Signs of life: New fiction

This month’s selection of newly acquired novels provides a rich and diverse collection of wonderful fictional works. It’s an exciting list of books, covering an incredibly wide field of works with subjects, styles, genres, authors and books hailing from across the globe.

First up, we have four fabulous new novels from our own fair shores: Signs of life by Amy Head, a delicious collection of twelve linked stories; The bone tree by Airana Ngarewa, a powerful coming of age story set in Aotearoa; The Waters by Carl Nixon, an epic work covering the fortunes of one Aotearoa family over forty years; and Resonance surge by Nalini Singh, a paranormal romance from our very own New York Times bestselling author. 

Other highlight’s this month include Kate Mosse’s latest compelling new novel in which huguenots, pirates and ghost ships play a major part that novel is called The Ghost ship. We also have a new work from the multi award-winning Scottish author Alan Warner set in the aftermath of the battle of Culloden called Nothing left to fear from hell. Plus works from international writers Abraham Verghese and Eva Baltasar.

Signs of life / Head, Amy
“Christchurch, post quakes, and the earth is still settling. Containers line the damaged streets, whose inhabitants waver – like their city – suspended between disaster and recovery. Tony, very much alive, is declared dead, Gerald misreads one too many situations in his community patrol, and boomer Carla tries online dating. At the epicentre of these taut, magnetic stories is twenty-something Flick who, just as she is finding her feet again, faces another violent disruption – this time in human form – while her mostly-ex gets set to marry.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The bone tree / Ngarewa, Airana
“After the death of both parents, Kauri and Black must find a way to survive in a world that doesn’t care much about them. Kauri embarks on a journey into his father’s past, to come to terms with the trauma he’s experienced in his short life, and to break the cycle of violence he fears perpetuating as he raises his younger brother. The Bone Tree is a gritty coming of age novel, where the unforgettable young protagonist faces immense challenges, and the stakes are life or death – yet it also has a lyrical beauty, and a powerful message of love at its heart. It gives voice to characters who are on the margins of society, raised in poverty, and who have a deep mistrust in the systems that are meant to protect them – and it considers the question of how we can best protect the ones we love.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The Waters / Nixon, Carl
“One family. Forty years. The Waters kids – practical, athletic Mark; the physically beautiful dreamer Davey; and the baby of the family, Samantha – have had to face more than their fair share of challenges. 1979 was the year their father sold up the farm and invested all the family’s money in a doomed property development next to the ocean in Christchurch. Is that when ‘everything started going wrong’, as Mark believes? Will their bond survive the passage of time or will the three siblings succumb to their parents’ legacy of failure? Can the past be overcome … and forgiven?”(Adapted from catalogue)
Resonance surge / Singh, Nalini
“StoneWater bears Pavel and Yakov Stepyrev have been a unit since birth, but now Pavel’s life is veering in a new direction, his heart held in the hands of Arwen Mercant, a Psy empath—and the only man who has ever brought Pavel to his knees. This is it. A point of irrevocable change. For Pavel… for Arwen… for Yakov… and for another pair of twins whose bond has a far darker history. A low-Gradient Psy, Theodora Marshall is considered worthless by everyone but her violently powerful twin, Pax. She is the sole person he trusts in their venomous family to investigate a hidden and terrible part of their family history—an unregistered rehabilitation Center established by their grandfather…” (Adapted from catalogue)

The ghost ship / Mosse, Kate
“The Barbary Coast, 1621. A mysterious vessel floats silently on the water. It is known only as the Ghost Ship. For months it has hunted pirates to liberate those enslaved by corsairs, manned by a courageous crew of mariners from Italy and France, Holland and the Canary Islands. But the bravest men on board are not who they seem. And the stakes could not be higher. If arrested, they will be hanged for their crimes. Can they survive the journey and escape their fate? A sweeping and epic love story, ranging from France in 1610 to Amsterdam and the Canary Islands in the 1620s, The Ghost Ship is a thrilling novel of adventure and buccaneering, love and revenge, stolen fortunes and hidden secrets on the high seas.” (Adapted from catalogue)
Nothing left to fear from hell : a surreal chronicle / Warner, Alan
“In the aftermath of the disastrous Battle of Culloden, a lonely figure takes flight with a small band of companions through the mountainous landscapes of the north-west Highlands of Scotland. Award-winning author Alan Warner traces the last journey through Scotland of Bonnie Prince Charlie, a man who history will come to define for his failure.” (Adapted from catalogue)


The covenant of water : a novel / Verghese, Abraham
” The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning–and in Kerala, water is everywhere. At the turn of the century, a twelve-year-old girl from Kerala’s long-existing Christian community, grieving the death of her father, is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. From this unforgettable new beginning, the young girl–and future matriarch, known as Big Ammachi–will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, her faith and love the only constants…” (Adapted from catalogue) Also available as an eBook.
Boulder / Baltasar, Eva
“Working as a cook on a merchant ship, a woman comes to know and love Samsa, a woman who gives her the nickname “Boulder.” When Samsa gets a job in Reykjavik and the couple decides to move there together, Samsa decides that she wants to have a child. She is already forty and can’t bear to let the opportunity pass her by. Boulder is less enthused, but doesn’t know how to say no–and so finds herself dragged along on a journey that feels as thankless as it is alien. With motherhood changing Samsa into a stranger, Boulder must decide where her priorities lie, and whether her yearning for freedom can truly trump her yearning for love. Once again, Eva Baltasar demonstrates her preeminence as a chronicler of queer voices navigating a hostile world–and in prose as brittle and beautiful as an ancient saga.” (Adapted from catalogue)