Fiction Newsletter for June

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

Library News

Contemporary fiction

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

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

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Graphic novels

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

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

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Mysteries

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

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

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Science fiction/fantasy

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

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

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Other genres

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fiction Newsletter for May

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

Library News

Contemporary fiction

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

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

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Graphic novels

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

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

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Mysteries

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

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

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Science fiction/fantasy

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

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

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Other genres

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

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

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New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for May

Again another wonderful selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, this month features the first book in Gods of Blood and Powder, a new series by Brian McClellan. There is also a new novel by the popular writers John Scalzi titled The Collapsing Empire. This month’s selection form our recently received new material promises hours of reading pleasure.

Syndetics book coverThe Golden Gate / Robert Buettner.
“Reclusive San Francisco worker Emmanuel Colibri built the world’s most valuable and admired company by making dreams come true, like phones and cars that were smarter than their owners. Now rumor has it he’s about to make the dream that people alive today can live to be one thousand come true, too. Then he is assassinated, his car literally blown off the Golden Gate Bridge. When cultural opposites Ben and Kate race through the Bay Area chasing clues Colibri left behind, they discover not only each other but a cosmic secret that can change human history and may cost them their lives.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPenric and the shaman : a fantasy novella in the world of the five gods / Lois McMaster Bujold.
“Set in the World of the Five Gods and four years after the events in Penric’s Demon, Penric is a divine of the Bastard’s Order as well as a sorcerer and scholar, living in the palace where the Princess-Archdivine holds court. His scholarly work is interrupted when the Archdivine agrees to send Penric, in his role as sorcerer, to accompany a “Locator” of the Father’s Order, assigned to capture Inglis, a runaway shaman charged with the murder of his best friend. However, the situation they discover in the mountains is far more complex than expected. Penric’s roles as sorcerer, strategist, and counselor are all called upon before the end.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSins of empire / Brian McClellan.
“A world on the cusp of a new ag, the young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place, a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires. The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHome / Nnedi Okorafor.
“It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she found friendship in the unlikeliest of places. Nnow she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders. But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace. After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeven surrenders / by Ada Palmer.
“It is a world in which near-instantaneous travel from continent to continent is free to all. In which automation now provides for everybody’s basic needs. In which nobody living can remember an actual war. In which it is illegal for three or more people to gather for the practice of religion, but ecumenical “sensayers” minister in private, one-on-one. In which gendered language is archaic, and to dress as strongly male or female is, if not exactly illegal, deeply taboo. In which nationality is a fading memory, and most people identify instead with their choice of the seven global Hives, distinguished from one another by their different approaches to the big questions of life. It is a world in which, unknown to most, the entire social order is teetering on the edge of collapse, because even in utopia, humans will conspire. Also because something new has arisen: Bridger, the child who can bring inanimate objects to conscious life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSlow bullets / Alastair Reynolds.
“A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur and for humanity, peace is not to be. On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship. Passengers,ombatants from both sides of the war, are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe collapsing empire / John Scalzi.
“Faster than light travel is impossible, until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars. Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war and, for the empire’s rulers, a system of control. But when it’s discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency must race to find out what can be salvaged from an empire on the brink of collapse.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDead man’s steel : the Grim Company / Luke Scull.
“In the City of Towers, former rebel Sasha and her comrade Davarus Cole struggle to keep the peace between the warring mages who vie for dominion. The White Lady sends Davarus south to the Shattered Realms to seek allies among the fallen kingdoms, and he finds that his hardest battle may be one fought within. The godly essence now residing inside him offers power that could be used against the Fade, but with every death that feeds It, Cole risks losing a part of himself. An association with a Fade officer grants the Halfmage Eremul a position of privilege among Dorminia’s new masters. He witnesses firsthand the fate that awaits humanity. But since his magic is pitiful in the face of the Fade’s advanced technology, the Halfmage must rely on his wits alone to save whom he can.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe tiger and the wolf / Adrian Tchaikovsky.
“In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming. Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She refuses to disown half her soul so escapes, rescuing a prisoner of the Wolf clan in the process. The killer Broken Axe is set on their trail, to drag them back for retribution. The Wolf chieftan plots to rule the north and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverImpersonations / Walter Jon Williams.
“Having offended her superiors by winning a battle without permission, Caroline Sula has been posted to the planet Earth, a dismal backwater where careers go to die. But Sula has always been fascinated by Earth history, and she plans to reward herself with a long, happy vacation amid the ancient monuments of humanity’s home world. Sula may be an Earth history buff, but there are aspects of her own history she doesn’t want known. Exposure is threatened when an old acquaintance turns up unexpectedly. Someone seems to be forging evidence that would send her to prison. All that is before someone tries to kill her. If she’s going to survive, Sula has no choice but to make some history of her own.” (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 coverHubert / Ben Gijsemans ; translated from the Dutch by Julia Blackburn and Sandra van Beek.
Translated from the Dutch, Hubert is a visual treat, a simple story with much pathos.

Syndetics book coverSpaceman of Bohemia / Jaroslav Kalfař.
Amazing debut novel, exciting, humorous and surprising.

Syndetics book coverThe black sheep / Sophie McKenzie.
A fast moving psychological thriller, leading to some shocking twists.

Syndetics book coverLillian Boxfish takes a walk / Kathleen Rooney.
A potted history of New York, the changing roles of women, told in a sharp and very witty manner by the protagonist.

Syndetics book coverWho watcheth / Helene Tursten ; translation by Marlaine Delargey.
A gripping, very suspenseful mystery, a great read.

The Best of the Best: must reads from the latest fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. This time we have a bumper selection of books, chosen from arrivals in recent weeks. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverGeneral theory of oblivion / José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn.
A novel set in post-colonial Angola, by an award winning Portuguese writer, that will be remembered long after the last page is read.

Syndetics book coverThe march of the foxgloves / Karyn Hay.
A fascinating historical novel, with a plot that is highly entertaining and very amusing.

Syndetics book coverMansfield and me : a graphic memoir / Sarah Laing.
A very clever, very New Zealand story that is quite brilliant.

Syndetics book coverNormal / Warren Ellis.
A gripping intelligent techno-thriller set in the near future.

Syndetics book coverBlack water lilies / Michel Bussi ; translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside.
This French best seller is guaranteed to keep readers hooked until the final pages with their astounding revelations.

Syndetics book coverCarthago / [Christophe Bec, writer ; Eric Henninot, Milan Jovanovic, artists].
Fabulous illustrations, and a gripping multi-layered story.

Syndetics book coverDear Mr. M : a novel / Herman Koch ; translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett.
A literary thriller, that will keep the reader in suspense until the last page.

Syndetics book coverFear / Dirk Kurbjuweit ; translated from the German by Imogen Taylor.
This is a murder story, a psychological thriller, and something more, a gripping and thought-provoking read.

Syndetics book coverCity of strangers : a novel / Louise Millar.
With well-drawn characters and increased suspense to a roaring conclusion that ties the two plot threads together, this is a very satisfying thriller.

Syndetics book coverEmpire games / Charles Stross.
This is a continuation of Stross’s popular Merchant Princes series and is more a high-tech thriller than a fantasy about walking between worlds in a multiverse, this first of three alternate histories. All the brilliance of imagination readers have come to expect with this writer.

New Science Fiction and Fantasy for April

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels contains the usual wide variety of imaginative plots readers of this genre have come to love. From cloning to immortality, reincarnation to psychic ability, slave traders to space spiders, all provide many hours of entertaining reading.

Syndetics book coverThe skill of our hands / Steven Brust and Skyler White.
“The Incrementalists are a secret society of two hundred people, an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations and time. They have a very modest mission: to make the world better, a little bit at a time. Phil, the Incrementalist whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone others, has been shot dead. They’ll bring him back, but first they need to know what happened. Their investigation will bring them up against corruption, racism, and brutality in high and low places alike. But the key may lay in one of Phil’s previous lives, in “Bleeding Kansas” in the late 1850s, and the fate of the passionate abolitionist we remember as John Brown.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe book of Etta / Meg Elison.
“Etta comes from Nowhere, a village of survivors of the great plague that wiped away the world that was. In the world that is, women are scarce and childbearing is dangerous, yet desperately necessary for humankind’s future. Mothers and midwives are sacred, but Etta has a different calling, as a scavenger. Loyal to the village but living on her own terms, Etta roams the desolate territory beyond: salvaging useful relics of the ruined past and braving the threat of brutal slave traders, who are seeking women and girls to sell and subjugate. When slavers seize those she loves, Etta vows to release and avenge them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe warren / Brian Evenson.
“X doesn’t have a name. He thought he had one, or many,but that might be the result of the failing memories of the personalities imprinted within him. Or maybe he really is called X. He’s also not as human as he believes himself to be. But when he discovers the existence of another, above ground, outside the protection of the Warren, X must learn what it means to be human, or face the destruction of their two species.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe immortal bind / Traci Harding.
“When Sara is gifted a beautiful antique chair as a wedding present, she is completely unaware that it is one of a unique pair. On the other side of the world, the chair’s twin is presented to a reclusive artist, Jon, as a birthday gift. The two new owners are thrust into a mind-expanding adventure through the ages, medieval East Anglia, Scotland, France and India. In each instance they experience significant junctions in their lives past; to remember and redress ripples of karma they set in motion, and thwart an evil entity that still threatens their present day lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe stars are legion / Kameron Hurley.
“On the outer rim of the universe, a galactic war has been waged for centuries upon hundreds of world-ships. But these worlds will continue to die through decay and constant war unless a desperate plan succeeds. Anat, leader of the Katazyrna world-ship and the most fearsome raiding force on the Outer Rim, wants peace. To do so she offers the hand of her daughter, Jayd, to her rival. As Anat convinces her to spend the rest of her life wed to her family’s greatest enemy, it is up to Jayd’s sister Zan, with no stomach for war, to lead the cast off warriors she has banded together to victory and rescue Jayd. But the war does not go at all as planned.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpaceman of Bohemia / Jaroslav Kalfař.
“Orphaned as a boy, raised in the Czech countryside by his doting grandparents, Jakub Procha has risen from small-time scientist to become the country’s first astronaut. When a dangerous solo mission to Venus offers him the chance at heroism he’s dreamt of, he ventures boldly into the vast unknown. But in so doing, he leaves behind his devoted wife, Lenka, whose love, he realizes too late, he has sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions. Alone in Deep Space, Jakub discovers a possibly imaginary giant alien spider, who becomes his unlikely companion. Over philosophical conversations about the nature of love, life and death, and the deliciousness of bacon, the pair form an intense and emotional bond. Will it be enough to see Jakub through a clash with secret Russian rivals and return him safely to Earth for a second chance with Lenka?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSix wakes / Mur Lafferty.
“It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood. At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone; her first memory was of how she died. Maria’s vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn’t the only one to die recently.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHumans, bow down / James Patterson and Emily Raymond with Jill Dembowski ; illustrations by Alexander Ovchinnikov.
“The Great War is over. The Robots have won. The humans who survived have two choices, they can submit and serve the vicious rulers they created or be banished to the Reserve, a desolate, unforgiving landscape where it’s a crime to be human. The robots are not content, following the orders of their soulless leader; they’re planning to conquer humanity’s last refuge. With nothing left to lose, Six, a feisty, determined young woman, is a rebel with a cause. On the run for her life after an attempted massacre, Six is determined to save humanity before the robots finish what the Great War started and wipe humans off the face of the earth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew York 2140 / Kim Stanley Robinson.
“As the sea levels rose, every street became a canal, every skyscraper an island. For the residents of one apartment building in Madison Square, however, New York in the year 2140 is far from a drowned city. There is the market trader, who finds opportunities where others find trouble. There is the detective, whose work will never disappear, along with the lawyers, of course. There is the internet star, beloved by millions for her airship adventures, and the building’s manager, quietly respected for his attention to detail. Then there are two boys who don’t live there, but have no other home, and who are more important to its future than anyone might imagine. Lastly there are the coders, temporary residents on the roof, whose disappearance triggers a sequence of events that threatens the existence of all and even the long-hidden foundations on which the city rests.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRadiant terminus / Antoine Volodine ; translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman ; foreword by Brian Evenson.
Radiant Terminus takes place in a Tarkovskian landscape after the fall of the Second Soviet Union. Most of humanity has been destroyed thanks to a number of nuclear meltdowns, but a few communes remain, including one run by Solovyei, a psychotic father with the ability to invade people’s dreams, including those of his daughters, and torment them for thousands of years. When a group of damaged individuals seek safety from this nuclear winter in Solovyei’s commune, a plot develops to overthrow him, end his reign of mental abuse, and restore humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Reading across genres – April Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the latest Fiction Newsletter from WCL. We have highlighted three of the most tempting reads from each genre that in turn demonstrates the diversity and depth of Wellington City Libraries fiction collection. This is also demonstrated by the debut novels selected for this month’s ‘Other Genre’ category. We do hope you will find some great reading, and perhaps a new author to enjoy.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

This month’s new Contemporary Fiction includes new novels from several award winning authors. One of these is George Saunders with his first novel, titled Lincoln in the bardo. He will be a guest at the Auckland Writers Festival in May.

Syndetics book cover 4 3 2 1 : a novel / Paul Auster.
“On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson’s story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid twentieth-century America.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Days without end : a novel / Sebastian Barry.
“Thomas McNulty, barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas fights in the Indian Wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Lincoln in the bardo : a novel / George Saunders.
“February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.
Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

The Graphic Novel collection always provides a wide range of genres, a large variation in writing style and art work, so that devoted readers will find endless hours of entertaining reading. This month’s selection, with debut graphic novelist to the first volumes of new series again confirms the scope and diversity of this collection.

Syndetics book cover Carthago / [Christophe Bec, writer ; Eric Henninot, Milan Jovanovic, artists].
“The megalodon, the prehistoric ancestor of the great white shark, was the most ferocious predator of the seas, an 80-foot killing machine extinct for millions of years. But when divers drilling in an underwater cave are attacked by this living fossil, oceanographer Kim Melville discovers that this creature may not only have survived, but thrived, and is reclaiming its place at the top of the food chain.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Flying couch : a graphic memoir / Amy Kurzweil.
“Amy Kurzweil’s debut, tells the stories of three unforgettable women. Amy weaves her own coming-of-age as a young Jewish artist into the narrative of her mother, a psychologist, and Bubbe, her grandmother, a World War II survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself as a gentile.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Huck [1] : All-American / Mark Millar, writer ; Rafael Albuquerque, artist ; created by Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque.
“In a quiet seaside town, a gas station clerk named Huck secretly uses his special gifts to do a good deed each day. But when his story leaks, a media firestorm erupts, bringing him uninvited fame. As pieces of Huck’s past begin to resurface, it’s no longer clear who his friends are, or whose lives may be in danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

This month’s selection of new mystery novels included many characters with a diverse range of occupations investigating crime and murder. These together with the very popular police procedural mysteries provide a great choice for readers.

Syndetics book cover Right behind you : a novel / Lisa Gardner.
“Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah is about to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner. A call comes in about a double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover City of strangers : a novel / Louise Millar.
“When Grace and her childhood sweetheart Mac come home from their honeymoon in Thailand, they’re shocked to find a dead body beside their pile of unopened wedding presents. The police are unable to ID the man, so it is assumed that he was a burglar who died from natural causes. Little do they know that evidence for a rather different story is hidden right beneath their apartment.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Read more

Science fiction/fantasy

In the new Science Fiction and Fantasy selection for this month there were new novels from several very popular writers. Greg Bear, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charles Stross, just to name a few.

Syndetics book cover Take back the sky / Greg Bear.
“The conclusion to an epic interstellar trilogy of war. Marooned beneath the icy, waxy crust of Saturn’s moon, Titan, Skyrine Michael Venn and his comrades face double danger from Earth and from the Antagonists; both are intent on wiping out their growing awareness of what the helpful alien Gurus are really doing in our solar system. The former combatants must now team up with their enemies, forget their indoctrination and their training, and journey far beyond Pluto to the fabled Planet X, the Antagonists’ home world, a Sun-Planet in the comet-generating Kuiper belt. It’s here that Master Sergeant Venn will finally understand his destiny and the destiny of every intelligent being in the solar system-including the enigmatic Gurus.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A closed and common orbit / Becky Chambers.
“Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She’s never felt so alone. But she’s not alone, not really. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world, because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it’s anything but empty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Empire games / Charles Stross.
“The year is 2020. It is seventeen years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire. But Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligence, has a problem. For years, she’s warned everyone: “The Americans are coming.” Now their drones arrive in the middle of a succession crisis. In another timeline, the U.S. has recruited Miriam’s own estranged daughter to spy across timelines in order to bring down any remaining world-walkers who might threaten national security. Two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies try to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Read more

Other genres

The new ‘Other Genres’ category this month features Debut Novelists. All the first novels selected have received excellent reviews with great promise and expectation for future work.

Syndetics book cover Barking dogs / Rebekah Clarkson.
“If you took a bird’s-eye view of Mount Barker, you’d see ordinary Australians living on their ordinary suburban blocks in an ordinary regional town. Get closer. Peer through a window. You might see Nathan Long, obsessively recording the incessant bark of a neighbourhood dog, or the Wheeler family sitting down for a meal and trying to come to terms with a shocking discovery. If you listen, you may hear tales of fathers and their wayward sons, of widows who can’t forgive themselves, of children longed for and lost, of thwarted lust and of pure, incorruptible love. Within the shadows is an unspeakable crime.” (Adapted from Book cover)
Syndetics book cover Nina is not ok / Shappi Khorsandi.
“Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all. And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before, then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend. But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Fish in exile / Vi Khi Nao.
“How do you bear the death of a child? with fish tanks and jellyfish burials, Persephone’s pomegranate seeds, and affairs with the neighbors. Fish in Exile spins unimaginable loss through classical and magical tumblers, distorting our view so that we can see the contours of a parent’s grief all the more clearly.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Read more

New Science Fiction and Fantasy for March

There are new titles from several very popular writers included in this month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. These are Greg Bear, William R. Forstchen, Terry Goodkind, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charles Stross. Highly recommended is A closed and common orbit by Becky Chambers, that can be read as a stand-alone novel, not necessarily as the second title in her Wayfarers series.

Syndetics book coverThe bear and the nightingale : a novel / Katherine Arden.
“At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind, she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSummerlong / Peter S. Beagle.
“It was a typically unpleasant Puget Sound winter before the arrival of Lioness Lazos, even the weather takes notice. As an impossibly beautiful spring leads into a perfect summer, Lioness is drawn to a complicated family. She is taken in by two disenchanted lovers, dynamic Joanna Delvecchio and scholarly Abe Aronson, visited by Joanna’s previously unlucky-in-love daughter, Lily. With Lioness in their lives, they are suddenly compelled to explore their deepest dreams and desires. Lioness grows more captivating as the days grow longer. Her new family thrives, even as they may be growing apart. But lingering in Lioness’s past is a dark secret, and even summer days must pass.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTake back the sky / Greg Bear.
“The conclusion to an epic interstellar trilogy of war. Marooned beneath the icy, waxy crust of Saturn’s moon, Titan, Skyrine Michael Venn and his comrades face double danger from Earth and from the Antagonists; both are intent on wiping out their growing awareness of what the helpful alien Gurus are really doing in our solar system. The former combatants must now team up with their enemies, forget their indoctrination and their training, and journey far beyond Pluto to the fabled Planet X, the Antagonists’ home world, a Sun-Planet in the comet-generating Kuiper belt. It’s here that Master Sergeant Venn will finally understand his destiny and the destiny of every intelligent being in the solar system-including the enigmatic Gurus.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA closed and common orbit / Becky Chambers.
“Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She’s never felt so alone. But she’s not alone, not really. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world, because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it’s anything but empty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe final day / William R. Forstchen.
“The sequel to One year after. Since the detonation of nuclear weapons above the United States more than two years ago, the small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina has suffered famine, civil war, and countless deaths. Now, after defeating a new, tyrannical federal government, John Matherson and his community intend to restore their world to what it was before the EMP apocalypse. But a new, aggressive government announces that it’s taking over and ceding large portions of the country to China and Mexico. The Constitution is no longer in effect, and what’s left of the U.S. Army has been deployed to suppress rebellion in the remaining states. John fears he and his town will be targets. Will John and his people accept the new, autocratic regime? Or will revolution rip the fledgling nation apart at the seams?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath’s mistress : sister of darkness / Terry Goodkind.
“One-time lieutenant of the evil Emperor Jagang, known as “Death’s Mistress” and the “Slave Queen”, the deadly Nicci captured Richard Rahl in order to convince him that the Imperial Order stood for the greater good. But it was Richard who converted Nicci instead, and for years thereafter she served Richard and Kahlan as one of their closest friends and one of their most lethal defenders. Now, with the reign of Richard and Kahlan finally stabilized, Nicci has set out on her own for new adventures. One of her jobs will be to keep her travelling companion, the unworldly prophet Nathan, out of trouble. But her real task will be to scout the far reaches of Richard Rahl’s realm.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Dreamblood duology / N. K. Jemisin.
The Dreamblood Duology includes the novels The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun. In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers, the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe and kill those judged corrupt. But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru, the most famous of the city’s Gatherers, must question everything he knows. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBorn of vengeance / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Bastien Cabarro survived the brutal slaughter of his entire family only to have his wife pin their murders on him. Made Ravin by The League, he is now a target for their assassins-in-training to hunt and kill. The average life expectancy for such beings is six weeks. But defying the odds is what this Gyron Force officer does best, and Bastien won’t rest until he lays his betrayers in their graves.Ten years later, he has one chance to balance the scales of justice, provided he relies on his former wingman, the very sister of the woman who testified against him. Carrying a secret she knows Bastien will annihilate her over, she must find some way to trust her former wingman before he catches on and kills her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA blade of black steel / Alex Marshall.
“The sequel to A Crown for Cold Silver. After five hundred years, the Sunken Kingdom has returned, and brought with it a monstrous secret that threatens to destroy every country on the Star. As an inhuman army gathers on its shores, poised to invade the Immaculate Isles, the members of the Cobalt Company face an ugly choice: abandon their dreams of glory and vengeance to combat a menace from another realm, or pursue their ambitions and hope the Star is still there when the smoke clears.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmpire games / Charles Stross.
“The year is 2020. It is seventeen years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire. But Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligence, has a problem. For years, she’s warned everyone: “The Americans are coming.” Now their drones arrive in the middle of a succession crisis. In another timeline, the U.S. has recruited Miriam’s own estranged daughter to spy across timelines in order to bring down any remaining world-walkers who might threaten national security. Two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies try to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Fiction newsletter for March

Welcome to the Fiction newsletter where you will find great reading from selected new material received this month. We do hope that you will find many hours of reading pleasure and perhaps some new exciting new authors, previously unread.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

Contemporary Fiction always covers a very broad range of themes, and this month’s selection from our recently received new material is no exception. We have chosen, for this newsletter three examples of this diversification of theme.

Syndetics book cover General theory of oblivion / José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn.
“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. The outside world slowly seeps into Ludo’s life through snippets on the radio, voices from next door, glimpses of a man fleeing his pursuers and a note attached to a bird’s foot. Until one day she meets Sabalu, a young boy from the street who climbs up to her terrace.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The river at night / Erica Ferencik.
“Winifred Allen needs a vacation. Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings. What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Dating tips for the unemployed / Iris Smyles.
“Iris Smyles’s Dating Tips for the Unemployed is an urban odyssey, a wistful, wise, and wry look back at a young woman trying to find her home in the world. “Iris,” the narrator and heroine, guides the reader through twenty-four episodes from her life, pausing now and then for meditations on love, sex, work, loneliness, insomnia, arctic exploration, cannibalism, the Higgs boson, Greek mythology, memory, costumes parties, time travel, Rocky I, II, V, IV, VI, and III respectively, literary immortality, real estate trends, and growing up and growing old.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

This month’s selection of new Graphic Novels includes Sarah Laing’s brilliant debut graphic novel, titled, Mansfield and Me: a graphic memoir.

Syndetics book cover Alena / a graphic novel by Kim W. Andersson ; dialogue written in collaboration with C-M Edenborg.
“Alena’s life is a living hell. Since starting at the snobbish boarding school Alena’s been harassed every day by Philippa and the girls on the lacrosse team. But Alena’s best friend Josephine is not going to accept that anymore, not from the counsellor or principal, not from Philippa, and not from anyone at that horrid school. If Alena does not fight back then Josephine will take matters into her own hands. There’s just one problem, Josephine has been dead for a year.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The return of the honey buzzard / written and illustrated by Aimée de Jongh; translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchison.
“Simon, a bookseller, has hit hard times. The financial crisis has struck and sales have slumped; his store looks set to close, and he has become increasingly withdrawn. Returning from his storage facility in the woods, he stops at an isolated railroad crossing. There, he witnesses a suicide. The moment hits him like a bomb. Withdrawing deeper into himself, Simon is haunted by memories from his past, memories repressed, from a time he’d prefer to forget. It is only by chance that he meets Regina, a young girl who begins to provide the comfort and support he needs. But who is Regina, and can she help him come to terms with the loss of a childhood friend?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Mansfield and me : a graphic memoir / Sarah Laing.
“Sarah Laing wanted to be a real writer, a writer as famous as Katherine Mansfield, but not as tortured. Mansfield and Me charts her journey towards publication and parenthood against Mansfield’s dramatic story, set in London, Paris, New York and New Zealand. Part memoir, part biography, part fantasy, it examines how our lives connect to those of our personal heroes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Our selection of new Mysteries this month again included many translated novels, proving a growth in their popularity with readers, especially for Scandinavian mysteries. Unfortunately only three titles could be chosen for this newsletter, so do visit the full selection option.

Syndetics book cover Black water lilies / Michel Bussi ; translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside.
“Giverny, is during the day, the home of the famous artist Claude Monet and the gardens where he painted his waterlilies. But once the tourists have gone, there is a darker side to the peaceful French village. This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The falling detective / Christoffer Carlsson ; translated by Michael Gallagher.
“The second instalment in the internationally bestselling Leo Junker series. Leo Junker is back in the homicide unit, after a murder case where he was the intended victim. Still abusing prescription drugs and battling his inner demons, he’s doing his best to appear fit for duty. A sociologist named Thomas Heber is found murdered. The only clues the police have to work with are Heber’s cryptic research notes, which indicate that someone else’s life is also under threat, but who? Leo is put on the Heber case with his former nemesis Gabriel Birck, but when the case is abruptly reassigned to the Swedish Security Service, he realizes this is no ordinary street mugging.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A very pukka murder : a Maharaja mystery / Arjun Raj Gaind.
“Major William Russell, the English Resident of the princely state of Rajpore, is found dead the morning after the 1909 New Year’s Ball. The fabulously wealthy Maharaja of Rajpore, a lover of luxury cars and beautiful women, cannot resist a mystery and, over the objections of the local Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police, attempts to solve the crime. As the British authorities dispatch their own investigator from Simla, His Highness deals with the growing hostility of the English Establishment, learning that Major Russell was not as pukka, as proper, as he liked to pretend.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

The selection from our recently received new Science Fiction & Fantasy included this genres most popular themes, genetic engineering, shapeshifting, space warfare, artificial intelligence and magic. Readers who love this genre will not be disappointed.

Syndetics book cover Into the guns / William C. Dietz.
“On May Day, 2018, sixty meteors entered Earth’s atmosphere and exploded around the globe with a force greater than a nuclear blast. Earthquakes and tsunamis followed, as China mistakenly attacked Europe, Asia, and the United States. As refugees across America band together and engage in open warfare with the military over scarce resources, a select group of individuals make a power play to rebuild the country.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Normal / Warren Ellis.
“When Adam Dearden, a foresight strategist, arrives at Normal Head, he is desperate to unplug and be immersed in sylvan silence. But then a patient goes missing from his locked bedroom, leaving nothing but a pile of insects in his wake. A staff investigation ensues; surveillance becomes total. As the mystery of the disappeared man unravels Adam uncovers a conspiracy that calls into question the core principles of how and why we think about the future, and the past, and the now.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Insurgence / Ken MacLeod.
“Die for the company , live for the pay. The ultimate pay-off is DH-17, an Earth-like planet hundreds of light years from human habitation. Ruthless corporations vie over the prize remotely, and war is in full swing. But soldiers recruited to fight in the extremities of deep space come with their own problems: from A.I. minds in full rebellion, to Carlos ‘the Terrorist’ and his team of dead mercenaries, reincarnated from a bloodier period in earth’s history for one purpose only to kill. But as old rivalries emerge and new ones form, Carlos must decide whether he’s willing for fight for the company or die for himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

This month we received many new titles from New Zealand writers that included the much praised, long awaited second novel by Karen Hay, titled the march of the foxgloves.

Syndetics book cover The march of the foxgloves / Karyn Hay.
“A late 19th century tale of triumph over obsession and humiliation. London, 1893, and Frances Woodward is tormented by the restrictions of her puritanical father and the cruelties of 19th century narcissist, Benedict Hunt. Having meted out a particularly creative form of revenge upon Hunt, Frances transcends the social norms of the late-Victorian era and travels alone to the far-flung colony of New Zealand, where she is forced to look beyond the establishment life seemingly pre-ordained for her. Falling in with other artists and non-conformists, and inspired by the revolution in thinking brought about by heroic literary figures and social reformers of the time, Frances forges a new path of her own making” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover We the ones / Julie Helean.
“Struggling with their own disparate agendas, members of this dysfunctional yet fervent anti-racism cell embark on an earnest quest to disrupt the celebrations planned for the 150-year anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi. As Waitangi Day draws near, Charlie, disgruntled with her Pakeha anti-racism group’s endless meetings, leadership squabbles and debates over rhetoric, joins her Maori flat mate Kat on a reckless journey to sabotage the 1990 celebrations and stop the Queen from attending. With growing disregard to consequences, the pair commits to do whatever it takes to have the Treaty honoured and the Maori flag flying at Waitangi.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Lewisville / Alexandra Tidswell.
“Martha Grimm has a sorrowful secret, and her daughter Mary Ann is the only other person in New Zealand who knows it. Growing up dirt-poor in Willoughby, Warwickshire, in 1814, Martha dared to imagine a different life. Now she is a wealthy and respectable Wellington settler half a world away. But the cost has been high. Martha cannot speak of the past or the people she left behind. The story of one woman’s ambition, of escape and reinvention, and the bittersweet consequences of achieving one’s dreams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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