Recursion

Recursion

Recursion by Blake Crouch. Pan Macmillan £8.99

‘Recursion’ is the perfect lockdown page-turner!

Blake Crouch may just have invented something totally new – his genre-bending novel ‘Recursion’, is a mash-up of mind-blowing sci-fi and suspenseful thriller, embedded within a deeply emotional love story.

The novel is a fresh take on the core themes Crouch explored in his previous thriller ‘Dark Matter’ – temporal reality, memory, and what it means to be human. The story opens with what appears to be an epidemic of false memory syndrome, driving its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. Detective Barry Sutton and neuroscientist Helena Smith’s paths cross while investigating the phenomenon, and Helena is on the verge of a stunning discovery. They embark on a looping mission through time and alternate realities to confront their enemy and prevent the world being trapped in a loop of ever-growing chaos.

A brilliantly inventive, thoughtful, and surprising thriller, which was gulped down in 2 days!

Deeplight

Deeplight

Just out in March 2020 in paperback, this spell-binding fantasy novel by the supremely talented Frances Hardinge will suck you in and hold you in its grasp you like one of the many-tentacled sea-Gods who inhabit the story.

Frances Hardinge is the Costa-award-winning author of The Lie Tree and Skinful of Shadows. Deeplight, like those novels, is categorised as Children’s or YA fiction, but, like Philip Pullman’s, her books transcend age limits and I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants to be transported on an adventure to the darkest ocean depths.

The story is set in the Myriad Isles, a scattering of islands peopled by sea-faring folk, many of whom make their living by scavenging the ocean depths for traces of ‘God-ware’ – powerful, magical fragments of the underwater Gods who once terrorised the isles.

When scavenger boy Hark and his best friend Jalt happen upon one such relic, they realise its’ value, but have no idea of the dark power it will exert… until it is too late, and Hark must face up to the fact that he has compromised not just who Jelt is, but what he is . . .

A dark, bewitching tale, which raises big questions about faith, friendship, loyalty, and what it means to be human.

The Mercies

The Mercies

I wolfed this astonishing, heart-rending novel down in a couple of days! An entrancing and beautifully-written novel by an author who has hitherto written for teenagers.

‘The Mercies’ is based on the real-life drama of a storm near the fishing village of Vardo in Northern Norway in 1617, which wiped out the male population of the small village, leaving the heart-broken women to fend for themselves, which they do, quite ably, until a Scottish Commissioner is sent North to tame their unseemly ways. The growing friendship between the Commissioner’s young wife, Ursa, and Maren, a feisty village woman, forms the centre-piece of the novel, which gathers pace as the full horror of the Commissioner’s mission becomes clear. An incredible glimpse into the havoc wreaked in a God-fearing fishing village by superstition and prejudice at the time of the Witch Trials.

‘Beautiful and chilling’ – Madeline Miller, author of Circe

The Ninth Child

The Ninth Child

A familiar face on our TV screens, Sally received great acclaim for her debut novel, The Sealwoman’s Gift, in 2018. Now we are pleased to introduce her second novel, The Ninth Child, a spellbinding tale which blends fact with fiction, history with folklore, and science with superstition, as it draws together the story of 17th Century minister Robert Kirke and Sally’s own great-grandmother. Set on the banks of Loch Katrine, where a huge engineering project is underway to deliver clean water to disease-ridden Victorian Glasgow and the hills echo with explosive blasts, The Ninth Child follows Isabel Aird, coming to terms with childlessness and attempting to start a new life with her engineer husband in this bleak but striking environment. When Isabel encounters a mysterious stranger who watches her every move, the foundations of her life grow increasingly less sure. Set in a pivotal era when engineering innovation flourished but women’s role was still muted, The Ninth Child blends folklore with historical realism in a masterly narrative. ‘An extraordinarily immersive read’ Guardian ‘Richly imagined and energetically told’ Sunday Times

A Life in Art – Alison Milner Gulland

A Life in Art – Alison Milner Gulland

When I heard from Jeremy Knight, Curator of Horsham Museum, about the secret project dreamed up by Robin Milner Gulland, husband of Washington artist Alison Milner-Gulland, to produce a book to accompany a retrospective exhibition in honour of her 80th birthday, I was absolutely thrilled because she is one of my favourite artists. With the help of art expert Rupert Toovey, a long-time fan, they have put together a delightful record of the wide-ranging work of this remarkable artist. There is a little story behind each piece, from the ancient legends of Chanctonbury Ring to the icons of Russia and the sad history of Syria. Here in this book we have a brief taste of a life full of adventure and creative exploration, with work both figurative and abstract, masterfully rendered in paint, pastel, collage or ceramics. As this quiet and indomitable artist says “I don’t paint to sell – I do it because I want to say ‘look, I’ve seen this, look at it’. It either sells or it doesn’t. Some will see what I see and if they don’t, well tough!” This lovingly produced book gives a wonderful opportunity to appreciate this philosophy at first hand.

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