Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: October 2015

Stone Mattress

By Margaret Atwood

October 1, 2015

‘Dark and witty tales from the gleefully inventive Margaret Atwood.  Witty verve, imaginative inventiveness and verbal sizzle vivify every page’ – Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband.  An elderly lady with Charles Bonnett syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence.  A woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire, and a crime committed long ago is revenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatalite.

Stone Mattress, a collection of nine acerbic, mischievous, gulpable short stories, addresses themes that will resonate with anyone familiar with Atwood’s writing.  Atwood’s gimlet eye and sharp tongue are turned on the ageing process to painfully accurate effect’ – Harper’s Bazaar

Warriors of the Storm

By Bernard Cornwell

October 1, 2015

A fragile peace is about to be broken …

Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the greatest warrior of all the English kingdoms, controls northern Mercia.  But Northmen allied to the Irish and led by the fierce warrior Ragnall Ivarson are gaining in number, and their strength could prove overwhelming.  And with Uhtred’s own daughter married to Ivarson’s brother, who can be trusted?

In the struggle between family and loyalty, there will be no easy path.  But a man with a warrior’s courage may be able to find it.  Such a man is Uhtred, and this may be his finest hour.


By Robert Harris

October 1, 2015

‘Laws are silent in times of war.’ Cicero

There was a time when Cicero held Caesar’s life in the palm of his hand.  But now Caesar is the dominant figure and Cicero’s life is in ruins.

Exiled, separated from his wife and children, his possessions confiscated, his life constantly in danger, Cicero is tormented by the knowledge that he has sacrificed power for the sake of his principles.

His comeback requires wit, skill and courage – and for a brief and glorious period, the legendary orator is once more the supreme senator in Rome.

But politics is never static and no statesman, however cunning, can safeguard against the ambition and corruption of others.

Riveting and tumultuous, Dictator encompasses some of the most epic events in human history yet is also an intimate portrait of a brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful yet ultimately brave man – a hero for his time and for ours.  This is an unforgettable tour de force from a master storyteller.

The Buried Giant

By Kazuo Ishiguro

October 1, 2015

The extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day.

The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin.  But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased.

The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years.  They expect to face many hazards – some strange and other-worldly – but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.


By Lynda La Plante

October 1, 2015

East London. 1973

Murder. Discrimination.  A city fuelled by crime and corruption…

While the notorious Kray twins are seeing out their 30-year prison sentence, a terrifying undercurrent of violent crime lies in their wake.

Fresh out of training, 22-year-old WPC Jane Tennison is thrown in at the deep end of a male-dominated, chauvinistic world.  It’s a rough and tough environment.  And that’s just at the station.

Jane is drawn into the dark world of murder and the devastating effects that violent crime has on a victim’s family.  Investigating the tragic killing of a young woman, her emotions and commitment will be tested to the core.

In Tennison, Lynda La Plante, award-winning author and creator of the iconic television series Prime Suspect. delivers the novel that her legions of fans have been waiting for.  To fully understand the iconic character Jane Tennison became, the reader must go right back to the beginning of her story.

Palace of Tears

By Julian Leatherdale

October 1, 2015

Angie loved Mr Fox’s magnificent, absurd hotel.  In fact, it was her one true great love.  But … today Angie was so cross, so fed up with everybody and everything, she would probably cheer if a wave of fire swept over the cliff and engulfed the Palace and all its guests.

A sweltering summer’s day, January 1914: the charismatic and ruthless Adam Fox throws a lavish birthday party for his son and heir at his elegant clifftop hotel in the Blue Mountains.  Everyone is invited except Angie, the girl from the cottage next door.  The day will end in tragedy, a punishment for a family’s secrets and lies.

In 2013, Fox’s granddaughter, Lisa, seeks the truth about the past.  Who is this Angie her mother speaks of: ‘the girl who broke all our hearts’?  Why do locals call Fox’s hotel the ‘palace of tears’?  Behind the grandeur and glamour of its famous guests and glittering parties, Lisa discovers a hidden history of passion and revenge, loyalty and love.

A grand piano burns in the night, a séance promises death or forgiveness, a fire rages in a snowstorm, a painter’s final masterpiece inspires betrayal, a child is given away.  With twist upon twist, this lush, strange mystery withholds its shocking truth to the very end.


By Pierre Lemaitre - CWA International Dagger Award Winner

October 1, 2015

With Nothing Else To Lose

Anne Forestier finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time when she blunders into a raid on a jeweller’s on the Champs-Elysees.  Beaten beyond recognition, she is lucky to survive.  But her ordeal has only just begun.

He’ll Break All The Rules

Lying helpless in her hospital bed, with her assailant still at large, Anne is in grave danger.  Just one thing gives her hope: Commandant Camille Verhoeven.

To Protect The Woman He Loves

For Verhoeven it’s a case of history repeating.  He cannot lose Anne as he lost his wife Irene.  But this time he faces an adversary whose greatest strength appears to be Verhoeven’s own matchless powers of intuition.

The Party Line

By Sue Orr

October 1, 2015

An enthralling novel of individual bravery versus silent, collective complicity, set in a vividly drawn farming community in 1970’s New Zealand.

The Baxters do not know their place.

On the first of June every year, sharemilkers load their trucks with their families, pets and possessions and crawl along the highways towards new farms, new lives.  They’re inching towards that ultimate dream – buying their own land.

Fenward’s always been lucky with its sharemilkers: grateful, grafting folk who understand what’s expected of them.  Until now, when grief-stricken Ian Baxter and his precocious daughter, Gabrielle, arrive.

Nickie Walker is enchanted by the glamour and worldliness of Gabrielle.  Nickie’s mother finds herself in the crossfire of a moral battle she dreads to confront.  Each has a story to share.

This is a coming-of-age story for two young girls who hold a mirror up to the place and people they love.  It’s a coming-of-age story, too, for a community forced to stare back at the image of a damaged soul.

The question is: who will blink first?


By C. J. Sansom

October 1, 2015

Autumn, 1541.  King Henry VIII has set out on a spectacular Progress to the North to attend an extravagant submission by his rebellious subjects in York.

Already in the city are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak.  As well as legal work processing local petitions to the King, Shardlake has reluctantly undertaken a special mission for Archbishop Cranmer – to ensure the welfare of an important but dangerous conspirator who is to be returned to London for interrogation.

But the murder of a York glazier involves Shardlake in deeper mysteries, connected not only to the prisoner in York Castle but to the royal family itself.  And when Shardlake and Barak stumble upon a cache of secret documents which could threaten the Tudor throne, a chain of events unfolds that will lead to Shardlake facing the most terrifying fate of the age…

Cop Town (October 2015)

By Karin Slaughter

October 1, 2015

Atlanta, 1974

As a brutal killing and a furious manhunt rock the city, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the police force will also be her last.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who is finding things tough.  Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes.

When Maggie and Kate becomes partners, and are sidelined in the search for the city’s cop killer, they decide to pursue their own line of investigation.  But are they prepared to risk everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart?

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