A scorching alternate-history adventure packed with romance and fantasy action.

Ave, Caesarion

Davitt (The Goddess Embraced, 2015, etc.), the author of The Saga of Edda-Earth novels, begins a new fantasy series about the “god-born” son of Caesar and Cleopatra.

Fifteen years ago, Julius Caesar survived an attempt on his life in Rome’s Senate Chamber. He made Cleopatra of Egypt his empress, and now their son, Caesarion, is the 18-year-old embodiment of Mars on Earth. When Caesar dies quietly in bed, however, those with plans to unseat the Julii family strike. Chief among them is their scheming cousin, Octavian, who invites Caesarion’s 13-year-old brother, Alexander, to his home at Palatine Hill. There, Octavian suggests that because Caesarion was born out of wedlock, he can’t legally rule, and so Alexander must step up. Though the Julii clan routes Octavian’s machinations, it isn’t without cost; Caesarion removes the illusory magic that hides his nigh-invincible god-form from mortal eyes. Later, Caesarion chases down the rebel families who might do the Julii harm (the Servilius, Tillius, and Cassius clans), traveling with soldiers down the Italian peninsula to Brundisium. He also brings along his reserved 13-year-old sister, Eurydice. As the bloody campaign proceeds, she displays the ability to see through the eyes of birds like hawks and owls, which proves indispensable when scouting the enemy’s placements. Davitt takes these two superpowered siblings on a grand, satisfying arc in the first novel of a new series. Although it isn’t initially apparent, the romance that blossoms between them—in the Egyptian tradition of sibling lovers Osiris and Isis—is a well-crafted thread that moves through a plot that covers about three years. Davitt’s clever prose is historically and culturally informative, as when readers learn that “An adult male could also enjoy a younger man, according to the Hellene ideal.” She also writes politically grounded lines about Roman rule in an alternate past filled with dragons and magic, such as when Caesarion tells Alexander, “The problem, brother, isn’t conquering the world. It’s holding it.” Overall, Davitt marries a fantastic amount of detail to her irresistible wit and superior characterization, resulting in a winning series launch.

A scorching alternate-history adventure packed with romance and fantasy action.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 40

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 34

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

more