New and Recommended Fiction for February

Click here for a complete list of our recent additions in fiction!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exiles return / Elisabeth de Waal ; with a foreword by Edmund de Waal (FICTION) -- A stunningly vivid postwar story of Austria's fallen aristocrats, unrepentant Nazis, and a culture degraded by violence. The novel follows a number of exiles, each returning under very different circumstances, who must come to terms with a city in painful recovery. There is Kuno Adler, a Jewish research scientist, who is tired of his unfulfilling existence in America; Theophil Kanakis, a wealthy Greek businessman, seeking to plunder some of the spoils of war; Marie-Theres, a brooding teenager, sent by her parents in hopes that the change of scene will shake her out of her funk; and Prince "Bimbo" Grein, a handsome young man with a title divested of all its social currency. With immaculate precision and sensitivity, de Waal, an exile herself, captures a city rebuilding and relearning its identity, and the people who have to do the same.

Belle Cora / Phillip Margulies (FICTION) -- In the grand tradition of Moll Flanders and Vanity Fair, this is the story of a good girl who became a bad woman. At the old homestead her name is never spoken and her picture is turned to the wall, but in the vast world beyond everyone remembers her as the celebrated madam of the finest parlor house in San Francisco. Now, at the end of her life, after half a century of successfully hiding the details of her scarlet past, Belle has decided to reveal all her secrets.

 

The emperor's blades / Brian Staveley (FANTASY FICTION) -- The emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods. Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it's too late. An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test. At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor's final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing--and risk everything--to see that justice is meted out.

A basket of trouble : a Claire Hanover mystery / Beth Groundwater (MYSTERY FICTION) -- When gift basket designer Claire Hanover saddles up for the opening event at her brother Charley’s new riding stable, the last thing she expects is for Kyle Mendoza, one of the stable hands, to be found dead. Everyone assumes a horse trampled him, until it’s discovered that someone murdered Kyle before dragging him into a stall. Charley’s troubles worsen when a rival stable owner steals his clients and Kyle’s family decides to sue him for negligence. Claire is determined to corral the killer and save her brother’s business. However, solving the mystery could be more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack . . . and maybe even deadly.

The Séance Society / Michael Nethercott (MYSTERY FICTION) -- It's 1956, and Lee Plunkett has taken over the family business as a private investigator despite his reluctance to follow in his father's footsteps. When murder intrudes on a group of ghost seekers, Lee is asked to solve the case by a cop on the verge of retirement. At the urging of his perpetual fiancée Audrey, Lee enlists the help of Mr. O'Nelligan, a scholarly Irishman with a keen eye for solving mysteries. The duo is drawn into a murder investigation involving the "Spectricator", a machine designed to communicate with the dead. Soon, Plunkett and O'Nelligan are knee-deep in a suspect pool that includes a surly medium, a former speakeasy queen, a mysterious Spanish widow, and a whole slew of eccentric servants.

Andromeda's choice : a novel of the Legion of the Damned / William C. Dietz (SCIENCE FICTION) -- Andromeda McKee rebuilt her life in the violent embrace of the Legion of the Damned in the days when cyborgs were first being introduced. Now she must choose between her conscience and her desire for vengeance... In a different world, Lady Catherine "Cat" Carletto would never have left her pampered life behind. But when Princess Ophelia became Empress Ophelia in a coup that claimed the lives of the princess's brother and all who supported him, including the Carletto family, Cat had to hide-or die. She became Legionnaire Andromeda McKee, and now she's a battle-scarred veteran who knows how to kill. Summoned to Earth to receive the Imperial Order of Merit from the empress herself, Andromeda learns that she isn't the sole surviving Carletto-her uncle Rex is not only still alive but also the leader of a resistance group determined to overthrow Ophelia. Caught up in a web of intrigue, Andromeda realizes that the moment is coming when her revenge will be at hand. But will she be able to act, or will she be betrayed by those she has come to trust?

 

Soy sauce for beginners / Kirstin Chen (FICTION) -- Gretchen Lin, adrift at the age of thirty, leaves her floundering marriage in San Francisco to move back to her childhood home in Singapore and immediately finds herself face-to-face with the twin headaches she’s avoided her entire adult life: her mother’s drinking problem and the machinations of her father’s artisanal soy sauce business. Soy Sauce for Beginners reveals the triumphs and sacrifices that shape one woman’s search for a place to call home, and the unexpected art and tradition behind the brewing of a much-used but unsung condiment. The result is a foodie love story that will give readers a hearty appreciation for family loyalty and fresh starts.
 
The death trade / Jack Higgins (FICTION) -- An eminent Iranian scientist has made a startling breakthrough in nuclear weapons research, but he can’t stand the thought of his regime owning the bomb. He would run if he could, but if he does, his family dies. He is desperate; he doesn’t know what to do. It is up to Sean Dillon and the rest of the small band known as the Prime Minister’s private army to think of a plan. Most particularly, it is up to their newest member, an intelligence captain and Afghan war hero named Sara Gideon, who thinks there just might be a way to pull it off. But plans have a way of encountering  the unexpected. And as the operation spins out, from Paris and Syria to Iran and the Saudi Arabian desert, there is very much that is unexpected indeed. And much blood that will be spilled.
 
Dying is My Business / Nicholas Kaufmann (FANTASY FICTION) -- Given his line of work in the employ of a psychotic Brooklyn crime boss, Trent finds himself on the wrong end of too many bullets. Yet each time he's killed, he wakes a few minutes later completely healed of his wounds but with no memory of his past identity. What's worse, each time he cheats death someone else dies in his place. Sent to steal an antique box from some squatters in an abandoned warehouse near the West Side Highway, Trent soon finds himself stumbling into an age-old struggle between the forces of good and evil, revealing a secret world where dangerous magic turns people into inhuman monstrosities, where impossible creatures hide in plain sight, and where the line between the living and the dead is never quite clear. And when the mysterious box is opened, he discovers he has only twenty-four hours to save New York City from certain destruction.
 
Dead man's fancy / Keith McCafferty (MYSTERY FICTION) -- Wolves howl as a riderless horse returns at sunset to the Culpepper Dude Ranch in the Madison Valley. The missing woman, Nanika Martinelli, is better known as the Fly Fishing Venus, a red-haired river guide who lures clients the way dry flies draw trout. As Sheriff Martha Ettinger follows hoof tracks in the snow, she finds one of the men who has fallen under the temptress's spell impaled on the antler tine of a giant bull elk, a kill that's been claimed by a wolf pack. An accident? If not, is the killer human or animal?
 
 
The last dead girl / Harry Dolan (MYSTERY FICTION) -- David Loogan's dark past is revealed in this prequel to 'Bad Things Happen' ... On a rainy night in April, a chance encounter on a lonely road draws David into a romance with Jana Fletcher, a beautiful young law student. Jana is an enigma: living in a run-down apartment and sporting a bruise on her cheek that she refuses to explain. David would like to know her secrets, but he lets them lie--until it's too late. When Jana is brutally murdered, the police consider David a prime suspect. But as he sets out to uncover the truth about Jana, he begins to realize he's treading a very dangerous path--and that her killer is watching every move he makes.
 
A darkling sea / James L. Cambias (SCIENCE FICTION) -- On the planet Ilmatar, under a roof of ice a kilometer thick, a team of deep-sea diving scientists investigates the blind alien race that lives below. The Terran explorers have made an uneasy truce with the Sholen, their first extraterrestrial contact: so long as they don’t disturb the Ilmataran habitat, they’re free to conduct their missions in peace. But when Henri Kerlerec, media personality and reckless adventurer, ends up sliced open by curious Ilmatarans, tensions between Terran and Sholen erupt, leading to a diplomatic disaster that threatens to escalate to
war.
 
City of lost dreams / Magnus Flyte (FICTION) -- In this action-packed sequel to City of Dark Magic, we find musicologist Sarah Weston in Vienna in search of a cure for her friend Pollina, who is now gravely ill and who may not have much time left. Meanwhile, Nicolas Pertusato, in London in search of an ancient alchemical cure for the girl, discovers an old enemy is one step ahead of him. In Prague, Prince Max tries to unravel the strange reappearance of a long dead saint while being pursued by a seductive red-headed historian with dark motives of her own.
 
 
Before I burn / Gaute Heivoll; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (FICTION) -- In 1970s Norway, an arsonist targets a small town for one long, terrifying month. One by one, buildings go up in flames. Suspicion spreads among the neighbors as they wonder if one of their own is responsible. But as the heat and panic rise, new life finds a way to emerge. Amid the chaos, only a day before the last house is set afire, the community comes together for the christening of a young boy named Gaute Heivoll. As he grows up, stories about the time of fear and fire become deeply engrained in his young mind until, as an adult, he begins to retell the story. At the novel’s apex the lives of Heivoll’s friends and neighbors mix with his own life, and the identity of the arsonist and his motivations are slowly revealed.
 
Arcanum / Simon Morden (FANTASY FICTION) -- Rome was the center of the most powerful empire the world had ever seen, but that didn't stop it falling to Alaric the Goth, his horde of barbarian tribesmen and their wild spell-casting shamans. Having split the walls with their sorcery and slaughtered the inhabitants with their axes, the victors carved up the empire into a series of bickering states which were never more than an insult away from war. A thousand years later, and Europe has become an almost civilized place. The rulers of the old Roman palatinates confine their warfare to the short summer months, trade flourishes along the rivers and roads, and farming has become less back-breaking, all due to the magic, bestowed by gods, that infuses daily life. Even the barbarians' gods have been tamed: where once human sacrifices poured their blood onto the ground, there are parties and picnics, drinking and singing, fit for decent people and their children. But it looks like the gods are going to have the last laugh before they slip quietly into ill-remembered obscurity.
 
A highly unlikely scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza employee's guide to saving the world / Rachel Cantor (FICTION) -- In the not-too-distant future, competing giant fast food factions rule the world. Leonard works for Neetsa Pizza, the Pythagorean pizza chain, in a lonely but highly surveilled home office, answering calls on his complaints hotline. It’s a boring job, but he likes it—there’s a set answer for every scenario, and he never has to leave the house. Except then he starts getting calls from Marco, who claims to be a thirteenth-century explorer just returned from Cathay. And what do you say to a caller like that? Plus, Neetsa Pizza doesn’t like it when you go off script.
 
The poisoned island / Lloyd Shepherd (MYSTERY FICTION) -- London 1812. On a gray June morning, the Solander docks, her hold containing hundreds of exotic plants from Tahiti for the King’s Gardens at Kew. The apparently successful expedition soon takes a horrifying— and inexplicable—turn: The crew of the Solander starts dying one by one. Thames River Police Chief Charles Horton can find no signs of murder or suicide to explain the deaths, and the ship’s surviving crew seems intent on hampering his investigation. When one of the plants begins to show frightening changes, it is up to Charles Horton to determine how it might be stopped.