May 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

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Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for May.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Selections are by Tim Bayley and are drawn from publisher submissions, The Bookseller magazine’s own monthly highlights, Buyer’s Guides and more. Text is sourced from the publisher.

NB. We believe in supporting bricks and mortar stores whether online or in person and a tiny snippet of any purchase comes our way to go towards site upkeep so any and all support very much appreciated!

So relax and browse on and check out the great reads in print coming your way in May.

Enjoy!

 

Fiction

CITY OF MIRACLES * Robert Jackson Bennett * 9781784291082 * TPB * £14.99 * Jo Fletcher Books * The Divine Cities * 3

Sigrud je Harkvaldsson is back, and this time he’s out for vengeance.

‘Astonishingly good …a deep, powerful novel that’s worth reading and rereading – Publishers Weekly

The awesome climax to the fantasy thrillers City of Stairs and City of Blades: perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Brent Weeks and China Mieville. Shara Komayd, once Prime Minister of Saypur, has been assassinated. News travels fast and far, even to a remote logging town somewhere northwest of Bulikov, where the silent, shaven-headed Dreyling worker ‘Bjorn’ picks up the newspaper and walks out. He is shocked and grieved and furious; he’s been waiting thirteen years for Shara, his closest friend, to reach out to him – to tell him to come home. He’s always believed she was running a long operation, that there would be a role for him at the right time. Now he has no one else in his life, and nothing to live for – except to find the people who did this.

Sigrud wasn’t there for the death of his daughter Signe, and he wasn’t there when Shara was murdered. Now Bjorn is dead and Sigrud is back. And he will find answers, for Shara, and for himself. He’s made a promise …

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ROTHERWEIRD * Andrew Caldecott * 9781784297619 * HB * £14.99 * Jo Fletcher Books

Intricate and crisp, witty and solemn: a book with special and dangerous properties,’ Hilary Mantel

‘Baroque, Byzantine and beautiful – not to mention bold’ M.R. Carey

Rotherweird is a twisted, arcane murder-mystery with shades of Deborah Harkness, Hope Mirrlees and Ben Aaronovitch, Mervyn Peake and Edward Gorey at their disturbing best.

The town of Rotherweird stands alone – there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird’s independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history. For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused.

But secrets have a way of leaking out. Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town’s long-derelict Manor House. Slickstone and Oblong, though driven by conflicting motives, both strive to connect past and present, until they and their allies are drawn into a race against time – and each other. The consequences will be lethal and apocalyptic.

Welcome to Rotherweird!

#Steampunk strangeness. Very intrigued by this…
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THE BOY ON THE BRIDGE * M. R. Carey * 9780356503530 * HB * 16.99 * Little Brown

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

In The Boy on the Bridge, M. R. Carey returns to the world of The Girl With All the Gifts, the phenomenal word-of-mouth bestseller which is now a critically acclaimed film starring Sennia Nanua, Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine.”

The follow-up to The Girl With All the Gifts – can a film be far behind? Also in case you missed there’s Mr Carey’s standalone horror Fellside from last year to check out. And you can check out our Creator Profile of Mike C here…
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DEADMEN WALKING * Sherrilyn Kenyon * 9780349412153 * HB * 18.99 * Little Brown

Hell hath no fury as a demon caged . . .

Centuries ago, a bitter war for humanity was fought and lucky for us, the Sons of Darkness were put down. Yet nothing lasts forever. When one of their most capable generals is unknowingly released from her infernal prison, Vine sets out to free her brethren and retake what was once theirs.

But things have changed, and now an old dalliance is her sworn enemy. Devyl Bane hasn’t forgotten the betrayal that damned his soul, nor is he willing to forgo his one chance at redemption. With a new crew of Deadmen at his command, he is the last hope humanity has to close the cracked Carian Gate and ensure once and for all that the Cimmerian forces never again see the light of day. And nothing will stand in his way . . . this time.

Join Captain Bane and his crew . . .

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THE NIGHTMARE STACKS * Charles Stross * 9780356505367 * PB * 8.99 * The Laundry Files * Little Brown

Alex Schwartz had a great job and a promising future – until he caught an unfortunate bout of vampirism, and agreed (on pain of death) to join the Laundry, Britain’s only counter-occult secret intelligence agency.

His first assignment is in Leeds – his old hometown. But the thought of telling his parents he’s lost his job, let alone their discovering his ‘condition’, is causing Alex almost as much anxiety as his new lifestyle of supernatural espionage.

His only saving grace is Cassie Brewer, a student from the local Goth Festival who flirts with him despite his fear of sunlight (and girls). But Cassie has secrets of her own – secrets that make Alex’s night life seem positively normal . . .

James Bond meets H. P. Lovecraft in the latest occult thriller from Hugo Award winner Charles Stross, in a series where British spies take on the supernatural.”

#UrbanFantasy Check out the previous Laundry Files titles on Carabas: The Annihilation Score… 
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THE SHADOW OF WHAT WAS LOST * James Islington * 9780356507774 * PB * 8.99 * Little Brown

OLD POWERS AWAKEN

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them – the Gifted – are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their own powers.

As a young Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and his friends are despised beyond their school walls for the magical power they wield: a power that Davian, despite his best efforts, cannot seem to control. Worse, with his final test approaching and the consequences of failure severe, time to overcome his struggles is fast running out.

But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will change his life – and shake the entire world.”

The sequel comes out in hardback next month
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IRON GODS * Andrew Bannister * 9780593076507 * HB * £14.99 * Bantam Press

The Spin, an ancient artificial cluster of eighty-eight planets and twenty-two suns – is in decline. The boundaries of the formerly prosperous Inside have shrunk to a mere eleven planets, their trade routes are cut off, and their last remaining source of income comes from selling the services of their vast industrial slave-colony – The Hive. Then a group of Hivers escape.

Led by Seldyan, they steal the last remaining legacy battleship, reverse the trance that has been imposed on it for eight thousand years, and leave the Inside behind. Their destination: the free colony of Web City. However when they arrive they realise all is not well – a new green star has appeared in the sky, sparking the growth of a socially repressive cult which is quickly taking over, making Seldyan wonder if Web City is any improvement on the Hive. At the same time Harbour Master Hevalansa Vess, stripped of his role after the loss of the last ship, has his identity changed and is sent under cover in to the Hive to find out how Seldyan escaped. Wired into the living AI called the Mind Stack, he is forced to confront both his own past, and the institutionalised cruelty of the hierarchy he has been part of. While Seldyan and her crew try to discover what has caused the new green star, Vess must choose between loyalty to the system that has nurtured and promoted him, and his sympathy for the mass of people it treats as slaves. He must also work out how far he trusts Vut, the gestalt insect entity that increasingly represents his contact with the Inside.

Meanwhile, the ancient ship, now with full access to its memories, has worked out the meaning of the green star for itself – and the existential threat to the Spin that it has been concealing for ten thousand years…

Check out book one The Creation Machine on Carabas here
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THE LONG COSMOS * Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter * 9780552169370 * PB * £7.99 * Corgi

2070-71. Nearly six decades after Step Day and in the Long Earth, the new Next post-human society continues to evolve.

For Joshua Valiente, now in his late sixties, it is time to take one last solo journey into the High Meggers: an adventure that turns into a disaster. Alone and facing death, his only hope of salvation lies with a group of trolls. But as Joshua confronts his mortality, the Long Earth receives a signal from the stars. A signal that is picked up by radio astronomers but also in more abstract ways – by the trolls and by the Great Traversers. Its message is simple but ts implications are enormous: JOIN US.

The super-smart Next realise that the Message contains instructions on how to develop an immense artificial intelligence but to build it they have to seek help from throughout the industrious worlds of mankind. Bit by bit, byte by byte, they assemble a computer the size of a continent – a device that will alter the Long Earth’s place within the cosmos and reveal the ultimate, life-affirming goal of those who sent the Message.

Its impact will be felt by and resonate with all – mankind and other species, young and old, communities and individuals – who inhabit the Long Earths…

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WILD CARDS: HIGH STAKES * George R.R. Martin & Melinda M Snodgrass * 9781473221987 * PB * 12.99 * Gollancz

After the concluding events of Lowball, Officer Francis Black of Fort Freak, vigilante joker Marcus ‘The Infamous Black Tongue’ Morgan, and ace thief Mollie ‘Tesseract’ Steunenberg get stuck in Talas, Kazakhstan. There, the coldblooded Baba Yaga forces jokers into an illegal fighting ring, but her hidden agenda is much darker: her fighters’ deaths serve to placate a vicious monster from another dimension. When the last line of defense against this world weakens, all hell breaks loose, literally….

The Committee in New York sends a team of aces to investigate. One by one, each falls victim to evil forces – including the dark impulses within themselves. Only the perseverance of the most unlikely of heroes has a chance of saving the world before utter chaos erupts on Earth.

Edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin, High Stakes features the writing talents of Melinda M. Snodgrass, John Jos. Miller, David Anthony Durham, Caroline Spector, Stephen Leigh and Ian Tregillis.

Now in development for TV: rights to develop Wild Cards for TV have been acquired by Universal Cable Productions, the team that brought you The Magicians and Mr. Robot, with the co-editor of Wild Cards, Melinda Snodgrass as executive producer.

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THE FIREMAN * Joe Hill * 9780575130739 * PB * 7.99 * Gollancz

Nobody knew where the virus came from. FOX News said it had been set loose by ISIS, using spores that had been invented by the Russians in the 1980s. MSNBC said sources indicated it might’ve been created by engineers at Halliburton and stolen by culty Christian types fixated on the Book of Revelation. CNN reported both sides. And while every TV station debated the cause, the world burnt.

Pregnant school nurse, HARPER GRAYSON, has seen lots of people burn on TV, but the first person she saw burn for real was in the playground behind her school. But when she realises she has become infected, she is determined to find a way to survive – at least long enough to see her child born. No matter what is left of the world for them to live in.

With the epic scope of THE PASSAGE and the emotional impact of THE ROAD, this is one woman’s story of survival at the end of the world.

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RHYMING RINGS * David Gemmell * 9781473219922 * HB * 14.99 * Gollancz

David Gemmell was the UK’s number one fantasy and historical novelist until his death in 2006. A regular Sunday Times bestseller, and international sensation, his legacy lives on through his novels, his influence on the genre, and through the David Gemmell Legend awards.

Rhyming Rings is a never-before-seen Gemmell novel, discovered in his papers by his widow, Stella Gemmell. Merging autobiographical details of Gemmell’s life as a journalist in South London with a serial killer and a tinge of the supernatural, this is perfect for fans of David’s work, as well as readers of gritty crime novels. Set against the backdrop of a London simmering with poverty, change and racial tension, this taut thriller is a fitting legacy for the great writer.

This book includes a brand new introduction from massive Gemmell fan Conn Iggulden, and an afterword by Gemmell’s friend Stan Nicholls.

An ambidextrous killer is murdering women, leaving virtually no evidence behind, and struggling journalist Jeremy Miller wishes he was covering the case. Instead, he’s stuck with heart-warming local stories about paraplegic teenagers and elderly psychic ladies.

So when his stories and the murder case start to converge no one is more surprised than Jeremy.

Or, it turns out, more at risk.

Note: Like Sarah Pinborough’s Behind her Eyes this is crime by genre but contains supernatural elements. It’s also the closest we have to an autobiography of Mr Gemmell in a not dissimilar sense to Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Astonishingly concise and entirely heartwarming we get a glimpse of Gemmell as a troubled young journalist maturing in London in the 1980’s. Beautifully characterised throughout, Gemmell employs the chicanery of a master author keeping you involved and guessing.

Everyone read this. 

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HEART OF GRANITE * James Barclay * 9781473202443 * PB * 8.99 * Gollancz

The world has become a battleground in a war which no side is winning. But for those determined to retain power, the prolonged stalemate cannot be tolerated so desperate measures must be taken.

Max Halloran has no idea. He’s living the brief and glorious life of a hunter-killer pilot. He’s an ace in the air, on his way up through the ranks, in love, and with his family’s every need provided for in thanks for his service, Max has everything . . .

. . . right up until he hears something he shouldn’t have, and refuses to let it go. Suddenly he’s risking his life and the lives of all those he cares about for a secret which could expose corruption at the highest levels, and change the course of the war.

One man, one brief conversation . . . a whole world of trouble . . .”

Check out our profile of James Barclay on Carabas here…
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EXODUS * Alex Lamb * 9781473206144 * TPB * 16.99 * Gollancz

The Photurians – a hivemind of sentient AIs and machines – were awakened by humanity as part of a complex political trap. But they broke free, evolved, and now the human race is almost finished. Once we spanned dozens of star systems; now only four remain, and Earth is being evacuated.

But the Photes can infect us, and among the thousands rescued from our home world may be enemy agents. Tiny colonies struggle to house the displaced. Our warships are failing. The end of humanity has come.

But on a distant planet shielded from both humanity and the Photurians, one hope may still live. The only person who might be able to intervene. The roboteer. He is trapped in a hell of his own making, and does not know he is needed. And so a desperate rescue mission is begun. But can he be reached in time? Or will he be the last remnant of humanity in the universe?”

Check out the first book in the sequence The Roboteer here and its sequel Nemesis here
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THE SWITCH * Justina Robson * 9780575134065 * TPB * 16.99 * Gollancz

This groundbreaking new novel from one of the genre’s most respected authors is a thrilling mix of science, magic and politics.

Harmony is the perfect society. So anyone born ‘defective’ must be eradicated. For orphans like Nico and Twostar this means a life that’s brutal, regulated and short.

But Nico and Twostar are survivors, and when they’re offered a way out of the slums, they take it.

Unfortunately, no one told Nico the deal included being sentenced to death for the murder of one of Harmony’s most notorious gang leaders.

Or that to gain his freedom, first he must lose his mind.

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THE VINYL DETECTIVE – THE RUN-OUT GROOVE * Andrew Cartmel * 9781783297696 * PB * 7.99 * Titan Books

His first adventure consisted of the search for a rare record; his second the search for a lost child. Specifically the child of Valerian, lead singer of a great rock band of the 1960s, who hanged herself in mysterious circumstances after the boy’s abduction.

Along the way, the Vinyl Detective finds himself marked for death, at the wrong end of a shotgun, and unknowingly dosed with LSD as a prelude to being burned alive. And then there’s the grave robbing…

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TATTERDEMALION * Sylvia Linsteadt, art by Rima Staines * 9781783523290 * HB * £20.00 * Unbound

Tatterdemalion is a uniquely original post-apocalyptic novel rooted in fantasy and folklore. It begins when Poppy, who speaks the languages of wild things, travels east to the mountains with the wheeled and elephantine beast, Lyoobov. He’s seeking answers to the mysteries of his birth, and the origins of a fallen world.

Up in the glacial peaks, among a strange, mountainous people, a Juniper Tree takes Poppy deep into her roots and shows him the true stories of the people who made his world, people he thought were only myths. Their tales span centuries, from three hundred years in the future all the way back to our present day. It is through this feral but redemptive folklore that Poppy begins to understand the story of his own past and his place in the present.

Tatterdemalion is a brilliant collaboration between the visual artist Rima Staines and the author Sylvia Linsteadt, and it features 14 original colour illustrations which inspired the story.

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THE WICKED WIZARD OF OZ * Jonathan Green * 9781911390312 * TPB * 9.99 * Snowbooks

THE WICKED WIZARD OF OZ is a brand new nightmarish gamebook – a multi-path book, very much in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, in which you choose the course of the story – inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, and the Dieselpunk aesthetic movement. Anybody who has read and played Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland will have a very clear idea of what to expect!

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ASSASSIN’S FATE * Robin Hobb * 9780007444250 * HB * £25.00 * HarperVoyager * Fitz and the Fool * 3

After much-anticipation, at last, the Fitz and the Fool trilogy reaches its thrilling, final conclusion.

Prince FitzChivalry Farseer’s daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield great power.

With Fitz in pursuit, the Servants fled through a Skill-pillar, leaving no trace. It seems certain that they and their young hostage have perished in the Skill-river. Clerres, where White Prophets were trained by the Servants to set the world on a better path, has been corrupted by greed. Fitz is determined to reach the city and take vengeance on the Four, not only for the loss of Bee but also for their torture of the Fool. Accompanied by FitzVigilant, son of the assassin Chade, Chade’s protege Spark and the stableboy Perseverance, Bee’s only friend, their journey will take them from the Elderling city of Kelsingra, down the perilous Rain Wild River, and on to the Pirate Isles.

Their mission for revenge will become a voyage of discovery, as well as of reunions, transformations and heartrending shocks. Startling answers to old mysteries are revealed. What became of the liveships Paragon and Vivacia and their crews? What is the origin of the Others and their eerie beach? How are liveships and dragons connected? But Fitz and his followers are not the only ones with a deadly grudge against the Four.

An ancient wrong will bring them unlikely and dangerous allies in their quest. And if the corrupt society of Clerres is to be brought down, Fitz and the Fool will have to make a series of profound and fateful sacrifices.

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Non-Fiction

BLITZED: DRUGS IN NAZI GERMANY * Norman Ohler, Trans: Shaun Whiteside * 9780141983165 * PB * £8.99 * Penguin

The most brilliant and fascinating book I have read in my entire life’ Dan Snow

‘A huge contribution… remarkable’ Antony Beevor, BBC RADIO 4

‘Extremely interesting … a serious piece of scholarship, very well researched’ Ian Kershaw

The sensational German bestseller on the overwhelming role of drug-taking in the Third Reich, from Hitler to housewives.

The Nazis presented themselves as warriors against moral degeneracy. Yet, as Norman Ohler’s gripping bestseller reveals, the entire Third Reich was permeated with drugs: cocaine, heroin, morphine and, most of all, methamphetamines, or crystal meth, used by everyone from factory workers to housewives, and crucial to troops’ resilience – even partly explaining German victory in 1940.

The promiscuous use of drugs at the very highest levels also impaired and confused decision-making, with Hitler and his entourage taking refuge in potentially lethal cocktails of stimulants administered by the physician Dr Morell as the war turned against Germany. While drugs cannot on their own explain the events of the Second World War or its outcome, Ohler shows, they change our understanding of it. Blitzed forms a crucial missing piece of the story.

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THE GOOD IMMIGRANT * Nikesh Shukla * 9781783523955 * PB * £8.99 * Unbound

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

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BASIC INCOME – AND HOW WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN * Guy Standing * 9780141985480 * PB * £8.99 * Pelican / Penguin

‘Basic Income is an idea whose time has come, and Guy Standing has pioneered our understanding of it… Standing’s analysis is vital’ Paul Mason

Shouldn’t everyone receive a stake in society’s wealth?

Could we create a fairer world by granting a guaranteed income to all?

What would this mean for our health, wealth and happiness?

Basic Income is a regular cash transfer from the state, received by all individual citizens. It is an acknowledgement that everyone plays a part in generating the wealth currently enjoyed only by a few. Political parties across the world are now adopting it as official policy and the idea generates headlines every day.

Guy Standing has been at the forefront of thought about Basic Income for the past thirty years, and in this book he covers in authoritative detail its effects on the economy, poverty, work and labour; dissects and disproves the standard arguments against Basic Income; explains what we can learn from pilots across the world and illustrates exactly why a Basic Income has now become such an urgent necessity.

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WHO RULES THE WORLD? * Noam Chomsky * 9780241189450 * PB * £9.99 * Hamish Hamilton / Penguin

A new book on the state of the world today — from one of the most respected and revered political commentators alive

Noam Chomsky: philosopher, political writer, fearless activist. No one has done more to question the hidden actors who govern our lives, calling the powers that be to account. Here he presents Who Rules the World?, his definitive account of those powers, how they work, and why we should be questioning them.

From the dark history of the US and Cuba to China’s global rise, from torture memos to sanctions on Iran, this book investigates the defining issues of our times and exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of America’s policies and actions. The world’s political and financial elite are now operating almost totally unconstrained by the so-called democratic structure. With climate change and nuclear proliferation threatening our very survival, dissenting voices have never been more necessary.

Fiercely outspoken and rigorously argued, Who Rules the World? is an indispensable guide to how things really are.”

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WE HAVE NO IDEA: A GUIDE TO THE KNOWN UNIVERSE * Jorge Cham, Daniel Whitesun * 9781473660168 * HB * £16.99 * John Murray

This witty book reveals the humbling vastness of our ignorance about the universe, along with charming insights into what we actually do understand’ Carlo Rovelli, author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Reality Is Not What It Seems

In our small corner of the universe, we know how some matter behaves most of the time and what even less of it looks like, and we have some good guesses about where it all came from. But we really have no clue what’s going on. In fact, we don’t know what about 95% of the universe is made of.

So what happens when a cartoonist and a physicist walk into this strange, mostly unknown universe? Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson gleefully explore the biggest unknowns, why these things are still mysteries, and what a lot of smart people are doing to figure out the answers (or at least ask the right questions).

While they’re at it, they helpfully demystify many complicated things we do know about, from quarks and neutrinos to gravitational waves and exploding black holes. With equal doses of humour and delight, they invite us to see the universe as a vast expanse of mostly uncharted territory that’s still ours to explore.”

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QUEER CITY: GAY LONDON FROM THE ROMANS TO THE PRESENT DAY * Peter Ackroyd * 9780701188801 * HB * £16.99 * Chatto & Windus

In Queer City Peter Ackroyd looks at London in a whole new way – through the history and experiences of its gay population.

In Roman Londinium the city was dotted with lupanaria (‘wolf dens’ or public pleasure houses), fornices (brothels) and thermiae (hot baths). Then came the Emperor Constantine, with his bishops, monks and missionaries. And so began an endless loop of alternating permissiveness and censure.

Ackroyd takes us right into the hidden history of the city; from the notorious Normans to the frenzy of executions for sodomy in the early nineteenth. He journeys through the coffee bars of sixties Soho to Gay Liberation, disco music and the horror of AIDS.

Today, we live in an era of openness and tolerance and Queer London has become part of the new norm. Ackroyd tells us the hidden story of how it got there, celebrating its diversity, thrills and energy on the one hand; but reminding us of its very real terrors, dangers and risks on the other.

‘Peter Ackroyd is the greatest living chronicler of London’ Independent

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POST-TRUTH: HOW BULLSHIT CONQUERED THE WORLD * James Ball * 9781785902147 * PB * £9.99 * Biteback Publishing

2016 marked the dawn of the post-truth era. The year saw two shock election results, each of which has the potential to reshape the world: the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and the elevation of Donald Trump to the office of US President.

The campaigns highlighted many of the same issues in their home countries: social division, anger at the elite, anti-immigration sentiment and more – but, more than anything, they heralded an unprecedented rise of bullsh*t.

Sophistry and spin have been part of politics since the dawn of time. But the modern era sees millions being fed false reports that Hillary Clinton ordered 30,000 guillotines to use on her opponents following her victory, while Trump claims he ‘never said that’ about speeches recorded on video, and the Leave campaign’s divisive claims about £350 million extra funding for the NHS and ‘swarms’ of new EU immigrants from Turkey prove pivotal in a referendum.

Post-truth is bigger than fake news and bigger than social media. It’s about the slow rise of a political, media and online infrastructure that has devalued truth.

Bullsh*t gets you noticed. Bullsh*t makes you rich. Bullsh*t can even pave your way to the Oval Office. This is the story of bullsh*t: what’s being spread, who’s spreading it, why it works – and what we can do to tackle it.”

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LOBBYING FOR CHANGE: FIND YOUR VOICE TO CREATE A BETTER SOCIETY * Alberto Alemanno * 9781785782855 * PB * £8.99 * Icon Books

At a time when corporate lobbying dominates decision making in government, Alberto Alemanno has produced a vital counter to this unfettered power: citizen lobbying. Here are the means to regain some power and influence over the decisions affecting our lives. This is a toolbox for change.’

Bill Emmott, Former editor, The Economist, and chairman, The Wake Up FoundationMany democratic societies are experiencing a crisis of faith. Citizens are making clear their frustration with their supposedly representative governments, which instead seem driven by the interests of big business, powerful individuals and wealthy lobby groups.But what can we do about it? How do we fix democracy and get our voices heard?

The answer, argues Alberto Alemanno, is to become change-makers – citizen lobbyists. By using our skills and talents and mobilizing others, we can bring about social and political change. Whoever you are, you’ve got power, and this book will show you how to unleash it.

If you’re looking to improve – or to join – your community, if you’re searching for a sense of purpose or a way to take control of what’s going on around you, switching off is no longer an option. It’s time to make your voice count.

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WALLS COME TUMBLING DOWN: THE MUSIC AND POLITICS OF ROCK AGAINST RACISM, 2 TONE AND RED WEDGE * Daniel Rachel * 9781447272694 * PB * £12.99 * Picador

Walls Come Tumbling Down charts the pivotal period between 1976 and 1992 that saw politics and pop music come together for the first time in Britain’s musical history; musicians and their fans suddenly became instigators of social change, and ‘the political persuasion of musicians was as important as the songs they sang’. Through the voices of campaigners, musicians, artists and politicians, Daniel Rachel follows the rise and fall of three key movements of the time: Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone, and Red Wedge, revealing how they all shaped, and were shaped by, the music of a generation.

Composed of interviews with over 150 of the key players at the time, Walls Come Tumbling Down is a fascinating, polyphonic and authoritative account of those crucial sixteen years in Britain’s history.

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THE BAD-ASS LIBRARIANS OF TIMBUKTU * Joshua Hammer * 9781476777412 * PB * £9.99 * Simon & Schuster

In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that were crumbling in the trunks of desert shepherds. His goal: to preserve this crucial part of the world’s patrimony in a gorgeous library. But then Al Qaeda showed up at the door.

Joshua Hammer writes about how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist from the legendary city of Timbuktu, became one of the world’s greatest smugglers by saving the texts from sure destruction. With bravery and patience, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali. His heroic heist is a reminder that ordinary citizens often do the most to protect the beauty of their culture. His story is one of a man who, through extreme circumstances, discovered his higher calling and was changed forever by it.

Sounds a really incredible story. Warning: by all accounts some harrowing content…
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WHY WE LOVE MUSIC * Dr John Powell * 9781473613768 * PB * £9.99 * John Murray

Did you know that . . .

Carrying a musical instrument makes you more attractive?

Music can cure insomnia?

Music can change the taste of wine?

The Mozart effect has nothing to do with Mozart?

Barry Manilow songs can be used for crowd control?

Why does music affect you so profoundly? It impacts the way you think, talk, feel, behave and even spend money. With his conversational style, humour, and endless knowledge, scientist and musician John Powell showcases fascinating studies – for example that shoppers spend more money in stores that play classical music and, even more astounding, they are more likely to buy German wine in stores playing German music.

With chapters on music and emotions, music as medicine, music and intelligence, and much more, Why We Love Music will entertain through to the very last page.A delightful journey through the psychology and science of music, Why We Love Music is the perfect book for anyone who loves a tune.

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OCTOBER * China Mieville * 9781784782771 * HB * £14.99 * Verso

Award-winning writer China Mieville has long been inspired by the ideals of the Russian Revolution and here, on the centenary of the revolution, he provides his own distinctive take on its history.

In February 1917, in the midst of bloody war, Russia was still an autocratic monarchy: nine months later, it became the first socialist state in world history. How did this unimaginable transformation take place? How was a ravaged and backward country, swept up in a desperately unpopular war, rocked by not one but two revolutions? This is the story of the extraordinary months between those upheavals, in February and October, of the forces and individuals who made 1917 so epochal a year, of their intrigues, negotiations, conflicts and catastrophes. From familiar names like Lenin and Trotsky to their opponents Kornilov and Kerensky; from the byzantine squabbles of urban activists to the remotest villages of a sprawling empire; from the revolutionary railroad Sublime to the ciphers and static of coup by telegram; from grand sweep to forgotten detail.

Historians have debated the revolution for a hundred years, its portents and possibilities: the mass of literature can be daunting. But here is a book for those new to the events, told not only in their historical import but in all their passion and drama and strangeness. Because as well as a political event of profound and ongoing consequence, Mieville reveals the Russian Revolution as a breathtaking story.

History from the keyboard of one of SFF’s modern greats…
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Children’s and Young Adult (MG & YA)

HERE I STAND: STORIES THAT SPEAK FOR FREEDOM * See below * 9781406373646 * PB * £7.99 * Walker Books / Amnesty UK

With contributions from Frances Hardinge, Sarah Crossan, Matt Haig, Neil Gaiman and many more.

Did you know that …

Government spies can turn on your phone and use the microphone to listen to your conversations? …

That lesbian and gay relationships are illegal in 78 countries and can be punished by death? …

That Amnesty recently recorded the highest number of executions globally for more than 25 years?

Through short stories and poetry, twenty-five leading authors and illustrators explore the top human rights issues facing young people today.

Now is the time to take a stand and make a difference.

Full list of contributors: Tony Birch, John Boyne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Kate Charlesworth, Sarah Crossan, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, Ryan Gattis, Matt Haig, Frances Hardinge, Jackie Kay, AL Kennedy, Liz Kessler, Elizabeth Laird, Amy Leon, Sabrina Mahfouz, Chelsea Manning, Chibundu Onuzo, Bali Rai, Chris Riddell, Mary and Bryan Talbot, Christie Watson and Tim Wynne-Jones.”

#Charitable A massively worthy anthology with material from our greatest writers… 
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MOONLOCKET * Peter Bunzl * 9781474915014 * PB * £6.99 * The Cogheart Adventures * 2 * Usborne

Quiet! I’ve one more trick up my sleeve…” Jack pulled a playing card from thin air and pinned it to the jail door.

When he lowered his arm, Finlo saw what it was: the Jack of Diamonds.

“And now,” said Jack, slipping into the shadows, “we disappear.”

An escaped convict.

A missing locket.

A woman from the past…

When infamous escapologist Jack Door breaks out from Pentonville Prison, he sets out for the town of Brackenbridge, determined to find his missing treasure – the Moonlocket.

But when Lily and Robert unwittingly find themselves caught up in Jack Door’s search, they discover that Robert’s history holds the secret to the Moonlocket’s whereabouts…

Another delicious slice of Victoriana, return to the mysteries locked at the heart of London’s dark and murky streets and a world of adventure and extraordinary invention.

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017, Cogheart was a heart-stealer amongst last year’s publishing, becoming a fast favourite of booksellers across the country, who have been eagerly awaiting the next instalment.

Check out book one Cogheart here
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BATTLEMAGE * Taran Matharu * 9781444928426 * TPB * £12.99 * Hodder Children’s * The Summoner * 3

One boy’s ability to summon demons will change the fate of an empire…

The epic conclusion to the fantasy trilogy described as ‘Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets Pokemon’. After the thrilling cliffhanger at the end of book two, we rejoin Fletcher and his friends in the ether, where they must undertake a mortally dangerous quest all the while avoiding capture by enemies and facing foes more terrifying than anything they have yet encountered. But this is nothing compared to what truly lies ahead for Fletcher, as his nemesis, albino orc Khan, is on a mission to destroy Hominum and everything and everyone that Fletcher loves.

Epic battles, dramatic revelations and breathtaking drama await in the third and final book in the New York Times bestselling Summoner series.

‘Friendship, loyalty, magic and political intrigue beckon …’ The Bookseller *

Check out: Extract / Preview of Book One: The Novice, our Author Profile of Taran, and details of Book Two: The Inquisition in MMP
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CROOKED KINGDOM * Leigh Bardugo * 9781780622316 * PB * £7.99 * Orion Children’s * Six of Crows * 2

The hotly-anticipated sequel to SIX OF CROWS, this is GAME OF THRONES meets OCEAN’S ELEVEN in a fantasy epic from the number 1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Welcome to the world of the Grisha. Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

As gripping, sweeping and memorable as the Grisha trilogy – SHADOW AND BONE, SIEGE AND STORM and RUIN AND RISING – this novel is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Laini Taylor, Kristin Cashore and GAME OF THRONES.

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Graphic Novels

SUMMER MAGIC * Alan McKenzie, John Ridgway, Steve Parkhouse * 9781781085417 * PB * £19.99 * 2000 AD

In the summer of 1962, young Luke Kirby is sent to stay with his Uncle Elias(a man he had never met) in a British village called Lunstead, while his mother recuperates from an illness. Elias reveals himself to be a magician, well versed in the alchemical arts and eager to pass his skills onto his young nephew. But as the apprenticeship begins a new, bestial horror begins to stalk those unfortunate enough to wander alone at night in the woods. Will the burgeoning magician be powerful enough to confront the monster? To enter this world of wonder, childhood innocence must be sacrificed…

(Limited hardback available from 2000 AD by pre-order)

Before Harry Potter there was Luke Kirby. This rather blew our minds when we read it in the late 80s in the pages of 2000 AD. Available again for your enjoyment in collected form. Recommended.
Buy from Forbidden Planet

HELLBOY: INTO THE SILENT SEA * Mike Mignola, Gary Gianni, Dave Stewart * 9781506701431 * PB * £12.50 * Dark Horse

Hellboy sets sail from the wreckage of a deserted island only to cross paths with a ghost ship. Taken captive by the phantom crew that plans to sell him to the circus, Hellboy is dragged along by a captain who will stop at nothing in pursuit of a powerful sea creature. Following the events of Hellboy: The Island (Dark Horse), Gary Gianni draws Hellboy in an original graphic novel.

Original Graphic Novel – ie. not a collection of previously available comics: Hellboy fans will be after this volume
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THE CHAMPIONS VOLUME 1 * Mark Waid, Humberto Ramos * 9781302906184 * PB * £13.50 * Marvel

One of the great team names in Marvel history returns, in incredible new fashion!

During the fallout of Civil War II, Ms. Marvel, Nova and Spider-Man quit the Avengers and strike out on their own! With Viv Vision and the Totally Awesome Hulk by their side, these young heroes are determined to change the world their own way – and they’re only the beginning! It starts as an idea. It becomes an ideal. But what happens when it turns into a movement – one so big even the Hulk can’t stop it? And will one of the greatest X-Men of all forge a new future by their side? Welcome to the Champions, Cyclops!

Unfortunately, not all of your new would-be teammates are glad to see you!

COLLECTING: CHAMPIONS 1-6

One of the industries unfailingly brilliant superhero writers takes on and teams-up a bunch of Marvel’s next gen heroes including the wonderful Ms Marvel. Great stuff for all ages…
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HOW TO SURVIVE IN THE NORTH (PAPERBACK) * Luke Healy * 9781910620328 * PB * £12.99 * NoBrow

With stunning narrative skill, this compelling graphic novel intricately weaves together true-life narratives from 1912, 1926 and a fictional story set in the present day. How To Survive in the North is an unforgettable journey of love and loss, showing the strength it takes to survive in the harshest conditions.

Luke Healy was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. He received an MFA in Cartooning from The Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. His comics work has been published in several anthologies and he has also worked as a coloring assistant with Lucy Knisley on her book Something New.”

Link to come…

A CASTLE IN ENGLAND * James Rhodes * 9781910620199 * PB * £14.99 * NoBrow

A collaboration between writer Jamie Rhodes and the National Trust, A Castle in England is a unique and fascinating graphic fiction project inspired by Scotney Castle in Kent.

Using the rich history of this fourteenth-century castle as a starting point, Rhodes has created five short stories that take place over different eras in the castle’s past: The Labourer (Medieval), The Priest (Elizabethan), The Smuggler (Georgian), The Widow (Victorian), and The Hunter (Edwardian). Each of these stories has been illustrated by experienced comic and graphic novel artists Isaac Lenkiewicz, Briony May Smith, William Exley, Becky Palmer, and Isabel Greenberg, creating a visually striking graphic collection that is steeped in historical context.

Jamie Rhodes is a London based writer working in screen, prose, and comics. He studied Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he focused on Heideggarian studies and Phenomenology. He later trained as a script reader and co-founded the filmmaking collective, Donkey Stone Films, in Nottingham. Jamie has been supported by: EM Media, IdeasTap, Arvon Foundation, Spread the Word, and the Arts Council England. He is the author of Dead Men’s Teeth, launched at the British Library in 2014.

Link to come…

DESERTER’S MASQUERADE * Chloe Cruchaudet * 9780861662586 * PB * £16.99 * Knockabout

Paul and Louise love each other, Paul and Louise get married, but World War I escalates and separates them. Paul, who wants at all costs to escape the hell of the trenches, becomes a deserter and finds Louise in Paris. He is safe but condemned to remain hidden in a hotel room. To put an end to his clandestine existence, Paul imagines a solution: to change his identity. Now he’ll be known as… Suzanne. Between gender confusion and the trauma of war, the couple will arrive at a very unusual destiny.

Inspired by real facts, Deserter’s Masquerade is the amazing story of Louise and her transvestite husband who both loved and were torn apart in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties.”

Link to come…

 

Tim Bayley

@timbayley1

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You can also check out recently published greatness on our October Highlights and November / December Highlights pages, and 2017 highlights via the links below!

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE

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