An addictive adventure with a familiar framework.




In this YA medieval fantasy, a noble family enjoys peacetime pursuits until history comes knocking.

On the world of Pentavia, in the realm of Treland, the city of Arwin’s Gate is about to host the largest tournament in a decade. Lady Isolda of House Hornbolt fears that it may be a turning point in the lives of three of her children. Terric, almost 13 years old, is destined by custom to join the priesthood—despite his fondness for swordplay. Oriana, 16, is ready for marriage to a noble, possibly even Prince Rixin. Marcus, 18 and the oldest of Isolda and Lord Garrion’s children, will be competing in the tournament against the undefeated prince and others, which could cost him his life. As if Isolda isn’t preoccupied enough, she receives a note from Axion Tobias Crane, Terric’s tutor. She leaves Vulture Keep and secretly meets him at the Razortooth Tavern. Within a sinkhole in the floor, he reveals to her “a yellowed corpse dressed in golden armor.” This is the body of Arwin, the one true God. Does this misplaced holy artifact have anything to do with the rot that House Hornbolt has been suffering since the end of the Wizard’s War almost 20 years ago? In this epic fantasy, Hauge (Riddle of Regicide, 2014) and Smoak (The Truth in My Lies, 2018, etc.) excel at rotating through their cast, using third-person chunks to make several small dramas succeed. While Oriana fears that Prince Rixin won’t like her compared with Princess Navya, Terric plans to run away to the northern Huntlands before priesthood descends. Structurally, the narrative is reminiscent of A Game of Thrones, but with less cynicism and brutality. Delightful surprises lurk around most corners, including the thief Bastian (and his squirrel, Nut), who steals Oriana’s heart. In this first volume of a series, the authors whet fan curiosity for distant locales like Arwood Forest and the Isles of Invention. A savage cliffhanger brings everything into sharper focus for the sequel.

An addictive adventure with a familiar framework.

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-985876-05-7

Page Count: 450

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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