An engaging and epic yarn that explores the history behind the magic of Camelot.

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The Return of Sir Percival

From the Guinevere's Prayer series , Vol. 1

In the first volume of a saga chronicling the exploits of a knight of the Round Table, Sir Percival returns to Albion only to find that much has changed.

After 10 fruitless years of searching for the Holy Grail, Sir Percival arrives in Albion alongside his loyal companion and fighting partner, Capussa. Unfortunately, Arthur Pendragon died while the knight was gone, and the rest of Camelot with him. His queen, Guinevere, hides in a monastery, alone but for a few trusted ladies and a network of spies. Albion is ravaged by violence at the hands of the cruel Morgana and the Norse raiders that she employed as sellswords to defeat Arthur. Rather than a witch, Morgana is actually a Roman princess and assassin whom the king in Constantinople sent to Albion so that she could kill a wise man called Melitas. In Albion, Melitas is better known as Merlin, Arthur’s most trusted adviser. While Merlin remains alive, Morgana won’t leave Albion in peace. When Percival learns of the tragedy that has befallen his country, he sets out to find his queen—with whom he always had a special bond—and report to her. He recalls his feelings for the young Guinevere a decade ago (“His days and nights were haunted by her enchanting laugh, mesmerizing smile, and noble soul”). But Morgana refuses to have a knight of the Round Table back in the country, inciting the beaten-down people of Albion to rise up against her iron fist and reclaim their freedom. Another big battle is coming, and soon. O’Keefe (Helius Legacy, 2012) takes elements of Arthurian legend that most readers are familiar with and grounds them in the harsh, historical reality of the time period. The story of heroic Percival and his quest to save the land—and the lady—he loves is suitably epic and full of adventures, not to mention colorful characters. Percival is appropriately noble and easy to root for against the utterly evil Morgana, but the real star here is the knight’s fiery friend, the warrior Capussa, whose sharp sense of humor should make him a favorite of readers. At one point he tells Percival: “Well, now that you’ve decided to start a war, do you mind overly much if I propose a plan to win it?”

An engaging and epic yarn that explores the history behind the magic of Camelot.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62634-309-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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