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ARCRoundupHeader

Welcome to another ARC Roundup! For those unfamiliar with our format, 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 publishers this week.

And don’t forget to look for Literophilia’s Picks, which are the books we think look especially worth checking into — they’re highlighted in hot pink so you can’t possibly miss them. )

  • holybullet The Holy Bullet by Luis Miguel Rocha

No bullet can kill if that is not His will.

– Sister Lucia in a letter to Karol Wojtyla, April, 1981

I am writing a book right now in which I will tell the whole truth. I have told fifty different stories so far, but they are all fake.

– Ali Agca, the Turk who shot Pope John Paul II

A woman journalist, a Portuguese Army veteran, a Muslim who sees the Holy Mary, a very unconventional priest who works under the direct guidance of the Supreme Pontiff, several agents from the most influential secret services in the world as well as many other characters from the four corners of the globe get involved in a quest for the truth, just to find out this isn’t always useful. It wasn’t to Pope John Paul II. Who was behind his assassination attempt? Come and meet him.” On Sale: 8.20.09.

From Publishers Weekly:
“Ponderous prose weighs down Rocha’s sequel to 2008’s The Last Pope, which centered on a conspiracy to murder Pope John Paul I. This follow-up treads similar ground, but a plausible premise—that the truth behind the 1981 attempt on the life of John Paul II was never revealed—is undercut by a muddled story line and such winks to the reader as naming a British agent Simon Templar (the hero of a popular 1960s TV series starring Roger Moore) and one character telling another that the previous book (i.e., The Last Pope) is available “for sale in the bookstores.” Long-winded descriptive passages, like the opening set at an expensive restaurant in an unnamed city, dampen the tension in a novel alleging dark doings at the heart of the Vatican. Still, those with a limitless appetite for stories about evildoing involving the Catholic Church may be satisfied by The Holy Bullet.”

To request a copy: Fill out the form found here on the Penguin Group’s website.


  • missingservant The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall

“Meet Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator. Portly, persistent, and unmistakably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swath through modern India’s swindlers, cheats, and murderers.

The Case of the Missing Servant takes place in hot and dusty Delhi, where call centers and malls are changing the ancient fabric of Indian life, Puri’s main work comes from screening prospective marriage partners, a job once the preserve of aunties and family priests. But when an honest public litigator is accused of murdering his maidservant, it takes all of Puri’s resources to investigate. How will he trace the fate of the girl, known only as Mary, in a population of more than one billion? Who is taking potshots at him and his prize chili plants? And why is his widowed “Mummy-ji” attempting to play sleuth when everyone knows mummies are not detectives?

With his team of undercover operatives — Tubelight, Flush, and Facecream — Puri ingeniously combines modern techniques with principles of detection established in India more than two thousand years ago — long before “that Johnny-come-lately” Sherlock Holmes donned his deerstalker.” On Sale: 6.02.09.

From Publishers Weekly:
“Vish Puri, the head of Delhi’s Most Private Investigators Ltd., tackles a rather prosaic domestic case in this first of a projected series, the fiction debut of British author Hall (Salaam Brick Lane). Ajay Kasliwal, a lawyer who has brought cases against corrupt government officials, retains Puri to find a maid, Mary, who has gone missing from his household. Rumor has it that Kasliwal killed Mary because he got her pregnant, and when Mary turns up dead, the authorities arrest Puri’s client. While the 51-year-old married detective, who could lose some weight and is affectionately called “Chubby,” has a certain quirky charm, the resolution of the mystery of Mary’s murder is less than satisfying. Hopefully, a future installment will go into what sounds like a more unusual matter, “the Case of the Missing Polo Elephant,” for which Puri won the fictional “Super Sleuth” award in 1999.”

To request a copy: Send an e-mail to Marketing@simonandschuster.com with the title of the book in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your name and mailing address!


“The third novel in the acclaimed Gaius Petreius Ruso series by the New York Times bestselling Ruth Downie—this time set in ancient Gaul. At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home—to Gaul. Having received a note consisting only of the words “COME HOME!” Ruso has (reluctantly, of course) pulled up stakes and brought Tilla to meet his family. But the reception there is not what Ruso has hoped for: no one will admit to sending for him, and his brother Lucius is hoping he’ll leave. With Tilla getting icy greetings from his relatives, Lucius’s brother-in-law mysteriously drowned at sea, and the whole Ruso family teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, it’s hard to imagine an unhappier reunion. That is, until Severus, the family’s chief creditor, winds up dead, and the real trouble begins… Engrossing, intricate, and—as always—wonderfully comic, Ruth Downie’s latest is a brilliant new installment in this irresistible series. This is everything we’ve come to expect from our charming, luckless hero.” On Sale: 7.07.09.

About the author:
Ruth Downie is the author of the New York Times bestseller Medicus and Terra Incognita. She is married with two sons and lives in Milton Keynes, England.

To request a copy: Send an e-mail to marketing@bloomsburyusa.com with the title of the book in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your name and mailing address!


  • therapture The Rapture by Liz Jensen

“An electrifying story of science, faith, love, and self-destruction in a world on the brink.

It is a June unlike any other before, with temperatures soaring to asphyxiating heights. All across the world, freak weather patterns—and the life-shattering catastrophes they entail—have become the norm. The twenty-first century has entered a new phase. But Gabrielle Fox’s main concern is a personal one: to rebuild her life after a devastating car accident that has left her disconnected from the world, a prisoner of her own guilt and grief. Determined to make a fresh start, and shake off memories of her wrecked past, she leaves London for a temporary posting as an art therapist at Oxsmith Adolescent Secure Psychiatric Hospital, home to one hundred of the most dangerous children in the country. Among them: the teenage killer Bethany Krall.

Despite two years of therapy, Bethany is in no way rehabilitated and remains militantly nonchalant about the bloody, brutal death she inflicted on her mother. Raised in evangelistic hellfire, the teenager is violent, caustic, unruly, and cruelly intuitive. She is also insistent that her electroshock treatments enable her to foresee natural disasters—a claim which Gabrielle interprets as a symptom of doomsday delusion. But as Gabrielle delves further into Bethany’s psyche, she begins to note alarming parallels between her patient’s paranoid disaster fantasies and actual incidents of geological and meteorological upheaval—coincidences her professionalism tells her to ignore but that her heart cannot. When a brilliant physicist enters the equation, the disruptive tension mounts—and the stakes multiply. Is the self-proclaimed Nostradamus of the psych ward the ultimate manipulator or a harbinger of global disaster on a scale never seen before? Where does science end and faith begin? And what can love mean in “interesting times”?

With gothic intensity, Liz Jensen’s The Rapture conjures the increasingly unnerving relationship between the traumatized therapist and her fascinating, deeply calculating patient. As Bethany’s warnings continue to prove accurate beyond fluke and she begins to offer scientifically precise hints of a final, world-altering cataclysm, Gabrielle is confronted with a series of devastating choices in a world in which belief has become as precious—and as murderous—as life itself.” On Sale: 8.11.09.

Advanced Praise for The Rapture:
“A first-class apocalyptic thriller of futuristic science, geophysics, and religion.  It’s clever, intelligent, and—most terrifying of all—plausible.”
—Kate Mosse, author of Labryinth and
Sepulchre

To request a copy: Fill out this form on Doubleday’s website.


  • southofbroad South of Broad by Pat Conroy

“Against the sumptuous backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, our narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a well-known Joyce scholar. After Leo’s older brother commits suicide at the age of thirteen, the family struggles with the shattering effects of his death, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him. Eventually, he finds his answer when he becomes part of a tightly knit group of high school seniors that includes friends Sheba and Trevor Poe, glamorous twins with an alcoholic mother and a prison-escapee father; hardscrabble mountain runaways Niles and Starla Whitehead; socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend, Chadworth Rutledge X; and an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades-from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

The ties among them endure for years, surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, and Charleston’s dark legacy of racism and class divisions. But the final test of friendship that brings them to San Francisco is something no one is prepared for South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest; a long-awaited work from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.On Sale: 8.11.09.

From Publishers Weekly:
Charleston, S.C., gossip columnist Leopold Bloom King narrates a paean to his hometown and friends in Conroy’s first novel in 14 years. In the late ’60s and after his brother commits suicide, then 18-year-old Leo befriends a cross-section of the city’s inhabitants: scions of Charleston aristocracy; Appalachian orphans; a black football coach’s son; and an astonishingly beautiful pair of twins, Sheba and Trevor Poe, who are evading their psychotic father. The story alternates between 1969, the glorious year Leo’s coterie stormed Charleston’s social, sexual and racial barricades, and 1989, when Sheba, now a movie star, enlists them to find her missing gay brother in AIDS-ravaged San Francisco. Too often the not-so-witty repartee and the narrator’s awed voice (he is very fond of superlatives) overwhelm the stories surrounding the group’s love affairs and their struggles to protect one another from dangerous pasts. Some characters are tragically lost to the riptides of love and obsession, while others emerge from the frothy waters of sentimentality and nostalgia as exhausted as most readers are likely to be. Fans of Conroy’s florid prose and earnest melodramas are in for a treat.”

To request a copy: Fill out the form here on Doubleday’s website.


  • inventionelse The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt

“From the moment Louisa first catches sight of the strange man who occupies a forbidden room on the thirty-third floor, she is determined to befriend him. Unbeknownst to Louisa, he is Nikola Tesla—inventor of AC electricity and wireless communication—and he is living out his last days at the Hotel New Yorker.Winning his attention through a shared love of pigeons, she eventually uncovers the story of Tesla’s life as a Serbian immigrant and a visionary genius: as a boy he built engines powered by June bugs, as a man he dreamed of pulling electricity from the sky.The mystery deepens when Louisa reunites with an enigmatic former classmate and faces the loss of her father as he attempts to travel to the past to meet up with his beloved late wife. Before the week is out, Louisa must come to terms with her own understanding of love, death, and the power of invention.

The Invention of Everything Else immerses the reader in a magical mid-twentieth-century New York City thrumming with energy, wonder, and possibility.”

From Publishers Weekly:
“In Hunt’s (The Seas) overstuffed and uneven novel set in New York, circa 1943, an aging Nikola Tesla lives at the Hotel New Yorker and cares for (and chats with) pigeons while planning what could be his boldest invention yet. He forges an unlikely friendship with Louisa Dewell, a 24-year-old chambermaid at the hotel who also keeps a pigeon coop. The book alternates between Niko’s reminisces of turn-of-the century Manhattan and Louisa’s current domestic dramas; Niko revisits old grievances concerning the usurpation or dismissal of his many inventions, and Louisa gets ensnared in her zany father’s mission to travel back in time and reconnect with his dead wife via a time machine built by his lifelong friend Azor Carter. Assisting in the scheme is Louisa’s mysterious beau, Arthur Vaughn, who may or may not be from the future. Although many events are drawn from Tesla’s life, he and his peers, including Thomas Edison and John Muir, are cartoonish. Likewise, the city backdrop is drenched in rosy nostalgia (even Hell’s Kitchen is a quaint neighborhood). Each individual plot thread has potential, but the cumulative effect is dulled by an unwieldy structure.”

To request a copy: Fill out the form found on this page of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s website, after pressing the button labeled “Request a Copy.” They ran out of books this morning. 😦 Fortunately, if you’re still interested, you can read a copy of the book online here.

  • bookofwilliam The Book of William by Paul Collins

“The first popular narrative history of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the world’s most obsessively pursued book. One book above all others has transfixed connoisseurs for four centuries—a book sold for shillings in the streets of London, whisked to Manhattan for millions, and stored deep within the vaults of Tokyo. The book: William Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623. Paul Collins, lover of odd books and author of the national bestseller Sixpence House, takes up the strange quest for this white whale of precious books. Broken down into five acts, each tied to a different location and century, The Book of William’s travelogue follows the trail of the Folio’s curious rise: a dizzying Sotheby’s auction on a pristine copy preserved since the seventeenth century, the Fleet Street machinations of the eighteenth century, the nineteenth century quests for lost Folios, obsessive acquisitions by twentieth century oilmen, and the high-tech hoards of twenty-first century Japan. Finally, Collins speculates on Shakespeare’s cross-cultural future as Asian buyers enter their Folios into the electronic ether, and recounts the book’s remarkable journey as it is found in attics, gets lost in oceans and fires, is bought and sold, and ultimately becomes immortal.On Sale: 7.7.09.

From Publishers Weekly:
Undoubtedly, the Bard himself would be amused to learn all about the fate of the book compiled after his death by fellow actors and colleagues John Heminge and Henry Condell. It was, a collector said recently, “the most important secular work of all time.” Collins (Sixpence House), an English professor and NPR regular, is passionate, knowledgeable and sassy in bringing this story to glorious life. Collins divides his work into five acts, leading his reader on a whirlwind trip through the Four Folios eventually printed, into feuds between Alexander Pope and Lewis Theobald and to the opportunistic reach of a financially desperate Dr. Johnson. Over the next 200 years, there are the stories of Henry Clay Folger as well as an ingenious collating machine and related technologies for today’s textual scholars. Collins’s remarkable voyage through time and across the globe leads to Japan, where the most obsessive collectors of “Sheikusupia” reside. This is for anyone with an interest in how Shakespeare has come down to us, the nature of the book business, the art of editing and the evolution of copyright law. A 20-page “Further Readings” section is by itself a sheer delight.”

To request a copy: Send an e-mail to marketing@bloomsburyusa.com with the title of the book in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your name and mailing address!

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So what do we think of this week’s selections? What are you looking forward to reading this week? I’m bouncing back in forth between the first Lord of the Rings book and a book recently sent to me by author Sam Moffie called No Mad. The plot involves the main character taking a road trip across the Northeast, including parts of Pennsylvania. I’ll be making a road trip through Pa. myself next week, so it seems oddly appropriate! As always, make sure to keep those physical symptoms of Literophilia at ease while I’m away — read 2 chapters and leave me a comment in the morning. :)

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