Upcoming: ITHACA by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-IthacaI stumbled across this in an Edelweiss catalogue, and my interested was immediately grabbed: first by the cover, then realizing it was by Claire North, and then the synopsis. It’s another novel in the growing body of mythological figure retellings (a sub-genre that has become especially popular in the last year or two). North’s novels are fantastic: always different, packed with intriguing and interesting ideas and twists, and often surprising. Due to be published in September, here’s the synopsis for Ithaca:

This is the story of Penelope of Ithaca, famed wife of Odysseus, as it has never been told before. Beyond Ithaca’s shores, the whims of gods dictate the wars of men. But on the isle, it is the choices of the abandoned women — and their goddesses — that will change the course of the world.

Seventeen years ago, King Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them has returned, and the women of Ithaca have been left behind to run the kingdom.

Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. While he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that her husband is dead, and suitors are beginning to knock at her door.

No one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne — not yet. But everyone waits for the balance of power to tip, and Penelope knows that any choice she makes could plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning, wit, and her trusted circle of maids, can she maintain the tenuous peace needed for the kingdom to survive.

On Ithaca, everyone watches, including the gods. And there is no corner of the land where intrigue does not reign.

A daring, powerful, and moving tale that breathes new life into ancient myth, and tells of the women who stand defiant in a world ruled by ruthless men. It’s time for the women of Ithaca to tell their story…

I’m really looking forward to reading this. Ithaca is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, on September 6th.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

New Books (June-July)

NewBooks-20210707

Featuring: Charles Arthur, Anna Bailey, Mike Brooks, S. A. Cosby, Kate Elliott, Mirin Fader, Dan Fante, Alex Finlay, John Fletcher, Jeffrey Frank, Mike Gayle, J.T. Greenhouse, Ha Jin, Chris Hadfield, Cameron Johnston, Ward Larsen, Ben Mezrich, Alex Michaelides, Claire North, J.P. Oakes, K.J. Parker, Vince Passaro, Anna Pitoniak, Nita Prose, Catherine Steadman, Matt Sullivan, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Lavie Tidhar

Continue reading

Upcoming: NOTES FROM THE BURNING AGE by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-NotesFromTheBurningAgeA new novel from Claire North is always something to cheer. This year, Orbit are due to publish the author’s latest novel, Notes From the Burning Age, which is “a story set in an age after the world has burned, which explores whether humankind can change the paths we seem fated to follow”. The publisher unveiled the cover earlier today. Really looking forward to this. Check out the synopsis:

Once, we lived through the Burning Age — the time when we cared so little for the world that it went up in flames. It was a punishment. But it was also a gift, and centuries of peace followed.

Once, Ven was a holy man, studying texts from the ashes of the past, sorting secrets from heresies. But when he gets caught up in the political scheming of the Brotherhood, he finds himself in the middle of a war, fuelled by old knowledge and forbidden ambition.

There was a time when the world burned. Now, some want to set the fire again…

Claire North’s Notes From the Burning Age is due to be published by Orbit Books (July 6th) in North America and in the UK (July 8th).

Also on CR: Reviews of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry AugustTouchThe Gameshouse, The Sudden Appearance of Hope, and Sweet Harmony

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Very Quick Review: SWEET HARMONY by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-SweetHarmonyAn unnerving, sharply observed and altogether too plausible novella

Harmony is tired. Tired of working so hard, tired of the way she looks, tired of being average. But all that changes when she decides to splash out and upgrade her nanos.

And why not? Everyone’s doing it now. With a simple in-app purchase, you can update the tech in your bloodstream to transform yourself — get enhanced brain power, the perfect body or a dazzling smile.

Suddenly, everything starts going right for Harmony. She’s finally becoming the person she always wanted to be. But when she ends up running too many upgrades on her body all at once, the effects will be more catastrophic than she could have imagined.

A sharply observed, albeit depressing vision of the future that is all too plausible. Another very good novella from North, one of the best and most interesting authors writing today. Continue reading

New Books (August)

NewBooks-20200906

Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Luke Arnold, Hari Conner, Alan Davies, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Guy Haley, Clive Hamilton, Kristin Hannah, Essa Hansen, James Hibberd, Darius Hinks, Iris Johansen, Laura Lam, John Lanchester, Jessica J. Lee, Katie Lowe, Elizabeth May, Elizabeth McCracken, Claire North, Mareike Ohlberg, Kim Stanley Robinson, Simon Stephenson, Christina Sweeney-Baird, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Vendela Vida, K.S. Villoso, Dawnie Walton, Aliya Whiteley (x2)

Continue reading

Quick Review/Second Look: THE GAMESHOUSE by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-GameshouseNovella triptych released in single, fantastic volume

Everyone has heard of the Gameshouse. But few know all its secrets…

It is the place where fortunes can be made and lost through chess, backgammon — every game under the sun.

But those whom fortune favors may be invited to compete in the higher league… a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings. It is a league where Capture the Castle involves real castles, where hide and seek takes place on the scale of a continent.

Among those worthy of competing in the higher league, three unusually talented contestants play for the highest stakes of all…

I first read The Gameshouse when it was released as three novella eBooks: The Serpent, The Thief and The Master. I loved the story then, and it has stuck with me ever since. The release of the omnibus edition gave me an excuse to give it a second look. This is a really good story, and just more evidence of why Claire North is a must-read author. Continue reading

New Books (July-August)

NewBooks-20190808

Featuring: Jeffrey Archer, Jason Arnopp, Dan Bevacqua, Dan Carlin, Agatha Christie, S.C. Emmett, W.L. Goodwater, James Grippando, Dave Hutchinson, Sheena Kamal, Mary Robinette Kowal, Derek Künsken, Olivia Laing, Rachel Maddow, Kristyn Merbeth, Kim Newman, Claire North, Mike Pearl, Jason Pinter, Hannu Rajaniemi (ed.), Josh Reynolds, Susan Rice, Paul Richter, Matt Ruff, Kate Elizabeth Russell, Michael Rutger, Andrew Skinner, Tade Thompson, Jacob Weisman (ed.), Drew Williams, Steven Wright

Continue reading

New Books (April-May)

NewBooks-20190427

Truly, my cup shelves runneth over recently. Had a bit of an uptick in new review copies and also books bought (I have an impulse problem…). I think among this bonanza is something that should appeal to pretty much any fiction fan, so take a look!

Featuring: Lauren Acampora, Andrea Bartz, Michael Blumlein, Steph Cha (x2), Tom Chatfield, Martin Clark, Kate Davies, Lindsey Davis, Jeffery Deaver, Sebastien de Castell, Jennifer duBois, Greg Egan, Peter Fehervari, Jackson Ford, John French, Claudia Gray, Rachel Howzell Hall, Will Harris, Saad Z. Hossain, Keren Landsman, Mark Lawrence, Brian McClellan, Denise Mina, Michael Moreci, Peter Newman, Claire North, Megan O’Keefe, Suzanne Palmer, H.G. Parry, Gareth L. Powell, Tom Rosenstiel, Richard Russo, Anthony Ryan, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Tade Thompson, Jessica Yellin

Continue reading

New Books (February-March)

NewBooks-20180227

Featuring: Dan Abnett, Kevin J. Anderson, Melissa Caruso, John Connolly, Andrea Dunlop, Paul French, Ben Fritz, Paul Goldberg, Kristin Hannah, Jane Harper, Frank Herbert, Anthony Horowitz, Sarah A. Hoyt, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Lucas Mann, Stephen Markley, Ian McDonald, S.J. Morden, Claire North, Melissa F. Olson, Jo Piazza, Michael Redhill, Joe Mungo Reed, K.R. Richardson, Gav Thorpe, Corey J. White

Continue reading

Upcoming: 84K by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-84KUSA new Claire North book is always something to cheer. The only problem is that we have to wait until next year… 84K, the author’s fifth novel, sounds fantastic:

What if your life were defined by a number?

What if any crime could be committed without punishment, so long as you could afford to pay the fee assigned to that crime?

Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.

But when Theo’s ex-lover Dani is killed, it’s different. This is one death he can’t let become merely an entry on a balance sheet.

Because when the richest in the world are getting away with murder, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up.

84K is due to be published by Orbit Books in the UK and US, in May 2018.

Also on CR: Reviews of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry AugustTouch, the Gamehouse TrilogyThe Sudden Appearance of Hope

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter