 2

The characters in this month’s ebooks from Overdrive face a range of different challenges, including the gruelling roads of the Tour de France, the expanse of the Australian outback and the silent isolation of a European forest. As a reader, your challenge is slightly different: find yourself a nice quiet spot, choose an ebook and start reading! There will be obstacles – perhaps other humans who want to talk to you, or jobs that need doing – but then, obstacles are what makes a challenge exciting! Check out ‘Getting Started’ to begin…

Overdrive cover The Crying Place, by Lia Hills
“After years of travelling, Saul is trying to settle down. But one night he receives news of the death of his friend, Jed, recently returned from working in a remote Aboriginal community. Saul’s discovery in Jed’s belongings of a photo of a woman convinces him that she may hold the answers to Jed’s fate. So he heads out on a journey into the heart of the Australian desert to find the truth, setting in motion a powerful story about the landscapes that shape us and the ghosts that lay their claim.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover It Felt Like a Kiss, by Sarra Manning
“Ellie Cohen is living her dream. A great job at an exclusive Mayfair art gallery, loyal mates and really, really good hair. But when a vengeful ex sells Ellie out to the press, she finds herself fighting to keep her job, reputation and sanity. Then David Gold – handsome, charming but ruthlessly ambitious – is sent in to manage the media crisis – and Ellie. David thinks she’s a gold-digger and Ellie thinks he’s a shark in a Savile Row suit, so it’s just as well that falling in love is the last thing on their minds…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Our Endless Numbered Days, by Claire Fuller
“Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping and listening to her mother’s grand piano, but her life is about to change. Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her to a cabin in a remote forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared. Her life is reduced to a piano which makes music but no sound, and a tiny wooden hut that is Everything.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Something for Nothing, by Andy Muir
“It’s not every day a bloke stumbles on a dismembered torso. Lachie Munro is starting to feel like he’s a magnet for trouble. The day before he fished a giant haul of heroin out of his favourite abalone poaching spot. There’s a better than even chance that the two are connected and he should leave well enough alone, but the opportunity to clear his gambling debt is too good to pass up. But how do you sell several kilos of heroin?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Bright, Precious Days, by Jay McInerney
“Russell and Corrine Calloway have spent half their lives in New York. Now, in 2008, Russell runs a publishing house and Corrine manages a food redistribution programme. He clings to their illusion of bohemia, while she longs to have more space for their twins. Although they try to forget each other’s past indiscretions, their marriage feels increasingly unstable. Not helped by the reappearance of Corrine’s former lover, whose ardour seems no cooler despite having a new wife in tow.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Girl in Disguise, by Greer Macallister
“With no money and no husband, Kate Warne finds herself with few choices. The streets of 1856 Chicago offer a desperate widow mostly trouble and ruin—unless that widow has a knack for manipulation and an unusually quick mind. In a bold move that no other woman has tried, Kate convinces the legendary Allan Pinkerton to hire her as a detective. But is the woman she’s becoming the true Kate? Or has the real disguise been the good girl she always thought she was?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Indelible, by Adelia Saunders
“Magdalena has an unsettling gift. She sees the truth about people written on their skin—names, dates, details. When she meets Neil, she is intrigued to see her name on his cheek. He’s in Paris for the summer, studying a medieval pilgrimage. Magdalena embarks on a pilgrimage of her own, but not before Neil falls for her, captivated by her pale eyes, charming Eastern European accent and aura of heartbreak.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Invisible Mile, by David Coventry
“The 1928 Ravat-Wonder team from New Zealand and Australia were the first English-speaking team to ride the Tour de France. From June through July they faced one of toughest in the race’s history: 5,476 kilometres of unsealed roads on heavy, fixed-wheel bikes. The Invisible Mile is a powerful re-imagining of the tour, where the test of endurance for one young New Zealander becomes a psychological journey into the chaos of the war a decade earlier.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Island of the Mad, by Laurie Sheck
Island of the Mad follows the solitary, hunchbacked Ambrose as he sets out on a mysterious journey to Venice in search of a lost notebook. Eventually he arrives in San Servolo, the Island of the Mad, in the Venetian Lagoon. At the island’s old, abandoned hospital he discovers the correspondence and notes of two of the island’s former inhabitants. As Ambrose follows their strange tale, everything he has ever known or thought is called into question.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Ship of Destiny, by Robin Hobb
“The dragon Tintaglia has been released from her wizardwood coffin, only to find that the glories of her kingdom have passed into ancient memory. Meanwhile, Malta Vestrit navigates the acid flow of the Rain Wild River in a decomposing boat, accompanied by the Satrap Cosgo and his Companion Kekki. Against hope, a ship appears in the alien waters, but does it mean rescue, or a further nightmare?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

New eBook Fiction in December

In these troubled times, dear reader, you have two options: you can turn away from the horrors of the world and embrace the fantasy that literature provides. Or, you can face the disasters head-on, with books that magnify the precipice of doom we stand on. Then again, you could also just enjoy your summer with a range of insightful and surprising new titles – all available through Overdrive!

Overdrive cover Days Without End, by Sebastian Barry
“After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Their lives are enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive. Both a poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Name on the Door is Not Mine, by C. K. Stead
“A striking new collection of accessible yet elegant stories from literary giant and master craftsman C.K. Stead. They are clever, sensual, wry and beautifully written, with Stead’s subtle sense of humour evident at every turn. The collection can be read as a meditation on the writerly life, and includes a number of new, previously unpublished stories, including ‘Last Season’s Man’, which won the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Reykjavik Assignment, by Adam LeBor
“UN covert negotiator, Yael Azoulay, has been sent to Reykjavik to broker a secret meeting between US President Freshwater and the Iranian president. Both parties want the violence to stop, but Yael soon realises that powerful enemies are pulling the strings. Enemies for whom peace means an end to their lucrative profit streams. In this gripping thriller, Adam LeBor uses insights gained from twenty-five years of reporting to show us who really has the upper hand in international politics.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Wrong Side of Goodbye, by Michael Connelly
“Harry Bosch is working as a part-time detective when he gets the invitation to meet with the ageing billionaire Whitney Vance. When he was eighteen Vance had a relationship with a Mexican girl called Vibiana Duarte, but soon after becoming pregnant she disappeared. Now, as he reaches the end of his life, Vance wants to know what happened to Vibiana and whether there is an heir to his fortune. And Bosch is the only person he trusts to undertake the assignment.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Next, by Stephanie Gangi
“Is there a right way to die? If so, Joanna DeAngelis has it all wrong. She’s consumed by betrayal, spending her numbered days obsessing over her ex, watching him thrive in the spotlight while she wastes away. So she embarks on a sexy, spiritual odyssey. As she travels beyond memory, beyond desire, she is transformed into a fierce female force of life, determined to know how to die, happily ever after.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover City Woman, by Patricia Scanlan
“Devlin’s flair and ambition has made a success of the ‘City Girl’ health and leisure complex. But what of Luke Reilly, a man used to getting his own way? Caroline, still coming to terms with her husband’s revelations, has to do some serious thinking. Can she face the future on her own? Maggie, torn between motherhood and career, finds her marriage under threat. She must decide if it’s time to put herself first.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Bitter Fruits, by Alice Clark-Platts
“The murder of a first-year university student shocks the city of Durham. The victim, Emily Brabents, was from the privileged and popular set at Joyce College, a cradle for the country’s future elite. As Detective Inspector Erica Martin investigates the college, she finds a close-knit community fuelled by jealousy, obsession and secrets. But the very last thing she expects is an instant confession . . .” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Peacock and Vine, by A S Byatt
“This ravishing book opens a window onto the lives, designs and passions of two charismatic artists. Born a generation apart, they were seeming opposites: Mariano Fortuny, a Spanish aristocrat thrilled by the sun-baked cultures of Crete and Knossos; William Morris, a British craftsman, in thrall to the myths of the North. Yet through their revolutionary inventions and textiles, both men inspired a new variety of art, as vibrant today as when it was first conceived.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer
“On a warm summer night in 1974, six teenagers play at being cool. They smoke pot, drink vodka, share their dreams and vow always to be interesting. Decades later, only Ethan and Ash, now married, have remained true to their adolescent dreams. As the group’s fortunes tilt precipitously, their friendships are put under the ultimate strain of envy and crushing disappointment.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Everything Box, by Richard Kadrey
“22000 B.C. A beautiful angel stands on a mountaintop. He smiles because soon, the last of humanity who survived the great flood will meet its end, too. The angel reaches into his pocket for the instrument of humanity’s doom. Must be in the other pocket. Then he frantically begins to pat himself down. Dejected, he realizes he has lost the object. The majestic angel utters a single word. “Crap.”” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

New eAudiobook Fiction in October

Have you ever wondered what Star Wars would sound like if it had been written by Shakespeare? Or maybe you’ve suspected Jane Austen was really an undercover detective? Perhaps you’ve even wanted to hear your favourite author reading in the food court of the local mall? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the latest eAudiobooks on Overdrive are for you. Even if you didn’t, we’ve got a wide range of other titles, so sign in here to start your search!

Overdrive cover Reputations, by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
“Javier Mallarino is a living legend. He is his country’s most influential political cartoonist, the consciousness of a nation. But this all changes when he’s paid an unexpected visit from a young woman who forces him to re-evaluate his life and work, questioning his position in the world. Reputations examines the weight of the past, how a public persona intersects with private histories and the surprises of memory.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, by Ian Doescher
“Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Losing It, by Emma Rathbone
“Greenfield has a problem: she’s twenty-six years old and she’s still a virgin. Sex ought to be easy. People have it all the time! But, without meaning to, she made it through college and into adulthood with her virginity intact. Something’s got to change. Losing It is about the blurry lines between sex and love, and trying to figure out which one you’re going for. And it’s about the decisions—and non-decisions—we make that can end up shaping a life.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Gone with the Mind, by Mark Leyner
“Gone with the Mind is the story of Mark Leyner’s life, told as only Mark Leyner can. In this utterly unconventional novel, Mark gives a reading in the food court of a mall. Besides his mother, who’s driven him to the mall, and a few employees of fast food chain Panda Express, the reading is completely without audience. The action of Gone with the Mind takes place exclusively at the food court, but the territory covered on these pages has no bounds.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Fort, by Bernard Cornwell
“Summer 1779, a British force of fewer than one thousand Scottish infantry were sent to build a garrison in the State of Maine. The War of Independence was in its third year and the State of Massachusetts was determined to expel the British. But when they sent a fleet of 40 vessels to ‘captivate, kill and destroy’ they underestimated their enemies, calm in battle and ready for victory. Based on diaries, letters and court transcripts.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas, by Stephanie Barron
“Christmas Eve, and Jane Austen and her circle are in a celebratory mood. Jane, however, discovers holiday cheer is fleeting. One of the Yuletide gathering dies in a tragic accident whose circumstances Jane immediately views with suspicion. If the accident was in fact murder, the killer is one of her fellow snowbound guests. Whom can Jane trust to help her stop the killer striking again?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda
“It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared without a trace. Back again to care for her father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, Megan Miranda leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Time’s Legacy, by Barbara Erskine
“Abi, a recently-ordained priest, is appointed to the parish of the charismatic but fundamentalist Kier. He objects to her mysticism, her practice of healing in particular. When she sees a vision, Kier accuses her of witchcraft, but Abi soon sees more visions; an entire Roman family history, dark with betrayal and a promise of bloody revenge. Abi must battle the approaching terror along with her own personal demons…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

New eBook Fiction in October

This month’s additions to Overdrive showcase the changing role of the hero. For traditionalists, we have T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, while those with a taste for grittier protagonists can browse several new detective series, including the award-winning A Rising Man. And if you don’t like heroes at all? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, too – the events in the Booker-nominated His Bloody Project are described by an entire community. To start a quest of your own, just sign in here.

Overdrive cover Birds Without Wings, by Louis de Bernières
“Set against the backdrop of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, Birds Without Wings traces the fortunes of one small community in south-west Anatolia, a town in which Christian and Muslim traditions have co-existed peacefully for centuries – until war is declared and the peaceful fabric of life is threatened with destruction. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in sensual detail, it is an enchanting masterpiece.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler
“22-year-old Tess has come to New York to take on her destiny. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the punishing, privileged life of a backwaiter, on and off duty. She’s pulled into the thrall of two other servers—a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman whose connection to both young lovers is murky, sensual and overpowering. These two will prove to be Tess’s hardest lesson of all.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Portable Veblen, by Elizabeth Mckenzie
“A laugh-out-loud love story with big ideas – and squirrels. Can squirrels speak? Do snails scream? Will a young couple, newly engaged, make it to their wedding day? Will their dysfunctional families ruin everything? Will they be undone by the advances of a very sexy, very unscrupulous heiress to a pharmaceuticals corporation? Is getting married even a remotely reasonable idea in the twenty-first century? And what in the world is a ‘Veblen’ anyway?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Dirt Road, by James Kelman
“Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, dreams of a life beyond his Scottish island home. His dad Tom has recently lost his wife and is terrified of losing control of what remains of his family. Both are in search of something as they set out on an expedition into the American South. As they travel they encounter a new world and we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover His Bloody Project, by Graeme Macrae Burnet
“A brutal triple murder in a remote northwestern crofting community in 1869 leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. There’s no question that Macrae is guilty, but the police and courts must uncover what drove him to murder. A story ingeniously recounted through the accused’s memoir, trial transcripts and newspaper reports, His Bloody Project is a riveting literary thriller, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Rising Man, by Abir Mukherjee
“Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatise, he is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. The start of an atmospheric and enticing new historical crime series.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Last Days of Night, by Graham Moore
“New York, 1888. A young lawyer named Paul Cravath takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country? The task facing Cravath is daunting, and the stakes are immense: the winner of the case will illuminate America.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Once and Future King, by T. H. White
“T.H. White’s masterful retelling of the Arthurian legend is an abiding classic. The Once and Future King contains all five books about the early life of King Arthur (The Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood, The Ill-Made Knight, The Candle in the Wind and The Book of Merlyn). White brings to life the major British epic with brilliance, grandeur, warmth and charm.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Jake’s Long Shadow, by Alan Duff
“The third volume in the hard-hitting, best-selling Once Were Warriors trilogy. The millennium has changed but have the Hekes? Where are they now? Son Abe who has rejected violence but violence finds him; Polly, as beautiful as her sister Grace, who committed suicide; the gang leader, Apeman, who killed Tania, what’s prison like, does it change a man? And then there’s Jake Heke, casting his long shadow over everyone.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)