Sunday, May 15, 2011

Edi's Lighthouse Chatter: Holiday Book Bag

I count the days until my wife will travel to the Baltic sea where we will stay for a week.
We leave on May 22nd and return on may 29th. That means six days to relax.
We will rent a roofed wicker beach chair and use it several hours per day.
Just imagine: Sand below your feet, water only a couple of meters away, fresh air, no stress, no noise, no problems. A great surrounding to read books.
In order to read I need to take some of them with me which leads directly to the question: Which books?

I own around 160 unread books. I know I'm crazy because I still be new ones.
I confess I'm book addicted!

160 books to choose from. Which criteria should I use for my choice? I took criteria in account which I discarded a few minutes later. Finally I decided that this is no question to be answered by using criteria. It is simply a decision based on gut feeling and mood.

One thing I know for sure.
We (my wife and I) need a dictionary or two (English - English and English - German). There are still words we do not know :-)

Inspired by the fellowship of the ring I restricted the number of books to nine. Before you ask, yes, I'm aware of the fact that I can't finish them all within six days. Fortunately I have some more days off after our return .....

I would like to share with you the final content of my holiday book bag. Except my first choice I present you the books in no specific order.

I had no doubt about my first choice which was one of the most anticipated books in 2011. It is "brick" with a weight of 1.286 kg = 2.8351 lbs and a measured height of 6 cm = 2.3622 inch.
"Only" 994 pages!!
The Wise Man's Fear (trade paperback, UK 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0575081420] by Patrick Rothfuss is the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicle. Since I received my copy I fought a desperate fight to withstand reading it immediately. Again and again I told myself:
"Wait until your holidays. You will enjoy it double when you are totally relaxed."

Eight places left in my bag. Only eight !! Do I regret my decision to limit the number of books? NO! I don't! Because my gut feeling tells me that these are the right books for my holiday.

I'm sure some of the books will surprise you - maybe you even do not know them. That means also an opportunity for you. Some of the books are brand-new. In one case I received my copy end of last week. All books have been published for the first time in the past six years.

I own and read all books in the most entertaining steampunk series PAX BRITANNIA.
All? To be honest that is not true. I did not read the latest Ulysses Quicksilver adventure Anno Frankenstein [ISBN-13: 978-1907519451]by Jonathan Green. The reason for that is quite simple: May 12th 2011 is the official publishing date. But I'm a lucky guy because I received my copy a few days ago. Anno Frankenstein is the seventh Ulysses Quicksilver adventure and it is a must read for me. I will patiently wait until my holiday.

"In 1998 Magna Britannia remains the undisputed superpower of the world whereas, since the Second Great European War, Hitler's Nazi party has been reduced to the status of an underground terrorist movement. But fifty-five years ago... The Nazis are at the height of their power. Much of Europe has fallen beneath their inexorable march, but with the automaton armies of Magna Britannia poised to invade and bring about a swift end to the war, Germany finds its resources stretched to the limit. What Hitler's legions need now is a miracle. And a miracle may be what they are about to receive; a gift from the future, something that should not exist in the year 1943, for one man has stolen fire from heaven. But another has followed him back from the future to ensure that history follows its pre-determined course. Ulysses Quicksilver finds himself in Anno Frankenstein where the bodies of the fallen are reconstructed and resurrected that they might fight again. Behind enemy lines, Ulysses Quicksilver must infiltrate the most heavily-defended fortress on the planet, and there face an age-old enemy one last time. Should he fail, history will be re-written and Ulysses Quicksilver will cease to exist, having never even been born at all." [Source]

I assume it is no surprise for your that there is a second steampunk novel in my bag. Maybe you expected more. It would be possible because there are more steampunk novels on my shelf. I chose The Martian Ambassador (pb, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-1907777-080] by Alan Baker which is the first in the brand-new Blackwood & Harrington Mystery series. I found the ingredients London, life on Mars, crime and clockwork irresistible.
"WELCOME TO LONDON, 1899 It has been six years since the discovery of intelligent life on Mars, and relations between the two worlds are rapidly developing. Three-legged Martian omnibuses stride through the streets and across the landscape, while Queen Victoria has been returned to the vigour of youth by Martian rejuvenation drugs. Victorian computer technology is proceeding apace, thanks to the faeries who power the 'cogitators'; while the first 'ther zeppelins are nearing completion, with a British expedition to the Moon being planned for the following year. Everything seems to be going swimmingly until Lunan R'ondd, Martian Ambassador to the Court of Saint James's, dies while attending a banquet at Buckingham Palace. The discovery of strange, microscopic larvae in his breathing apparatus leads Queen Victoria to suspect that he may have been the victim of a bizarre assassination. The Martian Parliament agrees, and they are not pleased. No Martian has ever died in such suspicious circumstances while on Earth. An ultimatum is given: if Her Majesty's Government cannot solve the crime and bring the perpetrator to justice, the Martians will! Enter Thomas Blackwood, Special Investigator for Her Majesty's Bureau of Clandestine Affairs. Along with Lady Sophia Harrington, Secretary of the Society for Psychical Research, Blackwood is charged with the task of solving the mystery of Ambassador R'ondd's death, before the Martians take matters into their own hands, possibly igniting an interplanetary war in the process!" [Source]
In case I like The Martian Ambassador I do not have to wait long for the next book. Feaster for the Stars will be published in August 2011. I forgot to mention that three-legged Martian omnibuses reminded me of War of the Worlds.

Mars. The red planet. With my fourth pick we return to Mars - in future. A couple of days ago The Quantum Thief (hc, US, May 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0765329493] by Hannu Rajaniemi hit the book stores in US. Tor/ has been so kind as to sent me an ARC.
"Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy - from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars. Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons - the Dilemma Prison - against countless copies of himself. Jean's routine of death, defection and cooperation is upset by the arrival of Mieli and her spidership, Perhonen. She offers him a chance to win back his freedom and the powers of his old self - in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed . . . The Quantum Thief is a dazzling hard SF novel set in the solar system of the far future - a heist novel peopled by bizarre post-humans but powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge and jealousy. It is a stunning debut. "[Source]
It is the first book in a trilogy and it is the only sf book I chose. The blurb is promising and after reread of Adam's review of The Quantum Thief over at The Wertzone there was no more reason to ignore The Quantum Thief.

With my fifth pick I time travel to England in 1540. This will be my second dive into the world of Matthew Shardlake. Dark Fire (pb, 2004) [ISBN-13: 978-0330450782] by C. J. Sansom is the second book in the series. The main character is unusual and the author is known for his excellent description of historical England.
""It is 1540, and Henry VIII has been on the throne for thirty-one years when Matthew Shardlake, the lawyer renowned as "the sharpest hunchback in the courts of England," is pressed to help a friend's young niece who is charged with murder. Despite threats of torture and death by the rack, the girl is inexplicably silent. Shardlake is about to lose her case when he is suddenly granted a reprieve - one that will ensnare him again in the dangerous schemes of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's feared vicar general." In exchange for two more weeks to investigate the murder, Shardlake accepts Cromwell's assignment to find a lost cache of "Dark Fire," an ancient weapon of mass destruction. Cromwell, out of favor since Henry's disastrous marriage to Anne of Cleves, is relying on Shardlake's discovery to save his position at court, which is rife with conspiracy." [Source]

What do you think when you read Venice, vampire, assassins, historical fantasy? Sounds good for me. Venice is a town with a fascinating history. As much as I love London I look forward to discover Venice and I'm nosy how the vampires will be described. The Fallen Blade (2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0316074391] by Jon Courtenay Grimwood is the first book in the new Vampire Assassin trilogy.
"Venice 1407
The city is at the height of its powers. In theory, Duke Marco commands, but Marco is a simpleton so his aunt and uncle rule in his stead. They seem all powerful, yet live in fear of assassins better than their own

n the night their world changes, Marco's young cousin prays in the family chapel for deliverance from a forced marriage. It is her misfortune to be alone when Mamluk pirates break in to abduct her – an act that will ultimately trigger war.
lsewhere Atilo, the Duke's chief assassin, cuts a man's throat. Hearing a noise, he turns back to find a boy drinking from the victim's wound. The speed with which the angel-faced boy dodges his dagger and scales a wall stuns Atilo. He knows then he must hunt him. Not to kill him, but because he’s finally found what he thought was impossible – someone fit to be his apprentice." [Source]


There is a kind of connection between my sixth and seventh pick. It is the renaissance background. Magic of Dawn (pb, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0756406462] by S L Farrell is the first book in the Nessantico Cycle which is in fact a trilogy. Of course I own copies of all three books.
"An intricate tale of murder and magic, deception and betrayal, Machiavellian politics, star-crossed lovers, and a world on the brink of devastating war....

Over the decades and slow centuries, the city of Nessantico spread its influence in all directions, subsuming and converting the majority of other religions and lesser gods within the Holdings. Always strong even as the borders of the Holdings ebbed and flowed under the effects of war and commerce, always magnificent even as tastes and styles changed, always seductive and desirable no matter what other exotic lands and places might briefly come into fashion, Nessantico gathered to itself all that was intellectual, all that was rich, all that was powerful. There was no city in the known world that could rival it. But there were many who envied it..." [Source]
Machiavellian politics promise gray characters and that promises entertaining hours.


Epic fantasy, female main character, series are three ingredients I like to be combined. And that is what the Trial of Blood and Steel quartet delivers. And the good thing is that the whole quartet is available. I wait for the delivery of the fourth and final volume. That is a good reason to enter Sasha (pb, 2009) [ISBN-13: 978-1591027874] by Australian author Joel Shepherd.
"Sasha turns her back on her regal heritage, forsakes the life she could have as the princess in a rich kingdom, and trains instead to be a powerful warrior, fighting for the good of the people her father commands. Sasha is a princess, the like of which the highland country of Lenayin has never seen before. Spurning her royal heritage to be raised by the great warrior, Kessligh, her exquisite swordplay astonishes all who witness it. But Sasha is still young, untested in battle and often led by her rash temper. In the complex world of Lenayin loyalties, her defiant wilfulness is attracting the wrong kind of attention. Lenayin is a land almost divided by its two faiths: the Verenthane of the ruling classes and the pagan Goeren-yai, amongst whom Sasha now lives. The Goeren-yai worship swordplay and honour and begin to see Sasha as the great spirit--the Synnich--who will unite them. But Sasha is still searching for what she believes and must choose her side carefully. When the Udalyn people--the symbol of Goeren-yai pride and courage--are attacked, Sasha will face her moment of testing. How will she act? Is she ready to lead? Can she be the saviour they need her to be?" [Source]
It seems Joel Shepherd has delivered something excellent when I trust(and I do) comments like the following one.
"The result is an intelligent book – politics are serious, magic doesn’t solve problems, mistakes are made. This gives Shepherd’s world a realism often lacking in epic fantasy and earns the comparisons to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire that it’s often given." [Source]

There are books where I got the impression everybody read it except me. One of these books is e The Lies of Locke Lamora (mmpb, 2007) [ISBN-13: 978-0553588941] by Scott Lynch.
What shall I say about a book where the number of GOODREADS reviews exceed the number of pages. My expectations are high ...
"In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part “Robin Hood,” one part Ocean's Eleven, and entirely enthralling.…
An orphan's life is harsh - and often short - in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains - a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans - a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.
Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful - and more ambitious - than Locke has yet imagined.
Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men - and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game - or die trying.…" [Source]

Nine books with around 4850 pages. Nine books from nine different publishers. Nine books and no hardcover. Nine books and only one ARC. Nine books and they all are part of series. Nine wonderful books. None of the books is a stand alone novel. It seems I'm a series junkie. Ni I can't wait to enter the roofed wicker beach chair and start reading ...

I will post about this reading experience after our return.



Mark Lawrence said...

have a good one - recharge!

ediFanoB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ediFanoB said...

Thanks Mark. I need it. I struggle to write five words in a row without mistake ...

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