A powerful you-are-there narrative, authentic and engaging.

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RAVENSPUR

RISE OF THE TUDORS

From the Wars of the Roses series , Vol. 4

Iggulden (Bloodline, 2016, etc.) concludes his Wars of the Roses series with Richard III dead on Bosworth Field and Henry VII taking the throne for the House of Tudor.

After the bloody battle of Towton, Edward of York seizes the crown from Henry VI, House of Lancaster, a frail and incompetent ruler. However, Edward IV prefers ale and the hunt to kingly duties, and soon Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick restores Henry VI to the throne. Edward and his ever loyal brother, Richard of Gloucester, take refuge in Burgundy. That’s close by the Paris sanctuary of Henry’s queen, Margaret of Anjou, and their son, Edward. Edward and Richard mount a campaign to retake England, one leaving Warwick dead after a battle near Barnet. Edward, crown restored, again turns dissolute. Richard schemes. Princes are murdered. Edward dies. Richard takes the throne. Margaret and son Edward return, landing in Wales, but then young Edward dies in battle, and from the wilds of Wales springs young Henry Tudor (Tewdyr from Welsh), “no doubt or indecision in him,” descendant of John of Gaunt, House of Lancaster. Mentored by his uncle Jasper Tudor, Henry Tudor lures Richard III into battle and defeats him at Bosworth Field. Iggulden’s a masterful writer, capable of setting a scene, sketching a description, or defining a character in a few words, often while turning a literary phrase—a dead York brother “raised to an angelic presence by the smoothing iron of memory.” The dialogue sounds modern, but it's laced with historical syntax and grammar to lend credibility. Moreover, despite the complicated history and plethora of Edwards, Henrys, and Richards, Iggulden’s narrative remains clear as the aristocratic houses fight not only for political power, but also titles and crown estates, land and wealth.

A powerful you-are-there narrative, authentic and engaging.

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68177-685-9

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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A promising debut that’s awake to emotional, political, and cultural tensions across time and continents.

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HOMEGOING

A novel of sharply drawn character studies immersed in more than 250 hard, transformative years in the African-American diaspora.

Gyasi’s debut novel opens in the mid-1700s in what is now Ghana, as tribal rivalries are exploited by British and Dutch colonists and slave traders. The daughter of one tribal leader marries a British man for financial expediency, then learns that the “castle” he governs is a holding dungeon for slaves. (When she asks what’s held there, she’s told “cargo.”) The narrative soon alternates chapters between the Ghanans and their American descendants up through the present day. On either side of the Atlantic, the tale is often one of racism, degradation, and loss: a slave on an Alabama plantation is whipped “until the blood on the ground is high enough to bathe a baby”; a freedman in Baltimore fears being sent back South with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act; a Ghanan woman is driven mad from the abuse of a missionary and her husband’s injury in a tribal war; a woman in Harlem is increasingly distanced from (and then humiliated by) her husband, who passes as white. Gyasi is a deeply empathetic writer, and each of the novel’s 14 chapters is a savvy character portrait that reveals the impact of racism from multiple perspectives. It lacks the sweep that its premise implies, though: while the characters share a bloodline, and a gold-flecked stone appears throughout the book as a symbolic connector, the novel is more a well-made linked story collection than a complex epic. Yet Gyasi plainly has the talent to pull that off: “I will be my own nation,” one woman tells a British suitor early on, and the author understands both the necessity of that defiance and how hard it is to follow through on it.

A promising debut that’s awake to emotional, political, and cultural tensions across time and continents.

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-94713-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

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ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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