Books about Greek kings, circus folk arrive at library

In The Stacks

Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2003

Here are the latest fiction releases available at the Juneau Public Library.

"The Blue Moon Circus," by Michael Raleigh A circus man who knows no other life, gathers old friends together for one last show. His friends include a clumsy snake handler who dies with each performance, a red ape who eats 30 pounds of assorted foods each day, a vengeful camel and a Russian who trains housecats. Complications arrive in the form of a 9-year-old orphaned thief and the revival of an old feud. This gem has been likened to "Lonesome Dove" with a circus twist.

"The Songs of the Kings," by Barry Unsworth While setting out to wage war on Troy, King Agamemnon's fleet is marooned in Aulis by fickle winds, the turning of which can only be accomplished (according to prophecy) by the sacrifice of the king's daughter, Iphigeneia. Achilles, the hero of the Odyssey, is here the villain: a self-centered, manipulative and greedy man. This historical novel is a political satire and character study.

"The Mushroom Man," by Sophie Powell When 6-year-old Lily goes missing, her 11-year-old cousins are convinced that she's gone to visit the Mushroom Man, a character out of one of the cousins' fairytales. Even as the adults in their lives are frantically searching for Lily, the cousins round up their friends and try to convince the fairy-folk of the woods to let Lily go. A lovely, magical story about the powers of faith, love and magic.

"The Secret," by Eva Hoffman Questions of ethics and nature versus nurture abound in this thought-provoking story of a young woman who discovers that she is a clone of her mother. What does it mean to one's sense of self to know that one is a clone? Is Elizabeth's unusually close relationship with her daughter an inevitable result of the cloning? Is there a way to bridge the gap between Iris and those she begins to think of as Originals?

"Heart Seizure," by Bill Fitzhugh When the president of the United States needs a heart transplant, who would dare deny him? Well, Spence Tailor would. Spence's mother has finally made it to the top of the list for a heart transplant, when the President suffers a heart attack during a photo-op, and the FBI moves in on the heart that has just become available. Spence goes on the run with the heart, his older brother and an accidentally kidnapped cardiac surgery resident.

"When Luba Leaves Home," by Irene Zabytko Caught in between her family's Ukrainian culture and America, Luba Vovkovych changes her name to Linda and heads to college. Untangling herself from her family is much harder than changing her name, though, and Linda finds Luba reasserting herself more and more in this struggle for balance and self. It should be familiar to anyone who's walked the multi-cultural tightrope.

"Sensei," by John Donohue This debut novel is a quick-moving thriller involving NYPD detectives, martial arts experts, multiple murders and a mysterious and deadly Ronin. When Connor, a part-time professor and part-time martial arts student, is asked by his brother for advice about a murdered sensei, or teacher, Connor finds himself drawn deeper into the martial arts world than he thought possible. Both physically and mentally challenged by the mysterious and murderous ronin, Connor musters his courage and training for a fight to the death.

If you'd like to place a hold on any of these titles, call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249. If you have internet access, your library card and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our Web site ( and looking at our catalogue. Placing holds on items featured in In the Stacks is now even easier. The new columns are hyperlinked to the catalogue. Simply look up the column, click on the title you want and you will be ready to place a hold.

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