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A Darkness in My Soul

Superman – or Supermonster? Although he was the first successful product of the Artificial Creation laboratory – the government workshop for the production of new talents by tampering with the genes of the unborn – Simeon Kelly would work for them only under compulsion. And the compulsion the generals applied to get him to probe the mind of the thing called Child had to be the greatest. Because Child was anything but that. In that incredibly monstrous infant appeared to be the potential for whole oceans of inventions and an entire cosmos of total creativity. But Child was vicious, insane, and short-lived.

A Dark Matter

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this tour de force from bestseller Straub (_In the Night Room_), four high school friends in 1966 Madison, Wis.—Hootie Bly, Dilly Olson, Jason Boatman, and Lee Truax—fall under the spell of charismatic wandering guru Spencer Mallon. During an occult ceremony in which Mallon attempts to break through to a higher reality, something goes horribly awry leaving one participant dead. Decades later, Lee’s writer husband interviews the quartet to find out what happened. In Roshomon-like fashion, each relates a slightly different account of the trauma they experienced. Straub masterfully shows how the disappointments, downturns, and failed promise of the four friends’ lives may have stemmed from this youthful experience, and suggests, by extension, that the malignant evil they helped unleash into the world has tainted all hope ever since. Brilliant in its orchestration and provocative in its speculations, this novel ranks as one of the finest tales of modern horror. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From

Six book critics venture into a new novel by a best-selling horror writer. The writer is said to have magical abilities to blend horror conventions with literary fiction to keep the pages turning. He is even said to have touched Stephen King! Four of the critics come away convinced that a transcendent supernatural event has occurred, which may have something to do with the nature of evil. But two are horribly scarred by the event–unbearably bored, convinced they have just read a rejected script from Lost. Whose version of events is true? We may never know. All critics agree on is that the only possible way to describe such a plot structure is to reference Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon–so readers may just have to investigate for themselves.

A conspiracy of paper: a novel

Amazon.com Review

A fool and his money are soon parted–and nowhere so quickly as in the stock market, it would seem. In David Liss’s ambitious first novel, A Conspiracy of Paper, the year is 1719 and the place London, where human greed, apparently, operated then in much the same manner as it does today. Liss focuses his intricate tale of murder, money, and conspiracy on Benjamin Weaver, ex-boxer, self-described “protector, guardian, bailiff, constable-for-hire, and thief-taker,” and son of a Portuguese Jewish “stock-jobber.” Weaver’s father, from whom he has been estranged, has recently died, the victim of a horse-drawn carriage hit and run. Though his uncle has suggested that the accident wasn’t quite so accidental, Benjamin doesn’t give the idea much credence:

I blush to own I rewarded his efforts to seek my opinion with only a formal reply in which I dismissed his ideas as nonsensical. I did so in part because I did not wish to involve myself with my family and in part because I knew that my uncle, for reasons that eluded me, had loved my father and could not accept the senselessness of so random a death.

But then Benjamin is hired by two different men to solve two seemingly unrelated cases. One client, Mr. Balfour, claims his own father’s unexpected death “was made to look like self-murder so that a villain or villains could take his money with impunity,” and even suggests there might be a link between Balfour senior’s death and that of Weaver’s father. His next customer is Sir Owen Nettleton, an aristocrat who is keen to recover some highly confidential papers that were stolen from him while he cavorted with a prostitute. Weaver takes on the first case with some reluctance, the second with more enthusiasm. In the end, both converge, leading him back to his family even as they take him deep into the underbelly of London’s financial markets.

Liss seems right at home in the world he’s created, whether describing the company manners of wealthy Jewish merchants at home or the inner workings of Exchange Alley–the 18th-century version of Wall Street. His London is a dank and filthy place, almost lawless but for the scant protection offered by such rogues as Jonathan Wilde, the sinister head of a gang of thieves who profits by selling back to their owners items stolen by his own men. Though better connected socially, the investors involved with the shady South Sea Company have equally larcenous hearts, and Liss does an admirable job of leading the reader through the intricacies of stock trading, bond selling, and insider trading with as little fuss, muss, and confusion as possible. What really makes the book come alive, however, are the details of 18th-century life–from the boxing matches our hero once participated in to the coffee houses, gin joints, and brothels where he trolls for clues. And then there is the matter of Weaver’s Jewishness, the prejudices of the society he lives in, and his struggle to come to terms with his own ethnicity. A Conspiracy of Paper weaves all these themes together in a manner reminiscent of the long, gossipy novels of Henry Fielding and Laurence Stern. Indeed, Liss manages to suggest the prose style of those authors while keeping his own, less convoluted style. This is one conspiracy guaranteed to succeed. –Alix Wilber

From Publishers Weekly

This remarkably accomplished first novel, by a young man still completing his doctoral dissertation at Columbia, has a great deal going on. It is at once a penetrating study of the beginnings of stock speculation and the retreat from a mineral-based currency in early 18th-century London, a sympathetic look at the life of a Jew in that time and place and a vision of the struggle between the Bank of England and the upstart South Sea Company to become the repository of the nation’s fiscal faith. If all that sounds daunting, it is above all a headlong adventure yarn full of dastardly villains, brawls, wenches and as commanding a hero as has graced a novel in some time. He is Benjamin Weaver, a Jewish former boxer who had once abandoned his family, and virtually his faith, too, for a life on the fringes of criminal society as a kind of freelance bailiff who brings debtors to book for their creditors. When his uncherished father dies suddenly, however, and he has reason to suspect the apparent accident was actually murder, he plunges himself into a hunt for those responsible, and in the process changes his life. With his native cunning and his brawling skills, he soon finds himself deeply embroiled with the villainous Jonathan Wild, thief-taker par excellence, who has institutionalized criminal mayhem. He also becomes the pawn of some powerful financial giants lurking in the shadows (much like the corporate villains in contemporary thrillers), comes to suspect his glamorous cousin Miriam of actions unbecoming a lady and employs the wiles of his philosophical Scottish friend Elias to decode the mysterious ways of finance and the laws of probability. The period detail is authentic but never obtrusive; the dialogue is a marvel of courtly locution masking murderous bluntness; and the plot, though devious in the extreme, never becomes opaque. It seems clear that Weaver is being set up as a series hero, which can only be good news for lovers of the best in dashing historical fiction. Agent, Liz Darhansoff. (Feb.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

SUMMARY: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from today’s top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader’s viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader’s understanding of these enduring works. One of the greatest satires in American literature, Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court begins when Hank Morgan, a skilled mechanic in a nineteenth-century New England arms factory, is struck on the head during a quarrel and awakens to find himself among the knights and magicians of King Arthur’s Camelot.What follows is a culture clash of the first magnitude, as practical-minded Hank, disgusted with the ignorance and superstition of the people, decides to enlighten them with education and technology. Through a series of wonderfully imaginative adventures, Twain celebrates American homespun ingenuity and democracy as compared to the backward ineptitude of a chivalric monarchy. At the same time, however, Twain raises the question of whether material progress necessarily creates a better society. As Hank becomes more powerful and self-righteous, he also becomes more ruthless, more autocratic, and less able to control events, until the only way out is a massively destructive war.While the dark pessimism that would fully blossom in Twain’s later works can be discerned in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the novel will nevertheless be remembered primarily for its wild leaps of imagination, brilliant wit, and entertaining storytelling.With over 200 of the original illustrations by Dan Beard. Stephen Railton teaches American literature at the University of Virginia. His most recent book is Mark Twain: A Short Introduction.

A cold day for murder

SUMMARY: Kate Shugak returns to her roots in the far Alaskan north, after leaving the Anchorage D.A.’s office. Her deductive powers are definitely needed when a ranger disappears. Looking for clues among the Aleutian pipeliners, she begins to realize the fine line between lies and loyalties–between justice served and cold murder.

A Clash of Kings

EDITORIAL REVIEW: Here is the second volume in GEORGE R. R. MARTIN’S magnificent cycle of novels that includes **A Game of Thrones** and **A Storm of Swords**. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, GEORGE R. R. MARTIN’S stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.**A CLASH OF KINGS**A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

A Christmas carol

SUMMARY: This new selection of Dickens’s Christmas writings confirms his lasting influence upon our idea of the Christmas spirit: that Christmas is a time for celebration, charity, and memory. In addition to the beloved A Christmas Carol, this volume includes such festive works as “Christmas Festivities,” “The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton,” “A Christmas Tree,” “The Seven Poor Travellers,” The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain, and a Christmas episode from Master Humphrey’s Clock.

A Brief History of Time

*A Brief History of Time,* published in 1988, was a landmark volume in science writing and in world-wide acclaim and popularity, with more than 9 million copies in print globally. The original edition was on the cutting edge of what was then known about the origins and nature of the universe. But the ensuing years have seen extraordinary advances in the technology of observing both the micro- and the macrocosmic world—observations that have confirmed many of Hawking’s theoretical predictions in the first edition of his book.
Now a decade later, this edition updates the chapters throughout to document those advances, and also includes an entirely new chapter on Wormholes and Time Travel and a new introduction. It make vividly clear why *A Brief History of Time* has transformed our view of the universe.
#### Annotation
This landmark volume in scientific writing leads us on an exhilarating journey to distant galaxies, black holes, and alternate dimensions, and includes Professor Hawking’s observations about the last decade’s advances — developments that have confirmed many of his theoretical predictions. Makes vividly clear how Professor Hawking’s work has transformed our view of the universe.

A Bridge to the Stars

SUMMARY: This poignant novel explores how a unilateral decision can change a life.Two things are hard for Joel Gustafson to cope with: not knowing why, and not being able to do anything about it. Joel’s father was once a sailor who lived by the sea. Joel’s mother once lived with them. Joel’s father abandoned the sea. Joel’s mother abandoned Joel and his father. While looking out his window one night, Joel sees a lonely dog on the street. Joel spots the animal again and begins sneaking out night after night, trying to find it. During these nocturnal outings, Joel discovers aspects of life he has never imagined. And then one night he discovers that his father’s bed, too, is empty.As Joel investigates his father’s mysterious absences and continues to search for the dog, he discovers his own inner strength and learns about adult disappointments and needs.

A brave vessel: the true tale of the castaways who rescued Jamestown and inspired Shakespeare’s The tempest

EDITORIAL REVIEW: **A gripping tale of shipwreck and survival that changed the fate of the colonies and enriched our literary legacy** In 1609, aspiring writer William Strachey set sail aboard the *Sea Venture*, bound for the New World. Caught in a hurricane, the ship separated from its fleet and wrecked on uninhabited Bermuda, a bountiful island paradise its passengers would inhabit for nearly a year before reaching their intended destination, the famine-stricken colony of Jamestown. Strachey’s meticulous account of the wreck, the castaways’ time on Bermuda, and their arrival in a devastated Jamestown was read by his contemporaries and remains among the most vivid writings of the early colonial period. Following the life of this ordinary man, Hobson Woodward tells one of the neglected but defining stories of America’s founding. Strachey had literary aspirations and sought to capitalize on his epic experience, but his writings did not bring him the acclaim he sought. Only in the hands of *another* William would his tale of the wreck and its aftermath make history as *The Tempest*.* A Brave Vessel* is the fascinating account of a near-miss in the settling of Virginia, the true story behind one of Shakespeare’s great plays, and the tragedy of the man who failed as an author but who contributed to the creation of a masterpiece.

A Book of Mediterranean Food

SUMMARY: Long acknowledged as the inspiration for such modern masters as Julia Child and Claudia Roden, A Book of Mediterranean Food is Elizabeth David’s passionate mixture of recipes, culinary lore, and frank talk. In bleak postwar Great Britain, when basics were rationed and fresh food a fantasy, David set about to cheer herself –and her audience– up with dishes from the south of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and the Middle East. Some are sumptuous, many are simple, most are sublime.

A Big Little Life

SUMMARY: Dean Koontz’s first ever nonfiction book, the deeply moving story of his life with his good dog TrixieDean Koontz is known for exploring the dark side of human nature in his fiction. But his softer, playful side comes out when he talks about his beloved dog, Trixie, a golden retriever.Trixie had a special place in Dean’s heart. And now, in this, his first non-fiction book, Dean opens his heart to his readers to give us memories of Trixie, of the glorious dog who changed him and changed his life.There’s everything in this memoir: adventure, mischief, emotion, and sadness too. Dean will talk with joy about the many gifts Trixie gave him ‘ and the lessons she taught ‘ and he’ll talk with sadness at losing his beloved pet.The loss of a dog is a heartbreak that’s been experienced by a great many people, and Dean’s delving into that loss is a powerful part of this book, and a cathartic experience for those of us who have loved and lost an animal companion.Trixie had a big little life and lives for ever in Dean’s heart ‘Ś and in these pages.

A Beautiful Place to Die

EDITORIAL REVIEW: **Award-winning screenwriter Malla Nunn delivers a stunning and darkly romantic crime novel set in 1950s apartheid South Africa, featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper — a man caught up in a time and place where racial tensions and the raw hunger for power make life very dangerous indeed.** In a morally complex tale rich with authenticity, Nunn takes readers to Jacob’s Rest, a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. It is 1952, and new apartheid laws have recently gone into effect, dividing a nation into black and white while supposedly healing the political rifts between the Afrikaners and the English. Tensions simmer as the fault line between the oppressed and the oppressors cuts deeper, but it’s not until an Afrikaner police officer is found dead that emotions more dangerous than anyone thought possible boil to the surface. When Detective Emmanuel Cooper, an Englishman, begins investigating the murder, his mission is preempted by the powerful police Security Branch, who are dedicated to their campaign to flush out black communist radicals. But Detective Cooper isn’t interested in political expediency and has never been one for making friends. He may be modest, but he radiates intelligence and certainly won’t be getting on his knees before those in power. Instead, he strikes out on his own, following a trail of clues that lead him to uncover a shocking forbidden love and the imperfect life of Captain Pretorius, a man whose relationships with the black and coloured residents of the town he ruled were more complicated and more human than anyone could have imagined. The first in her Detective Emmanuel Cooper series, *A Beautiful Place to Die* marks the debut of a talented writer who reads like a brilliant combination of Raymond Chandler and Graham Greene. It is a tale of murder, passion, corruption, and the corrosive double standard that defined an apartheid nation. I

98.6 degrees: the art of keeping your ass alive

EDITORIAL REVIEW: $14.95 gatefold paper * 1-58685-234-5 * May 6 x 9 in, 192 pp, 70 Line Drawings, 16 Color Photo Pages Rights: W, Survival/Nature “If you breathe and have a pulse, you NEED this book.” -Cody Lundin Cody Lundin, director of the Aboriginal Living Skills School in Prescott, Arizona, shares his own brand of wilderness wisdom in this highly anticipated new book on commonsense, modern survival skills for the backcountry, the backyard, or the highway. It is the ultimate book on how to stay alive-based on the principal of keeping the body’s core temperature at a lively 98.6 degrees. In his entertaining and informative style, Cody stresses that a human can live without food for weeks, and without water for about three days or so. But if the body’s core temperature dips much below or above the 98.6 degree mark, a person can literally die within hours. It is a concept that many don’t take seriously or even consider, but knowing what to do to maintain a safe core temperature when lost in a blizzard or in the desert could save your life. Lundin delivers the message with wit, rebellious humor, and plenty of backcountry expertise. Cody Lundin and his Aboriginal Living Skills School have been featured in dozens of national and international media sources, including Dateline NBC, CBS News, USA Today, The Donny and Marie Show, and CBC Radio One in Canada, as well as on the cover of Backpacker magazine. When not teaching for his own school, he is an adjunct faculty member at Yavapai College and a faculty member at the Ecosa Institute. Cody is the only person in Arizona licensed to catch fish with his hands, and lives in a passive solar earth home sixty miles from Prescott, Arizona.

98.6 Degrees

Cody Lundin, director of the Aboriginal Living Skills School in Prescott, Arizona, shares his own brand of wilderness wisdom in this highly anticipated new book on commonsense, modern survival skills for the backcountry, the backyard, or the highway. This is the ultimate book on how to stay alive-based on the principle of keeping the body’s core temperature at a lively 98.6 degrees. In his entertaining and informative style, Cody stresses that a human can live without food for weeks and without water for about three days or so. But if the body’s core temperature dips much below or above the 98.6 degree mark, a person can literally die within hours. It is a concept that many don’t take seriously or even consider, but knowing what to do to maintain a safe core temperature when lost in a blizzard or in the desert could save your life. Lundin delivers the message with wit, rebellious humor, and plenty of backcountry expertise. Watch naturalist Cody Lundin on “Dual Survival” as he uses many of the same skills and techniques taught in his book: 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive. As seen in the 10-part series “Dual Survival” on The Discovery Channel! Cody Lundin and his Aboriginal Living Skills School have been featured in dozens of national and international media sources, including Dateline NBC, CBS News, USA Today, The Donny and Marie Show, and CBC Radio One in Canada, as well as on the cover of Backpacker magazine. When not teaching for his own school, he is an adjunct faculty member at Yavapai College and a faculty member at the Ecosa Institute. Cody is the only person in Arizona licensed to catch fish with his hands, and lives in a passive solar earth home sixty miles from Prescott, Arizona.

86’d: A Novel

SUMMARY: In Los Angeles, struggling telemarketer-writer and part-time drunk Bruno Dante is jobless again. The publication of his book of short stories has been put off indefinitely. Searching the want ads for a gig, he finds a chauffeur job. When Bruno calls the number in the ad, he discovers the boss is his former Manhattan employer David Koffman, who is opening a West Coast branch of his thriving limo service. Koffman hires Bruno as resident manager of Dav-Ko Hollywood under one condition: he must remain sober. But instant business success triggers an abrupt booze-and-blackout-soaked downward spiral for Bruno, forcing him to confront his own madness as he struggles to keep his old familiar demons from getting the best of him yet again.