New Books! 6/30/15

New in Hardcover

The Philosopher Kings: A Novel by Jo Walton

9780765332677The City, founded by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, organized on the principles espoused in Plato’s “Republic” and populated by people from all eras of human history, has now split into five cities, and low-level armed conflict between them is not unheard-of. The god Apollo, living (by his own choice) a human life as “Pythias” in the City, his true identity known only to a few. But a tragic loss causes him to become consumed with the desire for revenge. Along with Arete and several of his sons, plus a boatload of other volunteers–including the now fantastically aged Marsilio Ficino, the great humanist of Renaissance Florence–Pythias/Apollo goes sailing into the mysterious Eastern Mediterranean of pre-antiquity to see what they can find–possibly the man who may have caused his great grief, possibly communities of the earliest people to call themselves “Greek.” What they’ll discover will change everything.

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck

9781451659160Traveling from Missouri to Oregon, over the course of four months, Rinker Buck is accompanied by three cantankerous mules, his boisterous brother, Nick, and an “incurably filthy” Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl. Making their way along the Oregon Trail, they dodge thunderstorms in Nebraska, chase runaway mules across the Wyoming plains, scout more than five hundred miles of nearly vanished trail on foot, and even cross the Rockies. But The Oregon Trail is much more than an epic adventure. It is also a lively and essential work of history that shatters the comforting myths about the trail years passed down by generations of Americans. Buck introduces readers to the largely forgotten roles played by trailblazing evangelists, friendly Indian tribes, female pioneers, bumbling U.S. Army cavalrymen, and the scam artists who flocked to the frontier to fleece the overland emigrants. At once a majestic journey across the West, a significant work of history, and a moving personal saga, The Oregon Trail is a wildly ambitious work of nonfiction with a heart as big as the country it crosses.

The English Spy by Daniel Silva

9780062320131She is an iconic member of the British Royal Family, beloved for her beauty and charitable works, resented by her former husband and his mother, the Queen of England. But when a bomb explodes aboard her holiday yacht, British intelligence turns to one man to track down her killer: legendary spy and assassin Gabriel Allon. The English Spy moves at light speed from the glamorous island of Saint Barthelemy to the mean streets of West Belfast to a cottage atop the cliffs of Cornwall that Gabriel holds dear. And though he does not realize it, Gabriel is stalking an old enemy, a cabal of evil that wants nothing more than to see him dead. He will find it necessary to oblige them, for when a man is out for vengeance, death has its distinct advantages.

The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson

9781594205958Two sisters, ages ten and sixteen, are exiled from Brooklyn to Bird Hill after their mother can no longer care for them. The young Phaedra and her older sister, Dionne, live for the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah. Dionne spends the summer in search of love, testing her grandmother’s limits, and wanting to go home. Phaedra explores Bird Hill, where her family has lived for generations, accompanies her grandmother in her role as a midwife, and investigates their mother’s mysterious life. This tautly paced coming-of-age story builds to a crisis when the father they barely know comes to Bird Hill to reclaim his daughters, and both Phaedra and Dionne must choose between the Brooklyn they once knew and loved or the Barbados of their family.

Murder, D.C. by Neely Tucker

9780670016594When Billy Ellison, the son of Washington, D.C. s most influential African-American family, is found dead in the Potomac near a violent drug haven, reporter Sully Carter knows it’s time to start asking some serious questions no matter the consequences. With the police unable to find a lead and pressure mounting for Sully to abandon the investigation, he has a hunch that there is more to the case than a drug deal gone bad or a tale of family misfortune. Riding the city’s backstreets on his Ducati 916, Sully finds that the real story stretches far beyond Billy and into D.C. s most prominent social circles. The only person he can trust is his old friend Alexis, a talented photographer and fellow war zone junkie, who is as sexy as she is fearless, but even Alexis can’t protect Sully from everyone who would rather he give up the story.

New in Paperback

Viral: Stories by Emily Mitchell

9780393350531A guidebook introduces foreign visitors to a recognizable but dreamlike America, where mirrors are haunted and the Statue of Liberty wears a bowler hat. A department-store supervisor must discipline employees who don’t smile enough at customers, but finds himself unexpectedly drawn to the saddest of them all. A woman reluctantly agrees to buy her daughter a robot pet, then is horrified when her little girl chooses an enormous mechanical spider for a companion. The characters in these stories find that the world they thought they knew has shifted and changed, become bizarre and disorienting, and, occasionally, miraculous. Told with absurdist humor and sweet sadness, Viral is about being lost in places that are supposed to feel like home.

Ana of California by Andi Teran (visiting BookPeople 7/29!)

9780143126492Inspired by Anne of Green Gables, Andi Teran’s captivating debut novel offers a contemporary twist on a beloved classic. Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family. It s a group home next unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California. When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, and Emmett Garber is skeptical that this slight city girl can be any help on his farm. His sister Abbie, however, thinks Ana might be just what they need. Ana comes to love Garber Farm, and even Emmett has to admit that her hard work is an asset. But when she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong.

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