New fiction from all genres is filling the shelves at the Juneau Public Libraries.
“Redemption in Indigo,” by Karen Lord.
This novelized retelling of a Senegalese folktale takes place in Paama’s childhood village, where she has returned after a disastrous decade of marriage to the gluttonous Ansige. The attention of the djombi (the undying ones) is drawn to her when they see that she thinks on her feet and isn’t swayed by the opinion of the village, and the djombi Patience decides to gift Paama with the Chaos Stick, which will allow her to subtly manipulate the world. But it has been taken away from the djombi Chance, who believes it is rightfully his, and who is determined to win it back. Rich with both whimsy and weight, this is an enchanting first novel from a little-heard-from part of the world.
“A Stranger in the Family,” by Robert Barnard.
As his mother lies dying, she reveals to Kit Philipson that he was adopted after being kidnapped, that his real name is Peter Novello, and that he can find his biological mother’s name and address in her address book. Just like that, Kit’s world is turned upside down. When he takes the trip from Glasgow to Leeds to visit his biological family, everyone is very kind and welcoming, but he feels that something is wrong. His biological father claims he isn’t Kit’s father, and no one in the family thinks the British police need him to announce his return. But why not? Wasn’t he an open case? Was there newspaper coverage? A ransom demand? And what’s the connection between his adoptive father, a German-Jewish refugee who was whisked out of Germany at the age of three, and Kit’s own situation? This quiet but suspenseful novel will keep readers guessing.
“Blood Oath,” by Christopher Farnsworth.
Love vampires? And politics? If so, pick up this political fantasy, which puts a vampire at the President’s right hand. Sworn to protect and obey, Nathaniel Cade’s unique skill set makes him a highly useful member of every American president’s team since Andrew Jackson. Cade is like an inhuman James Bond and he needs a handler, someone to advocate for the human side of things. Ambitious Zach Barrows has become Cade’s latest handler, and what he’s learning about the world, starting with the existence of vampires, werewolves, and other… things… is tough to swallow. But Zach’s got a lot of incentive to get things right in this series opener.
“Ark,” by Stephen Baxter.
As the sequel to Flood, this is nearly as dismal, but with a small ray of hope. In Flood, the waters of Earth are rising and forcing human civilization onto higher and smaller ground. In Ark, what’s left of humanity has collected into disparate communities, each trying to hold its own and survive. One of these is has developed a means to reach a recently-discovered Earth-like planet, and over the decades-span of the book, several Ark ships set off. As meticulously as the mission is planned, as carefully the crews are selected, the Arks are still plagued by mutinies, infighting, and sabotage, and readers will wonder whether it might not have been better to stay on a drowning Earth. Baxter’s portrayal of the post-apocalyptic landscape, the hard choices and grim situations that his characters find themselves in, and his careful research into the scientific details make for a gripping story, with or without Flood.
“Holy Thief,” by William Ryan.
It’s 1936 in Moscow and Captain Alexei Korolev’s life is looking up: he’s finally been allocated a room in a shared apartment and won’t have to live with his cousin anymore. But immediately after he’s moved in to his new home, he’s given an unusually brutal murder to solve. A political angle becomes clear when the tortured woman proves to be an American who may have been smuggling valuables out of the Soviet Union, and politics has a way of making truth elusive. Korolev walks a fine line between being effective at getting answers and being judged an enemy of the state. Ryan’s debut novel captures the atmosphere of mistrust and deprivation during Stalin’s reign while delivering a first-rate mystery.
All branches of the Juneau Public Libraries will be closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Friday and Saturday. Libraries reopen on Sunday, Dec. 26, for regular hours. Merry Christmas!
Kids: bring your families to the downtown library at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, for a morning of Winter Stories. Bring a sack lunch and stay for an indoor picnic.
Student artists who entered this year’s bookmark contest: this is your last week to come pick up your displayed bookmark entries.
For information about upcoming programs, or to place a hold, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.