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

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

Syndetics book coverInch levels / Neil Hegarty.
A poetic, wonderful debut novel, about the legacy of families, and how the past can influence the future. Haunting stays in the mind long after reading has ended.

Syndetics book coverNo echo : a Hanne Wilhelmsen novel / Anne Holt and Berit Reiss-Andersen ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
Another gripping mystery from an author who always succeeds with psychological analysis of human desires and weaknesses, an author who never disappoints.

Syndetics book coverThe dark side / Anthony O’Neill.
A dark, gripping sci-fi noir, with brutal crimes to be solved and thrilling adventure. Who could resist a psychotic android?

Syndetics book coverLovf : the illustrated diary of a man literally losing his mind / Jesse Reklaw.
Jammed with cartoons, mad schemes, psychedelic portraits, and notes from the road, this is a travel journal and a mirror of the post-traumatic dream world where the author can find no escape. Illustrated using with many varied mediums, this multi-layered graphic novel is a must read for enthusiast.

Syndetics book coverMoshi Moshi / Banana Yoshimoto ; translated by Asa Yoneda.
A moving story of loss, grief and recovery, through believable characters, brilliantly portrayed.

New Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels for January

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels includes the much awaited second book in series by Ben Bova, Ken Liu and David Dalglish, also the last book in the Guardians trilogy by Nora Roberts. Plus there is the first book in a new saga by Anthony Ryan titled Draconis memoria.

Syndetics book coverApes and angels / Ben Bova.
“Book 2 in the Star Quest Trilogy. A wave of death is spreading through the Milky Way galaxy, an expanding sphere of lethal gamma radiation that erupted from the galaxy’s core twenty-eight thousand years ago and now is approaching Earth’s vicinity at the speed of light. Every world it touched was wiped clean of all life. But it’s possible to protect a planet from gamma radiation. Earth is safe. Now, guided by the ancient intelligent machines called the Predecessors, men and women from Earth seek out those precious, rare worlds that harbor intelligent species, determined to save them from the doom that is hurtling toward them. The crew of the Odysseus has arrived at Mithra Gamma, the third planet of the star Mithra, to protect the stone-age inhabitants from the Death Wave. But they’ll also have to protect themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThunderlord : a Darkover novel / Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross.
“The saga of two kingdoms, divided by bitter history and present-day suspicions, one armed with devastating power and the other determined to overcome it, no matter what the price. Can love and resourcefulness overcome even the overwhelming power of a Thunderlord?” (Adapted from Syndetis summary)

Syndetics book coverFireborn / David Dalglish.
“The next novel in the Seraphim series following Skyborn. Bree and Kael Skyborn have seen their island invaded, their Seraphim disbanded, and their royal family imprisoned. A rebellion grows from the ashes, demanding Bree to be their Phoenix, their symbol against Center’s tyranny, and for Kael to find the doomsday prophet Johan and sway his cult to their side. Should they fail, the hope of their rebellion fails with them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWarp / Lev Grossman.
“Twenty-something Hollis Kessler languishes in a hopelessly magician-less world (with the exception of a fleet-footed nymph named Xanthe) not too far from where he graduated college. His friends do, too. They sleep late, read too much, drink too much, talk too much, and work and earn and do way too little. But Hollis does have an obsession: there’s another world going on in his head, a world of excitement and danger and starships and romance, and it’s telling him that it’s time to stop dreaming and get serious.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wall of storms / Ken Liu.
“Book 2 in the Dandelion dynasty series. Grace of Kings, Kuni Garu, now known as Emperor Ragin, runs the archipelago kingdom of Dara, but struggles to maintain progress while serving the demands of the people and his vision. Then an unexpected invading force from the Lyucu Empire in the far distant west comes to the shores of Dara and chaos results. But Emperor Kuni cannot go and lead his kingdom against the threat himself with his recently healed empire fraying at the seams, so he sends the only people he trusts to be Dara’s savvy and cunning hopes against the invincible invaders: his children, now grown and ready to make their mark on history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dark side / Anthony O’Neill.
“In this dark and gripping sci-fi noir, an exiled police detective arrives at a lunar penal colony just as a psychotic android begins a murderous odyssey across the far side of the moon. Purgatory is the lawless moon colony of eccentric billionaire, Fletcher Brass: a mecca for war criminals, murderers, sex fiends, and adventurous tourists. You can’t find better drugs, cheaper plastic surgery, or a more ominous travel advisory anywhere in the universe. But trouble is brewing in Brass’s black-market heaven. When an exiled cop arrives in this wild new frontier, he immediately finds himself investigating a string of ruthless assassinations in which Brass himself, and his equally ambitious daughter, are the chief suspects.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInvasion / Luke Rhinehart.
“Super-intelligent furry aliens suddenly appear from another universe. And they’ve come to earth to have fun. “Louie” follows fisherman Billy Morton home one day and he and his family come quickly to love the playful alien. But when Louie starts using their computer to hack into government and corporate networks, and steal millions from banks to give to others, they realize that Louie and his friends mean trouble. Billy, his wife and two sons begin a roller-coaster ride of fame, fortune, jail, death, resurrection, and a distinguished ranking high on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” List. The Government soon decides that all these aliens are terrorists. They must be eliminated. The aliens are playing games they hope will help humans to see the insanity of the American political, economic and military systems. But the Powers that Be don’t play games: they make war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIsland of glass / Nora Roberts.
“Book 3 in the Guardians trilogy. Doyle Mac Cleirich, soldier and reluctant immortal, has always vowed never to return home. But when his search for the final star leads him to Ireland, it becomes clear that fate has other plans. Solitary by inclination, Doyle is also fighting his growing attraction to archaeologist Riley. His warrior spirit is drawn to the wild and there’s no one more familiar with the wild than Riley. As the six guardians face their final challenge, Riley and Doyle are prepared to risk their lives in battle. But without love to sustain them, the quest is doomed to failure.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe waking fire / Anthony Ryan.
“Throughout the vast lands controlled by the Ironship Trading Syndicate, nothing is more prized than the blood of drakes. Harvested from captive or hunted Reds, Greens, Blues and Blacks, it can be distilled into elixirs that bestow fearsome powers on the rare men and women known as the Blood-blessed. But not many know the truth: that the lines of drakes are weakening. If they fail, war with the neighbouring Corvantine Empire will follow swiftly.The Syndicate’s last hope resides in whispers of the existence of another breed of drake, far more powerful than the rest, and the few who have been chosen by fate to seek it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAt the sign of triumph / David Weber
“The Church of God Awaiting’s triumph over Charis was inevitable. Despite its prosperity, the Charis was a single, small island realm. It boasted less than two percent of the total population of Safehold. How could it possibly resist total destruction? The Church had every reason to be confident of a swift, crushing victory, an object lesson to other rebels. But Charis had something far more powerful than simple numbers. It had Merlin, the cybernetic avatar of a woman dead over a thousand years, who was determined to break the Church’s grip upon the human mind and soul. So after eight years of war, it is not Charis but the Church that stands upon the brink of defeat. But the Church still commands immense resources, and faced with the unthinkable it’s decided that it, too, must embrace the forbidden technology which has carried Charis so far. In the end, it is simple, for only one can survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Best of the Best: must reads from this month’s fiction selection

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

Syndetics book coverThe wish child / Catherine Chidgey.
This wonderfully authentic novel is compelling reading, a great accomplishment.

Syndetics book coverHot dog taste test : a cook [crossed out] book / by Lisa Hanawalt.
A very funny exploration of the author’s anxieties and obsessions, making the mundane disturbing and the strange normal.

Syndetics book coverMagpie murders / Anthony Horowitz.
A brilliantly multilayered thriller with a very satisfying twist.

Syndetics book coverDeath and the seaside / Alison Moore.
A dark unsettling novel, at times funny, that you will want to read again.

Syndetics book coverThe gradual / Christopher Priest.
A challenging, but thought provoking novel from this much acclaimed skillful writer.

Fiction Newsletter for the new year

Welcome to this month’s Fiction Newsletter. New Zealand writers feature in our ‘Other Genres’ category. We only have room for three titles from each genre’s selection of new material, just as a sample, so do visit the complete lists, where you will find more great reading.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

There is some great entertaining reading in this month’s new contemporary fiction, perfect for the long hot, lazy days of summer. From the new additions to the collection, we have selected new novels from three of the most popular writers for this newsletter, but do check out all the other great reads chosen.

Syndetics book cover Moonglow / Michael Chabon.
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact and the creative power of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The dark flood rises / Margaret Drabble.
“Fran may be old but she’s not going without a fight. So she dyes her hair, enjoys every glass of red wine, drives around the country for her job with a housing charity and lives in an insalubrious tower block that her loved ones disapprove of. And as each of them, her pampered ex Claude, old friend Jo, flamboyant son Christopher and earnest daughter Poppet, seeks happiness in their own way, what will the last reckoning be? Will they be waving or drowning when the end comes?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The whole town’s talking : a novel / Fannie Flagg.
“Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. “Resting place” turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking. This is an unforgettable story of life, afterlife, and the remarkable goings-on of ordinary people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

There was another fabulous selection of Graphic Novels added to the Wellington City Libraries collection this month. There is as always a diverse range of genre and art work, making this collection one of our library’s most popular and heavily read, and therefore difficult to select just three for this newsletter.

Syndetics book cover We stand on guard / Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Skroce.
“A subversive, action-packed military thriller. Set 100 years in our future, the story follows a heroic band of Canadian civilians turned freedom fighters who must defend their homeland from invasion by a technologically superior opponent, the United States of America.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Day of the magicians / Michelangelo La Neve and Marco Nizzoli ; introduction by Alexandro Jodorowsky.
“Drazen; a child kidnapped, trained by a mysterious band of magicians, and destined to seek out and destroy his own father. Lancaster; a father who will stop at nothing to achieve his own plans, including manipulating his son’s childhood friend. Torn between destiny and desire, the young magician will be forced to confront these conflicts, with terrible consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Cruising through the Louvre / David Prudhomme ; translation by Joe Johnson.
“Author David Prudhomme meanders through the Louvre, feeling as if in the panels of a giant comic while he himself is creating his own. In this institution, all manner of people from all over the world rub elbows quietly. So he decides to cruise through the Louvre at a quick pace, not to look at the art but to observe the people and their interaction with it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Although police procedural mysteries were predominant in this month’s selection of recently arrived novels, we have chosen three with very different plots for this edition of the fiction newsletter.

Syndetics book cover Without mercy / Jefferson Bass.
“Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton has spent twenty-five years solving brutal murders but none so horrific and merciless as his latest case: A ravaged set of skeletal remains is found scattered in the woods of nearby Cook County. They are all that is left of a victim who had been chained, hand and foot, to a tree on a remote mountainside. The bones tell Brockton and his longtime graduate assistant, Miranda, that the victim was a young male under the age of thirty. As they dig deeper to establish his identity, they uncover warning signs that long-simmering hatred is about to explode into violence, engulfing the region in chaos.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Between the crosses / Matthew Frank.
“Now a freshly-minted DC, war-hero-turned-copper Joseph Stark is called to the scene of a double murder. The husband and wife victims were shot dead in their own home. It looks like a tragic burglary gone wrong. But Stark has a creeping feeling that the killings might be something more chilling. And when new evidence points to a twenty-year-old cold case the hunt is on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Rather be the devil / Ian Rankin.
“For John Rebus, forty years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand and it still preys on his mind. Murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, Maria’s killer has never been found. Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

There were some amazing new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels received this month. The three selected here for this newsletter illustrate the scope of imagination writers of this genre possess.

Syndetics book cover Night without stars : Chronicle of the Fallers / Peter F. Hamilton
“The planet Bienvenido is in crisis. It has finally escaped the Void, emerging into regular space. But it’s millions of light-years from Commonwealth assistance, and humans are battling the Fallers for control of their world. This rapacious adversary, evolved to destroy all sentient life, has infiltrated every level of human society, hijacking unwilling bodies so its citizens fear their leaders, friends and family. A mysterious figure known as the Warrior Angel leads a desperate resistance. But the government obstructs the Angel’s efforts at every turn, blinded by prejudice and technophobia. Then astronaut Ry Evine uncovers one last hope. On a mission against the enemy, his spacecraft damages an unidentified vessel carrying unexpected cargo: a baby. This extraordinary Commonwealth child possesses knowledge that could save them all. But if the Fallers catch her, the people of Bienvenido will not survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Death’s end / Cixin Liu ; translated by Ken Liu.
“Book three of the Three-Body Trilogy concludes with Death’s End . Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Mort(e) : a novel / by Robert Repino.Mort(e)
“After the War With No Name, a cat assassin searches for his lost love in this strange, moving fantasy epic. The colony of ants has risen up to set about creating a human-free Utopia on Earth. Former housecat turned war hero, Mort is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend, a dog named Sheba.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

New Zealand fiction is featured in this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category, showcasing great writing and a diverse range of subjects. This month we received the much acclaimed new Catherine Chidgey novel, and new work from Deborah Challinor and Emma Neale. So with the novels we have selected for this newsletter we are highlighting three different, but just as skillful writers.

Syndetics book cover Daylight second / Kelly Ana Morey.
“In a new novel about the Australian race horse Phar Lap, award -winning writer, Kelly Ana Morey recreates the short life of the gigantic chestnut gelding who became the darling of the Australian race tracks during the Depression years. From Timaru in New Zealand where he was born, to Australia where he rewrote track and race records and finally Mexico where he would run his last race, Daylight Second chronicles the death threats and attempts on Phar Lap’s life that were made before the running of two of the three Melbourne Cups he contested, his many triumphs including winning the Melbourne Cup in 1930 and the Agua Caliente Handicap in 1932, and finally his death in America in mysterious circumstances.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Strip / Sue Wootton.
“Their dreams of parenthood dashed, Harvey and Isobel go for dream jobs instead. Harvey hangs up his stethoscope to become a cartoonist and Isobel takes a promotion at the local museum. Then an abandoned baby comes up for adoption, and Harvey and Isobel discover a family is more work than they bargained for. By Fleur’s eighth birthday it’s all come together nicely, but that’s before a voice from the past threatens to nuke their hard-won happiness. Harvey doesn’t stop to think. He acts, and with tragic consequences” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The student body / written by former police detective Simon Wyatt.
“A popular fifteen-year-old girl is strangled to death at a school camp on Auckland’s west coast. The posing of the body suggests a sexual motive. Nick Knight, a week into his role as a newly promoted detective sergeant, is tasked with the critical job of leading the Suspects Team. Nick, who turned his back on a lucrative career as a lawyer, is well-versed at dealing with the dark sides of human nature. With no shortage of suspects, he sets a cracking pace on the trail of the murderer, grappling his own personal demons along the way. But are things really as they seem?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels for December

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels includes the third book in Cixin Liu’s Three Body trilogy, titled Death’s end, and the third book in Juliet Marillier’s series Blackthorn & Grim, titled Den of Wolves. Also included in this selection is the latest novel from the brilliant Christopher Priest, titled The gradual.

Syndetics book coverThe power / Naomi Alderman.
“In The Power the world is a recognizable place, there’s a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge, with devastating effects. Now, with the flick of a switch, teenage girls can cause agonizing pain and even death, and, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIsis orb : a Xanth novel / Piers Anthony.
“In Xanth, everyone has a talent. But that doesn’t mean everyone loves his talent, and no one understands that better than Hapless. Endowed with the ability to conjure any instrument he wants, Hapless could be an extraordinary musician if only he could play a tune that didn’t fall ear-piercingly flat. His one desire is to find an instrument he can play. When the Good Magician hears about Hapless’s desperate desire, he sends the young man on a quest to find the elusive Isis Orb, a magical talisman that could fulfill his wish. But the mysterious Egyptian goddess for whom the orb is named guards the enchanted object and won’t let anyone see it, let alone use it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChapel of ease / Alex Bledsoe.
“When Matt Johansson, a young New York actor, auditions for “Chapel of Ease,” an off-Broadway musical, he is instantly charmed by Ray Parrish, the show’s writer and composer. They soon become friends; Matt learns that Ray’s people call themselves the Tufa and that the musical is based on the history of his isolated home town. But there is one question in the show’s script that Ray refuses to answer: what is buried in the ruins of the chapel of ease? As opening night approaches, strange things begin to happen. A dreadlocked girl follows Ray and spies on him. At the press preview, a strange Tufa woman warns him to stop the show. Then, as the rave reviews arrive, Ray dies in his sleep.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNight without stars : Chronicle of the Fallers / Peter F. Hamilton
“The planet Bienvenido is in crisis. It has finally escaped the Void, emerging into regular space. But it’s millions of light-years from Commonwealth assistance, and humans are battling the Fallers for control of their world. This rapacious adversary, evolved to destroy all sentient life, has infiltrated every level of human society, hijacking unwilling bodies so its citizens fear their leaders, friends and family. A mysterious figure known as the Warrior Angel leads a desperate resistance. But the government obstructs the Angel’s efforts at every turn, blinded by prejudice and technophobia. Then astronaut Ry Evine uncovers one last hope. On a mission against the enemy, his spacecraft damages an unidentified vessel carrying unexpected cargo: a baby. This extraordinary Commonwealth child possesses knowledge that could save them all. But if the Fallers catch her, the people of Bienvenido will not survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath’s end / Cixin Liu ; translated by Ken Liu.
“Book three of the Three-Body Trilogy concludes with Death’s End . Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Den of wolves / Juliet Marillier.
“Healer Blackthorn knows all too well the rules of her bond to the fey: seek no vengeance, help any who ask, do only good. But after the most recent ordeal she and Grim have suffered, she knows she cannot let go of her quest to bring justice to the man who ruined her life. Despite her own struggles, Blackthorn agrees to help the princess of Dalriada to care for a troubled young girl who has been brought to court, while Grim travels to the girl’s home at Wolf Glen to aid her wealthy father with a strange task, repairing a broken down house deep in the woods. It doesn’t take Grim long to realize that everything in Wolf Glen is not as it seems, the place is full of perilous secrets and deadly lies.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe gradual / Christopher Priest.
“Alesandro Sussken is a composer, and we see his life as he grows up in a fascist state constantly at war with another equally faceless opponent. His brother is sent off to fight; his family is destroyed by grief. Occasionally Alesandro catches glimpses of islands in the far distance from the shore, and they feed into his music, music for which he is feted. But all knowledge of the other islands is forbidden by the junta, until he is unexpectedly sent on a cultural tour. And what he discovers on his journey will change his perceptions of his country, his music and the ways of the islands themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCuldesac : a novella from the war with no name / by Robert Repino.Culdesac
“The war with no name rages on, setting the world on fire. Humanity faces extinction at the hands of the Colony, a race of intelligent ants seeking to overthrow the humans and establish a new order. The bobcat Culdesac is among the fiercest warriors fighting for the Colony. Driven by revenge and notorious for his ability to hunt humans in the wild, Culdesac is the perfect leader of the Red Sphinx, an elite unit of feline assassins. With the humans in retreat, the Red Sphinx seizes control of the remote village of Milton. But holding the town soon becomes a bitter struggle of wills. As the humans threaten a massive counterattack, the townsfolk protect a dark secret that could tip the balance of the war. For the brutal Culdesac, violence is the answer to everything. But this time, he’ll need more than his claws and his guns, for what he discovers in Milton will upend everything he believes, everything he fought for, and everything he left behind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMort(e) : a novel / by Robert Repino.Mort(e)
“After the War With No Name, a cat assassin searches for his lost love in this strange, moving fantasy epic. The colony of ants has risen up to set about creating a human-free Utopia on Earth. Former housecat turned war hero, Mort is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend, a dog named Sheba.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShadow of victory / David Weber.
“The Mesan Alignment has a plan,one it’s been working on for centuries. A plan to remake the galaxy and genetically improve the human race its way.Until recently, things have gone pretty much as scheduled, but then the Alignment hit a minor bump in the road called the Star Empire of Manticore. So the Alignment engineered a war between the Solarian League, the biggest and most formidable interstellar power in human history. To help push things along, the Alignment launched a devastating sneak attack which destroyed the Royal Manticoran Navy’s industrial infrastructure. In order to undercut Manticore’s galaxy-wide reputation as a star nation of its word, it launched Operation Janus, a false-flag covert operation to encourage rebellions it knows will fail by promising Manticoran support. The twin purposes are to harden Solarian determination to destroy the Star Empire once and for all, and to devastate the Star Empire’s reputation with the rest of the galaxy. But even the best laid plans can have unintended consequences, and one of those consequences in this case may just be a new dawn of freedom for oppressed star nations everywhere.” (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 coverRinse, spin, repeat : a graphic memoir of loss and survival / Edith Fassnidge.
An amazing memoir, told in simple graphics about survival and loss.

Syndetics book coverThose who leave and those who stay / Elena Ferrante ; translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein.
Another Neapolitan about a novel by this elusive author, about power, beauty and human relationships.

Syndetics book coverThe tidal zone / Sarah Moss.
A novel parental love, overwhelming fear, illness, recovery and the challenges of marriage. This novel is quite unforgettable.

Syndetics book coverSleeping giants / Sylvain Neuvel.
A wonderful debut novel, a political thriller and part apocalyptic fiction, a gripping page turner.

Syndetics book coverHolding / Graham Norton.
A brilliant debut novel from this famous comedian. A black comedy cleverly plotted that is a joy to read.

Fiction Newsletter for the holiday season

Welcome to our latest fiction newsletter where we tempt you with some highlights across all genres from our selection of recently received new fiction. This month we are featuring translated novels in our ‘Other Genres’ category. We are certain there will be many new novels for readers to enjoy, and new authors to discover. You’re sure to find something new to delve into for the holidays.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

This month’s new Contemporary fiction included many award winning writers. We hope the three chosen for this newsletter will tempt you to check the complete selection from the recently received new material.

Syndetics book cover My name is Leon / Kit De Waal
“Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. Their mum isn’t feeling herself, so they’ve gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers, since Jake is white and Leon is not.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Siracusa / Delia Ephron.Siracusa
“Two couples on vacation in Siracusa, a town on the coast of Sicily, where the secrets they have hidden from each other are exposed and relationships are unravelled. New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine,-Finn, his wife Taylor, and their daughter Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Do not say we have nothing : a novel / Madeleine Thien.
“In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her name is Ai-Ming. As her relationship with Marie deepens, Ai-Ming tells the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a history of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians, the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Once again, choosing three new Graphic novels for this month’s newsletter has been difficult, as they were all brilliant. The three chosen demonstrate the diversity of imagination and artwork always found in this collection

Syndetics book cover The infinite loop / written and lettered by Pierrick Colinet ; illustrated and colored by Elsa Charretier.
“A science-fiction series that asks the age-old question, “What would you risk for a chance at true love?” Teddy is a young woman who lives in a faraway future where time traveling is a common practice and her job is to maintain the status quo by correcting time paradoxes. But when she meets Ano, “a time paradox” and the girl of her dreams, Teddy must decide between fixing the time stream or the love of her life, both of which have unique consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Pride & joy / Garth Ennis, writer ; John Higgins, artist & colorist.
“Still mourning the loss of his wife, Jimmy Kavanagh lives quietly in the backwoods of New England, raising his devoted daughter and resentful teenage son. But fate has come calling in the worst possible way, as Jimmy’s criminal past threatens to destroy his entire family, raising the spectra of his crushing guilt for an old and awful crime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Different ugliness, different madness / Marc Malès, writer & artist ; Jonathan Tanner, translator.
“A radio star of the 1930s returns to the airwaves after a yearlong absence. A dying woman tells her life story to her daughter on a deserted railway platform. These dual stories spin together in Malés’ moody, mysterious tale, spotlighting the enigmatic nature of identity and personal reflection. In a flashback, Helen, a woman with a possibly-imaginary twin, travels Depression-era roads in search of her own identity, a journey that eventually uncovers the radio star’s secret.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Avid fans of mystery novels need no introduction to this section of the newsletter, as once again there are many new novels from favourite writers. Included also some new talented writers that will no doubt over time become established favourites.

Syndetics book cover The wrong side of goodbye / Michael Connelly.
“Harry Bosch is still working, both as a volunteer at a suburban cop shop and as a PI, but he’s very picky about his cases, which is why when a billionaire of dubious reputation comes calling, Harry is weary. But the mogul, nearing death, has a compelling story to tell: a dalliance with a Latina student decades ago may have produced a child, who may or not still be alive but who may have produced a grandchild. Harry’s job is to determine if there is an heir and then to report only to the mogul, not to any of his greedy underlings. The first part goes relatively easily yes, there is an heir but the mogul is murdered before Harry has a chance to talk to him. Juggling his investigation with the responsibilities of his volunteer gig, Harry finds himself caught between the sometimes contradictory demands of finding bad guys and helping victims.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Chameleon people / Hans Olav Lahlum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“1972. On a cold March morning the weekend peace is broken when a frantic young cyclist rings on Inspector Kolbjorn ‘K2′ Kristiansen’s doorbell, desperate to speak to the detective. Compelled to help, K2 lets the boy inside, only to discover that he is being pursued by K2′s colleagues in the Oslo police. A bloody knife is quickly found in the young man’s pocket: a knife that matches the stab wounds of a politician murdered just a few streets away. The evidence seems clear-cut, and the arrest couldn’t be easier. But with the suspect’s identity unknown, and the boy refusing to speak, K2 finds himself far from closing the case. And then there is the question that K2 can’t get out of his head: why would a guilty man travel directly to a police detective from the scene of his own brutal crime?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Goodwood / Holly Throsby.
“Goodwood is a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone. It’s a place where it’s impossible to keep a secret. In 1992, when Jean Brown is seventeen, a terrible thing happens, two terrible things. Rosie White, the coolest girl in town, vanishes overnight. One week later, Goodwood’s most popular resident, Bart McDonald, sets off on a fishing trip and never comes home. People die in Goodwood, of course, but never like this. They don’t just disappear. As the intensity of speculation about the fates of Rosie and Bart heightens, Jean, who is keeping secrets of her own, and the rest of Goodwood are left reeling.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

This month’s new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels recently added to the collection included many well known great writers. There are also several exciting new writers making their debut in this genre.

Syndetics book cover Ninth City burning / J. Patrick Black.
“Generations after Earth has been attacked by an unknown alien force, the world is a different place. Most cities were instantly destroyed by the invaders using an element known as “thelemity,” and human survival depends on a few who can wield this power as well. In the intervening centuries, those who use thelemity are sought and put into military service. But while the surviving cities lead the ongoing war efforts, the rural settlements resent being employed as a supply source of resources and soldiers. Two young sisters from the unincorporated wild country are dragged into the conflict.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The obelisk gate / N.K. Jemisin.
“In the world called the Stillness-which the first book hints may actually be our world, thousands of years in the future-orogenes are hated and feared for their ability to control the geological forces that shape the land. Powerful orogene Essun desperately searches for her eight-year-old daughter, Nassun, who was stolen away by her father. He hopes to find someone to “fix” the girl and excise her burgeoning orogene talent. But Essun’s search is interrupted by her old mentor, Alabaster. Alabaster is dying, and he hopes to use Essun’s powers to end the current “season,” a disastrous change in global climate that could destroy all life, by recapturing the planet’s long-lost moon, whose absence is the cause of the ironically named Stillness’s geological instability.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Infomocracy / Malka Older.
“In the (slightly implausible) future, most of the world is part of a massive democracy divided into “centenals” of 100,000 people. Governments are global and overlapping, and each centenal decides which government to belong to. A worldwide organization known as Information manages elections and attempts to keep governments’ campaign promises in check; the governments themselves range from corporate ones such as PhilipMorris to more traditional ones with names like Liberty and Policy1st. Ken, a Brazilian of Japanese descent who works for the Policy1st government, is attempting to research non-Policy1st centenals that might be willing to change governments in the upcoming election. After he learns of a potential conspiracy involving the election, he ends up working with (and falling for) Information agent Mishima.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

Translated novels are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genre’ category, with fascinating examples of modern global fiction covering all genres. Our selection for this newsletter showcases this diversity.

Syndetics book cover Men / Marie Darrieussecq ; translated from the French by Penny Hueston.
“It’s love at first sight for French actress Solange when she lays eyes on enigmatic Cameroonian actor Kouhouesso at a party in the Hollywood Hills. Solange takes him to bed but wants more than a tryst, much more. But Kouhouesso remains elusive, focusing his energies on his passion project: directing a new version of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Solange angles for the role of the Intended, Kurtz’s fiancée, who appears in only one scene. Kouhouesso considers several better-known actresses before finally settling on Solange. And so lovesick Solange follows Kouhouesso to his native Cameroon, hoping the film shoot will allow her to peel back his protective layers and truly bring them closer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The explosion chronicles / Yan Lianke ; translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas.
“With the Yi River on one side and the Balou Mountains on the other, the village of Explosion was founded more than a millennium ago by refugees fleeing a seismic volcanic eruption. But in the post-Mao era the name takes on a new significance as the community grows explosively from a small village to a vast metropolis. Behind this rapid expansion are members of the community’s three major families, including the four Kong brothers. Linked together by a complex web of loyalty, betrayal, desire, and ambition, these figures are the driving force behind their hometown’s transformation into an urban superpower.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The brother / Joakim Zander ; translated from the Swedish by Elizabeth Clark Wessel.
“Growing up poor, Yasmine vowed she would always protect her little brother from harm. She broke her promise on the day she left home, abandoning Fadi to his life in the Stockholm slums. Now, five years later, Yasmine still carries the guilt of leaving him behind. She hears a rumor that he is dead, killed by a US drone in Syria. What happened to turn her sweet-natured brother into one of the CIA’s most wanted men? The answer will shock her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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November Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the monthly Fiction Newsletter. Here you will find our top three choices from each genre’s selected list of newly received fiction. This month we feature Suspense/Thriller fiction in our ‘Other Genres’ category all are guaranteed gripping page turners.

We sincerely hope you will enjoy our selections, and discover new writers, and genres you may not have tried before, happy reading.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

This month’s selection of New Contemporary Novels was comprised entirely of Award winning, international acclaimed writers; therefore selecting just three novels for this newsletter was extremely difficult. We hope you will be tempted to view the complete list of selections as there is great reading be found there.

Syndetics book cover Hag-seed : The tempest retold / Margaret Atwood.
“It’s got a thunderstorm in it. And revenge. Definitely revenge Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda, and also brewing revenge. After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The wonder : a novel / Emma Donoghue.
“Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl and soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Black rock white city / A. S. Patrić.
“During a hot Melbourne summer Jovan’s cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children. This is an essential story of Australia’s suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Although this month’s selection of new Graphic novels included seven first volumes of new series, we have chosen the only three stand-alone titles for this newsletter. As you can see all three are highly accomplished, much praised graphic novelists and artists.

Syndetics book cover Something new : tales from a makeshift bride / by Lucy Knisley.
“DIY maven Lucy Knisley was fascinated by American wedding culture, but also sort of horrified by it. So she set out to plan and execute the adorable DIY wedding to end all adorable DIY weddings. And she succeeded.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Cigarette girl / Masahiko Matsumoto ; foreword by Yoshihiro Tatsumi ; translated by Spencer Fancutt, with assistance of Atsuko Saisho.
“Welcome to the quiet, evocative urban dramas of Masahiko Matsumoto, one of the leading lights of the Japanese alternative-comics movement known as “gekiga.” Originally published in 1974, these eleven stories now form the first English-language collection of Matsumoto’s mature work. His shy, uncertain heroes face broken hearts, changing families, money troubles, sexual anxiety, and the pressures of tradition, but with a whimsy and lightness of touch that is Matsumoto’s trademark.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Paul up North / Michel Rabagliati.
“Rabagliati continues his award-winning semi-autobiographical Paul series in this coming of age story. The action takes place in 1975-76 just before and during the summer Olympics in Montreal. Paul is now 16, a teenager, and he finds new experiences, changes schools, hitchhikes, falls deeply in love, gets dumped, smokes pot and drinks beer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Mysteries this month included three translated Scandinavian mysteries and several historical mysteries mixed with the customary cold cases, missing persons and kidnappings, found with in this genre. We have selected a mixed assortment for your enjoyment.

Syndetics book cover The owl always hunts at night / Samuel Bjork ; translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund.
“When a young woman is found dead, the police are quick to respond. But what they find at the scene is unexpected. The body is posed, the scene laboriously set. And there is almost no forensic evidence to be found. Detective Mia Kruger has been signed off work pending psychological assessment. But her boss has less regard for the rules than he should. Desperate to get Mia back in the office, Holger Munch offers her an unofficial deal.But the usually brilliant Mia is struggling and the team is unable to close the case. Until a young hacker uncovers something that forces the team to confront the scope of the murderer’s plans and face the possibility that he may already be on the hunt for a second victim.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Malice of waves / Mark douglas-Home.
“Cal McGill is the sea detective: an oceanographer and one-of-a-kind investigator who uses his knowledge of the waves to find where objects came from, or track where they’ve gone. For five years Priest’s Island has guarded the mystery of Max Wheeler’s disappearance. In this isolated township on the edge of the Atlantic, there are no secrets, except what really happened to fourteen-year-old Max. Now Cal McGill has taken up the quest. A grieving father, a community riven by tragedy and resentful of the suspicion all make a powder keg of secrets and vengeance ready to explode.” (Adapted from Syndectics summary)
Syndetics book cover Blind sight / Carol O’Connell.
“A blind child and a Catholic nun disappear from a city sidewalk in plain sight of onlookers. There, then gone, vanished in seconds. Those who witnessed the event still cannot believe it happened. Detective Kathy Mallory and the NYPD’s Special Crimes Unit enter the investigation when the nun’s body is found with three other corpses in varying stages of decomposition left on the lawn of Gracie Mansion, home to the mayor of New York City. Sister Michael was the last to die. The child, Jonah Quill, is still missing. Behind her back, the squad’s name for her is Mallory the Machine, yet she has a dark understanding of what it is to be human. A child is waiting, time is running out, and atop her list of liars is the mayor himself, and a theory of the crimes in which no sane cop could believe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy included some well-known much acclaimed writers. With all the usual plots found in this genre, from alternative histories to zombies, there is no limit to the imaginations of these writers, giving readers a truly out of world experience.

Syndetics book cover Obelisk / Stephen Baxter.
“This collection contains stories set in the worlds of the bestselling duology ULTIMA and PROXIMA, which expand on the characters and worlds of that series, including two brand new short stories. There is also a selection of alternate histories and possible futures, building on Baxter’s work with Terry Pratchett on the LONG EARTH series.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The span of empire / Eric Flint, David Carrico ; with K.D. Wentworth.
“A new novel in the Jao Empire series. It has become clear to both the Jao and their human and Lleix partners that if they are going to defeat the Ekhat who have been terrorizing the galaxy for eons, they need more allies. To that end, Preceptor Ronz, guardian of Earth and greatest living strategist of the Jao, has harnessed the energy of Earth’s humans to create and send out an exploration fleet under the command of Caitlin Kralik. But after a long search, all the expedition has found are dead worlds and now-extinct intelligent species slaughtered by the genocidal Ekhat. Do they continue to search down the galactic arm in which Earth and the Jao worlds lie, or do they make an astounding leap in another direction?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The ghoul king / Guy Haley.
“The Knight, Quinn, is down on his luck, and he travels to the very edge of the civilized world, whatever that means any more, to restock his small but essential inventory. After fighting a series of gladiatorial bouts against the dead, he finds himself in the employ of a woman on a quest to find the secret to repairing her semi-functional robot. But the technological secret it guards may be one truth too many.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

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Other genres

With Suspense/thriller being the feature of this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category, there was a great variation in location, time, character. The three selected for this newsletter are good examples of the amazing variation in the suspense/thriller genre.

Syndetics book cover Home / Harlan Coben.
“A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: what can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Out of bounds.
“When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car, a routine DNA test could be the key to unlocking the mystery of a twenty-year-old murder inquiry. Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is an expert at solving the unsolvable. With each cold case closed, justice is served. So, finding the answer should be straightforward, but it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Breaking cover / Stella Rimington.
“Liz Carlyle, still reeling from the aftershocks of a botched anti-terrorist operation in Paris, has been posted to MI5′s counter-espionage desk, where her bosses hope the relative calm might give her the chance to find her feet again. But they hadn’t counted on the fallout from Russia’s incursions into the Crimea and President Putin’s determination to silence those who would oppose him, wherever they may be living in the world. So it is not long before Liz finds herself on the hunt for a Russian spy on British soil, a spy whose intentions are unknown, and whose presence is a threat not only to Russian dissidents living in England but also to the security of the nation itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for November

From this month’s selection from the new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, Malka Older’s debut novel set in the not too distant future, titled Infomocracy comes highly recommend. Also included is the latest work from Wesley Chu and Eric Flint, along with many other great writers, all giving wonderful plot and character diversity to this genre.

Syndetics book coverNinth City burning / J. Patrick Black.
“Generations after Earth has been attacked by an unknown alien force, the world is a different place. Most cities were instantly destroyed by the invaders using an element known as “thelemity,” and human survival depends on a few who can wield this power as well. In the intervening centuries, those who use thelemity are sought and put into military service. But while the surviving cities lead the ongoing war efforts, the rural settlements resent being employed as a supply source of resources and soldiers. Two young sisters from the unincorporated wild country are dragged into the conflict.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverZero-G / Rob Boffard.
“Former space station courier Riley Hale is once again caught up in deadly plots complicated by competing loyalties. Six months after Riley saved the Outer Earth space station, the last refuge of humankind after eco-collapse on Earth, she’s now employed as a “stomper,” part of local law enforcement. But her past has made her a target for vigilante Morgan Knox, who wants Riley’s help in taking his revenge on jailed terrorist leader Janice Okwembu. To force Riley to help him, Knox has surgically implanted explosive charges in Riley’s knees. To complicate matters, a deadly virus is sweeping across the station. When Knox falls ill, Riley must find a cure to save herself as well as the rest of the station.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA shadow all of light / Fred Chappell.
“Falco is the apprentice to Maestro Astolfo in the shadow trade in the Italianate fantasy city of Tardocco. Here, shadows are stolen, bought, and sold, and a person can surrender their shadow and don a different one for a special purpose. Astolfo is a master of the business, equal parts thief, scholar, magician, and detective, and under his tutelage and that of his henchman, Mutano, Falco grows from “a bumpkin, trying on the airs of a town bravo” to a shadow adept over the course of a series of episodic adventures.” (Adapted from Syndetic sunmmary)

Syndetics book coverThe rise of Io / Wesley Chu.
“The Prophus and the Genjix, two aspects of a stranded alien species, have secretly been guiding human evolution since the beginning and are now fighting a war intended to raise humans to the level where they can create the technological necessary to return the aliens to their home world. The aliens, who are immaterial and ride their human vessels, have instigated many of humans’ greatest triumphs and horrors. Now Io, a perennial incompetent, has chosen Ella to make her play for greatness, but Ella has her own agenda.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverCastaway odyssey / Eric Flint, Ryk E. Spoor.
“Sergeant Samuel Morgan Campbell had been in plenty of tight spots before, but nothing like this. It had happened in a few terrifying seconds: the starship he and his crew travelled on, the Outward Initiative, shattered to pieces before their eyes and disappeared, leaving them stranded in the endless night of deep space on Lifeboat LS-88 all systems dead, light-years from any known colony. Somehow, Sergeant Campbell and his crew of half-trained children ranging from freshly graduated Xander Bird down to eight-year-old Francisco have to repair systems with no tools, navigate with no computers, and if they could find a planet they could live on land a shuttle whose controls were more than half-destroyed. And if they manage all of that, then the real challenge begins; the only planet in range has secrets that even Sergeant Campbell cannot imagine.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe obelisk gate / N.K. Jemisin.
“In the world called the Stillness-which the first book hints may actually be our world, thousands of years in the future-orogenes are hated and feared for their ability to control the geological forces that shape the land. Powerful orogene Essun desperately searches for her eight-year-old daughter, Nassun, who was stolen away by her father. He hopes to find someone to “fix” the girl and excise her burgeoning orogene talent. But Essun’s search is interrupted by her old mentor, Alabaster. Alabaster is dying, and he hopes to use Essun’s powers to end the current “season,” a disastrous change in global climate that could destroy all life, by recapturing the planet’s long-lost moon, whose absence is the cause of the ironically named Stillness’s geological instability.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGhost talkers / Mary Robinette Kowal.
“In the summer of 1916, American heiress Ginger Stuyvesant is engaged to British intelligence officer Benjamin Hartshorne and working in France as a medium in the top secret Spirit Corps, a force that gathers intelligence from fallen soldiers at the moment of death. It is grisly, exhausting work that puts the souls of the mediums in danger of becoming permanently separated from their physical forms, and it is made more dangerous by the discovery that the German army is not only aware of the Spirit Corps but has a double agent assisting them. When Ben is murdered, it falls to Ginger to help him move on by finding his killer and discovering the traitor in the corps while keeping her soul intact.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSleeping giants / Sylvain Neuvel.Sleeping Giants
“When Dr. Rose Franklin was a little girl, she made a startling discovery in the woods near her home: the gigantic hand of a robot that appeared to be of alien manufacture. Now that she has grown up and become a prominent scientist, she has, perhaps by coincidence, been put in charge of secretly recovering other parts of the robot, which have apparently been hidden around the world for thousands of years, and returning the behemoth to working order. When the robot’s human pilots accidentally blow a hole in Denver, Colo., thus revealing the machine’s existence, other nations demand access and tensions mount.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInfomocracy / Malka Older.
“In the (slightly implausible) future, most of the world is part of a massive democracy divided into “centenals” of 100,000 people. Governments are global and overlapping, and each centenal decides which government to belong to. A worldwide organization known as Information manages elections and attempts to keep governments’ campaign promises in check; the governments themselves range from corporate ones such as PhilipMorris to more traditional ones with names like Liberty and Policy1st. Ken, a Brazilian of Japanese descent who works for the Policy1st government, is attempting to research non-Policy1st centenals that might be willing to change governments in the upcoming election. After he learns of a potential conspiracy involving the election, he ends up working with (and falling for) Information agent Mishima.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe high ground / Melinda Snodgrass.
“A future interstellar empire is the setting of this military space opera, told from the perspective of two misfits in the prestigious military academy known as the High Ground. One is Thracius “Tracy” Belmanor, a tailor’s son and scholarship student treated with contempt by the sons of the nobility around him; the other is Mercedes de Arango, the first woman to attend the High Ground, from which she must graduate to succeed her father, the emperor of the Solar League. As Tracy and Mercedes struggle with classism, sexism, and the weight of familial expectations and dreams, alien and human conspiracies threaten to undermine Mercedes’s future and that of the empire itself.” (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 ice beneath her / Camilla Grebe ; translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel.
A very clever psychological murder mystery that will have any reader locked in from the first sentence to the last.

Syndetics book coverRazor girl / Carl Hiaasen.l
A typical Carl Hiaasen racy, wacky, thriller, with an wonderful assortment of weird characters, in unbelievable situations, a great joyous, hilarious read.

Syndetics book coverSomething new : tales from a makeshift bride / by Lucy Knisley.
Lucy Knisley never fails to delight with her clever precise graphic novels. This memoir just sparkles.

Syndetics book coverNutshell / Ian McEwan.
This novel is just brilliant. Similar story line to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this a real page turner, from a master fiction writer.

Syndetics book coverThe last days of new Paris : a novella / China Miéville.
An alternative history, that showcases Mieville’s fabulous imagination, love of language and writing skill. Totally engrossing.


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