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Friday, November 9, 2012

Spotlight On Three More 2013 Titles, Jean-Marie Blas de Robles, Karen Lord and Betsy Dornbusch (with comments by Liviu Suciu)



"Winner of the Prix M├ędicis, this multifaceted literary novel follows the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher across 17th century Europe and Eleazard von Wogau, a retired French correspondent, through modern Brazil.

When Eleazard begins editing a strange, unpublished biography of Kircher, the rest of his life seems to begin unraveling—his ex-wife goes on a dangerous geological expedition to Mato Grosso; his daughter abandons school to travel with her young professor and her lesbian lover to an indigenous beach town, where the trio use drugs and form interdependent sexual relationships; and Eleazard himself starts losing his sanity, escalated by loneliness, and his work on the biography. Patterns begin to emerge from these interwoven narratives, which develop toward a mesmerizing climax.

Shortlisted for the Goncourt Prize and the European Book Award, and already translated into 14 languages, Where Tigers Are At Home is large-scale epic, at once literary and entertaining, that belongs in the company of Umberto Eco and Haruki Murakami."

While "Where the Tigers are at Home" has been published in the UK in late 2011, the US edition will be out only next year in March. An 800+  page book that just rolls after the first 50-100 pages when one gets used with the setup, five contemporary - actually 1982 per the World Cup references - intertwined threads plus the 1600's life and times of Athanasius Kircher which actually explores a lot about the state of knowledge at the time and a masterpiece. Not really sff but very associational in the way of Eco, Murakami or Neal Stephenson for that matter.

I wrote a little about the novel on Goodreads and I will have a full review at some point, but this is one book that lives up to its blurb, hype etc

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"A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all."

The Best of All Possible Worlds is a novel due to be published in February 2013 and which I just obtained a Net Galley review copy. From a quick browse it reminds one of the planet adventure with sociological overtones sf of yore, subgenre made famous by Ursula Le Guin and of which Mary Gentle's Orthe series is a huge favorite of mine as are Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow and William Barton's Acts of Conscience, while China Mieville's Embassytown is a recent example too.

 I am very curious how this one will stack against the books mentioned above which are among the most thought-provoking sf I've read and will let you know by publication date at the latest.

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"Draken vae Khellian, bastard cousin of the Monoean King, had risen far from his ignominious origins, becoming both a Bowrank Commander and a member of the Crown’s Black Guard. But when he is falsely condemned for the grisly murder of his beloved wife, he is banished from the kingdom and cast upon the distant shore of Akrasia, at the arse-end of the world.

Compared to civilized Monoea, Akrasia is a forbidding land of Moonlings, magic, and restless spirits. It is also a realm on the brink of a bloody revolution, as a sinister conspiracy plots against Akrasia’s embattled young queen–and malevolent banes possess the bodies of the living.

Consumed by grief, and branded a murderer, Draken lives only to clear his name and avenge his wife’s murder. But the fates may have bigger plans for him. Alone in a strange land, he soon finds himself sharing the bed of an enigmatic necromancer and a half-breed servant girl, while pressed into the service of a foreign queen whose life and land may well depend on the divided loyalties of an exiled warrior . . .

Exile is the beginning of an ambitious fantasy saga by an acclaimed new author."

Finally, there is Exile by Betsy Dornbusch, a more traditional fantasy adventure as per the blurb and the cover, but one that moves at a quick pace at least in the pages I read and browsed through, so much so that it moved much higher on my reading list than the seeminlgy standard content and the February 2013 publication date would otherwise suggest. 

Look for more comments/minireview on Goodreads with a full review closer to the publication date!

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