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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Three More Books of Great Interest, Ryk Spoor, Eleanor Catton and D.K.R. Boyd (with comments by Liviu Suciu)

A quick post about three recent or upcoming books that somewhat unexpectedly took over my reading and displaced some books that were quite high on my asap list like the third Thomas Cale novel, The Beating of His Wings by Paul Hoffman or the other upcoming trilogy ending, MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood.


First is Spheres of Influence by Ryk Spoor, sequel to the excellent Grand Central Arena (see updated review with comments on Goodreads too)

Spheres of Influence picks up where GCA ends, though the immediate aftermath is just summarized for good reasons - action better than politicking, though there is some of that later.
A lot of backstory about the Hyperions, new awesome characters in addition to the usual, some human villains for once and some Molothos dialogue for ages (available in the free Baen snippets btw), some twists an a good ending at another stop point, but I was really disappointed that the novel ended at all as I could and would have read another 500 pages of our heroes adventures in the Arena and the Solar System and a few other places tbd; also the big promise form earlier on (read to see what) is for volume 3 and I really want to read that adventure!

Excellent stuff, top 25 of mine, full review later and I hope the series goes on for a long tim.

Spheres of Influence will be published in November but the earc is available for sale on Baen's site today! 


Long-listed for the 2013 Booker Prize, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is the one novel of the 13 book list that truly interested me and so far it is living up to the high expectations and I believe it will be another top 25 of mine.

Exceptionally well written and while the subject did not really interest me that much at least to start with, the writing and the structure of the novel are keeping me hooked.

"On a blustery January day, a prostitute is arrested. In the midst of the 1866 gold rush on the coast of New Zealand, this might have gone unnoticed. But three notable events occur on that same day: a luckless drunk dies, a wealthy man vanishes, and a ship's captain of ill repute cancels all of his business and weighs anchor, as if making an escape. Anna Wetherell, the prostitute in question, is connected to all three men.

This sequence of apparently coincidental events provokes a secret council of powerful townsmen to investigate. But they are interrupted by the arrival of a stranger: young Walter Moody, who has a secret of his own...

THE LUMINARIES is an intricately crafted feat of storytelling, a mystery that reveals the ways our interconnected lives reshape our destinies.


The Reflecting Man by D.K.R. Boyd, billed as the first volume of a duology about the "antic, ribald journey of a loquacious and unreliable narrator, Kurtis De’ath, whose unusual talents lead him into the innermost circles of Hitler’s Third Reich and Churchill’s British government." came out of nowhere and the first person irreverent narration just took over. The novel promises a lot and I will finish it soon with a detailed review as I just saw it by chance.

It starts like this and it kind of hooked me from the first page:

"'My name is De’ath.
You can say it all in one breath…Deeth, as they do in Essex in England. Or you can double the syllable and have…Dee-ath, which is how we say it in the Maritimes in Canada.
Accent on the ‘ath, please. Invariably I am asked to spell it aloud.
Most don’t note the apostrophe if they’re writing it down or pretend to omit it, especially when it gives them a chance to be clever at my expense. Almost no one can avoid remarking upon it.
I thought Death himself had come for me! Isn’t that something? Death himself standing right here in front of me. If that don’t beat all…etc. etc.
I find no humor in it. From snotty bureaucrats—the ilk infesting Whitehall in war-poor, crapped-out London instantly come to mind—to the ashes of the sadists in the recently extinguished Reich chancellery in Berlin, there has been an overwhelming fascination in meeting Death…and joking about it.
Meeting De’ath is not quite the same thing.
Almost, but not quite.
Death, as I learned, is as easy as falling down a well. You make a little splash and that’s the end of it. Death in war is conducted under different rules. It is my task to explain why this is so and how and why I found myself so tangled up in the one which just ended.
Yes, I am the notorious Herr Death, mysterious confidant of the F├╝hrer.
Yes, I am the famous Schokoladenmann, chocolate maker to the Wagners.
Yes, I am Kurtis De’ath, a young man from the Maritimes, and your unreliable, opinionated narrator, leading you through the labyrinth of what Lord Beaverbrook now refers to as World War Two..."


Sea Wasp (Ryk E. Spoor) said...

Thanks much for this quick and super positive review of _Spheres_! Top 25? I am very honored!

Liviu said...

thank you for stopping by!

this series really grew on me and I added a few comments on the Goodreads of GCA too (and c/p the original FBc rv as i saw I forgot at the time - one of the drawbacks of reading the earc so much earlier than the pub date when i did the rv)

should have a full rv in October or so and I really look for (much) more in this series


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