Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mailbox Monday

It's time for Mailbox Monday, a weekly travelling meme that is being hosted during the month of January by At Home With Books

Thanks to the abundance of gift cards I received for Christmas, my mailbox has been quite full with new books lately.   Here are some of my gift card purchases (all synopses courtesy of Chapters.indigo.ca):






Historical Fiction

The Courier's Tale by Peter Walker

Reginald Pole, diplomat, friend of scholars, cardinals and artists, and cousin to Henry VIII, is first seen stealing into the Medici chapel at dead of night to catch a forbidden glimpse of Michelangelo's masterpiece of funerary sculpture. But as the king's representative in Italy, and an admired scholar himself, it falls to him to make the case for Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon. And it falls to the hapless Michael Throckmorton to become Thomas Cromwell's courier to Pole in Rome.

In Peter Walker's imaginative novel, in which two worlds, increasingly opposed, are beautifully evoked, we see these famous events that saw England become a Protestant nation through the eyes of the luckless courier. The dubious privilege of being courier to Cromwell and the King, makes of Michael Throckmorton's life a tragicomedy of endless journeys back and forth between England and Italy. And even though in time he becomes the loyal friend of the disgraced Pole, who can never risk returning to England while Henry lives, this is no compensation for the childhood love who appears to have been lost along the way.


Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay


In present-day Boston, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Russian ballet, has decided to auction her jewellery collection and donate the proceeds to the Boston Ballet Foundation. It is a mysterious gesture that has piqued the interest of two particular individuals: a rising associate director at the auction house, Drew Brooks, who seeks to unravel the provenance of the pieces; and a professor and Russian translator at the nearby university, Grigori Solodin, who believes the jewels might hold the key to his past.

The stakes are raised when an anonymous individual donates a necklace that perfectly matches the bracelet and earrings in Nina's collection, claiming the pieces belong together. It is this donation that will bring Drew and Grigori together in unexpected ways to uncover the story behind Nina's fabulous jewels' a bounty said to have been smuggled out of Stalinist Russia when she defected from the country in the early 1950s.

It was there, in Russia, that Nina first learned to dance, fell in love with the handsome poet Viktor Elsin, and struggled with the choice to pursue her craft or begin a family. Nina and her circle of free-thinking artist friends lived in constant fear of Stalin's disapproval, of arrest and torture by the secret police for unpatriotic behaviour and so-called crimes against the state. Yet when their circle was broken by just such an arrest, a devastating misunderstanding parted the four friends and lovers forever.

Brock's Agent by Tom Taylor

It's the eve of the War of 1812.   Thomas Jefferson declares that it's a "mere matter of marching" for the United States to seize Upper Canada.

After witnessing the Battle of Tippecanoe, Jonathan Westlake, a young man ready to make his mark, returns home to York [now Toronto] from a successful fur trading expedition. Intervening in a scuffle to save a young woman's life, he appears to have killed her stepfather. To escape arrest for murder, Westlake is now forced to join the British Army and pose as a fur trader while on a secret mission for Major General Isaac Brock.

In a frantic search for the girl he rescued, down Georgian Bay to Fort Detroit, Westlake discovers treachery in his own family circle. His friends, a French Canadian named Lapointe and a Shawnee native called Paxinos, will remain loyal to him in a battle that may cost all of them their lives.

As nations and men struggle for military supremacy in North America, the principal characters fight to the death over love, independence, and a fortune in furs.

The King's Witch by Cecelia Holland

During the Third Crusade, deaths from fever and starvation are common, but King Richard the Lion-Hearted has a secret ally against these impassable enemies-a mysterious healer by the name of Edythe.

She was sent to him by his mother Eleanor, and Richard first assumes that Edythe is a spy. But when her medical knowledge saves his life, she becomes an indispensable member of his camp-even as his loyal soldiers, suspicious of her talent for warding off death, call her a witch.  




Also received:

- The Courtier's Secret by Donna Russo Morin
- The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak
- The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato

Fantasy

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.


Seven Princes by John R. Fultz

It is an Age of Legends.  Under the watchful eye of the Giants, the kingdoms of Men rose to power. Now, the Giant-King has slain the last of the Serpents and ushered in an era of untold peace and prosperity. Where a fire-blackened desert once stood, golden cities flourish in verdant fields.

It is an Age of Heroes.  But the realms of Man face a new threat-- an ancient sorcerer slaughters the rightful King of Yaskatha before the unbelieving eyes of his son, young Prince D'zan. With the Giant-King lost to a mysterious doom, it seems that no one has the power to stop the coming storm.

It is an Age of War.  The fugitive Prince seeks allies across the realms of Men and Giants to liberate his father''s stolen kingdom. Six foreign Princes are tied to his fate. Only one thing is certain: War is coming.

SEVEN PRINCES.   Some will seek glory.  Some will seek vengeance.  All will be legends


Also received:

- Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder


Those are the books that arrived in my mailbox.  What did you get? 


11 comments:

  1. After just reading Lionheart I would love to read The King's Witch. It sounds really interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Will be interested in your thoughts on Theft of Swords. That sounded interesting in the blog coverage I've seen.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Anne - One of the reasons I bought it was because I wanted to read more historical fiction set at the same time as Lionheart :-)

    @Sarah - The whole Riyria Revelations series is getting great buzz. The trilogy was originally self-published as a six novel series, but Orbit has picked it up and condensed it into a trilogy. I'm really looking forward to this one!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a beautiful collection of history here! enjoy them all.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Enjoy all your new reads. I wasn't a huge fan of The Russian Winter, I hope you enjoy it more. Happy reading!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Theft of Swords and Seven Princes sounds so good. I wasn't huge fan of Russian Winter but I'm curious to read your review.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A great list of books, enjoy!

    http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2012/01/mailbox-monday_09.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. Fantastic collection!! I'm hoping to someday read Russian Winter, too!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Gift card book presents are the best! :) Great mailbox!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have been enjoying my gift card as well. The after holidays sales have been making the gift cards stretch pretty far! I hope you enjoy your finds!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really enjoyed Russian Winter. Great mailbox.

    ReplyDelete