A tale of high adventure and derring-do set in the same Victorian-style world as the acclaimed The Court of the Air and The Rise of the Iron Moon. The isolated island of Jago is the only place Hannah Conquest has ever known as home. Encircled by the magma ocean of the Fire Sea, it was once the last bastion of freedom when the world struggled under the tyranny of the Chimecan Empire during the age-long winter of the cold-time. But now this once-shining jewel of civilization faces an uncertain future as its inhabitants emigrate to greener climes, leaving the basalt plains and raging steam storms far behind them. For Hannah and her few friends, the streets of the island's last occupied underground city form a vast, near-deserted playground. But Hannah's carefree existence comes to an abrupt halt when her guardian, Archbishop Alice Gray, is brutally murdered in her own cathedral. Someone desperately wants to suppress a secret kept by the archbishop, and if the attempts on Hannah's own life are any indication, the killer believes that Alice passed the knowledge of it onto her ward before her saintly head was separated from her neck. But it soon becomes clear that there is more at stake than the life of one orphan. A deadly power struggle is brewing on Jago, involving rival factions in the senate and the island's most powerful trading partner. And it's beginning to look as if the deaths of Hannah's archaeologist parents shortly after her birth were very far from accidental. Soon the race is on for Hannah and her friends to unravel a chain of hidden riddles and follow them back to their source to save not just her own life, but her island home itself.
Mason, Zachary. Lost Books of the Odyssey ($26) Signed
Starred Review PW, "Mason's fantastic first novel, a deft reimagining of Homer's Odyssey, begins with the story as we know it before altering the perspective or fate of the characters in subsequent short story–like chapters. Legendary moments of myth are played differently throughout, as when Odysseus forgoes the Trojan horse, or when the Cyclops—here a gentle farmer—is blinded by Odysseus while he burgles the Cyclops's cave. Mason's other life—as a computer scientist—informs some chapters, such as The Long Way Back in which Daedalus's labyrinth ensnares Theseus in a much different way. Part of what makes this so enjoyable is the firm grasp Mason has on the source material; the footnotes double as humorous asides while reminding readers who aren't familiar with the original that, for instance, Eumaios is the swineherd who sheltered Odysseus when he first returned to Ithaca and later helped him kill the suitors. This original work consistently surprises and delights."
Pepper, Andrew. The Detective Branch ($43) Signed
Drury Lane, 1844. A robbery has been committed at a pawnbroker's, leaving three people dead. The man called in to investigate is Pyke, head of the Metropolitan Police's newly formed Detective Branch at Scotland Yard.Pyke must find the culprit and quickly, especially as the identity of one of the victims threatens to expose his own criminal past. A valuable religious artefact appears to have motivated the robbery but when the main suspect commits suicide in police custody, the investigation falters. Then the rector of a wealthy parish is brutally murdered and Pyke spots a connection. His suspicions lead him to a dissolute former Catholic priest, rumours of devil worship, and an old case that no one wants him to investigate. With time running out and the murderer threatening to kill again, Pyke must face up to forces within the police and the church who would prefer the secrets of the past to remain buried forever.
Tyler, Anne. Noah's Compass ($26) Signed tippened
Starred Review PW, " Like Tyler's previous protagonists, Liam Pennywell is a man of unexceptional talents, plain demeanor, modest means and curtailed ambition. At age 60, he's been fired from his teaching job at a second-rate private boys' school in Baltimore, a job below his academic training and original expectations. An unsentimental, noncontemplative survivor of two failed marriages and the emotionally detached father of three grown daughters, Liam is jolted into alarm after he's attacked in his apartment and loses all memory of the experience. His search to recover those lost hours leads him into an uneasy exploration of his disappointing life and into an unlikely new relationship with Eunice, a socially inept walking fashion disaster who is half his age. She is also spontaneous and enthusiastic, and Liam longs to cast off his inertia and embrace the joyous recklessness that he feels in her company. Tyler's gift is to make the reader empathize with this flawed but decent man, and to marvel at how this determinedly low-key, plainspoken novelist achieves miracles of insight and understanding."