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):
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
- The Courtier's Secret by Donna Russo Morin
- The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak
- The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato
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
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
- Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Those are the books that arrived in my mailbox. What did you get?