Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tempting Titles: Fresh Fiction - August


New England White by Stephen L. Carter

Starred Review. Too many rabbits are pulled from too many hats in this otherwise excellent novel, but Carter (The Emperor of Ocean Park) makes up for it with muscular narration, appealing characters, and a keen awareness of how ancestry, position, and skin color shape reactions to events. Lemaster Carlyle, the black president of an elite New England university, and his wife, Julia, the divinity school dean, discover the body of a professor who was once Julia's lover. Who killed him, and why? Fearful that the killing is connected to her daughter's increasing emotional instability and that her husband might be involved, Julia struggles to protect her entire family while doggedly pursuing the truth, even if the cost is her peace of mind. The issue of race keeps cropping up in this intriguing novel, as seen through the perspective of this country's thin black upper crust, whose members have reason to suspect the intentions of "the paler nation." Carter's sensitivity to social nuance, especially the delicate negotiations of place and status among members of the country's grievously small black elite, is exceptional. Difficult to put down and highly recommended for general collections. (Library Journal Review - David Keymer, Modesto, CA)


Enquiry agents Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn (The Limehouse Text) are hired to find a 12-year-old girl who has gone missing from the Charity Organization, a shelter for abused women and children. Bethnal Green, where the child vanished, is as squalid an area of Victorian London as those other notorious urban districts, Limehouse and Whitechapel. Whether the child was stolen by white slavers or by a serial killer is unknown, but soon her body is discovered. Combining Barker's keen intelligence with Llewelyn's street savvy, the investigators are hot on the trail. Thomas knows his Victorian London and his way around the makings of a great mystery. Fans of Victorian historicals will snap this up. (Library Journal Review)


Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell

Set in the same far-future universe as Crystal Rain (2006), in which the ruling alien Satrapy has confined humanity to the fringes of a confederation of worlds linked by wormholes, Buckell's second SF novel provides plenty of gun play and close calls for his heroes. The Satraps now seek the all-out destruction of the Raga, descendants of an Earth island culture. A young Raga woman, Nashara, attempts to evade capture from a determined pursuer, just as the wormhole to her home, Nanagada, mysteriously reopens. Meanwhile, the aliens who control Nanagada struggle for power, Teotl against Loa, while humans play them against each other, hoping to break their iron control. As the political situation destabilizes, Nashara and her friends appear, and total war for the right of humanity to live free becomes inevitable. Buckell plays with Caribbean and Aztec cultures, bending their exotic flavor to technology-flavored ends. Though the ending is never in doubt, the twisty ride getting there is a lot of fun. (June) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Tobias Buckell said...

Thank you so much for the featuring of Ragamuffin, what a pleasant surprise.

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