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The Demon and the City

### From Publishers Weekly
The second Detective Inspector Chen novel (after 2005’s *Snake Agent* ) traverses a wildly imaginative landscape based on Chinese mythology, with humans mingling with demons, Celestials and the deceased. When rich girl Deveth Sardai turns up dead, the case goes to demon Zhu Irzh, recently of Hell but posted to Earth to assist the police department of the city of Singapore Three. Meanwhile, Deveth’s girlfriend, Robin Yuan, frees Mhara, a demon Robin’s research company has been experimenting on for defense reasons. Robin and Zhu Irzh’s paths cross as they follow the trail of the killer, leading them to uncover a larger plot involving a goddess in Heaven’s bid for power. As the end of the world beckons, Mhara, who is far more than he seems, offers his help, but Heaven, Hell, Earth and everything in between falls into chaos. Williams weaves a rich, complicated tapestry that merges life with afterlife, otherworldly with worldly and human with inhuman. *(Aug.)*
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
### From
The sequel to *Snake Agent* (2005) returns to Singapore Three, a twenty-first-century cityscape renowned for its ready access to the denizens of heaven and hell. While Detective Inspector Wei Chen takes a brief hiatus from his customary paranormal investigations, his underworld sidekick, vice-squad-specialist Zhu Irzh, stumbles on a tricky case involving the apparently demonic murder of a beautiful young woman. When the trail leads to the heiress of the powerful Paugeng Corporation, Zhu Irzh feels inexplicably drawn to this devilishly ruthless but very human woman and inadvertently implicates himself as a murder suspect. Chen’s return to sort things out only complicates matters, however, as the pair tracks other suspects, including an enigmatic demon the corporation has been harboring for experimental purposes and a celestial goddess whose unlikely alliance with hell threatens to rain chaos down on the earthbound. Fantasy enthusiasts looking for something uniquely imaginative will find it in Williams’ surreal fusion of Chinese mythology, paranormal high jinks, and satisfyingly suspenseful sleuthing. *Carl Hays*
*Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved*

The Defector

EDITORIAL REVIEW: **In the #1 *New York Times* bestseller *Moscow Rules*, Gabriel Allon brought down the most dangerous man in the world. But he made one mistake. Leaving him alive…** Over the course of a brilliant career, Daniel Silva has established himself as the “gold standard” of thriller writers (*Dallas Morning News*), a “master writer of espionage and intrigue” (The Cincinnati Enquirer), and the creator of “some of the most exciting spy fiction since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond” (*Rocky Mountain News*). Now Silva takes that fiction—and his hero, the enigmatic art restorer and assassin Gabriel Allon—to a whole new level, delivering a riveting tale of vengeance that entertains as well as enlightens. Six months after the dramatic conclusion of *Moscow Rules*, Gabriel has returned to the tan hills of Umbria to resume his honeymoon with his new wife, Chiara, and restore a seventeenth-century altarpiece for the Vatican. But his idyllic world is once again thrown into turmoil with shocking news from London. The defector and former Russian intelligence officer Grigori Bulganov, who saved Gabriel’s life in Moscow, has vanished without a trace. British intelligence is sure he was a double agent all along, but Gabriel knows better. He also knows he made a promise. *Do you know what we do with traitors, Gabriel? Many things have changed in Russia since the fall of Communism. But the punishment for betrayal remains the same. Promise me one thing, Gabriel. Promise me I won’t end up in an unmarked grave.* In the days to come, Gabriel and his team of operatives will find themselves in a deadly duel of nerve and wits with one of the world’s most ruthless men: the murderous Russian oligarch and arms dealer Ivan Kharkov. It will take him from a quiet mews in London, to the shores of Lake Como, to the glittering streets of Geneva and Zurich, and, finally, to a heart-stopping climax in the snowbound birch forests of Russia. Faced with the prospect of losing the one thing he holds most dear, Gabriel will be tested in ways he never imagined possible. And his life will never be the same. Filled with breathtaking turns of plot and sophisticated prose, and populated by a remarkable cast of characters, *The Defector* is more than the most explosive thriller of the year. It is a searing tale of love, vengeance and courage created by the writer whom the critics call “the perfect guide to the dangerous forces shaping our world” (*Orlando Sentinel*). And it is Daniel Silva’s finest novel yet.

The Decameron

SUMMARY: Translated with an Introduction and Notes by G. H. McWilliam

The death of Ivan Ilyich: and, Master and man

Review

?No one has ever excelled Tolstoy in expressing that specific flavor, the exact quality of a feeling.? ?Isaiah Berlin — Review

Product Description

This new edition combines Tolstoy’s most famous short tale, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, with a less well known but equally brilliant gem, Master and Man, both newly translated by Ann Pasternak Slater. Both stories confront death and the process of dying: In Ivan Ilyich, a bureaucrat looks back over his life, which suddenly seems meaningless and wasteful, while in Master and Man, a landowner and servant must each confront the value of the other as they brave a devastating snowstorm. The quintessential Tolstoyan themes of mortality, spiritual redemption, and life’s meaning are nowhere more movingly and deftly explored than in these two tales.

This unique edition also includes a critical Introduction and extensive notes by Ann Pasternak Slater, a Fellow at St. Anne’s College, Oxford.

The Death of Bunny Munro: A Novel

SUMMARY: Set adrift by his wife’s suicide and struggling to keep a grip on reality, Bunny Munro does the only thing he can think of: with his young son in tow, he hits the road. To his son, waiting patiently in the car while his father peddles beauty wares and quickies to lonely housewives in the south of England, Bunny is a hero, larger than life. But Bunny himself, haunted by what might be his wife’s ghost, seems only dimly aware of his son’s existence. When his bizarre trip shades into a final reckoning, when he can no longer be sure what is real and what is not, Bunny finally begins to recognize the love he feels for his son. And he sees that the revenants of his world—decrepit fathers, vengeful ghosts, jealous husbands and horned psychokillers—are lurking in the shadows, waiting to exact their toll. At turns dark and humane, The Death of Bunny Munro is a tender portrait of the relationship between a boy and his father, with all the wit and enigma that fans will recognize as Nick Cave’s singular vision.

The death and life of the great American school system: how testing and choice are undermining education

EDITORIAL REVIEW: A passionate plea to preserve and renew public education, *The Death and Life of the Great American School System* is a radical change of heart from one of America’s best-known education experts. Diane Ravitch—former assistant secretary of education and a leader in the drive to create a national curriculum—examines her career in education reform and repudiates positions that she once staunchly advocated. Drawing on over forty years of research and experience, Ravitch critiques today’s most popular ideas for restructuring schools, including privatization, standardized testing, punitive accountability, and the feckless multiplication of charter schools. She shows conclusively why the business model is not an appropriate way to improve schools. Using examples from major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, and San Diego, Ravitch makes the case that public education today is in peril. Ravitch includes clear prescriptions for improving America’s schools: leave decisions about schools to educators, not politicians or businessmen devise a truly national curriculum that sets out what children in every grade should be *learning* expect charter schools to educate the kids who need help the most, not to compete with public schools pay teachers a fair wage for their work, not “merit pay” based on deeply flawed and unreliable test scores encourage family involvement in education from an early age *The Death and Life of the Great American School System* is more than just an analysis of the state of play of the American education system. It is a must-read for any stakeholder in the future of American schooling.

The Day the Falls Stood Still

SUMMARY: Niagara Falls, 1915 When Bess Heath returns to her family home near the picturesque falls, it is to an unfamiliar scene the elegance of the life she once knew has vanished. Her father is a broken man, jobless and losing hope, and her mother is struggling to keep the family afloat. Isabel, the lively, charismatic sister Bess has always relied on is almost unrecognisable. Her engagement called off, she languishes in her bedroom, brooding and refusing to eat. Through all of this Bess finds solace in Tom Cole, a man she met by chance the night she returned home. Constant, gentle and devoted to Bess, he understands better than anyone the awesome and potentially devastating power of the falls and consoles her through a tragedy that nearly ruins her. But as their lives become more fully entwined, Bess is forced to make a painful choice between what she wants and what is best for her family

The Day of the Jackal

SUMMARY: The Jackal. A tall, blond Englishman with opaque, gray eyes. A killer at the top of his profession. A man unknown to any secret service in the world. An assassin with a contract to kill the world’s most heavily guarded man. One man with a rifle who can change the course of history. One man whose mission is so secretive not even his employers know his name. And as the minutes count down to the final act of execution, it seems that there is no power on earth that can stop the Jackal.

The Darkness Before the Dawn

Jedra lives in the streets, Kayan in the temple. When misfortune throws them together, they discover psionic power greater than almost any other on Athas, a power potent enough to destroy whole cities. When the force proves too strong for them to control, they search for a mentor to help them harness their wild talent and use it for the good of their ravaged world. The harsh environment conspires against them at every step, but so do their divergent backgrounds. Can a bond forged by necessity survive the cruelty of Athasian society, the savagery of the gladiatorial arena, or the simple test of time?

The Darkest Room

SUMMARY: WINNER OF SWEDEN’S BEST CRIME NOVEL AWARD On the idyllic island of Oland, off the coast of northern Sweden, a young couple from Stockholm tries to start life afresh. For Joakim and Katrine Westin, reclaiming a long-neglected family manor will be a labor of love, as they slowly bring the sprawling home back to life and introduce their two children to the island’s woodlands, glens, and beaches. But in the Westins’ new home, there are things that cannot be repaired, lives that have gone wrong, and secrets that have followed them. When the family is struck by tragedy, it’s up to grief-stricken Joakim to put together a puzzle of inexplicable loss, unbearable suspicion, and tangled lives. In this powerhouse of suspense-at once a crime novel and a searing family drama-a home built as a shelter from the sea becomes a human storm of murder.

The darkest road

EDITORIAL REVIEW: As the Unraveller’s armies march to battle and a plague-filled rain devastates the planet, the warriors of Light call upon one of the most ancient powers of evil to aid them in their struggle.

The Danish Girl

EDITORIAL REVIEW: Inspired by the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife, this tender portrait of a marriage asks: What do you do when someone you love wants to change? It starts with a question, a simple favor asked of a husband by his wife on an afternoon chilled by the Baltic wind while both are painting in their studio. Her portrait model has canceled, and would he mind slipping into a pair of women’s shoes and stockings for a few moments so she can finish the painting on time. Of course, he answers. Anything at all. With that, one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the twentieth century begins.

The Crystal Seas

The Richard Blade novels were a series of adventures featuring the titular character (MI6A’s special agent Richard Blade), who was teleported into a random alternate dimension at the beginning of each novel and forced to rely on his wits and strength. Richard Blade was distinctly British, and all the stories are set in England (at least at the beginning and end, with Blade being teleported to some other dimension for the bulk of each tale).

The crucible: a play in four acts

SUMMARY: “I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history,” Arthur Miller wrote in an introduction to The Crucible, his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller’s drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town’s most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence. Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunts in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing: “Political opposition … is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it meets with diabolical malevolence.”

The Crow Road

From its bravura opening onwards, THE CROW ROAD is justly regarded as an outstanding contemporary novel. ‘It was the day my grandmother exploded.

I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.’ Prentice McHoan has returned to the bosom of his complex but enduring Scottish family.

Full of questions about the McHoan past, present and future, he is also deeply preoccupied: mainly with death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances…

The Crow Road

SUMMARY: “It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.”So begins Iain Banks’ The Crow Road, the tale of Prentice McHoan and his complex but enduring Scottish family. Prentice, preoccupied with thoughts of sex, death, booze, drugs, and God, has returned to his home village of Gallanach full of questions about the McHoan past, present, and future.When his beloved Uncle Rory disappears, Prentice becomes obsessed with the papers Rory left behind — the notes and sketches for a book called The Crow Road. With the help of an old friend, Prentice sets out to solve the mystery of his uncle’s disappearance, inadvertently confronting the McHoans’ long association with tragedy — an association that includes his sister’s fatal car crash and his father’s dramatic death by lightning. The Crow Road is a coming-of-age story as only Iain Banks could write — an arresting combination of dark humor, menace, and thought-provoking meditations on the nature of love, mortality, and identity.