Book Releases I Am Looking Forward To Reading – Nov/Dec 2020
Hello everyone! It has been a while since I did one of these posts. As the release schedule for books is a bit shaky I thought I would combine two months to make sure I can get as many books in as I can. Also as a time saving measure I haven’t organised them properly by the date the book is released. I know that is out of order (pun unintended but super appreciated) but I hope you’ll forgive me by sharing so much bookish goodness in return. There are fifteen books here coming about between November and December at it looks like 2020 is finishing strong, in the book department at least! Enjoy the list and please let me know if any of these books are either on your radar or you’ve already read them.
Published by: Gollancz
Synopsis: War takes everything.
From Tinnstra, it took her family and thrust her into a conflict she wanted only to avoid. Now her queen’s sole protector, she must give all she has left to keep Zorique safe.
It has taken just as much from Jia’s revolutionaries. Dren and Jax – battered, tortured, once enemies themselves – must hold strong against their bruised invaders, the Egril.
For the Egril intend to wipe Jia from the map. They may have lost a battle, but they are coming back.
If Tinnstra and her allies hope to survive, Jia’s heroes will need to be ready when they do.
The sequel to the darkly fantastic WE ARE THE DEAD: with more unflinching action, A FOOL’S HOPE sees Jia’s revolutionaries dig in their heels as they learn that wars aren’t won in a day.
My Thoughts: We Are The Dead was such a fierce and exciting start to a new fantasy series and I’m excited for the next instalment. I like where all the characters were left and I am really eager to find out where they going. Mike Shackle has a really brutal yet endearing way with his characters. This series has so much potential and I hope the momentum is still there.
Published by: Bodley Head
Synopsis: What would happen if you fell into a black hole?
Black holes are the most extraordinary phenomenon in the universe, but they are a riddle that confounds our intuitions.
Anything that enters them can never escape, and yet they contain nothing at all. They are bigger on the inside than the outside suggests. They are dark on the outside but not on the inside. They invert time into space and space into time.
Black holes are found throughout the universe. They can be microscopic. They can be billions of times larger than our sun. Our solar system is currently orbiting a black hole 26,000 light years away at a speed of 200 km per second.
In Black Hole Survival Guide physicist and novelist Janna Levin takes you on a journey into a black hole, explaining what would happen to you in there and why. In the process you’ll come to see how their mysteries contain answers to some of the most profound questions ever asked about the nature of our universe.
My Thoughts: I love physics books. Black Hole Survival Guide sounds awesome. Easy pick for non-fiction November!
Published by: Viking
Synopsis: The untold story of Britain’s most mysterious mountaineering legend – Maurice Wilson – and his heroic attempt to climb Everest. Alone.
In the 1930s, as official government expeditions set their sights on conquering Everest, a little-known World War I veteran named Maurice Wilson conceived his own crazy, beautiful plan: he would fly a Gipsy Moth aeroplane from England to Everest, crash land on its lower slopes, then become the first person to reach its summit – all utterly alone.
Wilson didn’t know how to climb. He barely knew how to fly. But he had pluck, daring and a vision – he wanted to be the first man to stand on top of the world. Traumatised by his wartime experiences and leaving behind a trail of broken hearts, Wilson believed that Everest could redeem him.
This is the tale of an adventurer unlike any you have ever encountered: an unforgettable story about the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Maurice Wilson is a man written out of the history books – dismissed as an eccentric and a charlatan by many, but held in the highest regard by renowned mountaineers such as Reinhold Messner. The Moth and the Mountain restores him to his rightful place in the annals of Everest and in doing so attempts to answer that perennial question – why do we climb mountains?
My Thoughts: I find Everest, and other perilous climbs, so fascinating and I have no idea where it came from. I wasn’t raised to love climbing of any sort but here we are. I have never heard of Maurice Wilson and I am intrigued about his story. The Moth and the Mountain sound truly epic and I think it’s going to be easy for me to get lost within these pages.
Published by: Canongate
Synopsis: Ordesa – a small Spanish town in the Pyrenees – is where our narrator was born, a place his father loved dearly, a place suffused with memories. Now, forty-six years later, he returns to the valley with his own children on a summer vacation. His parents are dead, his marriage has ended and he’s struggling to piece together the bits of himself.
Single and living in an apartment he hates, clinging to snatched moments of quality time with his apathetic children, newly sober and with his career on the wane, the ghosts of the narrator’s family besiege him, but also bring him hope. Out of despair, he writes this chronicle, this homage, this memoir of his family: grandparents whose photos were never taken, whose funerals were never attended, parents unable to show their love. Maybe the tragedy of life itself is not death, but truly realising the importance of family only once they’ve passed. Perhaps this trip to Ordesa can help him fall in love with life – his life – once more.
A masterwork of autofiction from Spanish literary icon Manuel Vilas, Ordesa is a deeply moving meditation on identity, nationality, family, loss and the passing of time.
My Thoughts: Ordesa wasn’t even a blip on my radar but I stumbled across it and I was immediately fascinated by the story. I don’t read enough international fiction and Ordesa seems like a beautiful opportunity to do so.
Published by: Titan Books
Synopsis: A CURSED LEGACY
The last Lord Thorpe, reclusive owner of Thorpe Manor, has died. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are invited to the auction at which the estate will be sold off, in hopes Holmes can uncover the whereabouts of the missing De Trop Diamond, a jewel-encrusted gemstone brought back from the Crusades by an earlier member of the Thorpe dynasty – and the source of a legendary curse.
Making the acquaintance of the various potential bidders for the Manor, and visiting the nearby village, the two men uncover the details of the curse from the local publican, before exploring the grounds of the Manor itself.
All seems well until one of the guests is found dead.
Trapped in the Manor by a ferocious snow storm, and cut off from his network of London assistants, Holmes must convince the remaining guests that the curse is not real, and that there is a murderer in their midst…
My Thoughts: Anyone who regularly reads this blog you’ll know I do enjoy a good Sherlock novel. Stuart Douglas wrote the Counterfeit Detective which is one of my favourite Sherlock stories of all time. So I’ll happily go in for another!
Published by: Gollancz
Synopsis: The year is 2069, and the earth is in flux. Whole nations are being wiped off the map by climate change. Desperate for new resources, the space race has exploded back into life.
Corporations seek ever greater profits off-world. They offer immense rewards to anyone who can claim space’s resources in their name. The bounty on a single asteroid rivals the GDP of entire countries, so every trick, legal or not, is used to win.
Jack, the scion of a shipping magnate, is desperate to escape earth and joins a team chasing down an asteroid. But the ship he’s on is full of desperate people – each one needing the riches claiming the asteroid will bring them, and they’re willing to do anything if it means getting there first.
Because in Space, there are no prizes for coming second. It’s all or nothing: riches beyond measure, or dying alone in the dark.
My Thoughts: Simon Morden is one of my SF heroes. His many excellent book collections have made me a fan for life. SJM’s SF and Fantasy works are addictive, vivid and captivating, especially the Down Station and Petrovitch books. I’d hoped this was a follow-up to No Way and Frank’s nail-biting story but it looks to be the start of a new series. I am on board!
Published by: Orbit
Synopsis: Desperate to delay an impending attack by the indigenous people of Xidda, Tau and his queen craft a dangerous plan. If Tau succeeds, the queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all-out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the ‘true’ Queen of the Omehi.
If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne and reunite her people, then the Omehi might have a chance to survive the coming onslaught.
THE FIRES OF VENGEANCE CONTINUES THE UNMISSABLE EPIC FANTASY SERIES THAT BEGAN WITH EVAN WINTER’S ACCLAIMED DEBUT THE RAGE OF DRAGONS
My Thoughts: Bit Of A Disclaimer: I haven’t read The Rage Of Dragons yet. I want to! I want to read this too. I heard Evan Winter’s writing is pretty amazing and a decent dragon story is always worth its weight in gold.
Published by: Orbit
Synopsis: A brilliantly imagined saga of honour, glory and warfare, Call of the Bone Ships is the captivating epic fantasy sequel to RJ Barker’s The Bone Ships.
Dragons have returned to the Hundred Isles. But their return heralds only war and destruction. When a horde of dying slaves are discovered in the bowels of a ship, Shipwife Meas and the crew of the Tide Child find themselves drawn into a vicious plot that will leave them questioning their loyalties and fighting for their lives.
My Thoughts: Another series I haven’t gotten to yet but really want to. RJ Barker’s work sounds so cool and he comes highly recommended in the book community. I need to get my head back in the fantasy game.
Published by: Constable
Synopsis: Buddhism, love, art and murder – welcome to the world of the Mindful Detective . . .
When Ethan Flynn, charismatic vocalist of supergroup Stigma, is electrocuted by his own guitar in front of 175,000 witnesses on the Pyramid stage at the Glastonbury Festival, suspicion falls on his tyrannical twin, Tyrone.
Leading the murder investigation is Buddhist detective, Vincent Caine, and his partner, DI Shanti Joyce. To Shanti’s consternation the pair have become known as ‘the go-to team for weird stuff in the West Country’ and few crimes come weirder than this. Amidst the pulsating beats of the festival, the unlikely duo struggle to untangle the wildly conflicting statements of minders, lovers, drug-fuelled roadies, and dodgy divas.
Against the mystical backdrop of Glastonbury Tor and the tiny Somerset village of Kilton, the terrifying trail leads Shanti and Caine from clairvoyant Tarot readings to the cryptic lyrics of a lost song, cunningly concealed by the tragic superstar.
Can the unlikely mix of Shanti’s down-to-earth pragmatism and Caine’s intuitive sleuthing skills solve this most singular of murders? Is the future of the world’s greatest festival in peril? And what happens when two consummate professionals are forced to share a tent in the steamy heat of summer?
My Thoughts: I haven’t read any of Laurence Anholt’s works before, I just liked the sound of the Mindful Detective. And who could pass up a murder mystery at Glastonbury festival? Not me!
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Synopsis: 1912. Released from the Secret Service, Wiggins sets out for New York and his lost lover Bela. But after an altercation on board, he finds himself among the low-life of Britain’s poorest city, Dublin.
Wiggins falls in with gangster Patrick O’Connell and is soon driving the boss’s girlfriend around town. Molly wants O’Connell to support her Irish nationalist cause – a cause needing guns to defeat the British – and then they go to find them in America.
Finally, Wiggins can solve the mystery of Bela – and meet his old mentor, Sherlock Holmes in a story of escalating intrigue, danger and violence.
My Thoughts: I try to at least occasionally catch the Sherlock adjacent novels that pop up here and there as some of them are fantastic. The Year Of The Gun seems like it has potential. If anything I think the aesthetic of the time period and a good old-fashioned caper will be good enough for me.
Published by: Century
Synopsis: AN UNEXPECTED QUEST. TWO WORLDS AT STAKE. ARE YOU READY?
Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything.
Hidden within Halliday’s vaults, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous – and addictive – than even Wade dreamed possible.
With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest – a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize.
And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who’ll kill millions to get what he wants.
Wade’s life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.
Lovingly nostalgic and wildly original as only Ernest Cline could conceive it, Ready Player Two takes us on another imaginative, fun, action-packed adventure through his beloved virtual universe, and jolts us thrillingly into the future once again.
My Thoughts: If you missed it, I did a whole post on Ready Player Two. I am so ready for this novel. I haven’t had this rush of anticipation for a book in a long time. It better be awesome. I hope it is.
Published by: Viking
Synopsis: Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.
But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.
Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren’t always what they seem, and trouble can come calling at his door.
Our greatest living mystery writer weaves a masterful tale of breath-taking beauty and suspense, asking how we decide what’s right and wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we risk if we fail.
My Thoughts: It was the cover art that initially fuelled my interest in The Searcher. Plus I love small town mystery novels. And I don’t think I’ve read one set in Ireland before. The Searcher has a lot going for it and I want to know more!
Published by: Michael Joseph
Released: 29/10/20 (I’m aware Oct is neither Nov and/or Dec but it’s Fry)
Synopsis: The story of Troy speaks to all of us.
It is the kidnapping of Helen, a queen celebrated for her beauty, which sees the Greeks launch a thousand ships against that great city, to which they will lay siege for ten whole and very bloody years.
It is Zeus, the king of the gods, who triggers war when he asks the Trojan prince Paris to judge the fairest goddess of them all. Aphrodite bribes Paris with the heart of Helen, wife of King Menelaus of the Greeks, and nature takes its course.
It is a terrible, brutal war with casualties on all sides. The Greeks cannot defeat the Trojans – since Achilles, the Greek’s boldest warrior, is consumed with jealousy over an ally’s choice of lover and will not fight . . .
The stage is set for the oldest and greatest story ever told, where monstrous passions meet the highest ideals and the lowest cunning.
In Troy you will find heroism and hatred, revenge and regret, desire and despair. It is these human passions, written bloodily in the sands of a distant shore, that still speak to us today.
Troy is a myth in which we seek the truth about ourselves, which Stephen Fry brings breathtakingly to life for our modern age.
My Thoughts: Stephen Fry. Nuff Said. But seriously Stephen Fry is an amazing historical writer and I can read the text like he is speaking it to me which is really satisfying. His passion for history and mythology is infectious. I’ve read Mythos and Heroes and I am ready for Troy.
Published by: Particular Books
Synopsis: A thrilling illustrated journey through the history of video games and what they really mean to us
Pac-Man. Mario. Minecraft. Doom.
Ever since he first booted up his brother’s dusty old Atari, comic artist Edward Ross has been hooked on video games. Years later, he began to wonder: what makes games so special? Why do we play? And how do games shape the world we live in?
This lovingly illustrated book takes us through the history of video games, from the pioneering prototypes of the 1950s to the modern era of blockbuster hits and ingenious indie gems. Exploring the people and politics behind one of the world’s most exciting art-forms, Gamish is a love letter to something that has always been more than just a game.
My Thoughts: I may have gotten an advanced copy of Gamish and I may have started it already. And it may be awesome. And it may be visually stunning and really fun to read. It is all those things and more. I want to be reading it right now.
Published By: Arrow
Synopsis: Soon to be a major motion picture directed by Ridley Scott.
In 1386, a few days after Christmas, a massive crowd gathered at a Paris monastery to watch two men fight a duel to the death. A trial by combat to prove which man’s cause was right in God’s sight.
The dramatic story of the knight, the squire and the lady unfolds during the tumultuous fourteenth century. A time of war, plague and anarchy, as well as of honour, chivalry, and courtly love.
The notorious quarrel appears in many histories of France, but no writer has recounted it in full, until now.
My Thoughts: The Last Duel was a late entry on this list. I came across it by accident at the very last minute and I had to add it. It sounds like the most traditional historical fiction but I have a feeling that there’s going to be some brilliant moments here. It’s just a feeling but I am excited none the less.
What a list! Thank you for taking the time to read about the whole lot and listening to me go on and on about books. There were more here than I had planned but for good reason. I want to read them all. 2020 has been a tumultuous year for many but it has been a solid one for books and this list shows that. 2020 maybe petering out worldwide but for books it is finishing very strong. I appreciate everyone’s support this year and I hope that 2021 continues the even stronger passion for story-telling that I’m seeing here and in the book community right now.