Fiction Previews, September 2012, Pt. 3: Clark, Kincaid, Palma, Russinovich

Clark, Clare. Beautiful Lies. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2012. 416p. ISBN 9780151014675. $26. HISTORICAL
In late Victorian London, presumed Chilean heiress Maribel Campbell Lowe enjoys a bohemian lifestyle, indulging her interest in poetry and photography even though she’s married to an MP, however dashing and daring. Then a newspaper editor starts sniffing around, and Maribel’s past returns to haunt her. The author of four respected novels, including Washington Post Best Book The Great Stink, Clark based her novel on the true story of the double life of an MP’s wife. With a reading group guide.

Cury, Augusto. The Dreamseller: The Revolution. Atria: S. & S. Sept. 2012. 240p. ISBN 9781439196052. $15; eISBN 9781439196076. POP FICTION
As we learned in Cury’s The Dreamseller: The Calling, the Christlike Dreamseller, shabbily dressed and beatifically philosophizing, helps those who have lost their hopes and aspirations. Here the Dreamseller shows us that there are many like him, unsung heroes from teachers who fight for their students to cancer patients who fight for their lives. With more than 12 million copies in print, Brazilian psychiatrist Cury’s inspirational fiction would seem to have broad appeal.

Erickson, Carolly. The Unfaithful Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII’s Fifth Wife. St. Martin’s. Sept. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780312596910. $24.99; eISBN 9781250011022. HISTORICAL
Having given us the New York Times best-selling The Last Wife of Henry VIII (along with lots of other historical fiction and nonfiction titles), Erickson steps back to Henry’s penultimate bride, the vivacious Catherine Howard, who didn’t bother to inform Henry that she’d had three lovers before him. And thus, with his disillusionment and her failure to produce a son, even as the succession was threatened by Prince Edward’s serious illness, Catherine met the fate of her cousin Anne Boleyn. Yummy for Anglophiles.

Kenyon, Sherrilyn. Dance with the Devil. St. Martin’s. Sept. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9781250009135. $25.99; eISBN 9781429976183. PARANORMAL
No, not a new entry in the Dark-Hunter series‚ just last month, I reported that Time Untime will appear in August. This is a hardcover release of the third in the series, so stock up if your copies are worn to shreds.

Kincaid, Jamaica. See Now Then. Farrar. Sept. 2012. 176p. ISBN 9780374180560. $23. CD: Macmillan Audio. LITERARY
Fans of Lannan Literary Award winner Kincaid’s Lucy and Mr. Potter have waited ten years for this novel, ostensibly a study of a Mother and a Father living with their two children in small-town New England. In fact, as the characters follow their proscribed routines, their minds work overtime to make sense of past, present, and future. An interior novel, then, that reflective readers will want.

Nicholas, Douglas. Something Red. Atria: S. & S. Sept. 2012. 374p. ISBN 9781451660074. $25; eISBN 9781451660234. HISTORICAL/FANTASY
An award-winning poet (e.g., Roberts Award), Nicholas decided to write a short story as a Christmas gift to his wife. It bloomed into this packed and spooky-sounding book, set in 1200s England during a particularly frost-bitten winter. Leader of a troupe that includes her lover, her granddaughter, and her apprentice, tough-minded Irishwoman Molly aims to cross the mountains before the snows descend, but something scary is following them in the woods. In the end, the story blends shape-shifters, Templars, Saracens, battling monks, Irish battle queens, frightening mastiffs, and more in a heightened tale reportedly written in resoundingly lyrical prose‚ after all, Nicholas is a poet. Sounds so promising.

Palma, Felix J. The Map of the Sky. Atria: S. & S. Sept. 2012. 576p. ISBN 9781451660319. $26; eISBN 9781451660333. FANTASY
In Spanish author Palma’s dazzling The Map of Time, his first book published here and a New York Times best seller, H.G. Wells is plunged headlong into the possibility of time travel. Wells figures in this follow-up, as New York socialite Emma Harlow agrees to marry millionaire Montgomery Gilmore‚ if he’ll stage the extraterrestrial invasion that appears in Wells’s War of the Worlds. A multilayered plot and more time travel (we even meet Edgar Allen Poe); crossed fingers that it’s as good as the first one.

Russinovich, Mark. Trojan Horse. St. Martin’s. Sept. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9781250010483. $24.99; eISBN 9781250010490. THRILLER
What made the author’s feted debut thriller, Zero Day, so scary was how plausible it was‚ a Microsoft Technical Fellow, responsible for the Sysinternals tools, Russinovich obviously knows his tech stuff. Here’s another scarily plausible work. The Stuxnet virus, jointly created by the CIA and Mossad to disable Iran’s nuclear program, is getting a new iteration, and the anxious Chinese are preparing to retaliate with a nasty new virus of their own called the Trojan Horse. International relations hang in the balance, and so does the fate of cybersecurity analysts Jeff Aiken and Daryl Haugen, who have stumbled upon the virus. Really, old-fashioned shootouts were easier.

Weller, Lance. Wilderness. Bloomsbury USA, dist. by Macmillan. Sept. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9781608199372. $25. HISTORICAL
Living in a driftwood shack on Washington’s beautiful rough-and-tumble coast 30 years after he was badly injured in the Civil War, elderly Abel Truman determines that he must hike across the snow-covered Olympic Mountains to confront personal issues left unresolved since before the war. During his journey, he recalls war’s horrors while fighting off two thugs who want to steal his beloved dog. Weller won Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers, and the Civil War backdrop seems especially fitting for these sesquicentennial times; watch.

Wilson, Antoine. Panorama City. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780547875125. $24. LITERARY Thinking he’s on his deathbed, energetic and big-hearted Oppen Porter ricochets around town, from fast-food joints and storefront churches to his crotchety guardian-angel aunt, recording his determined effort to rise for the benefit of his unborn son. Wilson drew attention with his unsettling debut, The Interloper, and this follow-up is getting some buzz. Check out his tour to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.