Excerpt: THE LAST GIRL TO DIE by Helen Fields (Avon Books)

FieldsH-LastGirlToDieUKPBToday, we have an excerpt from The Last Girl to Die, the new novel by Helen Fields. The latest mystery from the author of the D.I. Callanach series, this appears to be a stand-alone. Due to be published by Avon Books tomorrow, here’s the synopsis:

In search of a new life, seventeen-year-old Adriana Clark’s family moves to the ancient, ocean-battered Isle of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. Then she goes missing. Faced with hostile locals and indifferent police, her desperate parents turn to private investigator Sadie Levesque.

Sadie is the best at what she does. But when she finds Adriana’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, she knows she’s dealing with something she’s never encountered before.

The deeper she digs into the island’s secrets, the closer danger creeps – and the more urgent her quest to find the killer grows. Because what if Adriana is not the last girl to die?

Now, on with the excerpt…

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Excerpt: THE FIRST BINDING by R. R. Virdi (Gollancz/Tor)

VirdiRR-ToT1-FirstBindingUKHCR. R. Virdi‘s The First Binding, book one in the author’s Tales of Tremaine epic fantasy series, generated a lot of great pre-publication buzz. It’s a hefty beast (clocking in at over 800 pages), but one that promises a deep, gripping, and immersive read. The novel is now available in the UK (Gollancz) and North America (Tor Books).

As part of the book tour celebrating the novel’s release, Gollancz has provided an excerpt for me to share with you today. Before we get to that, though, here’s the official synopsis:

All legends are born of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first.

I buried the village of Ampur under a mountain of ice and snow. Then I killed their god. I’ve stolen old magics and been cursed for it. I started a war with those that walked before mankind and lost the princess I loved, and wanted to save. I’ve called lightning and bound fire. I am legend. And I am a monster.

My name is Ari.

And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.

Thus begins the tale of a storyteller and a singer on the run and hoping to find obscurity in a tavern bar. But the sins of their past aren’t forgotten, and neither are their enemies. Their old lives are catching up swiftly and it could cost them the entire world. No one can escape their pasts and all stories must have an ending.

This excerpt follows directly on from the previous stop on the blog tour, at Stephen’s Bookish Life. So, if you missed that one, go read the excerpt there before continuing below.

For those who are caught up… on with the excerpt!

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Excerpt: THE GARDEN OF EMPIRE by J. T. Greathouse (Gollancz)

GreathouseJT-P&P2-GardenOfEmpireUKHCTo help kick off the blog tour marking the release of The Garden of EmpireJ. T. Greathouse‘s second Pact & Pattern novel, Gollancz has provided CR with an excerpt! Picking up the story after The Hand of the Sun King, here’s the synopsis:

WAR MAKES MONSTERS OF EVERYONE.

Foolish Cur, once named Wen Alder, finds that his allies in the rebellion might cross any line if it means freedom from the Empire. But he can’t overcome a foe as strong as Emperor Tenet alone.

REBELLION HAS UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

Koro Ha, Foolish Cur’s former tutor, discovers the Empire is not so forgiving of those who raise a traitor. And their suspicion may cost him and his people more than he can imagine.

THE GODS ARE LURKING IN THE SHADOWS.

As war against the Empire rages, Foolish Cur knows there is a greater threat. The emperor plans his own coup against the gods, and they will wreak destruction if he tries. To stop him, Foolish Cur might have to risk everything – and resort to ancient magics that could tear the world apart.

It’s quite a substantial excerpt, so read on and enjoy!

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Excerpt: PREPARE FOR DEPARTURE by Mark Chestnut (Vine Leaves Press)

ChestnutM-PrepareForDepartureToday, we have an excerpt from Mark Chestnut‘s new memoir, Prepare for Departure. Due to be published tomorrow, by Vine Leaves Press, here’s the synopsis:

At an early age, award-winning travel writer, Mark Chesnut, learned to dodge discomfort by jumping on the nearest plane, bus or car. That tactic proved especially useful when his single mother made it clear that there was no room for discussion about his gay identity.

Mark, overwhelmed with wanderlust, shoplifts in airports, avoids Southern Baptist salvation, acts like Hillary Clinton in a nursing home, and dresses in drag with his grandfather. He even creates an imaginary airline and flies away.

Now, as 89-year-old Eunice Chesnut moves to a New York City nursing home to be near her son, Mark’s obsession with travel takes a backseat as he embarks on the most emotional journey of all.

More than an end-of-life memoir, more than a collection of childhood memories and travel stories, Prepare for Departure showcases what happens when a permissive mother and a mistfit son face death while revisiting life. Buckle your seatbelts for a witty, touching and darkly humorous trip – through time, loss, forgiveness and acceptance.

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Excerpt: UNTIL THE LAST by Mike Shackle (Gollancz)

ShackleM-LW3-UntilTheLastUKHCThe final novel in Mike Shackle‘s excellent Last War series, Until the Last, is one of my most-anticipated novels of the year. The first in the series, We Are the Dead is one of the best fantasy debuts I’ve read: it did everything a modern fantasy novel should do, and I was hooked from very early on. Today, Gollancz has provided an excerpt to share. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

SEKINOWARI – THE LAST WAR – HAS ARRIVED.

The breakneck conclusion to the trilogy that started with We Are the Dead. To beat the ultimate evil, sometimes the price is more than you can pay…

The war with the Egril has changed Tinnstra forever. A coward no more, she’ll go to any length to defeat every last one of her enemies.

Zorique has grown into her powers. It’s time for her to lead her army into Jia and spearhead the fight for her homeland.

But at what cost? The Egril emperor Raaku – the Son of Kage himself – is waiting for them. And he intends to destroy Zorique, Tinnstra and all their allies.

They will need to put everything on the line if Jia hopes to see the dawn.

And now, on with the excerpt…

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Excerpt: A HISTORY OF DELUSIONS by Victoria Shepherd (Oneworld)

ShepherdV-HistoryOfDelusionsUKHCToday, we have an excerpt from A History of Delusions by Victoria Shepherd, an intriguing history of delusions. Here’s the synopsis:

The Glass King, a Substitute Husband and a Walking Corpse

    • The King of France – thinking he was made of glass – was terrified he might shatter… and he wasn’t alone.
    • After the Emperor met his end at Waterloo, an epidemic of Napoleons piled into France’s asylums.
    • Throughout the nineteenth century, dozens of middle-aged women tried to convince their physicians that they were, in fact, dead.

For centuries we’ve dismissed delusions as something for doctors to sort out behind locked doors. But delusions are more than just bizarre quirks – they hold the key to collective anxieties and traumas.

In this groundbreaking history, Victoria Shepherd uncovers stories of delusions from medieval times to the present day and implores us to identify reason in apparent madness.

Now, read on for the excerpt…

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Excerpt: LOCKLANDS by Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books)

BennettRJ-F3-LocklandsUKHCToday we have an excerpt from Robert Jackson Bennett‘s third novel in his Founders series: Locklands. Published today by Jo Fletcher Books in the UK (who kindly provided the excerpt) and Del Rey in North America, first let’s check out the official synopsis:

Once, Sancia Grado was just a thief with a grudge and a rare talent. Then she learned how to use that talent, and beat the great merchant houses of Tevanne at their own game. With Clef and Berenice, she even saw off an immortal hierophant – but the war they’re fighting now is one they know they can’t win.

This time, they’re not facing robber-baron elites or an immortal hierophant, but an entity whose intelligence is spread over half the globe: a ghost in the machine using the magic of scriving to possess and control not just objects, but human minds.

Despite all their efforts their enemy marches on, implacable, unstoppable – and it’s closing in on its true prize: an ancient doorway that leads to the centre of creation itself.

Sancia and her friends glimpse a last desperate opportunity to stop this unbeatable foe – but to do so, they’ll have to unlock the centuries-old mystery of scriving’s origins and pull off the most daring heist they’ve ever attempted.

And as if that weren’t enough, their adversary might just have a spy in their ranks – and a last trick up its sleeve…

Now, on with the excerpt!

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Excerpt: IN THE HEART OF HIDDEN THINGS by Kit Whitfield (Jo Fletcher Books)

61kvHFmb0wLToday, we have an excerpt from Kit Whitfield‘s In the Heart of Hidden Things. The author has written a quick introduction to the excerpt, so I’ll leave it to them to set the scene. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

Everyone knows that if you fall afoul of the People, you must travel the miles to Gyrford, where uncounted generations of fairy-smiths have protected the county with cold iron, good counsel and unvarnished opinions about your common sense.

But shielding the weak from the strong can make enemies. Ephraim Brady has money and power, and the bitter will to hurt those who cross him. And if he can’t touch elder farrier Jedediah Smith, he can harm those the Smiths care about.

The Smiths care about Tobias Ware, born on a night when the blazing fey dog Black Hal roared past the Wares’ gate. Tobias doesn’t understand the language or laws of men, and he can’t keep away from the Bellame woods, where trespass is a hanging offence. If Toby is to survive, he needs protection.

It should be a manageable job. Jedediah Smith has a head on his shoulders, and so too (mostly) does his son Matthew. Only Matthew’s son John has turned out a little… uncommon. But he means well.

It wasn’t his fault the bramble bush put on a berry-head and started taking offence. Or that Tobias upset it. But John’s not yet learned that if you follow the things other folk don’t see, they might drag those you love into the path of ruin.

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Excerpt: DECEMBER ’41 by William Martin (Forge Books)

MartinW-December41USHCToday, we have an excerpt from December ’41, the new historical thriller from William Martin. Perhaps best known for his Peter Fallon mystery series (Back Bay, etc.), in his latest novel he turns his pen towards World War II and the hunt for an assassin hoping to turn the tide of the war. Really looking forward to reading this. Check out the synopsis:

A WWII thriller as intense as The Day of the Jackal and as gripping as The Eye of the Needle. In December ’41, Martin takes us on the ultimate manhunt, a desperate chase from Los Angeles to Washington, D. C., in the first weeks of the Second World War.

On the day after Pearl Harbor, shocked Americans gather around their radios to hear Franklin Roosevelt declare war. In Los Angeles, a German agent named Martin Browning is planning to kill FDR on the night he lights the National Christmas Tree. Who will stop him? Relentless FBI Agent Frank Carter? Kevin Cusack, a Hollywood script reader who also spies on the German Bund of Los Angeles, and becomes a suspect himself? Or Vivian Hopewell, the aspiring actress who signs on to play Martin Browning’s wife and cannot help but fall in love with him?

The clock is ticking. The tracks are laid. The train of narrow escapes, mistaken identities, and shocking deaths is right on schedule. It’s a thrilling ride that will sweep you from the back lots of Hollywood to the speeding Super Chief to that solemn Christmas Eve, when twenty thousand people gather on the South Lawn of the White House and the lives of Franklin Roosevelt and his surprise guest, Winston Churchill, hang in the balance.

Now, read on for an excerpt from the novel…

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Excerpt: THE EMPRESS AND THE ENGLISH DOCTOR by Lucy Ward (Oneworld Publications)

WardL-EmpressAndTheEnglishDoctorToday, we have an excerpt from The Empress and the English Doctor by Lucy Ward, an account of how Catherine the Great worked to combat the smallpox epidemic that was ravaging not only Russia but most of Europe. Here’s the synopsis:

A killer virus… an all-powerful Empress… an encounter cloaked in secrecy… the astonishing true story.

Within living memory, smallpox was a dreaded disease. Over human history it has killed untold millions. Back in the eighteenth century, as epidemics swept Europe, the first rumours emerged of an effective treatment: a mysterious method called inoculation.

But a key problem remained: convincing people to accept the preventative remedy, the forerunner of vaccination. Arguments raged over risks and benefits, and public resistance ran high. As smallpox ravaged her empire and threatened her court, Catherine the Great took the momentous decision to summon the Quaker physician Thomas Dimsdale to St Petersburg to carry out a secret mission that would transform both their lives. Lucy Ward expertly unveils the extraordinary story of Enlightenment ideals, female leadership and the fight to promote science over superstition.

On with the excerpt!

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