by A.M. Tuomala
Published by Candlemark & Gleam
For three hundred years, Erekos and Weigenland have fought to hold the borderland between the two nations. As the first storms of the flood season scour Erekos from the swamplands to the feet of the mountains, the Erekoi king discovers a dangerous new weapon that might be able to end the war: the witch Achane, who has raised her sister from the dead.
Achane and her sister, dragged apart on the very doorstep of a temple, must work to find each other again before the magic that binds them also kills them. In the process, Achane must overcome her grief—and the temptation of the king's plans for Erekos.
Meanwhile, on the mountainous border between the two warring lands, the student Erlen finds his research interrupted by the encroaching conflict. Driven by a militant love for this neutral territory and its people, he determines to defend his newfound homeland at any cost.
In a land where gods walk the earth and myth manifests along the rivers and in the mountains, ordinary men and women must fight to make their own stories before the war unwrites them all.
This is the most fun book I've read in a long time. The world building is superb, the characters are compelling, and the book's put together nicely as well. It's out in print in September, and I need to get on and pre-order it. So much thought had gone into the history, the geography, the technology, the magic, the religion... everything. There's a map and a pronunciation guide at the front as well. Just read it.
A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree
by Shamini Flint
Published by Piatkus Books
Inspector Singh is in Cambodia - wishing he wasn't. He's been sent as an observer to the international war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, the latest effort by his superiors to ensure that he is anywhere except in Singapore. But for the first time the fat Sikh inspector is on the verge of losing his appetite when a key member of the tribunal is murdered in cold blood. The authorities are determined to write off the incident as a random act of violence, but Singh thinks otherwise. It isn't long before he finds himself caught up in one of the most terrible murder investigations he's witnessed - the roots of which lie in the dark depths of the Cambodian killing fields...
Inspector Singh is as grumpy as ever, but this time he's faced with the complexities of national and international politics, historical atrocities, and multiple suspects, several of whom are keen to confess to something, even if he's convinced they didn't do it. Oh, and the food's not good. A worthy installment in the series.
The House: Portrait of Chatsworth
by the Duchess of Devonshire
Published by Macmillan
It's quite surprising that the youngest of the Mitfords took so long to get published, although she was very busy in the preceding years (as she still is) and has produced a fair few books since. This, her first, seems to be sadly out of print (I borrowed Dad's copy which he had in turn been given secondhand). Lots of history, amusing snippets from the writings of the Sixth Duke, who produced the first guidebook to Chatsworth House, and some highly entertaining anecdotes about living in a house with 365 rooms and hosting dinners (not always in the grandest of style) for just about anyone and everyone. I need to track down her more recent books now.
by Kate Atkinson
Published by Black Swan
Cambridge is sweltering, during an unusually hot summer. To Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, the world consists of one accounting sheet - lost on the left, found on the right - and the two never seem to balance. Jackson has never felt at home in Cambridge, and has a failed marriage to prove it. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life haunted by a family tragedy, he attempts to unravel three disparate case histories and begins to realise that in spite of apparent diversity, everything is connected...
I listened to this one right before watching the BBC adaptation, and definitely prefer the book. Set in Cambridge and full of observations on the city and its inhabitants (all of which I agree with) this also contains a lot more emphasis on class and regional background than the TV version. There are also a lot more plot twists and subplots in it. Shall listen to the next before seeing what the BBC made of it.
I'm slightly unimpressed that the library closes on the dot of 1pm on Wednesdays, as it makes picking my books up rather less predictable than otherwise.