brandon sanderson, burnt shadows, christopher reich, daniel levin, erica eisdorfer, free books, kamila shamsie, naseem rakha, rules of vengeance, shannon hale, the actor and the housewife, the crying tree, the last ember, the wet nurse's tale, twitter, warbreaker
Welcome to another ARC Roundup! It’s a little late this time, but there are a ton of books available, so it all balances out. For those unfamiliar with our weekly roundup, an “ARC” (sometimes known as an ARE) is an Advanced Reading Copy (or Edition, respectively). What does this all mean to you? FREE BOOKS! Read on to find out what’s available straight from the publisher this week.
And don’t forget to check out Literophilia’s Picks — they’re highlighted in hot pink so you can’t possibly miss them.
- The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha
“Irene and Nate Stanley are living a quiet and contented life with their two children, Bliss and Shep, on their family farm in southern Illinois when Nate suddenly announces he’s been offered a job as a deputy sheriff in Oregon. Irene fights her husband. She does not want to uproot her family and has deep misgivings about the move. Nevertheless, the family leaves, and they are just settling into their life in Oregon’s high desert when the unthinkable happens. Fifteen-year-old Shep is shot and killed during an apparent robbery in their home. The murderer, a young mechanic with a history of assault, robbery, and drug-related offenses, is caught and sentenced to death. Shep’s murder sends the Stanley family into a tailspin, with each member attempting to cope with the tragedy in his or her own way.
Dramatic, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting, The Crying Tree is an unforgettable story of love and redemption, the unbreakable bonds of family, and the transformative power of forgiveness.” On Sale: 7.07.09.
From the author:
“The Crying Tree was drawn from my experience as a reporter covering two executions, as well as subsequent interviews with Sister Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking), exonerated death row inmates, as well as victims that have learned to forgive the unforgivable.”
To request a copy: Fill out the form found here on the Broadway Books website.
- The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
“Jonathan Marcus was a promising young archeologist studying at the American Academy in Rome when a terrible accident during an illegal excavation resulted in a friend’s death and Jonathan’s expulsion from the academy. Jonathan abandoned archaeology for the law, developing a reputation as a skillful advocate for some of the art world’s less scrupulous antiquities dealers.
When his firm sends Jonathan to Rome to discredit the testimony of a prominent U.N. antiquities official, he’s stunned to discover that the expert is Dr. Emili Travia, a friend and fellow student at the academy who was also at the excavation. This chance reunion prompts Jonathan, against his better judgment, to help Emili as she searches for the fabled Tabernacle Menorah, a priceless historical artifact seized by Roman invaders in the first century A.D. and brought to Rome where it disappeared.
By turns a riveting page-turner and a compelling character study, set in the high-stakes arenas of art, politics, and terrorism, The Last Ember is a provocative and fast-paced glimpse into history, religion, and international law.” On Sale: 8.06.09.
From Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club:
“In his fast-paced, erudite, and original debut, Daniel Levin reveals a vivid world where archaeological, legal, and religious secrets swirl together into a thrilling nexus. Its rich texture and global cast of characters ignite genuine suspense and intrigue. Readers will savor this novel and await more blockbuster Daniel Levin adventures.”
To request a copy: Fill out the form found here on the Penguin Group’s website.
- The Wet Nurse’s Tale by Erica Eisdorfer
“Bright and clever with a sharp-tongued, adventurous heroine who offers a candid and often funny look at the business of nursing babies in Victorian England, this is a debut novel that will have everyone talking.
Susan Rose isn’t the average protagonist: she’s scheming, promiscuous, plump, and she is also smart, funny, tender, and entirely lovable. Like many lower-class women of Victorian England, she was born into a world that offered very few opportunities for the poor and unlovely. But Susan is the kind of plucky heroine who seeks her fortune, and finds it… with some help from, well, her breasts. Susan, you see, is a professional wet nurse; she breast-feeds the children of wealthy women who can’t or won’t nurse their own babies.
But when her own child is sold by her father and sent to a London lady who had recently lost a baby, Susan manages to convince his new foster mother, Mrs. Norbert, to hire her as a wet nurse. Once reunited with her son, Susan discovers the Norbert home to be a much more sinister place than she’d ever expected. Dark and full of secrets, its master is in India, and the first baby who died there did so under very mysterious circumstances. Susan embarks on a terrifying journey to rescue her son before he meets the same fate.” On Sale: 8.06.09.
About the author:
Erica Eisdorfer was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, and graduated from Duke University. She was the book reviewer for WUNC, an NPR affiliate, for eight years. Eisdorfer has managed the Bull’s Head Bookshop, the trade bookstore on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for twenty years. Her novel, The Wet Nurse’s Tale, was nominated one of the top 10 finalists in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Awards in 2008.
To request a copy: Fill out the form found here on the Penguin Group’s website.
- Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
“Sweeping in scope and mesmerizing in its evocation of time and place, Burnt Shadows is an epic narrative of disasters elided and confronted, loyalties offered and repaid, and loves rewarded and betrayed.
August 9, 1945, Nagasaki. Hiroko Tanaka steps out onto her veranda, taking in the view of the terraced slopes leading up to the sky. Wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, she is twenty-one, in love with the man she is to marry, Konrad Weiss. In a split second, the world turns white. In the next, it explodes with the sound of fire and the horror of realization.
In search of new beginnings, Hiroko travels to Delhi two years later. There she walks into the lives of Konrad’s half-sister and her family. As the years unravel, new homes replace those left behind and old wars are seamlessly usurped by new conflicts. But the shadows of history – personal, political – are cast over their entwined worlds as they are transported from Pakistan to New York, and in the novel’s astonishing climax, to Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11. The ties that have bound them together over decades and generations are tested to the extreme, with unforeseeable consequences.” On Sale: May 2009.
From Publishers Weekly:
“Shamsie takes readers on a tour de force in this examination of the impact of war, following a trajectory from the devastation of Nagasaki in WWII through the conflict-ridden formation of Pakistan in the late 1940s to post-9/11 Manhattan and war-torn Afghanistan. Konrad Weiss, living in Nagasaki in the summer of 1945, hires a local woman, Hiroko Tanaka, to help him write a book about the city. The romance that blossoms is cut short when the atom bomb falls, killing Konrad, and after a while, Hiroko, feeling she can no longer stay in her country, travels to India to find Konrad’s sister, Ilse, the wife of a British lawyer enjoying the privileges of the British raj’s final days. From there, Shamsie brilliantly interweaves the lives of an array of characters as she brings the story forward to the 1980s, then to the beginning of the 21st century, exploring the clashes between loyalty to family, homeland and cause. Shamsie’s unsparing look at how individuals respond when war affects their world makes for an intriguing, heartrending tale of human connection.”
To request a copy: Send an e-mail including your name and mailing address to email@example.com. Don’t forget to include the title of the book in your subject line!
BONUS! Follow Kamila Shamsie on her US book tour by following her new Twitter account!
- Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
“After bursting onto the fantasy scene with his acclaimed debut novel, Elantris. and following up with his blockbuster Mistborn trilogy, Brandon Sanderson proves again that he is today’s leading master of what Tolkien called ‘secondary creation,’ the invention of whole worlds, complete with magics and myths all their own.
Warbreaker is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.
Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.
By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.” On Sale: 6.09.09.
From Publishers Weekly:
“Epic fantasy heavyweight Sanderson (the Mistborn series) pens a powerful stand-alone tale of unpredictable loyalties, dark intrigue and dangerous magic. To keep a treaty made long ago, the king of Idris must send his daughter to marry Susebron, the God King of Hallandren. Loath to part with his eldest daughter, Vivenna, King Dedelin instead sends his youngest daughter, tomboyish 17-year-old Siri, who struggles to make sense of the schemers and spies in Susebron’s court. Hoping to rescue her sister, Vivenna joins a group of Idrian operatives with questionable motives. As Vivenna comes to terms with her magical abilities, resurrected hero Lightsong questions the role of the undead Returned Gods, who command Hallandren’s mighty army of zombie soldiers. Sanderson melds complex, believable characters, a marvelous world and thoughtful, ironic humor into an extraordinary and highly entertaining story.”
- The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale
“A very different kind of fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale.
What if you were to meet the number-one person on your laminated list—you know, that list you joke about with your significant other about which five celebrities you’d be allowed to run off with if ever given the chance? And of course since it’ll never happen it doesn’t matter…
Mormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity heartthrob Felix Callahan. Twelve hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later, something has happened…though nothing has happened. It isn’t sexual. It isn’t even quite love. But a month later Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what’s hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends. Really. Becky’s husband is pretty cool about it. Her children roll their eyes. Her neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special… something unusual, something completely impossible to sustain. Or is it? A magical story, The Actor and the Housewife explores what could happen when your not-so-secret celebrity crush walks right into real life and changes everything.” On Sale: 6.09.09.
From Publishers Weekly:
“This successful sophomore turn at chick lit (after Austenland) from YA and graphic novelist Hale sets up a platonic relationship between a dashing movie star and a Mormon housewife. While in Los Angeles to ink a deal for a script she’s written, pregnant Becky Jack holds her own against her big screen crush, Felix Callahan, known the world over for charming his way through romantic comedies. Witty banter draws them together, and though they debate what their fascination with one another could mean, an improbable friendship is born. Their alliance weathers the occasional break, Felix’s disinterest in children and his indifference toward Becky’s Mormon faith; spousal jealousy and the chasm separating their lifestyles also throw an occasional curveball. Hale keeps the prose crackling with humor and has a sure hand in creating nuanced, believable characters, so when otherwise unlikely plot turns creep up—Becky getting cast opposite Felix—they’re, well, likely enough. Though Becky just wants to keep her best friend and her normal life, readers will hope she gets nothing less than a fairy tale ending.”
To request a copy: Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and mailing address — and be sure to include the title of the book in your subject line!
- Rules of Vengeance by Christopher Reich
“A riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller Rules of Deception that confirms Christopher Reich as the master of the espionage thriller.
Months after foiling an attack on a commercial jetliner, Doctors Without Borders physician Jonathan Ransom is working under an assumed name in a remote corner of Africa while his wife, Emma, desperate to escape the wrath of Division, the secret American intelligence agency she betrayed, has vanished into the netherworld of international espionage. Both look forward to sharing a stolen weekend in London—until an ambush on a convoy of limousines turns their romantic rendezvous into a terrorist bloodbath.
Rules of Vengeance follows the aftermath, as Emma disappears and Jonathan is apprehended by the police and threatened with life imprisonment unless he helps secure his wife’s capture. Faced with an impossible decision, Jonathan makes a daring escape. On the run, he realizes that his only option is to become a spy himself in order to track down Emma and discover the true nature of the conspiracy she appears to be masterminding. In the process, Jonathan begins to realize that all along he’s been a pawn in a high-stakes game of international intrigue and one-upsmanship far beyond his imagining.” On Sale: 8.04.09.
From Publishers Weekly:
“The un-put-downable sixth spy novel from bestseller Reich (The Patriots Club, which won an International Thrillers Award in 2006) shows he’s the equal of such masters of suspense as Ken Follett and Frederick Forsyth. The twisting story line revolves around Jonathan Ransom, a 37-year-old surgeon for Doctors Without Borders, whose wife is killed while mountain climbing in the Swiss Alps. As Ransom struggles to come to grips with this tragedy, he receives two mysterious baggage claim tickets addressed in her name. Ransom tracks the luggage to a remote train station, where two Swiss police officers attack him shortly after he picks up the baggage. Once safely away, he examines the contents only to realize that his wife was an undercover agent involved in ‘the blackest of black ops’—a plot that includes unmanned airborne vehicles, secret uranium enrichment facilities in Iran and the destruction of Israel. This first-class adrenaline fest will leave readers guessing until the last page.”
So what do you guys think? What are you looking forward to reading this week? I’m right in the middle of an ARC that I received last week called The Man’s Book: The Essential Guide for the Modern Man. I requested it thinking that it’d just be an amusing time-waster, but it’s actually turning out to be a really intelligent, informative read (go figure; it’s actually written by a theoretical physicist)! My review will be posted later on this week. Until then, help keep the physical symptoms of Literophilia at bay — read 2 chapters and leave me a comment in the morning. 🙂