This propulsive, gripping sequel focuses on a hero’s quest to find personal justice.

AT THE END OF EVERYTHING

From the The Revelation Trilogy series , Vol. 2

This second installment of an epic fantasy follows a young man through war and intrigue.

In When Darkness Descends (2020), the first volume in Lücke’s series, Tom Anderson of Earth used the mystical “eyes of lost souls” to travel to Enthilen in the world of Ostamp in search of his grandmother’s murderer. Predictably, he immediately plunged into a series of escapades in Enthilen and beyond, gathering a small group of friends and allies (including the valiant warrior Athalee “Thaly” of Bagendon, the trollish stone-grell Grin, and the impish “mouldewerp” Dwarrow) and amassing a rogues’ gallery of enemies, including Enthilen’s banished former king, Malphas. Book 1 ended on an old-fashioned cliffhanger. Tom’s friends rescued him in the nick of time from human sacrifice, and the whole band leapt off a cliff to the improbable safety of the dark waters below. This second volume picks up right where the previous one left off, but the author very smoothly prefaces the main narrative with a fairly involving synopsis in the unlikely event that readers are starting the series here. Certainly, Lücke doesn’t pause any longer than this for readers new or old. The story takes off like a shot and keeps churning, with Tom being instantly separated from his friends at sea. He lands desperate and alone in a remote Enthilen fishing village, with Thaly and Grin believing him drowned. The tale that unfolds is full of adventures and political intrigue, with more typical fantasy elements deliberately downplayed (“People spend way too much time bewitched by the promise of divine enchantment and not enough time in wonder of the real magic all around them,” one characters says, in a comment that might also serve as a mild rebuke to fantasy fans). Lücke does a skillful job of bringing the intricate politics of his broader plot into sharp, personal focus, mainly through well-drawn secondary characters like Thaly’s mother, Emelin. The riveting story is a sure-fire treat for Game of Thrones fans.

This propulsive, gripping sequel focuses on a hero’s quest to find personal justice.

Pub Date: July 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-64-882072-7

Page Count: 594

Publisher: With Distinction Consultants

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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Funny, sad, astute, occasionally creepy, and slyly irresistible.

APPLES NEVER FALL

Australian novelist Moriarty combines domestic realism and noirish mystery in this story about the events surrounding a 69-year-old Sydney woman’s disappearance.

Joy and Stan Delaney met as champion tennis players more than 50 years ago and ran a well-regarded tennis academy until their recent retirement. Their long, complicated marriage has been filled with perhaps as much passion for the game of tennis as for each other or their children. When Joy disappears on Feb. 14, 2020 (note the date), the last text she sends to her now-grown kids—bohemian Amy, passive Logan, flashy Troy, and migraine-suffering Brooke—is too garbled by autocorrect to decipher and stubborn Stan refuses to accept that there might be a problem. But days pass and Joy remains missing and uncharacteristically silent. As worrisome details come to light, the police become involved. The structure follows the pattern of Big Little Lies (2014) by setting up a mystery and then jumping months into the past to unravel it. Here, Moriarty returns to the day a stranger named Savannah turned up bleeding on the Delaneys’ doorstep and Joy welcomed her to stay for an extended visit. Who is Savannah? Whether she’s innocent, scamming, or something else remains unclear on many levels. Moriarty is a master of ambiguity and also of the small, telling detail like a tossed tennis racket or the repeated appearance of apple crumble. Starting with the abandoned bike that's found by a passing motorist on the first page, the evidence that accumulates around what happened to Joy constantly challenges the reader both to notice which minor details (and characters) matter and to distinguish between red herrings and buried clues. The ultimate reveal is satisfying, if troubling. But Moriarty’s main focus, which she approaches from countless familiar and unexpected angles, is the mystery of family and what it means to be a parent, child, or sibling in the Delaney family—or in any family, for that matter.

Funny, sad, astute, occasionally creepy, and slyly irresistible.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-22025-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A novel of capacious intelligence and plenty of page-turning emotional drama.

BEAUTIFUL WORLD, WHERE ARE YOU

Two erudite Irishwomen struggle with romance against the backdrop of the Trump/Brexit years.

Eileen and Alice have been friends since their university days. Now in their late 20s, Eileen works as an editorial assistant at a literary magazine in Dublin. Alice is a famous novelist recovering from a psychiatric hospitalization and staying in a large empty rectory on the west coast of Ireland. Since Alice’s breakdown, the two have kept in touch primarily through lengthy emails that alternate between recounting their romantic lives and working through their angst about the current social and political climate. (In one of these letters, Eileen laments that the introduction of plastic has ruined humanity’s aesthetic calibration and in the next paragraph, she’s eager to know if Alice is sleeping with the new man she’s met.) Eileen has spent many years entangled in an occasionally intimate friendship with her teenage crush, a slightly older man named Simon who is a devout Catholic and who works in the Irish Parliament as an assistant. As Eileen and Simon’s relationship becomes more complicated, Alice meets Felix, a warehouse worker who is unsure what to make of her fame and aloofness. In many ways, this book, a work of both philosophy and romantic tragicomedy about the ways people love and hurt one another, is exactly the type of book one would expect Rooney to write out of the political environment of the past few years. But just because the novel is so characteristic of Rooney doesn’t take anything away from its considerable power. As Alice herself puts it, “Humanity on the cusp of extinction [and] here I am writing another email about sex and friendship. What else is there to live for?”

A novel of capacious intelligence and plenty of page-turning emotional drama.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-374-60260-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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