by Katharine Kerr ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 18, 2020
Covers all the bases: a welcome return to a long-beloved world that also takes the story in a fresh direction.
The first in a new Celtic-flavored fantasy trilogy, set a few centuries after a previous 15-book series concerning tangled fates, reincarnation, wars, and the relationships among humans, elves, dwarves, dragons, and other beings.
The land of Deverry once again faces the threat of civil war. Restive gwerbrets (Deverry’s equivalent to dukes) chafe against the rule of the Marked Prince Gwardon, who serves as regent for his ailing father, the High King. Meanwhile, the common people, aided by the bards and progressive scholars, cry out against the corrupt Deverry legal system, currently dominated by hereditary judges who tend to favor the noble and the wealthy over the principles of justice. Scholar Alyssa vairc Sirra goes on a mission to retrieve an ancient text that would provide historical precedent for elected judges, pursued by killers hired by the gwerbrets and the priests of Bel, who profit by the existing legal system. Protecting (and, naturally, developing feelings for) her along the way is Cavan, a disgraced nobleman–turned–silver dagger, a kind of mercenary soldier. But once they’ve returned with the book, they discover that their troubles are only just beginning. The book serves as a pointed rebuke to other high-fantasy series that posit that the same feudal society has existed for unchanging centuries; Deverry is evolving in a plausible and intriguing way, with its university system, controversy regarding and prejudice against increased possibilities for women, and a struggle for rights for the common people. People who haven’t read the previous 15 books (concluding with The Silver Mage in 2009) will probably be able to jump in here and enjoy the experience, but they will definitely miss various nuances, references, and cameos from several long-lived characters and their descendants that devoted fans will just love, especially those linked to Rhodry Maelwaedd, a main protagonist from the original series. The first, century-spanning series also included many incarnations of the same set of characters, and it seems likely that several of them have reincarnated appearances here as well.Covers all the bases: a welcome return to a long-beloved world that also takes the story in a fresh direction.
Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020
Page Count: 384
Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020
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by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
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
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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More About This Book
BOOK TO SCREEN
by Blake Crouch ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 26, 2016
Suspenseful, frightening, and sometimes poignant—provided the reader has a generously willing suspension of disbelief.
A man walks out of a bar and his life becomes a kaleidoscope of altered states in this science-fiction thriller.
Crouch opens on a family in a warm, resonant domestic moment with three well-developed characters. At home in Chicago’s Logan Square, Jason Dessen dices an onion while his wife, Daniela, sips wine and chats on the phone. Their son, Charlie, an appealing 15-year-old, sketches on a pad. Still, an undertone of regret hovers over the couple, a preoccupation with roads not taken, a theme the book will literally explore, in multifarious ways. To start, both Jason and Daniela abandoned careers that might have soared, Jason as a physicist, Daniela as an artist. When Charlie was born, he suffered a major illness. Jason was forced to abandon promising research to teach undergraduates at a small college. Daniela turned from having gallery shows to teaching private art lessons to middle school students. On this bracing October evening, Jason visits a local bar to pay homage to Ryan Holder, a former college roommate who just received a major award for his work in neuroscience, an honor that rankles Jason, who, Ryan says, gave up on his career. Smarting from the comment, Jason suffers “a sucker punch” as he heads home that leaves him “standing on the precipice.” From behind Jason, a man with a “ghost white” face, “red, pursed lips," and "horrifying eyes” points a gun at Jason and forces him to drive an SUV, following preset navigational directions. At their destination, the abductor forces Jason to strip naked, beats him, then leads him into a vast, abandoned power plant. Here, Jason meets men and women who insist they want to help him. Attempting to escape, Jason opens a door that leads him into a series of dark, strange, yet eerily familiar encounters that sometimes strain credibility, especially in the tale's final moments.Suspenseful, frightening, and sometimes poignant—provided the reader has a generously willing suspension of disbelief.
Pub Date: July 26, 2016
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016
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