Patrick Culhane Red Sky in Morning
It's 1943, World War II is well under way, and Ensign Peter Maxwell is enjoying easy days in San Diego as base choir director and warm nights with his new bride, Kay. But there's a war out there waiting to be fought, and Pete wants to be part of it.
When a request comes up for officers on an ammo ship (prophetically named after Pete's Iowa hometown, Liberty Hill), newly promoted Lieutenant Maxwell and the rest of his vocal quartet, the Fantail Four, volunteer. The duty they pull is dangerous even for wartime: the young officers find themselves in charge of a ship of largely untrained African American sailors who hail from big-city ghettoes, Dixie farms, and all ports in between.
As the racially tense Liberty Hill Victory pulls into San Francisco's Port Chicago, the crew witnesses a horrific explosion that paints the sky red. In the wake of a mutiny by the port's surviving black sailors, protesting unsafe conditions, the Liberty Hill must step in to load ammo. This difficult task is made nearly impossible for the Fantail Four by a racist captain who would love to see the "colored" crew and his "college boy" officers fail. But when Lieutenant Maxwell finds an ally in seaman "Sarge" Washington, a former cop from the Black Belt of Chicago, the deadly job gets done, if not without incident. . . .
They then sail into two violent storms—a literal typhoon that could put them on the ocean's floor if their cargo doesn't blow them to hell and gone first, and a figurative one when a white officer is found brutally murdered in Shaft Alley, the very bottom of the ship where the drive shaft turns the propeller. And in the midst of a vast ocean and a wider war, a farm boy from Iowa and a tough cop from the ghetto must combine forces to stop a vengeful murderer who threatens to ignite their floating powder keg.
David Ebershoff The 19th Wife
It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.
Soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death.
And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love and faith.
Heather Terrell The Map Thief
Beijing, China, 1421: It is a momentous time for the Ming Dynasty. Honoring the completion of the Forbidden City, a fleet of unprecedented size sets sail under Admiral Zheng He. Zheng’s mission is to chart the globe, trading for riches and bringing glory to China’s emperor. Among the crew is the talented cartographer and navigator Ma Zhi, whose work will lead to the first true map of the world–but whose accomplishment will vanish when the fleet returns to a very different China than the one it left.
Lisbon, Portugal, 1496: At the height of Portugal’s maritime domination during the Age of Discovery, the legendary explorer Vasco da Gama embarks on a quest to find a sea route to India. On board is navigator Antonio Coehlo, who guards Portugal’s most secret treasure: a map that already shows the way.
New York, present day: Mara Coyne’s new client has left her uneasy. Republican kingmaker Richard Tobias has hired her, he says, because of her skill in recovering stolen art and advocating for the rightful owners, but Mara senses that he is not telling her everything. Tobias reveals that a centuries-old map was stolen from an archaeological dig he is sponsoring in China, and he wants her to get it back. But as Mara begins her investigation, she uncovers the shocking truth: The map is more valuable than anyone has ever imagined, and her client’s motives are more sinister than she suspected.
Weaving rich historical detail and astounding fact into a fast-paced suspense-fiction ride, The Map Thief is an incredible entrée to the murky underworld of stolen artifacts and the thieves and traders who broker them. From Hong Kong to the Italian countryside, from Lisbon to the remote reaches of Communist China, and literally around the world on the ships of fifteenth-century explorers, Heather Terrell takes readers on a globe-trotting adventure of epic proportions