Here are a few reviews from Harriet to get you by for the weekend.
Harcourt, Apr 2009, $20.00
Anaximander “Anax” is a student studying the history of the twenty-first century in school. She learns that century was the period of human decline as the Last War proved to be an accurate title as much of the globe was devastated and led to plague, environmental collapse, terrorism, and the end of civilization on the continents.
She also knows that the only pocket of true governance left in the world is her homeland, the Republic, an island in the Southern hemisphere modeled after Plato’s classic Republic. On the verge of taking the four hour exam that will determine her future as an elitist or a drone as the test decides whether she gains admittance to the elite Academy, Anax has also serendipitously studied the outlawed works of rebel with a cause Adam Forde. She likes his stand on human rights and dignity in a society run by a strict code of conduct that bans anything deemed deviant, but especially appreciates his stance as a soldier guarding the Great Sea Fence when he did not kill a young female on a boat breaching the barrier; but Amax knows she must hide her feelings from the panel of examiners.
This is Brave New World meets Plato in a devastated world with several fresh spins as Bernard Beckett provides an intriguing philosophical science fiction tlae that Huxley would have enjoyed. Anax is a terrific student historian who holds the story line together, but does so by concealing her adulation of Adam from her examiners. Fans will enjoy GENESIS as Anax learns the origin of the end of the world.
Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Grand Central, May 12 2009, $26.99
In Manhattan, New York Times William Smithback and his wife Museum of Natural History anthropologist Nora Kelly arrive home after celebrating their first anniversary with plans to do more rejoicing. Instead they are attacked in their apartment building by a neighbor, out of work British actor Colin Fearing. To the horror of Kelly; her beloved spouse is killed during the assault while his crazed killer leaves.
NYPD obtains testimony from Nora and others who saw Fearing murder Smithback and the building’s surveillance tape captures Fearing leaving dripping blood everywhere. The case is solved except for one problem as FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast and New York Police Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta learn; Fearing died two weeks ago having been found in the Hudson River.
Fans will be stunned with the opening sequence when long time secondary character Smithback is killed. That just sets the table for a great tense police thriller as Agent Pendergast investigates how could a dead man commit murder? The above paragraphs are the beginning of a great taut tale that fans will appreciate and newcomers will look for Aloysius’ back cases (see THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS).
Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang
Signet, May 2009, $7.99
How quickly her world changed without her consent while she was in Europe. Pia Thomason is now the magical Zorya of the Brotherhood whose reason for living is killing Dark Ones and married to her beloved Kristoff the grumpy Dark One though they reside on separate continents with her in Seattle and him in Europe; she knows her spouse distrusts her as she works for his enemy.
The Moravian Council accuses the couple of murder, embezzlement, and being behind the disappearance and probably homicide of Dark One Alec Darwin. Before she met Kristoff, Pia thought she loved Alec; which only angers her grump of a spouse. As they team up to search for the missing Alec and learn who framed them, Pia plans to enjoy her time with Kristoff while he cannot resist her lure.
As with the first Dark Ones saga (see ZEN AND THE ART OF DRAGONS), nothing goes right for the heroes as not only is the honeymoon over before it began, their lives may be over too. The story line is fast-paced, filled with humor and action as Katie MacAlister balances the two nicely. Fans will enjoy this enjoyable investigative urban romantic fantasy thanks to the antics of Pia.