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27.09.2014
Two kinds of readers might exult over Geraldine Brooks's biblical epic about the life of King David, The Secret Chord.
WORD Christchurch and Bookenz, in association with Hachette NZ, are proud to present an evening with Pulitzer prize-winning writer Geraldine Brooks, in conversation with Morrin Rout. With more than two million copies of her novels sold, Australian-American author and journalist Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Brooks’ new novel, The Secret Chord, takes on one of literature’s richest and most enigmatic figures: King David, a man who shimmers between history and legend.
Full of drama and richly drawn detail, The Secret Chord is a vivid story of faith, family, desire and power that brings David magnificently alive.
A spellbinding historical novel about a woman who befriends Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, and is drawn into their world of intrigue, from the author of Margot. On June 19, 1953, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed for conspiring to commit espionage.
Brilliantly melding fact and fiction, Jillian Cantor reimagines the life of that neighbor, and the life of Ethel and Julius, an ordinary-seeming Jewish couple who became the only Americans put to death for spying during the Cold War. As Millie—trusting and naive—is thrown into a world of lies, intrigue, spies and counterspies, she realizes she must fight for what she believes, who she loves, and what is right.
From the bestselling and highly acclaimed author of the “page-turning tale” (Library Journal, starred review) Mrs.
In March of 1909, Mark Twain cheerfully blessed the wedding of his private secretary, Isabel V. In Twain’s End, Lynn Cullen reimagines the tangled relationships between Twain, Lyon, and Ashcroft, as well as the little-known love triangle between Helen Keller, her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, and Anne’s husband, John Macy, which comes to light during their visit to Twain’s Connecticut home in 1909. Based on Isabel Lyon’s extant diary, Twain’s writings and letters, and events in Twain’s boyhood that may have altered his ability to love, Twain’s End explores this real-life tale of doomed love. A chance encounter on a London street years later makes it clear that Kate’s life has not gone according to plan. With her inimitable sharpness and wry wit, Laurie Graham brings to life the bustling pleasures and not-so-hidden dangers of life in a crowded city with its extremes of poverty and wealth.
The year is 1199, and King Richard the Lionheart is dead, leaving his brother John to inherit both his French and English lands. Page-turning historical fiction that reimagines the beginnings of Cleopatra’s epic saga through the eyes of her younger sister.
Before Caesar and the carpet, before Antony and Actium, before Octavian and the asp, there was Arsinoe. Abandoned by her beloved Cleopatra and an indifferent father, young Arsinoe must fight for her survival in the bloodthirsty royal court when her half-sister Berenice seizes Egypt’s throne. Malcolm Hopeton is on trial for his life – he has committed a horrific act that reverberates through the community of the Four Corners as it emerges from the shadows of the American Civil War. Becca Davis has been keeping house for the widowed August Swartout for four years when she receives word that her brother Harlan has been injured in a tussle with the infamous murderer. A Slant of Light is a powerful novel of lust and love, loss and war, prophets and followers: of the moments that shatter our lives and the ways in which they are remade. The greatest naval trial in the Georgian period is underway at Portsmouth with the court martial of Sir Home Popham, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd’s commanding officer in the doomed occupation of Buenos Aires. With his frigate L’Aurore unfit for sea, Kydd is given a commission that some hope will destroy his career. In this spectacular saga as radiant, thrilling, and beguiling as Hollywood itself, Adriana Trigiani takes us back to Tinsel Town’s golden age—an era as brutal as it was resplendent—and into the complex and glamorous world of a young actress hungry for fame and success. The movie business is booming in 1935 when twenty-one-year-old Loretta Young meets thirty-four-year-old Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. Far from the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sister Alda Ducci has been forced to leave her convent and begin a new journey that leads her to Loretta.
Anchored by Trigiani’s masterful storytelling that takes you on a worldwide ride of adventure from Hollywood to the shores of southern Italy, this mesmerizing epic is, at its heart, a luminous tale of the most cherished ties that bind. When Laperouse leaves France in the Spring of 1785 with two ships under his command, he knows that he sails with the full backing of the French government.
As the ships move across vast distances in their journey of nearly four years, the different characters step forward and invite us into their world. Landfalls marks the launch of a brilliant new writer, who creates an unforgettable world through a web of voices and narratives. With more than two million copies of her novels sold, New York Timesbestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected. As both sides commit horrific slaughter and the siege of Delhi begins, Jack realises that despite the danger he cannot stand by and watch.
The magisterial final novel from Oscar Hijuelos, acclaimed author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. Having survived the cataclysmic battle of Sekigahara, which established the mighty Tokugawa Shogunate, young Musashi Miyamoto travels through Japan determined to proclaim his revolutionary epiphany that the “way of the sword,” the ancient code that binds samurai to their masters, needs to be abolished. But during the battle Musashi insulted an adept of the powerful Yoshioka School, and a price has been put on his head. Mushashi intends to deal a crushing blow to the traditional samurai dogma by destroying the Yoshioka warriors, but Musashi will learn that his spectacular gifts with the sword are no match for the cunning of powerful lords. Sword of Honor seamlessly blends meticulous research, mesmerizing action sequences, and a driving narrative to bring this extraordinary figure to life.
Bloodline: a gritty historical novel about the Mafia in 1920s New York, from Edgar Award-winning author Warren Murphy. As conflicts in the city begin to erupt into a violent war involving gangsters from all parts of the country, Tommy and Mario struggle to stay out of the dark world into which Nilo has dragged the family.
It is the late 18th century and a young Sicilian nobleman, Vitellio Scarpia, finds himself penniless and in disgrace on the streets of Rome. Scarpia enrols in the Papal army and becomes the lover of an alluring countess who introduces him into Roman society with its blend of religiosity, sophistication and intrigue.
Patronized by a powerful Cardinal, Scarpia is sent on a mission to Venice, where he encounters the beautiful, exquisitely gifted singer, Floria Tosca. Piers Paul Read brilliantly reimagines the infamous villain of Puccini’s opera, Tosca, telling a story that shines a light into the dusty corridors of history and the dark corners of the human soul. From the acclaimed author of Dollface and What the Lady Wants, a new novel about the newspaper world of 1950s Chicago.
In twelfth-century Scotland, far removed from the courtly manners of the Lowland, the Winter Isles are riven by vicious warfare, plots and battles. The Winter Isles is an astonishingly vivid recreation of the savage dynastic battles of medieval Scotland: an authentic, emotional, powerful read. In the aftermath of the Great War, the de Witt family are struggling to piece together the shattered fragments of their lives. Rudolf and his wife Verena, still reeling from the loss of their second son, don’t know how to function in the post-war world. Celia, the de Witt’s youngest daughter, is still desperate to spread her wings and see more of the world. A sweeping, epic historical novel of exploration and invasion in sixteenth-century Peru, of slaves and conquerors, and above all, an enduring love that must overcome the forging of an empire. Plucked from his small fishing village and captured by the conquistadors looking to plunder the gold of Peru, young Waman is the everyman thrown into extraordinary circumstances, caught up in history’s throes. Based closely on real historical events, The Gold Eaters draws on Ronald Wright’s expert knowledge of sixteenth-century South America, as well as his imaginative ability to bring to life an unforgettable epoch and a world forged anew from violence and upheaval.


A train accident in a provincial town on the railway Lucas owns claims the life of a young child and, amid the public outcry, her father journeys to London demanding justice. Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d’Amato adores music-except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin.
Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Medicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history. Categoriesarticle, historical fictionTagsanticipated, Bloomsbury, Corvus, Doubleday, Forge, Gallery Books, Grand Central Publishing, Harper, Headline, Hodder, Little Brown and Company, Little Brown US, NAL, Orion, Quercus, Riverhead, St. A pervasive cultural belief posits that in the good old days people were kind, peaceful, and in every way morally superior to their present-day descendants.
But like any hero worthy of 3,000 years of attention, David is not merely a merciless murderer. Susan Pearlstein is a Pittsburgh attorney and a volunteer at the Swissvale Carnegie Library. She has worked for the Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans.
Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in 1000 BC Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage. The day Ethel was first arrested in 1950, she left her two young sons with a neighbor, and she never came home to them again. In 1947, Millie Stein moves with her husband, Ed, and their toddler son, David, into an apartment in New York’s Lower East Side.
Poe comes a fictionalized imagining of the personal life of America’s most iconic writer: Mark Twain.
Add to the party a furious Clara Clemens, smarting from her own failed love affair, and carefully kept veneers shatter. With no beauty, and few prospects, she was lucky to discover a lucrative talent – she can make people laugh.
The older girl’s beauty was bound to take her places, and sure enough Kate soon left, lured away by love and the prospect of adventure. Even as the quick-witted girl wins Berenice’s favor, a new specter haunts her days-dark dreams that have a habit of coming true. Kydd has some sympathy for Popham’s unauthorised action but his support for his former commander leaves him athwart some very influential people in the Admiralty. Tyger has recently mutinied but instead of having her company dispersed around the fleet as is customary, the ship is pressed into immediate service in the North Sea.
Soon he will have to take his untested and untrustworthy crew into the Baltic and there they will get entangled with Napoleon’s invasion of Prussia. He grows up to become a bright and intelligent university student with the world at his feet. With meticulous, beautiful detail, Trigiani paints a rich, historical landscape of 1930s Los Angeles, where European and American artisans flocked to pursue the ultimate dream: to tell stories on the silver screen.
Though he’s already married, Gable falls for the stunning and vivacious young actress instantly. Becoming Miss Young’s assistant, the innocent and pious young Alda must navigate the wild terrain of Hollywood with fierce determination and a moral code that derives from her Italian roots. Brimming with larger-than-life characters both real and fictional—including stars Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, David Niven, Hattie McDaniel and more—it is it is the unforgettable story of one of cinema’s greatest love affairs during the golden age of American movie making. This is to be a voyage of scientific and geographical discovery – but every person on board has their own hopes, ambitions and dreams.
From the remote Alaskan bay where a dreadful tragedy unfolds, to the wild journey Barthelemy de Lessups undertakes from the far east of Russia to St Petersburg, the reader sees the emotional, physical and mental toll exacted by such an endeavour. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him – from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikal, Avigail and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age.
India is simmering with discontent, and Jack Lark, honourably discharged from the British Army, aims to take the first ship back to England. Told through a fictitious manuscript and imagined correspondence between Stanley, Tennant, and Twain, Hijuelos captures not only the general style of educated 19th century, but manages to pull off the seemingly impossible task of channeling Mark Twain himself. The wily Tokugawa governor, still struggling to establish dominance in Kyoto, sees in Musashi just the weapon he needs to overcome the rebellious Yoshioka. After leaving his home to pursue a military career, his impulsive and undisciplined nature has led to his expulsion from Spanish royal guard, and he must now seek his fortune in Italy; a fortune inseparably bound up with the ruler of the Eternal City, the Pope.
Half-enthralled, half-appalled, Scarpia enjoys the life of the decadent city, learning in due course that as an unsophisticated provincial he is no match for the worldliness of Rome.
As the armies of revolutionary France invade Italy, and war and revolution engulf the whole peninsula, the lives of the two become fatefully entwined.
But it’s 1955, and the men who dominate the newsroom of the Chicago Tribune have no interest in making room for a female cub reporter. To escape Stoneythorpe and the painful secrets that lie there, she moves to London and embraces life and love in the Roaring Twenties. He finds himself at every major moment in the empire-building of the Spanish explorers, including Francisco Pizarro, and in the culture clash and violent overthrow of the Incan leaders.
As he arrives in the city on a frozen January morning he finds a family with a terrible secret tearing their lives apart. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family’s palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi.
They both know their affair will end upon Adriana’s marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to her mother’s household, where her education begins in earnest. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. Brooks uses transliterated names from the Hebrew), she provides fresh nuances to the tale as David rises from humble young shepherd to King. David’s 3,000-year-old experiences are as ancient and fresh as water coursing through a stream.
Compare it with Barack Obama's celebrated performance of "Amazing Grace" at the Charleston memorial. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. In 2006 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel March, which imagines the life of the patriarch of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, who leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War.
But this is Whitechapel in 1888, and the shadowy streets are no place for a desperate woman to wander .
Isabelle is then told that she is to be married not to Hugh de Lusignan but to King John of England, in a complex and treacherous plot to gain the English succession.
When their deposed father Ptolemy marches on the city with a Roman army, both daughters must decide where their allegiances truly lie, and Arsinoe grapples with the truth, that the only way to survive her dynasty is to rule it.
Not only does Harlan forgive his attacker, but he is ready to stand at his trial and plead in his defence. As the truth behind the violence comes to light and the townspeople become caught up in the events, notions of honour and integrity, theft and revenge will be sorely tested.
Over the course of decades, she and Loretta encounter scandal and adventure, choose love and passion, and forge an enduring bond of love and loyalty that will be put to the test when they eventually face the greatest obstacle of their lives. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.


Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthral her many fans.
But before he leaves, he cannot resist the adventure of helping a young woman escape imprisonment in a gaming house. He has taken up with Ameku, a beautiful blind woman branded as a witch; his burgeoning love for her will make him vulnerable. His sons, Tommy and Mario, both served in the Great War and are now upstanding citizens-a cop and a priest.
Of course, that all changes the moment she gets her hands on some confidential information from Mayor Daley’s office. He will rise to lead his men into battle and claim the title of Lord of the Isles – but what must he sacrifice to secure the glory of his name? He becomes an indispensable translator between the two worlds, who must learn political gamesmanship in order to survive and so that he can one day find the love of his life and be reunited with his family.
However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair. The repercussions of his choice-and of Adriana’s own choices-will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Catherine de Medicis is an intimidating and unmoving presence in France-a powerful force in a country recovering from the first of many devastating religious wars.
Because Natan is so close to David, he is able to peek through gauzy curtains, peer through oaken keyholes, and gossip with household servants, all with an eye to fleshing out and providing rich depths and colorful details to what could otherwise be, to some, too familiar a story. David is vividly portrayed as a complex leader who patiently and judiciously resolves squabbles, happily carouses with his soldiers, and composes melodious lyrics. It falls to his young son, Shlomo (Solomon), an energetic and curious youth who will be revered as one of history’s wisest rulers, to articulate its gentle lesson. Both will relish this new novel, which brings alive the Old Testament world of a thousand years before the Christian era. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. Struggling to care for David, who doesn’t speak, and isolated from other “normal” families, Millie meets Jake, a psychologist who says he can help David, and befriends Ethel, also a young mother. He proceeded to write a ferocious 429-page rant about the pair, calling Isabel “a liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a conspirator, a filthy-minded and salacious slut pining for seduction.” Twain and his daughter, Clara Clemens, then slandered Isabel in the newspapers, erasing her nearly seven years of devoted service to their family. The Lusignans envisage an empire ruled by their young puppet queen, which will eventually oust Christianity and restore the Old Religion to Europe.
And they will each come to realise that the world they thought they knew can never be the same again.
But the only way for Kydd to avoid disgrace is to gamble his reputation and crew on a crazy mission to snatch a Prussian division out of the jaws of Napoleon’s advancing army. While driving the car carrying Archduke Franz Ferdinand on his state visit to Sarajevo, Johan makes a wrong turn, and his botched attempts to reverse leave the Archduke and his pregnant wife Sophie open to the bullets of a nearby lunching assassin. He promises to escort Aamira home, but they arrive in Delhi just as the Indian Mutiny explodes. But their cousin Nilo has a dark past, and he fled to America after causing several deaths in a fight in Italy. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her manipulative family.
Brooks convincingly establishes that in Biblical time warring factions, political maneuvering and personal jealousies spilled quickly into blood vendettas, and worse.
There is no subtle beating around the burning bush in this novel, which supplies details of graphic sex and violence that the Bible glossed over.
Millie and Ethel’s lives as friends, wives, mothers, and neighbors entwine, even as chaos begins to swirl around the Rosenbergs and the FBI closes in. How did Lyon go from being the beloved secretary who ran Twain’s life to a woman he was determined to destroy?
But when Isabelle takes matters into her own hands, passions will rage and dynastic fortunes will rise and fall.
The two die in each other’s arms.Johan believes that the enormity of the death and destruction to follow is his fault. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.
Brooks’ mission to shape those events into a story that holds significance for the modern reader.
The author is unflinching in her descriptions of how the hero-king’s embrace of this ends-justify-the-means philosophy grants him a Bond-like license to rampage and kill.
Indeed, there are so many different aspects of David presented that a reader may wonder if, in her obvious desire to de-bunk some myths (just how giant was the warrior Goliath?) Ms. The mix of modern Anglo-Saxon four letter words set in the mouths of ancient tribesmen contrasts nicely with the the jewel-toned details of everyday life for goat herders and palace-dwellers. She doesn't stint on the gory details a€” describing at one point a gutted warrior who "fell backward off the narrow ledge and rolled down the slope, his entrails unfurling after him like a glossy riband." I liked many of the physical facts, such as Natan scraping with pumice the calfskin upon which he would write.
Millie begins to question her own husband’s political loyalty and her marriage, and whether she can trust Jake and the deep connection they have forged as they secretly work with David.
Set against the vivid backdrop of the great political struggles of medieval Europe, The Stolen Queen will delight lovers of intrigue and adventure. As each passing year burdens Johan with further guilt, he seeks solace in his writing and in the makeshift family he assembles around himself.
Brooks may have inadvertently re-mythologized David by constructing such a compelling, complicated persona for him to inhabit.
Brooks initially unsettled me with her name spellings from the Hebrew a€” we read of Shaul rather than Saul, and Shlomo rather than Solomon a€” but in the end the effect is to intensify the historical flavor. We are told the difference between a dye called tekelet, a blue purple, and argaman, a warmer, reddish hue. Caught between these two men, both of whom have their own agendas, and desperate to help her friends, Millie will find herself drawn into the dramatic course of history. With everyone from emperors to hooligans, from Dorothy Parker to Ernest Hemingway at his side, Johan winds his way through Europe and the Twentieth Century, leaving his indelible mark, all while being pursued by his ever-determined lost love Lorelei.This is an ambitious first novel, written with shades of Kundera and Cervantes yet with a charming identity all its own. The language and terminology are so precise that they make these old-world physical facts new-world believable. It's a tall order to breathe life into such a human being, and Geraldine Brooks manages it admirably. They also know that David a€” jester, predator, gangster of love, conqueror and poet a€” will lead them to a united Israel. He is forgiven his "love so strong" for King Shaul's son Yonatan, that "flouted ancient rule." Eight wives and countless courtesans produce many children, but only one Shlomo. His first vision promises David a throne and an empire a€” a good enough reason for the lion-cloaked young man to take the boy on. By then David is 70, palsied, his mind "dazed and baffled." But the light of his power has not dimmed to where he cannot anoint his son.



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