Thursday, December 31, 2020

Top ten most dislikable characters in fiction

Louise Candlish was born in Hexham, Northumberland, and grew up in the Midlands town of Northampton. She studied English at University College London and worked as an illustrated books editor and copywriter before writing fiction. Her novels include the thriller Our House, winner of the British Book Awards 2019 Crime & Thriller Book of the Year, and a new book, The Other Passenger.

At the Guardian she tagged ten of the hardest characters in literature to love, including:
Topher St Clair-Bridges/Tiger-Blue Esposito in One by One by Ruth Ware

In Ware’s wonderfully atmospheric locked-room mystery, set in a snowed-in Alpine cabin, she assembles a cast of young tech types hoping to become very rich indeed thanks to a buyout offer. If that isn’t enough in itself to rouse your dislike, then the names of the shareholders should tip us off as to who might irritate in the pages ahead, Topher and Tiger-Blue among them. You can almost taste the author’s relish as she decides which of these entitled horrors to dispatch first.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Paul Bowman's "The Invention of Martial Arts"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Invention of Martial Arts: Popular Culture Between Asia and America by Paul Bowman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Through popular movies starring Bruce Lee and songs like the disco hit "Kung Fu Fighting," martial arts have found a central place in the Western cultural imagination. But what would 'martial arts' be without the explosion of media texts and images that brought it to a wide audience in the late 1960s and early 1970s? In this examination of the media history of what we now call martial arts, author Paul Bowman makes the bold case that the phenomenon of martial arts is chiefly an invention of media representations. Rather than passively taking up a preexisting history of martial arts practices--some of which, of course, predated the martial arts boom in popular culture--media images and narratives actively constructed martial arts.

Grounded in a historical survey of the British media history of martial arts such as Bartitsu, jujutsu, judo, karate, tai chi, and MMA across a range of media, this book thoroughly recasts our understanding of the history of martial arts. By interweaving theories of key thinkers on historiography, such as Foucault and Hobsbawm, and Said's ideas on Orientalism with analyses of both mainstream and marginal media texts, Bowman arrives at the surprising insight that media representations created martial arts rather than the other way around. In this way, he not only deepens our understanding of martial arts but also demonstrates the productive power of media discourses.
Learn more about The Invention of Martial Arts at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Invention of Martial Arts.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Molly MacRae's "Heather and Homicide"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Heather and Homicide: The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series: Book 4 by Molly MacRae.

About the book, from the publisher:
The new novel in the acclaimed Highland Bookshop mystery series finds a true-crime author murdered in the charming seacoast town of Inversgail—can the women of Yon Bonnie Books discover the killer’s identity before he or she strikes again?

True crime writer Heather Kilbride arrives in the seacoast town of Inversgail, Scotland, to research a recent murder for her new book. But if that’s true, why does she seem more interested in William Clark, a shadowy lawyer with no connection to the murder? Her nosy questions arouse the suspicions of Constable Hobbs, the members of a local writers’ group, and Janet Marsh and her crew of amateur sleuths at Yon Bonnie Books.

Heather’s unconventional research methods prove deadly when Janet discovers her lifeless body. Except the “body” turns out to be a dummy dressed-up to look like Heather. Meanwhile, Heather is sitting at a safe distance observing Janet’s reactions.

Then Heather is found dead—again—sprawled at the base of an ancient standing stone; and this time it’s for real. Clutched in her hand is a valuable miniature book last seen at Yon Bonnie Books, and now the police want to know how Heather, the miniature book, and Janet are all connected. But Janet and her group of sleuths have two questions of their own: Who else is interested in knowing that connection—and is that person a cold-blooded killer?
Visit Molly MacRae's website.

My Book, The Movie: Plaid and Plagiarism.

The Page 69 Test: Plaid and Plagiarism.

The Page 69 Test: Scones and Scoundrels.

My Book, The Movie: Scones and Scoundrels.

The Page 69 Test: Crewel and Unusual.

The Page 69 Test: Heather and Homicide.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Five titles to challenge your thinking on work, food, beauty & sex

Reni Eddo-Lodge is the London based, award winning author of the Jhalak Prize winning, bestselling Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.

At the Guardian, she tagged five "books to challenge your thinking on work, food, beauty and sex," including:
I enjoy writing that affords women agency. Work, food, gender presentation and beauty habits have been tools to control our behaviour for centuries. So has sex. I read Melissa Gira Grant’s Playing the Whore in 2014 when I was working in a pub. It was a job in which I experienced intermittent sexual harassment and rude behaviour from customers. The job hurt my feet sometimes and I was often chastised by the bosses. But most importantly, I was doing it to pay my rent. This was the perfect place in which to read Gira Grant’s analysis of work, consent and performance. She takes campaigners to task for getting in the way of labour rights for sex workers. She shifted my idea of sex workers from victims to people who deserve to live free from harassment, persuading me away from a position that dismissed any violence towards them as an occupational hazard. Crucially, she emphasised that this stance was an example of the vile kind of victim blaming we feminists usually seek to oppose.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Patrick Jagoda's "Experimental Games"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Experimental Games: Critique, Play, and Design in the Age of Gamification by Patrick Jagoda.

About the book, from the publisher:
In our unprecedentedly networked world, games have come to occupy an important space in many of our everyday lives. Digital games alone engage an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide as of 2020, and other forms of gaming, such as board games, role playing, escape rooms, and puzzles, command an ever-expanding audience. At the same time, “gamification”—the application of game mechanics to traditionally nongame spheres, such as personal health and fitness, shopping, habit tracking, and more—has imposed unprecedented levels of competition, repetition, and quantification on daily life.

Drawing from his own experience as a game designer, Patrick Jagoda argues that games need not be synonymous with gamification. He studies experimental games that intervene in the neoliberal project from the inside out, examining a broad variety of mainstream and independent games, including StarCraft, Candy Crush Saga, Stardew Valley, Dys4ia, Braid, and Undertale. Beyond a diagnosis of gamification, Jagoda imagines ways that games can be experimental—not only in the sense of problem solving, but also the more nuanced notion of problem making that embraces the complexities of our digital present. The result is a game-changing book on the sociopolitical potential of this form of mass entertainment.
Visit Patrick Jagoda's website.

The Page 99 Test: Experimental Games.

--Marshal Zeringue

Q&A with Edwin Hill

From my Q&A with Edwin Hill, author of Watch Her: A Hester Thursby Mystery #3:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The title for my latest novel, Watch Her, came from the text. I noticed the phrase reappearing in the prose, and that it had different meanings depending on where it was being used. The story is about long-held secrets and the power we have over those who trust us. There’s a character who appears to be stalking an ex-girlfriend. There’s another character who’s entrusted with watching over a child in danger. I thought it was evocative of the overall story, too. Thankfully, my editor agreed!

What's in a name?

I name characters very, very quickly, especially when I’m in the early stages of drafting, otherwise I can lose an afternoon on a baby naming web site looking for the perfect name. Some of the names stick, and others get changed as I get to know the characters better.

Hester Thursby is the main character in my series, and she was named...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Edwin Hill’s website.

My Book, The Movie: Little Comfort.

Q&A with Edwin Hill.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Six books featuring memorable family gatherings

At Lit Hub Walker Caplan, a performer, writer, and comedian from Seattle, tagged six "books featuring memorable family gatherings both good and bad." including:
Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections (Picador)

Enid Lambert just wants to bring her family together for one last Christmas at home before her husband’s mind is lost to Parkinson’s. But each of her adult children are dealing with their own problems—depression, infidelity, debt—that they’re trying to fix with various societally prescribed “corrections.” The novel switches between the viewpoints of all five Lamberts; it veers into reading like a systems novel at moments, painting a tragic and amusing picture of deteriorating American culture as it acts on a single family. A good reminder when calling home: we’re all dealing with our own issues.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Corrections is on Mariana Mazzucato's list of five books to help us understand how political forces shape the financial markets, Jenny Kawecki's list of four of the worst holidays in fiction, Nigel Williams's top ten list of books about the people in suburbia, Tim Lewis's list of the ten best Christmas lunches and John Mullan's list of ten of the best episodes of drunkenness in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Paul Christopher Johnson's "Automatic Religion"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Automatic Religion: Nearhuman Agents of Brazil and France by Paul Christopher Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:
What distinguishes humans from nonhumans? Two common answers—free will and religion—are in some ways fundamentally opposed. Whereas free will enjoys a central place in our ideas of spontaneity, authorship, and deliberation, religious practices seem to involve a suspension of or relief from the exercise of our will. What, then, is agency, and why has it occupied such a central place in theories of the human?

Automatic Religion explores an unlikely series of episodes from the end of the nineteenth century, when crucial ideas related to automatism and, in a different realm, the study of religion were both being born. Paul Christopher Johnson draws on years of archival and ethnographic research in Brazil and France to explore the crucial boundaries being drawn at the time between humans, “nearhumans,” and automata. As agency came to take on a more central place in the philosophical, moral, and legal traditions of the West, certain classes of people were excluded as less-than-human. Tracking the circulation of ideas across the Atlantic, Johnson tests those boundaries, revealing how they were constructed on largely gendered and racial foundations. In the process, he reanimates one of the most mysterious and yet foundational questions in trans-Atlantic thought: what is agency?
Learn more about Automatic Religion at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Automatic Religion.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 28, 2020

Thirty-eight top dystopian novels

At O: The Oprah Magazine, Carolyn Quimby tagged the 38 best dystopian novels everyone should read. One title on the list:
The Giver by Lois Lowry

In a world seemingly devoid of societal ills, twelve-year-old Jonas is chosen to hold his community’s memories. Yet, while learning about their collective past, he realizes their utopia may not be as perfect as it seems. The award-winning, young adult classic is widely taught and banned for similar reasons: introducing younger readers to mature themes like suicide, sexual awakenings, and loss of innocence.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Giver made W.L. Goodwater's top five list of books with manipulated memories, the Tor Teen blog's list of eleven top YA dystopian novels, Jeff Somers's top five list of science fiction novels that really should be considered literary classics, Jen Harper's top ten list of kids' books from the ’90s that have proven to be utterly timeless, John Corey Whaley's top ten list of coming of age books for teens, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of thirteen top, occasionally-banned YA novels, Guy Lodge's list of ten of the best dystopias in fiction, film, art, and television, Joel Cunningham's list of six great young adult book series for fans of The Hunger Games, and Lauren Davis's top ten list of science fiction’s most depressing futuristic retirement scenarios.

Coffee with a Canine: Lois Lowry & Alfie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Timon Screech's "The Shogun's Silver Telescope"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Shogun's Silver Telescope: God, Art, and Money in the English Quest for Japan, 1600-1625 by Timon Screech.

About the book, from the publisher:
The East India Company, founded in London in 1600, was a spice trading organisation. But its governors soon began to think bigger. After a decade, they started to plan voyages to more fabulous places, notably India and Japan. India had cotton cloth, while Japan had silver, and crucially was cold in winter. England's main export was woollen cloth (which will not sell in hot places), so the Company envisaged adding to its spice-runs, sailings back and forth to Japan, exchanging wool for silver. This could be done quickly, over the top of Russia, as maps suggested. Maps also made Japan twenty times too large, the size of India in fact. Knowing the Spanish and Portuguese had preceded them, the Company prepared a special present for its first extended sailing. In the end this missed India, but got to Japan, in 1613. The Shogun was presented with a silver telescope in the name of King James. It was the first telescope ever to leave Europe and the first made as a presentation item. Before this voyage had even returned, the Company dispatched another, under the New Year's Gift with an equally stunning cargo: almost 100 oil paintings. Not yet able to go over Russia, these would be given and sold to the India and the Japanese courts.

This book looks at formation of the Company, but mostly asks the meaning of these two extraordinary cargoes. What were they supposed to mean, and what effect did they have on quizzical Asian rulers?
Learn more about The Shogun's Silver Telescope at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Shogun's Silver Telescope.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Cass Morris's "Give Way to Night"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Give Way to Night by Cass Morris.

About the book, from the publisher:
The second book of the Aven Cycle explores a magical Rome-inspired empire, where senators, generals, and elemental mages vie for power.

Latona of the Vitelliae, mage of Spirit and Fire, is eager to wield her newfound empowerment on behalf of the citizens of Aven—but societal forces conspire to keep her from exercising her gifts, even when the resurgence of a banished cult plots the city's ruin. To combat this threat, Latona must ally with Fracture mage Vibia, the distrustful sister of Sempronius Tarren.

While Latona struggles to defend their home, Sempronius leads soldiers through wartorn provinces to lift the siege of Toletum, where Latona's brother Gaius is hemmed in by supernatural forces. Sempronius must contend not only with the war-king Ekialde and his sorcerers, but with the machinations of political rivals and the temptations of his own soul, ever-susceptible to the darker side of ambition.

Though separated by many miles soon after their love affair began, Latona and Sempronius are united by passion as they strive to protect Aven and build its glorious future.
Visit Cass Morris's website.

My Book, The Movie: Give Way to Night.

Q&A with Cass Morris.

The Page 69 Test: Give Way to Night.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Nine top books with lonely protagonists

At Hillary Kelly tagged nine of the best books with lonely protagonists, including:
All the Birds, Singing, by Evie Wyld

Jake Whyte is tending her flock of sheep on a remote, rain-blasted English island. Something — whether man, fox, or wolf, we don’t know for sure — is hunting those sheep and mutilating them one by one. If this sounds like the premise of a thriller, well, it is, but not of the usual variety. Jake lives inside a soundstage of her own mysterious past, and as she turns huntress herself — setting up at night with her gun and a whiskey— this menacing novel asks how we can stay safe from outside dangers if our insides have gone to rot.
Read about another entry on the list.

All the Birds, Singing is among Rose Carlyle's seven great thrillers that take readers to faraway places, four books that changed Alison Booth, and Cal Flyn's ten top books about the Australian bush.

My Book, The Movie: All the Birds, Singing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Christina Zwarg's "The Archive of Fear"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Archive of Fear: White Crisis and Black Freedom in Douglass, Stowe, and Du Bois by Christina Zwarg.

About the book, from the publisher:
Focusing on U.S. slavery and its aftermath in the nineteenth century, The Archive of Fear explores the traumatic force field that continued to inflect discussions of slavery and abolition both before and after the Civil War. It challenges the long-assumed distinction between psychological and cultural-historical theories of trauma, discovering a virtual dialogue between three central U. S. writers and Sigmund Freud concerning the traumatic response of slavery's perpetrators.

A strain of trauma theory and practice comes alive in the temporal and spatial disruptions of New World slavery-and The Archive of Fear shows how key elements of that theory still inform the infrastructure of race relations today. It argues that trauma theory before Freud first involves a return to an overlap between crisis, insurrection, and mesmerism found in the work of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Mesmer's "crisis state" has long been read as the precursor to hypnosis, the tool Freud famously rejected when he created psychoanalysis. But the story of what was lost to trauma theory when Freud adopted the "talk cure" can be told through cultural disruptions of New World slavery, especially after mesmerism arrived in Saint Domingue where its implication in the Haitian revolution in both reality and fantasy had an impact on the history of emancipation in the United States.
Learn more about The Archive of Fear at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Archive of Fear.

--Marshal Zeringue

Q&A with Cass Morris

From my Q&A with Cass Morris, author of Give Way to Night:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Give Way to Night is definitely more atmospheric than directly descriptive. As this is the second book in the Aven Cycle, things are getting darker and more dire for Our Heroes. It’s a creeping threat, though, not something sudden: the darkness bleeds into the world from the edges, like afternoon falling into twilight falling into night. 

The phrase comes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The quote I adapted it from doesn’t really relate to anything in the book, although it does set a mood that I find appropriate: “It would take too long to tell what wickedness I found...[read on]
Visit Cass Morris's website.

My Book, The Movie: Give Way to Night.

Q&A with Cass Morris.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Five books that uncovered our hidden history

David Olusoga is a British historian, writer, broadcaster, presenter and film-maker. He is Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester.

At the Guardian, Olusoga tagged five books that uncovered our secret history, including:
The London Hanged by Peter Linebaugh focuses on the two places where the lives of the 18th-century poor were routinely recorded – the courtroom and the gallows. The 17th-century politician George Savile made a famous comment on capital punishment: “Men are not hang’d for stealing Horses, but that Horses may not be stolen.” The notion of the gallows as public spectacle and moral lesson collided in the 18th century with the stark reality that many of the poorest could not make a living. Looking through the records of London’s hanged, Linebaugh details the tragic story of how an austere legal system obsessed with deterrence and making examples was unleashed against desperate, hungry people.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Simon Han's "Nights When Nothing Happened"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Nights When Nothing Happened: A Novel by Simon Han.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the outside, the Chengs seem like so-called model immigrants. Once Patty landed a tech job near Dallas, she and Liang grew secure enough to have a second child, and to send for their first from his grandparents back in China. Isn’t this what they sacrificed so much for? But then little Annabel begins to sleepwalk at night, putting into motion a string of misunderstandings that not only threaten to set their community against them but force to the surface the secrets that have made them fear one another. How can a man make peace with the terrors of his past? How can a child regain trust in unconditional love? How can a family stop burying its history and forge a way through it, to a more honest intimacy?

Nights When Nothing Happened is gripping storytelling immersed in the crosscurrents that have reshaped the American landscape, from a prodigious new literary talent.
Visit Simon Han's website.

The Page 69 Test: Nights When Nothing Happened.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Aaron Tugendhaft's "The Idols of ISIS"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Idols of ISIS: From Assyria to the Internet by Aaron Tugendhaft.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 2015, the Islamic State released a video of men smashing sculptures in Iraq’s Mosul Museum as part of a mission to cleanse the world of idolatry. This book unpacks three key facets of that event: the status and power of images, the political importance of museums, and the efficacy of videos in furthering an ideological agenda through the internet.

Beginning with the Islamic State’s claim that the smashed objects were idols of the “age of ignorance,” Aaron Tugendhaft questions whether there can be any political life without idolatry. He then explores the various roles Mesopotamian sculpture has played in European imperial competition, the development of artistic modernism, and the formation of Iraqi national identity, showing how this history reverberates in the choice of the Mosul Museum as performance stage. Finally, he compares the Islamic State’s production of images to the ways in which images circulated in ancient Assyria and asks how digitization has transformed politics in the age of social media. An elegant and accessibly written introduction to the complexities of such events, The Idols of ISIS is ideal for students and readers seeking a richer cultural perspective than the media usually provides.
Learn more about The Idols of ISIS at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Idols of ISIS.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 25, 2020

Twelve Christmas YA books that give off Hallmark movie vibes

At Book Riot Katisha Smith tagged 12 Christmas YA books that give Hallmark movie vibes, including:

Lila Beckwith is ready to throw an epic holiday party while her parents are out of town. Lila’s big plans are soon spoiled when her Christmas-obsessed little brother Cooper takes off with his best friend Tyler to save Santa. Lila has to bring Cooper back home safely before her parents return on Christmas Eve, but the only person who can help is Tyler’s older brother Beau, who also happens to be Lila’s ex-boyfriend. It may take more than a Christmas miracle for Lila and Beau to overcome their differences and find their brothers.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

The thirty-five best Christmas books

At O Magazine DeAnna Janes tagged the 35 best Christmas books to snuggle up with, including:
Last Christmas in Paris

All is fair in love and wartime epistolary dramas. From Hazel Gaynor, Last Christmas in Paris mixes fiction with non to reveal a love that blossoms during the horrors of WWI. As Evie watches her brother and his best friend leave for duty, she believes the three will reunite come Christmas and celebrate on the streets of Paris. But, of course, war has other ideas.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Top ten Christmas crime stories

Peter Swanson's novels include The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year; Before She Knew Him, and Eight Perfect Murders. His books have been translated into over 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.

A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat.

At the Guardian, Swanson tagged ten of his favorite Christmas crime stories. One title on the list:
A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (2011)

Three Pines, the fictional Quebec town that is the locale of Penny’s mystery novels, is tailor-made for Christmas tales. This is the second of the Inspector Gamache series and the holiday setting is beautifully described. The opening line sets the festive, murderous tone: “Had CC de Poitiers known she was going to be murdered she might have bought her husband, Richard, a Christmas gift.”
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: A Fatal Grace.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: David Herzberg's "White Market Drugs"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: White Market Drugs: Big Pharma and the Hidden History of Addiction in America by David Herzberg.

About the book, from the publisher:
The contemporary opioid crisis is widely seen as new and unprecedented. Not so. It is merely the latest in a long series of drug crises stretching back over a century. In White Market Drugs, David Herzberg explores these crises and the drugs that fueled them, from Bayer’s Heroin to Purdue ’s OxyContin and all the drugs in between: barbiturate “goof balls,” amphetamine “thrill pills,” the “love drug” Quaalude, and more. As Herzberg argues, the vast majority of American experiences with drugs and addiction have taken place within what he calls “white markets,” where legal drugs called medicines are sold to a largely white clientele.

These markets are widely acknowledged but no one has explained how they became so central to the medical system in a nation famous for its “drug wars”—until now. Drawing from federal, state, industry, and medical archives alongside a wealth of published sources, Herzberg re-connects America’s divided drug history, telling the whole story for the first time. He reveals that the driving question for policymakers has never been how to prohibit the use of addictive drugs, but how to ensure their availability in medical contexts, where profitability often outweighs public safety. Access to white markets was thus a double-edged sword for socially privileged consumers, even as communities of color faced exclusion and punitive drug prohibition. To counter this no-win setup, Herzberg advocates for a consumer protection approach that robustly regulates all drug markets to minimize risks while maintaining safe, reliable access (and treatment) for people with addiction.

Accomplishing this requires rethinking a drug/medicine divide born a century ago that, unlike most policies of that racially segregated era, has somehow survived relatively unscathed into the twenty-first century.

By showing how the twenty-first-century opioid crisis is only the most recent in a long history of similar crises of addiction to pharmaceuticals, Herzberg forces us to rethink our most basic ideas about drug policy and addiction itself—ideas that have been failing us catastrophically for over a century.
Visit David Herzberg's website.

The Page 99 Test: White Market Drugs.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Janet MacLeod Trotter's "The Sapphire Child"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Sapphire Child (The Raj Hotel) by Janet MacLeod Trotter.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the dying days of the Raj, can paths divided by time and circumstance ever find each other again?

In 1930s Northern India, childhood friends Stella and Andrew have grown up together in the orbit of the majestic Raj Hotel. Spirited Stella has always had a soft spot for boisterous Andrew, though she dreams of meeting a soulmate from outside the close-knit community. But life is turned on its head when one scandal shatters their friendship and another sees her abandoned by the man she thought she loved.

As the Second World War looms, Andrew joins the army to fight for freedom. Meanwhile in India, Stella, reeling from her terrible betrayal, also throws herself into the war effort, volunteering for the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, resigned to living a lonelier life than the one she dreamed of as a child.

When Andrew returns to the East on the eve of battle with Japan, the two former friends are reunited, though bitter experience has changed them. Can they rekindle what they once had or will war demand of their friendship the ultimate sacrifice?
Visit Janet MacLeod Trotter's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Sapphire Child.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Books that encourage optimism

Steven Pinker is a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time and The Atlantic, and is the author of ten books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style, and most recently, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.

At the Guardian, Pinker tagged a number of books to make you an optimist, including:
Authors who describe the remarkable decline of poverty, hunger and disease in the developing world anticipate such incredulity that they often flaunt the word “great” in their titles, such as Nobel laureate Angus Deaton’s The Great Escape and Steven Radelet’s The Great Surge. More modestly, Charles Kenny tells us how the world is Getting Better. As does Factfulness by the late TED star Hans Rosling, who liked to quiz his audiences on trends in wellbeing and show that they did worse than chimpanzees.
Read about more entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Barry Allen's "Empiricisms"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Empiricisms: Experience and Experiment from Antiquity to the Anthropocene by Barry Allen.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this sweeping volume of comparative philosophy and intellectual history, Barry Allen reassesses the values of experience and experiment in European and world traditions. His work traces the history of empirical philosophy from its birth in Greek medicine to its emergence as a philosophy of modern science. He surveys medical empiricism, Aristotlean and Epicurean empiricism, the empiricism of Gassendi and Locke, logical empiricism, radical empiricism, transcendental empiricism, and varieties of anti-empiricism from Parmenides to Wilfrid Sellars.

Throughout this extensive intellectual history, Allen builds an argument in three parts. A richly detailed account of history's empiricisms in Part One establishes a context in Part Two for reconsidering the work of the radical empiricists--William James, Henri Bergson, John Dewey, and Gilles Deleuze, each treated in a dedicated chapter. What is "radical" about them is their effort to return empiricism from epistemology to the ontology and natural philosophy where it began.

In Part Three, Allen sets empirical philosophy in conversation with Chinese tradition, considering technological, scientific, medical, and alchemical sources, as well as selected Confucian, Daoist, and Mohist classics. The work shows how philosophical reflection on experience and a profound experimental practice coexist in traditional China with no interaction or even awareness of each other, slipping over each other instead of intertwining as they did in European history, a difference Allen attributes to a different understanding of the value of knowledge.

Allen's book recovers empiricism's neglected, multi-textured contexts, and elucidates the enduring value of experience, to arrive at an idea of what is living and dead in philosophical empiricism.
Learn more about Empiricisms: Experience and Experiment from Antiquity to the Anthropocene at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Empiricisms.

--Marshal Zeringue

Q&A with Susan Cox

From my Q&A with Susan Cox, author of The Man in the Microwave Oven: A Theo Bogart Mystery:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Title are famously difficult, and they’re not copyrighted, so I could have called my mystery The Sun Also Rises or The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Quite often a title comes late in the process, prompted by something that happens in the book, but in the case of The Man in the Microwave Oven I thought of the title first. It came to me as a joke, really, while making a short presentation at Bouchercon. But once I got my laugh, I decided I really liked it and then I went about writing the scenes that made the title work. It’s quirky, but it follows up with the sinister appliance theme from the first book (The Man on the Washing Machine), and microwaves have always had this rather dangerous reputation. They’re in everyone’s kitchen and they’re such a benign little tool until you accidentally put the wrong thing in it and all hell breaks loose. That’s why I liked it—my novel is...[read on]
Visit Susan Cox's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Man in the Microwave Oven.

Q&A with Susan Cox.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Cass Morris's "Give Way to Night," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Give Way to Night by Cass Morris.

The entry begins:
Give Way to Night is the second book of the Aven Cycle, an epic fantasy series set in an alternate ancient Rome where magic has shaped the course of nations every bit as much as law and warfare. Aven is on the brink, attempting to re-establish its ideals after a dictatorship. As if determining the philosophical soul of the nation weren’t enough, they’re also dealing with violent incursions in a province and the resurgence of a banished cult at home!

The Aven Cycle has a large cast of characters. I have strong ideas for actors I’d love to see play some of them and little-to-no idea for others. My biggest overall concern if someone were to cast the series, though, would be diversity. The ancient world was multicultural, and Rome thrived with populations from many nations and of many skin tones. I would want the cast to reflect that above all else.

My two chief protagonists are Latona of the Vitelliae and Sempronius Tarren. Sempronius is an ambitious senator with a divinely-inspired vision: he wants to see Aven the center of a coalition of nations that spans the known world, the beating heart of a vibrant federation. He’ll do whatever necessary to reach that goal -- including breaking the laws of the nation he loves so much. Sempronius is...[read on]
Visit Cass Morris's website.

My Book, The Movie: Give Way to Night.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight amazing novels about female superheroes

Sam Maggs is a bestselling author of books, comics, and video games. She’s been a senior games writer, including work on Marvel’s Spider-Man; the author of many YA and middle-grade books like The Unstoppable Wasp, Con Quest!, Tell No Tales, and The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy; and a comics writer for beloved titles like Marvel Action: Captain Marvel, My Little Pony, and Transformers. She is also an on-air host for networks like Nerdist. A Canadian in Los Angeles, she misses Coffee Crisp and bagged milk.

At, Maggs tagged eight favorite novels about female superheroes, including:
Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor is a genius, obviously, and if you haven’t read Binti or her Shuri comics then I would recommend you give those a shot ASAP. But for the more powers-minded (and that’s what we’re here for, after all!) I would absolutely recommend her 2008 novel Zahrah the Windseeker. Zahrah, from the Ooni Kingdom, is born with vines in her hair—a sign that she has special powers. While most people fear Zahrah for her differences, her best friend Dari is always loving and supportive. So when Dari finds himself in danger, Zahrah has to put it all on the line to save him. With extremely Tolkien/Narnia vibes, Zahrah is suspenseful, magical, and a blast to read from start to finish.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Sara Rushing's "The Virtues of Vulnerability"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Virtues of Vulnerability: Humility, Autonomy, and Citizen-Subjectivity by Sara Rushing.

About the book, from the publisher:
Within the liberal tradition, the physical body has been treated as a focus of rights discussion and a source of economic and democratic value; it needs protection but it is also one's dominion, tool, and property, and thus something over which we should be able to exercise free will. However, the day-to-day reality of how we live in our bodies and how we make choices about them is not something over which we can exercise full control. In this way, embodiment mirrors life in a pluralist body politic: we are interdependent and vulnerable, exposed with and to others while desiring agency. As disability, feminist, and critical race scholars have all suggested, barriers to bodily control are often a problem of public and political will and social and economic structures that render relationality and caring responsibilities private, invisible, and low value. These scholarly traditions firmly maintain the importance of bodily integrity and self-determination, but make clear that autonomy is not a matter of mere non-interference but rather requires extensive material and social support. Autonomy is thus totally intertwined with, not opposed to, vulnerability. Put another way, the pursuit of autonomy requires practices of humility. Given this, what do we learn about agency and self-determination, as well as trust, self-knowledge, dependence, and resistance under such conditions of acute vulnerability?

The Virtues of Vulnerability looks at the question of how we navigate "choice" and control over our bodies when it comes to conditions like birth, illness, and death, particularly as they are experienced within mainstream medical institutions operating under the pressures of neoliberal capitalism. There is often a deep disconnect between what people say they want in navigating birth, illness, and death, and what they actually experience through all of these life events. Practices such as informed consent, the birth plan, advanced directives, and the patient satisfaction survey typically offer a thin and unreliable version of self-determination. In reality, "choice" in these instances is encumbered and often determined by our vulnerability at the most critical moments. This book looks at the ways in which we navigate birth, illness, and death in order to think about how vulnerability and humility can inform political will. Overall, the book asks under what conditions vulnerability and interdependence enhance or diminish our sense of ourselves as agents. In exploring this question it aims to produce a new vocabulary for democratic politics, highlighting traits that have profound political implications in terms of how citizens aspire, struggle, relate to, and persevere with each other.
Learn more about The Virtues of Vulnerability at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Virtues of Vulnerability.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Susan Cox's "The Man in the Microwave Oven"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Man in the Microwave Oven: A Theo Bogart Mystery (Volume 2) by Susan Cox.

About the book, from the publisher:
Following Susan Cox’s Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel award-winning debut, The Man in the Microwave Oven is her next delightfully quirky mystery featuring San Francisco transplant Theo Bogart.

Fleeing from a murder and family tragedy in her native England, where she was the scandal du jour for the tabloid press, Theo Bogart changed her name and built an undercover life in a close-knit San Francisco neighborhood. She didn’t expect to find love and friendship there, and now she doesn’t know how—or if—to reveal the truth.

After a confrontation with a difficult neighbor, Theo fears her secrets are about to be uncovered after all. When the woman who threatened to expose her is murdered, Theo is embroiled in the kind of jeopardy she crossed an ocean to escape. Worse yet, dangerous family secrets have followed her. Theo’s grandfather unveils a glimpse of the shadowy world he once inhabited as an agent for the British Secret Service, bringing an even bigger breed of trouble—and another death—to Theo’s doorstep. She finds herself fighting to protect herself, her family, and her new friends, aware that one of them might be a murderer.

Susan Cox has once again painted a delightfully quirky portrait of a colorful San Francisco neighborhood and a woman finding her way through exactly the kind of scandalous mystery she was trying to leave behind.
Visit Susan Cox's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Man in the Microwave Oven.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 21, 2020

Five top novels that make effective use of place and locale

Russ Thomas's debut novel is Firewatching. He grew up in the 80s reading anything he could get his hands on, writing stories, watching television, and playing videogames: in short, anything that avoided the Great Outdoors. After a few ‘proper’ jobs, he discovered the joys of bookselling, where he could talk to people about books all day. Now a full-time writer, he also teaches creative writing classes and mentors new authors.

At the Waterstones blog, Thomas tagged "five great novels that make brilliantly effective use of place and locale," including:
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith is another thriller about a man determined to do the right thing even at the cost of his own career, and potentially his life as well. When war hero and secret police officer, Leo Demidov discovers there might be a serial killer on the loose, he’s determined to bring them to justice. The only problem is Stalin’s Soviet Union, a place where crime does not officially exist but is seen as a symptom of the decadent Capitalist West. Forced to investigate in secret, Leo finds himself risking, not only his own life, but that of his family as well, as he’s caught between a ruthless pathological killer and a state determined to stop him from uncovering the truth.
Read about another entry on the list.

Child 44 is among Jeff Somers's top eight bizarre literary serial killers, B&N Reads' twenty top book-to-film adaptations of 2015, Julian Ovenden's six best books, J. Kingston Pierce's top eight former Soviet Union-set crime and thriller novels and Rebecca Armstrong's ten best thrillers.

The Page 69 Test: Child 44.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Jeff Horn's "The Making of a Terrorist"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Making of a Terrorist: Alexandre Rousselin and the French Revolution by Jeff Horn.

About the book, from the publisher:
Much has been written about the French Revolution and especially its bloody phase known as the Reign of Terror. The actions of the leaders who unleashed the massacres and public executions, especially Maximilien Robespierre and Georges Danton, are well known. They inspired many soldiers in the Revolutionary cause, who did not survive, let alone thrive, in the post-Revolutionary world.

In this work of historical reconstruction, Jeff Horn recounts the life of Alexandre Rousselin and narrates the history of the age of the French Revolution from the perspective of an eyewitness. From a young age, Rousselin worked for and with some of the era's most important men and women, giving him access to the corridors of power. Dedication to the ideals of the Revolution led him to accept the need for a system of Terror to save the Republic in 1793-94. Rousselin personally utilized violent methods to accomplish the state's goals in Provins and Troyes. This terrorism marked his life. It led to his denunciation by its victims. He spent the next five decades trying to escape the consequences of his actions. His emotional responses as well as the practical measures he took to rehabilitate his reputation illuminate the hopes and fears of the revolutionaries. Across the first four decades of the nineteenth century, Rousselin acquired a noble title, the comte de Saint-Albin, and emerged as a wealthy press baron of the liberal newspaper Le Constitutionnel. But he could not escape his past. He retired to write his own version of his legacy and to protect his family from the consequences of his actions as a terrorist during the French Revolution.

Rousselin's life traces the complex twists and turns of the Revolution and demonstrates how one man was able to remake himself, from a revolutionary to a liberal, to accommodate regime change.
Learn more about The Making of a Terrorist at the Oxford University Press.

The Page 99 Test: The Making of a Terrorist.

--Marshal Zeringue

Q&A with Tessa Wegert

From my Q&A with Tessa Wegert, author of The Dead Season:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Like Death in the Family — the first book in this mystery series — The Dead Season has a double entendre. The series is largely set in the Thousand Islands region of Upstate New York, and “the dead season” refers to the time of year when there are fewer tourists and the locals are left to themselves. But this is also a story about a law enforcement agent pursuing a killer, their fixation with each other, and the killer’s attempts to invade and disrupt her small-town life. For Senior Investigator Shana Merchant, who’s been trying to flush out serial killer Blake Bram and is starting to sense that he’s hunting her, the upcoming winter season is a harbinger of doom. When she learns that her estranged uncle has been found murdered back in her hometown of Swanton, Vermont, the dead season takes on another, more literal meaning.

What's in a name?

It isn’t a conscious decision, but when I’m naming characters I tend to use...[read on]
Visit Tessa Wegert's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Dead Season.

The Page 69 Test: The Dead Season.

Q&A with Tessa Wegert.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Five top space-based murder mysteries

At James Davis Nicoll tagged five favorite space-based murder mysteries, including:
Places in the Darkness by Christopher Brookmyre (2017)

230,000 kilometres above the Earth’s surface, Ciudad de Cielo is filled with almost every vice and foible known to humanity. This is a paradise for bent private cop Nicola “Nikki Fixx” Freeman, because it offers many ways for a high-ranking Seguridad officer to siphon off some extra wealth for herself. The system works, as long as nobody gets too greedy and everyone remembers that there are limits to the crimes to which the authorities can turn a blind eye.

Murder is bad enough. A dead criminal’s flayed, dismembered body is far worse, because not only does it suggest that some ambitious would-be crime lord is greedy enough to set aside conventional limits on competition, but because it could be just the cause célèbre that squeaky-clean criminologist Dr. Alice Blake needs to justify a thorough purge of Ciudad de Cielo’s criminal element. And Nikki is very high on Blake’s purge list.

In fact, there’s more going on than a simple gang war and both crooked cop and idealist investigator will be hard put to survive it…
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Lori Allen's "A History of False Hope"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: A History of False Hope: Investigative Commissions in Palestine by Lori Allen.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book offers a provocative retelling of Palestinian political history through an examination of the international commissions that have investigated political violence and human rights violations. More than twenty commissions have been convened over the last century, yet no significant change has resulted from these inquiries. The findings of the very first, the 1919 King-Crane Commission, were suppressed. The Mitchell Committee, convened in the heat of the Second Intifada, urged Palestinians to listen more sympathetically to the feelings of their occupiers. And factfinders returning from a shell-shocked Gaza Strip in 2008 registered their horror at the scale of the destruction, but Gazans have continued to live under a crippling blockade.

Drawing on debates in the press, previously unexamined UN reports, historical archives, and ethnographic research, Lori Allen explores six key investigative commissions over the last century. She highlights how Palestinians' persistent demands for independence have been routinely translated into the numb language of reports and resolutions. These commissions, Allen argues, operating as technologies of liberal global governance, yield no justice—only the oppressive status quo. A History of False Hope issues a biting critique of the captivating allure and cold impotence of international law.
Visit Lori Allen's website.

The Page 99 Test: A History of False Hope.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Tessa Wegert's "The Dead Season"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Dead Season by Tessa Wegert.

About the book, from the publisher:
Senior Investigator Shana Merchant has spent years running from her past. But she never imagined a murder case would drive her to the most dangerous place of all—home.

After leaving the NYPD following her abduction by serial killer Blake Bram, Shana Merchant hoped for a fresh start in the Thousand Islands of Upstate New York. Her former tormentor has other plans. Shana and Bram share more than just a hometown, and he won’t let her forget it. When the decades-old skeleton of Shana’s estranged uncle is uncovered, Bram issues a challenge: Return home to Vermont and solve the cold case, or the blood he spills next will be on her hands.

As Shana interviews members of her family and the community, mining for secrets that could help her solve her uncle’s murder, she begins to realize how little she remembers of her childhood. And when Bram grows impatient and kidnaps again, leaving a trail of clues Shana alone can understand, she knows his new victim will only survive if she wins the psychopath’s twisted game. In order to solve one mystery, Shana must wade into her murky past to unravel another.
Visit Tessa Wegert's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Dead Season.

The Page 69 Test: The Dead Season.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Q&A with C.S. Friedman

From my Q&A with C.S. Friedman, author of This Virtual Night:
photo credit: Bianca Moody
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The title’s primary purpose is to draw the interest of the reader—in brick-and-mortar terms, to get him to pick up the book and look at it. It needs to be appealing to the type of reader you are writing for, perhaps reflecting a particular genre.

Since this book is a followup to something I wrote 20 years ago, we wanted the title to suggest a connection, so we use the same form. “This (Adjective) (Noun).’ That also allowed us to use similar cover designs, as the title was easy to arrange in the same configuration. The story revolves around virtual technology turned against its creators, so Virtual Night provided the subject and...[read on]
Visit C.S. Friedman's website.

The Page 69 Test: This Virtual Night.

Q&A with C.S. Friedman.

--Marshal Zeringue

J. Kingston Pierce's favorite crime fiction of 2020

J. Kingston Pierce is the editor of both The Rap Sheet and Killer Covers, the senior editor of January Magazine, a contributing editor of CrimeReads, and a columnist with Down & Out: The Magazine. At The Rap Sheet he tagged his favorite crime fiction of 2020. One title on the list:
Black Sun Rising, by Matthew Carr (Pegasus Crime):

Integrating crime fiction into historical events can be a ticklish balancing act: one or the other component usually suffers. Not so with this suspenseful, impellent yarn set amid Barcelona, Spain’s notorious Tragic Week, during which socialists and Catalonian nationalists clashed with Spanish armed forces in the summer of 1909. The story introduces Irish-Chilean private investigator Harry Lawton, a Boer War vet and once-rising Scotland Yard detective, who’s hired both to confirm that a British scientist/explorer, Dr. Randolph Foulkes, was killed in a terrorist bombing on Barcelona’s scenic pedestrian way, the Ramblas, and to identify a woman Foulkes gave money to before his passing. As tensions build in the city, provoked by Spain’s colonial bellicosity in North Africa and augmented by an imminent general strike, Lawton—inhibited by his unfamiliarity with the city as well as his random epileptic fits—labors to reconstruct Foulkes’ final days, connecting that scientist with a prominent mesmerist, eugenics experiments, and a rumored blood-drinking killer, the “beast of the Ramblas.” Yet even aided by a local poet-journalist and a naïve young anarchist schoolteacher, Lawton is hard-pressed to solve his case before Barcelona erupts in violence. If we’re lucky, this won’t be Carr’s sole Harry Lawton novel.
Read about another entry on the list.

Q&A with Matthew Carr.

The Page 69 Test: Black Sun Rising.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Sebastian Schmidt's "Armed Guests"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Armed Guests: Territorial Sovereignty and Foreign Military Basing by Sebastian Schmidt.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the wake of World War II, the United States and its allies developed a new type of security arrangement in which a state could maintain a long-term, peacetime military presence on the territory of another equally sovereign state that, unlike earlier practice, was not tied to occupational regimes or colonial rule. The impact of this development on international politics is hard to overstate, and it has become a constitutive feature of contemporary security dynamics.

Despite its significance, the origins of this basing practice have remained largely understudied and unexplained. In Armed Guests, Sebastian Schmidt develops a theory to explain the emergence of this phenomenon, which he calls "sovereign basing," and in doing so, shows how its development fundamentally transformed state sovereignty and the very nature of security politics. He applies concepts derived from pragmatist thought to a historical study of the relations between the United States and its wartime allies to explain how sovereign basing originated through the efforts of policymakers to come to grips with the unique security environment of the postwar era. As he argues, the tools offered by pragmatism provide needed analytical leverage over the emergence of novelty and offer valuable insight into the dynamics of stability and change.

Armed Guests is a wide-ranging account of the development of sovereign basing practices in the years before and after World War II. It is a book with significant implications for our understanding of contemporary security politics and the future of basing strategies as well as for broader issues in IR, including the sociological foundations of security strategies, the nature of norms, and the practice of sovereignty.
Learn more about Armed Guests at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Armed Guests.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 18, 2020

Layne Fargo's "They Never Learn," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: They Never Learn by Layne Fargo.

The entry begins:
I always “cast” every character in my novels before I start writing them, and I have secret Pinterest boards full of pictures of all my inspirations (like, so many pictures it’s creepy).

Here are some of the main actors I pictured while writing my latest novel, the feminist serial killer thriller They Never Learn:

Christina Hendricks as English professor/murderer of bad men Scarlett Clark. Scarlett is a bombshell redhead who will ruin your life, and Christina basically invented that archetype as Joan Holloway on Mad Men.

Morena Baccarin as Scarlett’s love interest, psychology professor Dr. Mina Pierce. I originally pictured...[read on]
Visit Layne Fargo's website.

My Book, The Movie: They Never Learn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Fifteen of the best zombie books

Kara Brand is a recent graduate of Lafayette College, where she studied Government and Law and worked for her college’s Writing Program and its Office of Sustainability. At The Lineup she tagged fifteen zombie books to satisfy your hunger for horror, including:
The Monster Island Trilogy by David Wellington

David Wellington, author of vampire novels like 99 Coffins and 23 Hours, stands out with this zombie trilogy. Akin to World War Z in scope and I Am Legend in its dramatic arc, The Monster Island Trilogy tells of humanity’s struggle against an ever-growing horde of flesh-eating zombies.

In Monster Island, a former UN weapons inspector searches zombie-infested New York City for the one thing that might save his family. In its prequel, Monster Nation, Wellington revisits the nightmare plague that gave rise to the zombie apocalypse in Monster Island. Nation follows a Colorado National Guardsman captivated by an exceptional zombie with the powers to reason, and possibly, the powers to save humanity. In the final book in the trilogy, Monster Planet, the world has reached its breaking point—an army of hungry zombies sweeps across the globe. A brave young woman, a wicked sorcerer, and a child commander of the zombies must all face off to determine whether humanity will persist or perish.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue