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A Nameless Witch

EDITORIAL REVIEW: A tale of vengeance, true love, and cannibalism Being born undead can have its disadvantages, such as eternal youth and flawless beauty —things most unsuitable for a witch. Hiding behind the guise of a grimy old crone, the witch is content living outside Fort Stalwart with her unlikely band of allies: a troll named Gwurm, an enchanted broom, and a demonic duck named Newt. She leads a simple life filled with spells, potions, and the occasional curse. So when a White Knight arrives at Fort Stalwart, the witch knows her days of peace are at an end. The Knight is just days in front of a horde of ravenous goblings, and Fort Stalwart lies right in the horde’s path. But the goblings are just the first wave of danger, and soon the witch and the Knight must combine forces on a perilous quest to stop a mad sorcerer from destroying the world. Filled with menace, monsters, and magic, *A Nameless Witch* is a properly witchly read by the award-winning author of *Gil’s All Fright Diner* and *In the Company of Ogres*.

A Monster’s Notes

SUMMARY: What if Mary Shelley had not invented Frankenstein’s monster but had met him when she was a girl of eight, sitting by her mother’s grave, and he came to her unbidden? What if their secret bond left her forever changed, obsessed with the strange being whom she had discovered at a time of need? What if he were still alive in the twenty-first century? This bold, genre-defying book brings us the “monster” in his own words. He recalls how he was “made” and how Victor Frankenstein abandoned him. He ponders the tragic tale of the Shelleys and the intertwining of his life with that of Mary (whose fictionalized letters salt the narrative, along with those of her nineteenth-century intimates) in this riveting mix of fact and poetic license. He takes notes on all aspects of human striving–from the music of John Cage to robotics to the Northern explorers whose lonely quest mirrors his own–as he tries to understand the strange race that made yet shuns him, and to find his own freedom of mind. In the course of the monster’s musings, we also see Mary Shelley’s life from her childhood through her elopement with Percy Bysshe Shelley, her writing of “Frankenstein, ” the births and deaths of her children, Shelley’s famous drowning, her widowhood, her subsequent travels and life’s work, and finally her death from a brain tumor at age fifty-four. The monster’s fierce bond with Mary and the tale of how he ended up in her fiction is a haunted, intense love story, a story of two beings who can never forget each other. “A Monster’s Notes” is Sheck’s most thrilling work to date, a luminous meditation on creativity and technology, on alienation and otherness, on ugliness and beauty, and on our need to be understood.

A Knife Edge

EDITORIAL REVIEW: In this latest internationally bestselling thriller from David Rollins, author of **The Death Trust***, *a bizarre murder leads an ex–Air Force special investigator into a shadow world of conspiracy, cover-up, and military secrecy where the difference between friend or foe is thin as…****A scientist meets a grisly end when he falls from a military research ship and is attacked by a two-ton white shark off the Japanese coast. By the time Special Investigator Vin Cooper reaches the scene, there’s literally very little left to prove that the death wasn’t an accident. But Cooper’s instincts tell him that he’s looking at murder and that in assigning him to this case someone might just as well have shoved him, too, into shark-infested waters.What kind of top secret project could the military be engaged in that would require the services of a foremost marine biologist *and* a genetic researcher? The possibilities are ominous, but not as ominous as the truth. And then the unthinkable tragedy that everyone feared since 9/11 explodes with a terrifying sense of déjà vu—in San Francisco.Suddenly, with a second scientist presumed dead, an unidentified charred body in the morgue, and the “accidental” parachute death of a friend in a Florida training field, Cooper is following a trail as narrow and as dangerous as a knife-edge—a trail that leads to what we all fear most: a secret “government” within our government whose sworn duty is to kill anyone who opposes them.

A Journey to the Center of the Earth

SUMMARY: When an eccentric professor acquires an ancient book, a riddle on a spare piece of parchment tucked neatly within its pages leads him and his nephew on an unparalleled adventure. The unlocked riddle brings them to a remote mountain on Iceland, where they enter an extinct volcano on a daring quest to reach the center of the earth. They soon find themselves at a giant underground ocean where the laws of science are constantly redefined and prehistoric creatures are in abundance. But in the bowels of the earth, a shocking discovery pits the travellers face to face with their own terrifying past. Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth has been read by millions of inquisitive minds and has influenced some of the worlds most famous explorers such as Admiral Byrd, who announced on his 1926 expedition to the North Pole that “it is Jules Verne who is bringing me.” And renowned cave explorer Norbert Casteret said in 1938 that A Journey to the Center of the Earth was a “marvelous book which impressed and fascinated me more than any other. I have re-read it many times, and I confess I sometimes re-read it still, each time finding anew the joys and enthusiasm of my childhood.”

A home at the end of the world

SUMMARY: From Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours , comes this widely praised novel of two boyhood friends: Jonathan, lonely, introspective, and unsure of himself; and Bobby, hip, dark, and inarticulate. In New York after college, Bobby moves in with Jonathan and his roommate, Clare, a veteran of the city’s erotic wars. Bobby and Clare fall in love, scuttling the plans of Jonathan, who is gay, to father Clare’s child. Then, when Clare and Bobby have a baby, the three move to a small house upstate to raise “their” child together and, with an odd friend, Alice, create a new kind of family. A Home at the End of the World masterfully depicts the charged, fragile relationships of urban life today.

A Good Woman

SUMMARY: From the glittering ballrooms of Manhattan to the fires of World War I, Danielle Steel takes us on an unforgettable journey in her new novel—a spellbinding tale of war, loss, history, and one woman’s unbreakable spirit….Nineteen-year-old Annabelle Worthington was born into a life of privilege, raised amid the glamour of New York society, with glorious homes on Fifth Avenue and in Newport, Rhode Island. But everything changed on a cold April day in 1912, when the sinking of the Titanic shattered her family and her privileged world forever. Finding strength within her grief, Annabelle pours herself into volunteer work, nursing the poor, igniting a passion for medicine that would shape the course of her life. But for Annabelle, first love, and a seemingly idyllic marriage, will soon bring more grief—this time caused by the secrets of the human heart. Betrayed, and pursued by a scandal she does not deserve, Annabelle flees New York for war-ravaged France, hoping to lose herself in a life of service. There, in the heart of the First World War, in a groundbreaking field hospital run by women, Annabelle finds her true calling, working as an ambulance medic on the front lines, studying medicine, saving lives. And when the war ends, Annabelle begins a new life in Paris—now a doctor, a mother, her past almost forgotten…until a fateful meeting opens her heart to the world she had left behind. Finding strength in the most unlikely of friendships, pulling together the broken fragments of her life, Annabelle will return to New York one more time—this time as a changed woman, a woman of substance, infused with life’s experience, building a future filled with hope…out of the rich soil of the past. Filled with breathtaking images and historical detail, Danielle Steel’s new novel introduces one of her most unique and fascinating characters: Annabelle Worthington, a remarkable woman, a good woman, a true survivor who triumphs against overwhelming odds. For Annabelle’s story is more than compelling fiction, it is a powerful celebration of life, dignity, and courage—and a testament to the human will to survive.From the Hardcover edition.

A good fall

SUMMARY: In his first book of stories since The Bridegroom was published in 2000 (“Finely wrought . . . Every story here is cut like a stone.”–Chicago Sun-Times), National Book Award-winning Ha Jin gives us a collection that delves into the experience of Chinese immigrants in America. With the same profound attention to detail that is a hallmark of his previous acclaimed works of fiction, Ha Jin depicts here the full spectrum of immigrant life and the daily struggles–some minute, some grand–faced by these men, women, and children. A lonely composer takes comfort in the songs of his girlfriend’s parakeet; a group of young children declare their wish to change their names so that they might sound more “American,” unaware of how deeply this will sadden their grandparents; a Chinese professor of English attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student. All of Ha Jin’s characters struggle in situations that stir within them a desire to remain attached to their native land and traditions, as they also explore and take advantage of the newfound freedom, both social and economic, that life in a new country offers. In these deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous stories we are reminded again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer.

A Golden Web

SUMMARY: Alessandra is desperate to escape. Desperate to escape her stepmother, who’s locked her away for a year; to escape the cloister that awaits her and the marriage plans that have been made for her; to escape the expectations that limit her and every other girl in fourteenth-century Italy. There’s no tolerance in her quiet village for Alessandra and her keen intelligence and unconventional ideas. In defiant pursuit of her dreams, Alessandra undertakes an audacious quest, her bravery equaled only by the dangers she faces. Disguised and alone in a city of spies and scholars, Alessandra will find a love she could not foresee — and an enduring fame. In this exquisite imagining of the centuries-old story of Alessandra Giliani, the world’s first female anatomist, acclaimed novelist Barbara Quick gives readers the drama, romance, and rich historical detail for which she is known as she shines a light on an unforgotten — and unforgettable — heroine.

A Fugitive Truth: An Emma Fielding Mystery

SUMMARY: The past’s blood stains the present The opportunity of a lifetime awaits archaeologist Emma Fielding in the Berkshire foothills of Western Massachusetts: the chance to study the eighteenth-century diary of Margaret Chandler, the accused witch and murderess whose home Emma excavated only months before. However, the three other Shrewsbury Foundation fellows she must share the premises with are a disturbingly odd bunch, and before too long one of them is dead. But Emma can find no solace in the bleak beauty of the surrounding wilderness, for there are dark secrets encoded in Madam Chandler’s writings, and shocking parallels between an ancient slaying and the strange, brutal demise of her colleague. When the killer strikes again, Emma realizes her own life is at stake. And suddenly there is no choice left: she is driven to investigate bloody crimes past and present — before her own death becomes a footnote in a chilling, three-centuries-old story.

A Fish Dinner in Memison

A Fish Dinner in Memison is a novel centering on the characters of King Mezentius and Fiorinda; much is revealed about the links between principal characters and the separate worlds of the novel, not fully resolved in the other novels in the trilogy. The character of Lessingham is also resolved to its greatest extent in all the novels of the trilogy

A fine and bitter snow

EDITORIAL REVIEW: In a tense battle between conservationists and developers of Alaskas pristine wilderness, P.I. Kate Shugak finds herself in a murderous environmentSet in Alaska, Edgar Award-winner Dana Stabenows novels combine a lush and evocative portrait of life in the frozen north with taut suspense and top-notch characters, especially the dynamic Aleutian p.i. Kate Shugak. A perennial bestseller regionally, Stabenows national profile is on the rise, and with A Fine and Bitter Snow, she delivers the novel that can catapult her into the forefront of crime fiction today.In this latest installment, the possibility of drilling for oil in a wildlife preserve near Kates home has battle lines drawn,even in Kates small community. Things heat up when a ranger at the preserve loses his job for political reasons, but when a passionate conservation spokesperson is found poisoned, the war begins in earnest. I9 a gripping story both entertaining and tensenot to mention timelyDana Stabenow brings to life the beauty and the danger of livingand dyingin Alaska. SUMMARY: Change never comes easy, but it comes just the same, and it’s on its way to the Park, to Niniltna, in southeast Alaska. This time it concerns the possibility of drilling for oil in a wildlife preserve near there, near Aleutian P.I. Kate Shugak’s home territory. Battle lines are drawn across their community, but at least it gives Kate something to do. Still just months after her lover’s violent death, though she doesn’t know quite how, she is trying to get back into her daily life. First, tensions run high as their resident park ranger, Dan O’Brien, is deemed “too green for them” by management and asked to take early retirement. Kate rallies the troops inside the Park to fight for his job, but before she can really start throwing her weight around, a long-time Park resident is brutally murdered, another stabbed and left for dead as well. Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin enlists Kate to help investigate, and together they tackle the loose ends: motive, timing, opportunity, means. One thing is for certain-in Dana Stabenow’s masterful crime novels about the beauty and the danger of living and dying in Alaska, nothing is as simple as it seems.

A fiery peace in a cold war: Bernard Schriever and the ultimate weapon

SUMMARY: From Neil Sheehan, author of the Pulitzer Prize—winning classic A Bright Shining Lie, comes this long-awaited, magnificent epic. Here is the never-before-told story of the nuclear arms race that changed history–and of the visionary American Air Force officer Bernard Schriever, who led the high-stakes effort. A Fiery Peace in a Cold War is a masterly work about Schriever’s quests to prevent the Soviet Union from acquiring nuclear superiority, to penetrate and exploit space for America, and to build the first weapons meant to deter an atomic holocaust rather than to be fired in anger.Sheehan melds biography and history, politics and science, to create a sweeping narrative that transports the reader back and forth from individual drama to world stage. The narrative takes us from Schriever’s boyhood in Texas as a six-year-old immigrant from Germany in 1917 through his apprenticeship in the open-cockpit biplanes of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s and his participation in battles against the Japanese in the South Pacific during the Second World War. On his return, he finds a new postwar bipolar universe dominated by the antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union.Inspired by his technological vision, Schriever sets out in 1954 to create the one class of weapons that can enforce peace with the Russians–intercontinental ballistic missiles that are unstoppable and can destroy the Soviet Union in thirty minutes. In the course of his crusade, he encounters allies and enemies among some of the most intriguing figures of the century: John von Neumann, the Hungarian-born mathematician and mathematical physicist, who was second in genius only to Einstein; Colonel Edward Hall, who created the ultimate ICBM in the Minuteman missile, and his brother, Theodore Hall, who spied for the Russians at Los Alamos and hastened their acquisition of the atomic bomb; Curtis LeMay, the bomber general who tried to exile Schriever and who lost his grip on reality, amassing enough nuclear weapons in his Strategic Air Command to destroy the entire Northern Hemisphere; and Hitler’s former rocket maker, Wernher von Braun, who along with a colorful, riding-crop-wielding Army general named John Medaris tried to steal the ICBM program.The most powerful men on earth are also put into astonishing relief: Joseph Stalin, the cruel, paranoid Soviet dictator who spurred his own scientists to build him the atomic bomb with threats of death; Dwight Eisenhower, who backed the ICBM program just in time to save it from the bureaucrats; Nikita Khrushchev, who brought the world to the edge of nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and John Kennedy, who saved it.Schriever and his comrades endured the heartbreak of watching missiles explode on the launching pads at Cape Canaveral and savored the triumph of seeing them soar into space. In the end, they accomplished more than achieving a fiery peace in a cold war. Their missiles became the vehicles that opened space for America.

A Fierce Radiance: A Novel

SUMMARY: From the “New York Times” bestselling author of “City of Light” comes a compelling, richly detailed tale of passion and intrigue set in New York City during the tumultuous early days of World War II. Claire Shipley is a single mother haunted by the death of her young daughter and by her divorce years ago. She is also an ambitious photojournalist, and in the anxious days after Pearl Harbor, the talented “Life” magazine reporter finds herself on top of one of the nation’s most important stories. In the bustling labs of New York City’s renowned Rockefeller Institute, some of the country’s brightest doctors and researchers are racing to find a cure that will save the lives of thousands of wounded American soldiers and countless others–a miraculous new drug they call penicillin. Little does Claire suspect how much the story will change her own life when the work leads to an intriguing romance. Though Claire has always managed to keep herself separate from the subjects she covers, this story touches her deeply, stirring memories of her daughter’s sudden illness and death–a loss that might have been prevented by this new “miracle drug.” And there is James Stanton, the shy and brilliant physician who coordinates the institute’s top secret research for the military. Drawn to this dedicated, attractive man and his work, Claire unexpectedly finds herself falling in love. But Claire isn’t the only one interested in the secret development of this medicine. Her long-estranged father, Edward Rutherford, a self-made millionaire, understands just how profitable a new drug like penicillin could be. When a researcher at the institute dies under suspicious circumstances, the stakes become starkly clear: a murder has been committed to obtain these lucrative new drugs. With lives and a new love hanging in the balance, Claire will put herself at the center of danger to find a killer–no matter what price she may have to pay. Lauren Belfer dazzled readers with her debut novel, “City of Light,” a “New York Times” notable book of the year. In this highly anticipated follow-up, she deftly captures the uncertainty and spirit, the dreams and hopes, of a nation at war. A sweeping tale of love and betrayal, intrigue and idealism, “A Fierce Radiance” is an ambitious and deeply engaging novel from an author of immense talent.

A Farewell to Legs: An Aaron Tucker Mystery

SUMMARY: Work-at-home dad, devoted husband, aspiring screenwriter — all ways to describe the unwilling sleuth Aaron Tucker, whom one re-viewer dubbed a combination of “Bart Simpson and James Bond.” In A Farewell to Legs, the second installment of the Aaron Tucker Mystery Series, Aaron is back on the trail again, this time trying to ferret out the murderer of a former classmate, a D.C. lobbyist whose enemies finally stick it to him, literally — with a six-inch steak knife. The deceased leaves behind a bombshell of a widow, a hidden bankroll of $13 million, and a cloud of political controversy, all of which lead Aaron to a barrel of red herrings. But in the life of Aaron Tucker, one mystery is never enough (though he’d be quick to tell you otherwise). He’s also been dele-gated the odious task of tracking down Buzbee School’s secret stink-bomber, and his wife, the beautiful attorney Abby Stein, is being stalked by a former client. All in a day’s work for the 5’4″ freelance writer, who, as procrastinator extraordinaire, would rather be doing anything but investigating.

A disobedient girl: a novel

EDITORIAL REVIEW: **In one of the most impressive debuts of the year, Ru Freeman delivers an epic, searing novel about betrayal and salvation, the strength of the human spirit, and the boundlessness and limits of love.** Set against the volatile events of the last forty years of Sri Lankan history, *A Disobedient Girl* traces the lives of three characters whose interwoven fates and histories force them to answer life’s most difficult questions. Beautiful, haunting, alive, and brimming with truth, it is, above all, a novel about extraordinary circumstances that change life in an instant and the power of love to transcend time and place. The story begins with two little girls, mistress and servant, one with every luxury and opportunity that money can buy and the other with nothing but her yearning for a better life. Together, they grow up bound by love, betrayal, resentment, and an impossible secret. Then there is Biso, a devoted mother of three, who risks everything to escape from the hands of her tyrannical husband. But her journey, which begins with such hope, takes her on a disastrous path that ultimately leads her to give her life over to strangers she never imagined she would have reason to know, binding her story with that of the girls in the most unexpected and heartbreaking of ways. *A Disobedient Girl* is a compelling exploration of personal desire set against the volatile backdrop of class and prejudice, as three women journey toward their future, united by a shared history but separated by different fates. A bold and deeply moving account that spans three decades of love and loss, it is a tale about the will to survive and the incredible power of the human spirit to transcend the unforgiving sweep of tragedy.

A Death in Vienna

SUMMARY: Gabriel Allon hasn’t been back to Vienna since his wife and child died there in a terrorist bombing. But when his mentor in the Israeli intelligence agency dispatches him to the Austrian capitol to investigate a murderous explosion at the Wartime Claims and Inquiry Office, his presence alerts the attention of police officials who have reasons to stand in the way of his investigation. When a concentration camp survivor is killed who could link the father of Austria’s next chancellor to Nazi atrocities and an ongoing coverup by the Catholic Church, Allon discovers another connection to the conspiracy, this one closer to his own past than he could ever have imagined. This is the third of Silva’s thrillers featuring Allon, the art restorer who’s also a spy (The Confessor and The English Assassin are the first two). In an endnote, the author calls them a “completed cycle dealing with the unfinished business of the Holocaust.” Allon is such a compelling hero that one hopes Silva, a skilled craftsman and a terrific story-teller, will bring him back in another series. –Jane Adams