Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: July 2016

The Heading Dog Who Split in Half: Legends and Tall Tales from New Zealand

By Michael Brown and Mat Tait

July 1, 2016

Reviewed Wireless Books Otago Access Radio

New Zealand has a rich tradition of folk legends and tall tales.  The Heading Dog Who Split in Half collects together some of the best of these, artfully adapted as graphic tales.  Together these stories conjure up the ‘old, weird New Zealand’: a place of phantom waka, ruined castles, romantic escapades in the early whaling days, magical sheepdogs, garantuan crayfish and more.  They uncover a New Zealand not found in the history books, a country half-familiar, half-dream where the past is made strange and new.

The Heading Dog Who Split in Half is a remarkable and compelling collaboration between writer Michael Brown and comics artist Mat Tait which will not only appeal to graphic novel fans young and old, but to aficionados of Kiwi cultural history.

Belgravia

By Julian Fellowes

July 1, 2016

On the evening of 15 June 1815, the great and the good of British Society have gathered in Brussels at what is to become one of the most tragic parties in history – the Duchess of Richmond’s ball.  For this is the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, and many of the handsome young men attending the ball will find themselves, the very next day, on the battlefield.

For Sophia Trenchard, the young and beautiful daughter of Wellington’s chief supplier, this night will change everything.  But it is only twenty-five years later, when the upwardly mobile Trenchards move into the fashionable new area of Belgravia, that the true repercussions of that moment will be left.  For in this new world, where the aristocracy rub shoulders with the emerging nouveau riche, there are those who would prefer the secrets of the past to remain buried…

Orphan X

By Gregg Hurwitz

July 1, 2016

Reviewed Wireless Books Otago Access Radio

‘Do you need my help?’

It was always the first question he asked.  They called him when they had nowhere else to turn.

As a boy he was chosen, then taken from the orphanage he called home.

Raised and trained as part of a top-secret programme, he was sent to the worse places in the world to do the things his government denied any knowledge of.

Then he broke with the programme, using everything he’d learned to disappear.  He wanted to help the desperate and deserving.

But now someone is on his tail.  Someone who has issues with his past.  Someone who knows he was once known simply as

Orphan X.

First Response

By Stephen Leather

July 1, 2016

Reviewed Wireless Books Otago Access Radio

London is under siege.

Nine men in suicide vests primed to explode hold hostages in nine different locations around the city, and are ready to die for their cause.

Their mission: to force the government to release jihadist prisoners from Belmarsh Prison.

Their deadline: 6pm.  Today.

But the bombers are cleanskins, terrorists with no obvious link to any group, and who do not appear on any anti-terror watch list.  What has brought them together on this one day to act in this way?

Mo Kamran is the superintendent in charge of the Special Crime and Operations branch of the Met.  As the disaster unfolds and the SAS, armed police, and other emergency services rush to the scenes, he is tasked with preventing the biggest terrorist outrage the capital has ever known.

But nothing is what it seems.  Any only Kamran has the big picture.  Will anyone believe him?

The Waters of Eternal Youth

By Donna Leon

July 1, 2016

Reviewed Wireless Books Otago Access Radio

In The Waters of Eternal Youth, the twenty-fifth instalment in the bestselling Burnetti series, our Commissario finds himself drawn into a case that may not be a crime at all.

Brunetti is investigating a cold case by request of the grand Contessa Lando-Continui, a friend of Brunetti’s mother-in-law.  Fifteen years ago the Contessa’s teenage granddaughter, Manuela, was found drowning in a canal.  She was rescued at the last moment, but in many ways it was too late; she suffered severe brain damage and her life was never the same again.  Once a passionate horse rider, Manuela, now aged thirty, cannot remember the accident, or her beloved horse, and lives trapped in an eternal youth.

The Contessa, unconvinced that this was an accident, implores Brunetti to find the culprit she believes was responsible for ruining Manuela’s life.  Out of a mixture of curiosity, pity and a willingness to fulfil the wishes of a loving grandmother, Brunetti reopens the case.  But once he starts to investigate, Brunetti finds a murky past and a dark story at its heart.

The Waters of Eternal Youth is awash in the rhythms and concerns of contemporary Venetian life, from historical preservation, to housing, to new waves of African migrants, all circling the haunting story of a woman trapped in a perpetual childhood.

Blood Wedding

By Pierre Lemaitre

July 1, 2016

Sophie is haunted by the things she cannot remember – and visions from the past she will never forget.

One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead.

She has no memory of what happened.  And whatever the truth, her side of the story is no match for the evidence amassed against her.

Her only hiding place is in a new identity.  A new life, with a man she has met online.

But Sophie is not the only one keeping secrets…

The Sudden Appearance of Hope

By Claire North

July 1, 2016

Reviewed Wireless Books Otago Access Radio

My name is Hope Arden.  I am the girl the world forgets.

It started when I was sixteen years old.

A father forgetting to drive me to school.  A mother setting the table for three, not four.  A friend who looks at me and sees a stranger.

No matter what I do, the words I say, the crimes I commit – you will never remember who I am.

That makes my life tricky.  It also makes me dangerous…

The Sudden Appearance of Hope is the tale of a girl no one remembers, yet her story will stay with you for ever.

The Teddy Bear’s Ribbon & Other Tales

By E.R. Nye

July 1, 2016

Reviewed Wireless Books Otago Access Radio

In this series of adventures Sherlock Holmes and his friend and chronicler Dr Watson solve not only the mystery of the homely teddy bear and it’s role as courier in a spy ring but a number of other crimes.  Thus the pair shed new light on an old grave robbery in seventeenth century Sweden.

Holmes takes on an unexpected role in outwitting a con man who sees Watson as a gullible victim for a plausible swindle.  They venture into international intrigue and the shadowy world of an Italia secret society as well as solving other puzzles, such as the terrible threat of the Giant Rat of Sumatra.

This Must Be the Place

By Maggie O'Farrell

July 1, 2016

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life.

A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.

He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home.  Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

This Must Be the Place crosses continents and time zones, giving voice to a diverse and complex cast of characters.  At its heart, it is an extraordinary portrait of a marriage, the forces that hold it together and the pressures that drive it apart.

The Mountain Shadow

By Gregory David Roberts

July 1, 2016

The first glimpse of the sea on Marine Drive filled my heart, if not my head.  I turned away from the red shadow.  I stopped thinking of that pyramid of killers, and Sanjay’s improvidence.  I stopped thinking about my own part in the madness.  And I rode, with my friends, into the end of everything.

Shantaram introduced millions of readers to a cast of unforgettable characters through Lin, an Australian fugitive, working as a passport forger for a branch of the Bombay mafia.  In The Mountain Shadow, the long-awaited sequel, Lin must find his way in a Bombay run by a different generation of mafia dons, playing by a different set of rules.

It has been two years since the events in Shantaram, and since Lin lost two people he had come to love: his father figure, Khaderbhai, and his soul mate, Karla, married to a handsome Indian media tycoon.  Lin returns from a smuggling trip to a city that seems to have changed too much, too soon.  Many of his old friends are long gone, the new mafia leadership has become entangled in increasingly violent and dangerous intrigues, and a fabled holy men challenges everything that Lin thought he’d learned about love and life.  But Lin can’t leave the Island City: Karla, and a fatal promise, won’t let him go.

‘Roberts is brilliant at creating a sense of menace and projecting the constant tension of the escaped convict…crucially, he is also a man who loves and understands India…nearly 900 pages of pure escape’  Sunday Times

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