China and Caesar – History New Books

This history picks can be found out in the wild at our branch libraries! Read up on Rome and Ten Caesars, King Arthur, people smugglers avoiding ISIS, and modern China from two perspectives.

Madame Fourcade’s secret war : the daring young woman who led France’s largest spy network against Hitler / Olson, Lynne
“In 1941, a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast Resistance organization – the only woman to hold such a role. Brave, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. Now, in a dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Ten Caesars : Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine / Strauss, Barry S
“Rome’s legacy remains today in so many ways, from language, law, and architecture to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Barry Strauss examines this enduring heritage through the lives of the men who shaped it: Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Diocletian and Constantine. Over the ages, they learned to maintain the family business – the government of an empire – by adapting when necessary and always persevering no matter the cost.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The beekeeper of Sinjar / Mīkhāʼīl, Dunyā
“In the midst of ISIS’s reign of terror and hatred, an unlikely hero has emerged: the Beekeeper. Once a trader selling his mountain honey across the region, when ISIS came to Sinjar he turned his knowledge of the local terrain to another, more dangerous use. Along with a secret network of transporters, helpers, and former bootleggers, Abdullah Shrem smuggles brutalised Yazidi women to safety through the war-torn landscapes of Iraq, Syria, and Eastern Turkey.” (Catalogue)

King Arthur : the making of the legend / Higham, N. J
“According to legend, King Arthur saved Britain from the Saxons and reigned over it gloriously sometime around A.D. 500. Whether or not there was a “real” King Arthur has all too often been neglected by scholars; most period specialists today declare themselves agnostic on this important matter. In this erudite volume, Nick Higham sets out to solve the puzzle, drawing on his original research and expertise to determine precisely when, and why, the legend began.” (Catalogue)

The Penguin history of modern China : the fall and rise of a great power, 1850 to the present / Fenby, Jonathan
“In 1850, China was the ‘sick man of Asia’. Now it is set to become the most powerful nation on earth. The Penguin History of Modern China shows how turbulent that journey has been. For 150 years China has endured as victim of oppression, war and famine. This makes its current position as arguably the most important global superpower all the more extraordinary. Jonathan Fenby’s comprehensive account is the definitive guide to this remarkable transformation.” (Catalogue)

Under red skies : three generations of life, loss, and hope in China / Kan, Karoline
“Through the stories of three generations of women in her family, Karoline Kan, a former New York Times reporter based in Beijing, reveals how they navigated their way in a country beset by poverty and often-violent political unrest. As the Kans move from quiet villages to crowded towns and through the urban streets of Beijing in search of a better way of life, they are forced to confront the past and break the chains of tradition, especially those forced on women.” (Catalogue)

Fresh February Fiction a go-go

The library fiction shelves show fleeting glimpses of new material before it’s whisked away by our literature loving patrons. Luckily, we have a list of some of the great new fiction titles for you to peruse at your leisure. These bring you the lives of people informed by authors exploring the cultures of Mexico, Ireland, Australia, Nigeria and Aotearoa New Zealand. Debut author Joshua Pomare has been drawing acclaim for Call me Evie, his work of suspense is set in the small coastal community of Maketu. Delving into our fallible memories this book takes the reader through layers of reality and plot twists that leave you guessing until the very end.

Syndetics book coverCall me Evie / J.P. Pomare.
“Meet Evie, a young woman held captive by a man named Jim in the isolated New Zealand beach town of Maketu. Jim says he’s hiding Evie to protect her, that she did something terrible back home in Melbourne. In a house that creaks against the wind, Evie begins to piece together her fractured memories of the events that led her here. Jim says he’s keeping her safe. Evie’s not sure she can trust Jim, but can she trust her own memories? An incredible literary thriller for readers of bestsellers such as Gone Girl, Before I Go to Sleep and Girl on the Train from an exciting new Australian voice.” (Syndetics summary)

Not bad people / Scott, Brandy
“It’s New Year’s Eve. Three thirty-something women – Aimee, Melinda and Lou – best friends for decades, let off sky lanterns filled with resolutions: for meaning, for freedom, for money. As the glowing paper bags float away, there’s a bright flare in the distance. It could be a sign of luck – or the start of a complete nightmare. The day after their ceremony, the newspapers report a small plane crash – two victims pulled from the wreckage, one a young boy. Were they responsible? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t accept it, and Lou has problems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, blackmail and power games. They’re not bad people. But desperate times call for desperate measures.” (Catalogue)

Music love drugs war / Quigley, Gerladine
“The end of the school year is approaching, and siblings Paddy and Liz McLaughlin, Christy Meehan, Kevin Thompson and their friends will soon have to decide what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives. But it’s hard to focus when there’s the allure of their favourite hangout place, the dingy ‘Cave’, where they go to drink and flirt and smoke. Most days, Christy, Paddy and Kevin lie around listening to Dexys and Joy Division. But this is Derry in 1981, and they can’t ignore the turmoil of the outside world. A friend is killed, and Christy and Paddy, stunned out of their stupor, take matters into their own hands. Some choices are irreversible, and choosing to fight will take hold of their lives in ways they never imagined.” (Catalogue)

Golden child: a novel / Adam, Claire
“Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their twin sons Paul and Peter, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters–leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.” (Catalogue)

Hark: a novel / Lipsyte, Sam
“In an America convulsed by political upheaval, cultural discord, environmental collapse, and spiritual confusion, many folks are searching for peace, salvation, and, perhaps most immediately, just a little damn focus. Enter Hark Morner, an unwitting guru whose technique of “Mental Archery”… is set to captivate the masses and raise him to near-messiah status. It’s a role he never asked for, and one he is woefully underprepared to take on. Hark is a smart, incisive look at men, women, and children seeking meaning and dignity in a chaotic, ridiculous, and often dangerous world.” (Catalogue)

My sister, the serial killer: a novel / Braithwaite, Oyinkan
Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favourite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works is the bright spot in her life. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.” (Catalogue)

Among the lost / Monge, Emiliano
“A devastating and surreal novel about the defining issue of the 21st century: illegal immigration. In this grim inferno, a fierce love blossomed – one that was born in pain and cruelty and one that will live or die on this day. Estela and Epitafio too were trafficked, they grew together in the brutal orphanage, fell in love, but were ripped apart. They have played an ugly role in the very system that abused them and done the bidding of the brutal old priest for too long. They have traded in migrants, put children to work as slaves, hacked off limbs and lives without a thought, though they have never forgotten the memory of their own shackles. Like the immigrants whose hopes they extinguish, they long to be free; free to be together and alone.” (Catalogue)

Night train: new and selected stories / Jones, Thom
“A posthumous and definitive collection of new and selected stories by short-fiction icon and National Book Award finalist Thom Jones, with a stunning introduction by Amy Bloom Thom Jones’s stories are high-octane, prose-drunk entertainment. His characters are grifters and drifters, rogues and ne’er-do-wells – some lovable, some not – but each with a voice that never fails to grab you by the collar. They include Vietnam soldiers, amateur boxers, psych ward veterans and an unforgettable adolescent DJ radio host, among others. Perfectly capturing the essence of this icon of the American short story, Night Train showcases the sheer breadth and power of his inimitable stories.” (Catalogue)

The killer collective / Eisler, Barry
“When a joint FBI-Seattle Police investigation of an international child pornography ring gets too close to certain powerful people, sex-crimes detective Livia Lone becomes the target of a hit that barely goes awry–a hit that had been offered to John Rain. Suspecting that the FBI themselves were behind the attack, Livia reaches out to former marine sniper Dox. Together, they assemble an ad hoc team to identify and neutralize the threat. With uncertain loyalties, conflicting agendas, and smouldering romantic entanglements, this group is hardly a team. But in a match as uneven as this one, a collective of killers might be just what they need.” (Catalogue)

A change of key / Jansen, Adrienne
“Marko has come to the ends of the earth to escape a once illustrious past in Bulgaria. So why does a Polish bookstore owner call him a traitor? And who covertly photographed him for the newspaper? Someone knows who he is. They are trying to expose him in his new country, and there is nothing he can do to prevent it. A Change of Key tells the story of a multicultural group of migrants living in an inner-city block of social housing flats in New Zealand. It explores themes of social change and the hardships associated with existing in isolation from one’s family and culture. As they struggle through the realities of living in deprivation, Marko and the other migrants find salvation in friendship, community and classical music.” (Catalogue)

The lost girls of Paris / Jenoff, Pam
“1946, Manhattan Grace Healy is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs, each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station. Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war, and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.” (Catalogue)