Interview with R.F. KUANG

KuangRF-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is R.F. Kuang?

Me! I just graduated from Georgetown with a degree in International History. Next year I’ll be studying Chinese history on a Marshall Scholarship at Cambridge. I love corgis a lot.

Your debut novel, The Poppy War, was recently published by Voyager. How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s like Avatar: The Last Airbender-meets-Ender’s Game, except the main character is Azula and everyone is on drugs. It’s the first of a trilogy. Continue reading

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Quick Review: SHINING CITY by Tom Rosenstiel (Ecco)

RosenstielT-1-ShiningCityUSPolitical intrigue and machinations surrounding a SCOTUS nomination. And a killer looking for revenge…

Peter Rena is a “fixer.” He and his partner, Randi Brooks, earn their living making the problems of the powerful disappear. They get their biggest job yet when the White House hires them to vet the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Judge Roland Madison is a legal giant, but he’s a political maverick, with views that might make the already tricky confirmation process even more difficult. Rena and his team go full-bore to cover every inch of the judge’s past, while the competing factions of Washington D.C. mobilize with frightening intensity: ambitious senators, garrulous journalists, and wily power players on both sides of the aisle.

All of that becomes background when a string of seemingly random killings overlaps with Rena’s investigation, with Judge Madison a possible target. Racing against the clock to keep his nominee safe, the President satisfied, and the political wolves at bay, Rena learns just how dangerous Washington’s obsession with power — how to get it and how to keep it — can be.

This is a very fine debut novel. It is the story of a judicial confirmation, the personal and political aspects of such a fight, colliding with a quest for vengeance. If you’re looking for an intelligent political drama, then Shining City is for you. One of my favourite reads of the year so far. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE MAN BETWEEN by Charles Cumming (Harper)

CummingC-ManBetweenUKThe cover for Charles Cumming‘s upcoming new novel has been unveiled! The Man Between is due to be published in June by Harper (UK). I’m a big fan of Cumming’s novels, and have read every one of his novels since 2009’s Typhoon. If you’re a fan of spy fiction, then you really need to read Cumming’s books. Here’s the synopsis for The Man Between, one of my most-anticipated novels of the year:

He risked it all to become a spy. Now he must pay the price.

One simple task for British Intelligence takes him into a world of danger.

Successful novelist Kit Carradine has grown restless. So when British Intelligence invite him to enter the secret world of espionage, he willingly takes a leap into the unknown.

But the glamour of being a spy is soon tainted by fear and betrayal, as Carradine finds himself in Morocco on the trail of Lara Bartok a mysterious fugitive with links to international terrorism.

Bartok is a leading figure in Resurrection, a violent revolutionary movement whose brutal attacks on prominent right-wing politicians have spread hatred and violence throughout the West.

As the coils of a ruthless plot tighten around him, Carradine finds himself drawn to Lara. Caught between competing intelligence services who want her dead, he soon faces an awful choice: to abandon Lara to her fate or to risk everything trying to save her.

No news of an American publisher at the time of writing, but some of his previous novels have been published by St. Martin’s Press.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “A Colder War”; Reviews of Typhoon, The Trinity Six, A Foreign Country and A Colder War

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review: THE FORCE by Don Winslow (Harper Collins/William Morrow)

WinslowD-TheForceUKPossibly the best thriller (or novel) of the year?

Everyone can be bought. At the right price…

Detective sergeant Denny Malone leads an elite unit to fight gangs, drugs and guns in New York. For eighteen years he’s been on the front lines, doing whatever it takes to survive in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean.

What only a few know is that Denny Malone himself is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash. Now he’s caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk a thin line of betrayal, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.

Don Winslow’s latest novel is a haunting story of greed and violence, inequality and race, and a searing portrait of a city on the edge of an abyss. Full of shocking twists, this is a morally complex and riveting dissection of the controversial issues confronting society today.

The Force is the first of Winslow’s novels that I’ve read. It will definitely not be the last. There was a lot of pre-publication buzz surrounding this novel, and I can certainly now see why: it’s superb. On almost every level, this novel is a triumph. Continue reading

Review: TROPIC OF KANSAS by Christopher Brown (Voyager)

brownc-tropicofkansasusA terrifyingly realistic dystopian novel

The United States of America is no more. Broken into warring territories, its center has become a wasteland DMZ known as “the Tropic of Kansas.” Though this gaping geographic hole has no clear boundaries, everyone knows it’s out there — that once-bountiful part of the heartland, broken by greed and exploitation, where neglect now breeds unrest. Two travelers appear in this arid American wilderness: Sig, the fugitive orphan of political dissidents, and his foster sister Tania, a government investigator whose search for Sig leads her into her own past — and towards an unexpected future.

Sig promised those he loves that he would make it to the revolutionary redoubt of occupied New Orleans. But first he must survive the wild edgelands of a barren mid-America policed by citizen militias and autonomous drones, where one wrong move can mean capture… or death. One step behind, undercover in the underground, is Tania. Her infiltration of clandestine networks made of old technology and new politics soon transforms her into the hunted one, and gives her a shot at being the agent of real change — if she is willing to give up the explosive government secrets she has sworn to protect.

As brother and sister traverse these vast and dangerous badlands, their paths will eventually intersect on the front lines of a revolution whose fuse they are about to light.

As the news is filled with stories of creeping fascism, an increase in the militarization of police forces, and a “fortress America” mentality settling in for those on the right (although, mostly, it’s anyone who voted for Donald Trump), this novel feels frighteningly realistic. It is also very good. Continue reading

Upcoming 2017… William Morrow

upcoming2017-williammorrow

Here’s a little more than a handful of highly-anticipated upcoming novels from William Morrow. I’m sure there will be more added as the year progresses, but these stood out for me at the time of writing.

Featuring: Christopher Farnsworth, Glen Erik Hamilton, Greg Iles, Sheena Kamal, Matt Richtel, Simon Toyne, Don Winslow

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Upcoming in 2017… Harper Voyager

upcoming2017-voyager

Tricky to find information about Voyager UK titles, unless they’re already established authors (Mark Lawrence, Richard Kadrey, etc.). So, this post features predominantly titles published in both North America and the UK.

Featuring: Christopher Brown, Becky Chambers, Nicky Drayden, Patrick Hemstreet, Richard Kadrey, Mark Lawrence, Wesley Snipes

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