April 28, 2006
Isabella D’este, daughter of the Duke of Ferrara and born into a life of luxury and art in Renaissance Italy. She’s beautiful and she loves art, so nothing would make her happier than to sit for the court’s painter, Leonardo Di Vinci. Of course, matters become complicated when her younger, less attractive sister Beatrice becomes the intended to Ludovico Sforza, the future Duke of Milan, the only man who can help Isabella achieve what she believes is to be her destiny. Despite being married to a man she loves, Isabella will do anything to get what she wants, even if it means besting her sister to tempt Ludovico and get to be the muse to one of the greatest painters in the world. However, with Ludovico’s nefarious plans to conquer Europe begin to fail and Isabella’s ambitions are the least of her worries, the sisters are forced to choose between family loyalty and survival in an increasingly perilous political environment.
April 26, 2006
When Hell’s Kitchen-born Private Investigator Fritz Malone witnesses an assassination on Thanksgiving and tries to chase down the killer, he never thought that his act of humanitarianism would lead him into a nightmare of complications. He gets hustled to the police station where he is informed by the new police commissioner that someone named “Nightmare” has been threatening New York City’s leaders for weeks with attacks on the citizenry, with eyes and ears everywhere, unless the city’s officials meet his tall demands. The need for secrecy is high — even the rest NYPD isn’t involved — so an outside guy is needed, which the new police commissioner sees in Malone. Racing against time, Malone uncovers the frustration of a killer who wears many masks, an investigation that takes him all over New York City, and gruesome secrets that emerge from both sides of the law.
Read a review of Speak of the Devil here.
April 12, 2006
Two men: one was destined to create England’s greatest detective, the other was to suffer misfortune and become a victim of racial injustice. Julian Barnes weaves a luscious historical fiction novel about the 1906 even that had Sir Arthur Conan Doyle come to the aid of George Edalji and defend him from false accusations of mutilating animals and writing obscene, threatening letters to his family. Barnes examines each man’s life with almost clinical precision, finally detailing the time when their paths, having come from two very different directions, finally crossed — all with restrained irony and fascinating prose. Arthur and George is an excellent examination of early 20th century English society and a fascinating character study of one of England’s most beloved authors.
April 11, 2006
In Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Emilia Greenleaf’s life is full of mixed blessings. She’s a Harvard Law School-grad who manages to land a job at a prestigious firm and marry her soul mate, Jack. However, in order to do it, she had to break up Jack’s marriage to Carolyn and become stepmother to Jack and Carolyn’s five-year-old precocious son William every Wednesday afternoon. Carolyn’s obsessive and disparaging remarks on Emilia’s job of stepmotherhood are barely manageable, but things come to a head when William pointedly asks Emilia why she doesn’t sell the old baby things of her 2-day old daughter Isabel who died from SIDS. Can Emilia learn to overcome her grief for her lost child, heal the rift in her marriage, and finally bond with her husband’s son? Author Ayelet Waldman weaves an entertaining and oftentimes humorous tale that hits at the heart of true emotion.
Read The Guardian book review here.
April 10, 2006
The Father of Horror is back with his latest novel Cell, in which the end of the world comes about not through nuclear bombs or stray viruses, but rather through something called the Pulse, an electronic signal that is sent through all cell phones into whomever is using their cell phone at the time and turning them into mindless, blood thirsty zombies. Those lucky to escape the occurence are now left to suffer the aftereffects: planes falling from the sky, cars crashing, and, naturally, gangs of roving zombies hungry for human flesh. The so-called “normies” retreat to the grounds of Gaiten Academy, where the headmaster and his one remaining student may just have the secret weapon to combat this terror and save the rest of humanity.
April 9, 2006
Author Sarah Dunant’s sophomore novel finds her once again lavishly delving into lush Italian historical fiction, this time centering her story on Fiammetta Biachini, Rome’s most celebrated courtesan, and her clever, loyal dwarf servant Bucino Teodoldo as they barely escape the 1527 sacking of Rome by German and Spanish soldiers to Venice. Now destitute, Fiametta and Bucino begin to rebuild their lives and reclaim their former glory with the help of La Drega, a mysterious blind woman with strange powers who may or may not mean Fiammetta ill will. The Italian Renaissance, from its art and religion to its politics and daily life, is detailed and portrayed beautifully by Durant’s clearly expert hand.
April 7, 2006
We might have all figured out that large, bloodless corporations like Wal-Mart are hardly the feel-good fuzzy puppies and kittens their television commercials would have us believe, but in Anthony Bianco’s The Bully of Bentonville he gives us the damning reasons why. Bianco outlines how Wal-Mart, one of the largest companies in the world, and its policies have driven down retail wages and health care benefits for employees worldwide while forcing outsourcing work and American jobs being sent overseas, killed off local businesses across the nation, and controlled what consumers read, watch, and listen to in their very own homes with its stringent bans on “racy” material and santized versions of popular CDs and DVDs. These aren’t just accusations, they’re backed up by real interviews with real Wal-Mart employees, managers, executives, suppliers, customers, and competitors. It’s time to bring the truth of Wal-Mart into focus.
April 5, 2006
After surviving attempts on his life in The Protege’s predecessor, The Chairman, Christian Gillete has risen in the corporate world to become Chairman of Everest Capital, a wildly successful company on the brink of taking over an ex-rival’s sinking ship and buying the NFL’s newest team, the Las Vegas Twenty-One’s. Only, disaster is starting to loom with Gillete’s young protege, David Wright, a man with a few skeletons in his closet, government spies wanting him to become involved in secret nanotechnology, and the mafia wanting to infiltrate his NFL franchise. To make matters worse, the events surrounding Christian’s father’s death in a plane crash 16 years ago are unclear. It’s a crowded plot, by author Stephen Frey holds The Protege together with deft skill and readers will be drawn in until the very last action-packed page.
Read a review of this book here.
April 1, 2006
In his debut effort, Tom Gabbay proves he has the espionage thriller chops with his novel The Berlin Conspiracy, centered around President John F. Kennedy’s historic visit to Berlin in 1963. Jack Teller is a former CIA operative who retired to a quiet South Florida community after the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco. However, how much can a CIA agent, even a former one, really stay away? For Teller, the answer is “not very long,” when his former mentor and boss Sam Clay informs him of a high-ranking East German officer with important information who will only speak to Teller. With no choice but to go, Jack goes to Berlin and stumbles across a nefarious plot to assassinate the president, and worse still, it originated within the US Governement.