Monday, January 28, 2013

Reading Roulette: Second Pick

As of this next spin of the wheel, there are 373 books on my To Be Read list (I can't seem to stop adding them). The next three picks, after consulting the number generator:

323. Cut to the Quick, by Kate Ross (Julian Kestrel mysteries #1). This will make my friend Margaret happy, as the copy she loaned me has been sitting on my dresser for the last two years.

Description: To the ranks of great sleuths of ages past, add a new candidate - Julian Kestrel - a detective as historically authentic as Brother Cadfael and as dashing as Lord Peter Wimsey. Kestrel is the reigning dandy of London in the 1820s, famous for his elegant clothes and his unflappable sangfroid. One night he rescues a young aristocrat named Hugh Fontclair from a gambling house, and in gratitude Hugh invites him to be best man at his wedding. But when Kestrel goes to stay with the Fontclairs at their sumptuous country house, he is caught in the crossfire of the bride's and groom's warring families. Soon, discord erupts into murder. In a world without fingerprinting, chemical analysis, or even police, murder poses a baffling challenge. Undaunted, Kestrel sets out to solve the crime. With the help of his Cockney manservant, Dipper a (mostly) reformed pickpocket, Kestrel delves beneath the Fontclairs' respectable surface. What he finds is a trail of crime, deception, and forbidden lust that leads him at last to the killer. The combination of a new author, a charming new sleuth, and a strikingly original setting adds up to a smashing mystery that moves with force and intelligence - and expert suspense - from beginning to end.

326. Freedom and Necessity, by Steven Brust and Emma Bull. My sister gave me this book, and it is also in the pile on my dresser.

Description: It is 1849. Across Europe, the high tide of revolution has crested, leaving recrimination and betrayal in its wake. From the high councils of Prussia to the corridors of Parliament, the powers-that-be breathe sighs of relief. But the powers-that-be are hardly unified among themselves. Far from it...

On the south coast of England, London man-about-town James Cobham comes to himself in a country inn, with no idea how he got there. Corresponding with his cousin, he discovers himself to have been presumed drowned in a boating accident. Together they decide that he should stay put for the moment, while they investigate what may have transpired. For James Cobham is a wanted man--wanted by conspiring factions of the government and the Chartists alike, and also the target of a magical conspiracy inside his own family.

And so the adventure begins...leading the reader through every corner of mid-nineteenth-century Britain, from the parlors of the elite to the dens of the underclass. Not since Wilkie Collins or Conan Doyle has there been such a profusion of guns, swordfights, family intrigues, women disguised as men, occult societies, philosophical discussions, and, of course, passionate romance.

Nor could any writing team but Steven Brust and Emma Bull make it quite so much fun...

351. Rusalka, by C.J. Cherryh (Russian Stories #1). Recommended by my friend Jessica. I used to own a copy of this book, but never managed to read it. Maybe this time will be different!

Description: This is Hugo-Award-winning author C.J. Cherryh's Del Rey debut—the story of Rusalka, the ghost of a murdered girl still seeking to exist by drawing the energy of life from all nearby living things, and the attempt to bring her back to life by her father Ulamets, and Pyetr, the young man who loved her.

None of these picks are available in audio format, which makes them more difficult to finish quickly. However, I will give all of them a chance. I'm not really sure what I'm in the mood to read right now. Feel free to help me choose.

Why am I doing this?


SonomaLass said...

Tough choice! CJ Cherryh has, IMO, never written a bad book. The Julian Kestrel books have been on my radar for a while, along with several other historical detective fiction series that I'm reluctant to get sucked into. Emma Bull's War for the Oaks is an amazing novel (I only read it last year) and Brust is one of my partner's favorite authors, so I'd probably go with Freedom and Necessity if it were me choosing. Alas, it's not; and since it's not available as a digital book and our library system doesn't have it, I won't be reading it anytime soon.

Helgagrace said...

Last time I ended up reading 2 out of the 3 choices, and I think that may be true of this group as well. It really depends on whether I'm in the mood for Rusalka when I crack the cover...