A steadily paced and exhilarating espionage tale involving the threat of galactic war.

READ REVIEW

THE RIVEN STARS

In this fifth installment of a sci-fi saga, a 47th-century intelligence agent spies on aliens who may have forged an alliance with a hostile race.

Sirius Kade of Earth Intelligence Services is enjoying his vacation with his girlfriend, Marie, notwithstanding an assassination attempt. The likely culprit behind that effort is Manning Thurlow Ransford III, who chairs a corporation funding the Separatist Movement. The group’s objective is to turn Earth’s colonies into “criminal fiefdoms.” Kade’s EIS controller, Lena Voss, calls him in for a mission, an unusual request from Tau Cetins, an “Observer civilization.” While they’re the nominal leaders overseeing a galactic treaty, they rarely intervene. Fearing a second war instigated by a race known as the Intruders, the Tau Cetins enlist Kade to keep an eye on the Xil, who may be in league with the aggressors. Kade, co-pilot Jase Logan, and engineer Izin Nilva Kren board the Silver Lining and trail a Xil envoy to the planet Valhalla. The trio helps a religious colony fend off attackers, including human Separatists, who are apparently getting chummy with Xils. Kade’s assignment takes him to other planets and star systems, where he encounters various civilizations and races and sets out to foil the Intruders’ secret, diabolical agenda. Though there are instances of blistering action, Renneberg’s (The Mothersea, 2016, etc.) novel is primarily a bracing espionage story. Someone tries both framing Kade for a crime and hacking the Silver Lining, while trust is scarce; even Marie, according to Lena, is a Separatist sympathizer. The futuristic backdrop is profuse: Humanity is in the midst of an interstellar civil war and a second probationary period to join the Galactic Forum. But readers will recognize the problems facing many of the arresting characters in the author’s densely plotted epic. Izin, for example, endures mistrust from others simply for being a tamph, amphibious “cousins” to the feared Intruders. Likewise, Renneberg aptly portrays strikingly different worlds: “Before me lay a vast, semi-arid savannah stretching to the horizon beneath a fierce white sun.”

A steadily paced and exhilarating espionage tale involving the threat of galactic war.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9941840-5-4

Page Count: 442

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE GIVER OF STARS

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

Did you like this book?

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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

Did you like this book?

more