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City of Fortune
Bookended by the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the division of the Byzantine Empire in 1204, and the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499-1503, Robert Crowley's history of Venice unpacks the three centuries in between, during which a city of "lagoon dwellers" was the center of the world. There's something for everyone: pitched sea battles, court intrigue, the first stirrings of the Renaissance, and the seeds of a global economy.
When his son is accused of murdering a fellow student, assistant district attorney Andy Barber's life is upended. His own personal trial -- as his marriage crumbles and long-buried secrets come to light -- runs parallel to his son's, and Andy must confront his own demons while fighting for his child's life. The author, a former DA himself, has concocted an explosive combination of courtroom drama with the story of a father's journey.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy
This modern reworking of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre finds a young woman determined to overcome her troubled childhood (orphaned at 10, raised by a cruel aunt, subjected to boarding school misery). When she accepts a position as an au pair on Scotland's remote Orkney Islands, her real adventure begins. In the spirit of Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres, this novel takes a classic work and makes it wonderfully new.
Byatt, author of the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Possession, here reimagines the coda of Norse mythology, a story of the destruction of earth and the end of the gods themselves. Told through the experiences of young British girl during WWII who is sent to the countryside to escape the Blitz, this book weaves memoir and mythology together and struggles to make sense of a world in the midst of catastrophic change. One in Canongate's series of updated myths.
Ayad Akhtar's moving debut novel draws readers into this story of a young Muslim-American boy whose life is upended when his mother's best friend from Pakistan comes to live with his family. Addressing deep questions of love and faith, morality and identity, Akhtar has created a family in this coming-of-age saga that feels as real as any we know.
Not every success story begins with an outgoing personality. Showcasing the accomplishments of successful introverts, from Vincent van Gogh to Abraham Lincoln, and examining the unheralded advantages of introversion, Susan Cain dispels misconceptions about those who prefer solitude to socializing, listening to lecturing. She also offers helpful tips for parents raising a shy child and recluses struggling to shine in the workplace.
The World We Found
When Indian-American Armaiti discovers she has a brain tumor, she invites her old university friends, whom she hasn't seen in years, to visit her before she dies -- but soon discovers that some of them are in much greater need of consolation. Thrity Umrigar's latest is a gorgeous meditation on friendship and mortality that reaches across two worlds.
Patrick Melrose's mother, an heiress who has given away most of her fortune, lies dying as relatives, friends, moochers, and admirers trickle in to pay their respects. Patrick begins to realize that maybe her death won't free him from the constraints of the past the way he'd hoped it would. The perfect final chapter to St. Aubyn's trilogy about the troubled Melrose family -- poignant and piquant, morbid and madcap.
Running the Rift
Jean Patrick Nkuba loves to run and dreams of being Rwanda's first Olympic gold medalist in track and field. But when ethnic tensions between Hutus and Tutsis erupt into genocide, he is forced to flee his family and the country he loves. Getting back to both will be the endurance event of his life. Like Dave Eggers' What Is the What, Benaron's novel uses the backdrop of civil conflict to frame a story of perseverance and hope in the face of adversity.
Elizabeth the Queen
Crowned in 1952, Elizabeth II has reigned for almost sixty years. Yet the veil of decorum that has remained over her throughout has left her personal life largely a mystery. Now, renowned biographer Sally Bedell Smith searches for the real Queen Elizabeth, the girl suddenly made heiress by her uncle's abdication, the young woman who stood with Churchill during V-E Day, the monarch who has outlasted twelve prime ministers. Mining extensive interviews and never-before-seen documents, Smith captures a figure of remarkable strength, integrity, and resolve.
The Silent Oligarch
Deep within the Russian bureaucracy, a man named Konstantin Malin controls half of the nation's petroleum resources. He is powerful and feared. But an investigator at a London corporate intelligence firm is determined to bring him down and sees an opportunity in the man who launders Malin's money. This is international intrigue at its best, wildly prescient in its treatment of issues surrounding energy security and global finance. A must-read for lovers of John le Carré and Daniel Silva.
The Lives of Margaret Fuller
Biographer John Matteson won the Pulitzer Prize for 2008's Eden's Outcasts. Now he returns with a portrait of the leading female figure in the transcendentalist movement. Margaret Fuller led a life worthy of a novel: Muse to Emerson and Hawthorne, wife of an Italian nobleman, foreign correspondent for the New York Tribune, she pioneered the cause of gender equality and died under tragic circumstances. Matteson brings this multifaceted woman to life in vivid detail.
The Flame Alphabet
In a novel of staggering ambition and imagination, Ben Marcus envisions a world where the voices of children have become lethal to adults. One couple, Sam and Claire, must wrestle with whether or not to abandon the daughter they still love even as she kills them with her toxic speech. Though the metaphors are grand and potentially weighty, Marcus employs a delicate touch that forces readers to confront the question: What is left when we can't communicate with the people we love?
When her band, Sliced Ham, imploded after the death of her lover and fellow musician, Garbagio, Mary Saint turned her back on music. Forever, she thought. But when she's invited to play a concert at her old school, Mary discovers that maybe she still wants to perform after all. Filled with sly winks at the music industry from an insider's perspective, the debut novel from the singer and actress Suzzy Roche will have you cheering -- and laughing -- for her embattled heroine.
Paula Broadwell, a military veteran and counterinsurgency expert, has written the authoritative biography on the most prominent, transformative American military leader in recent history, General David Petraeus. Insightful and impressively researched (Broadwell was embedded with the general on Afghanistan's front lines), the book captures the essence of a man whose intelligence, loyalty, and bravery have made him a national hero.
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