Of Blood and Bone: Chronicles of The One, Book 2 by Nora Roberts, St. Martin’s Press, US $28.99, Pp 464, December 2018, ISBN 978-1250122995
Virgil Wander by Leif Enger, Grove Press, US $27.00, Pp 352, October 2018, ISBN 978-0802128782
Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson, Orbit, US $27.00, Pp 446, October 2018, ISBN 978-0316262378
In Of Blood and Bone, the sequel to Nora Roberts’ apocalyptic Year One (2017), Fallon Swift celebrates her thirteenth birthday and chooses to train with her magical mentor. Her other secret name is ‘The One’. The forces of darkness have already been unleashed. People are losing work, and industries are shutting down. People produce or steal their own food only to survive. This is the new normal after ‘The Doom.’ She is now looking for allies and gets ready for the coming war. At her thirteenth birthday, Fallon Swift knows little about the world that existed in the past or the city of her parents which now lies in ruins. ‘The Doom’ sickened and killed billions. The survivors have joined different factions according to their priorities. Some of the survivors have discovered their magical powers. Travelling has become dangerous as Raiders and fanatic Purity Warriors may kill you. It seems she will no longer be able to hide her true identity as ‘The One.’ She will now be trained in a mysterious shelter in the forest under the guidance of Mallick, who has perfected his skills over centuries. This is the time for her to go with her mentor in the land of elves and faeries and study spells and train with swords. Fallon will learn the old techniques of healing, studying and sparring and face faeries and elves and shifters with courage. She will get the powers she never had. At the right time, she will take up the sword and enter the battlefield. The world will never be the same for her. Nora takes you to an imagined world where terror and magick (derived from the mentor of Fallon). Those who have read the Book 1 will find it even more thrilling and entertaining and those who have not read Book 1 will be hugely tempted to go back to Book 1. But you will surely and eagerly wait for the next installment.
About the author
Nora Roberts is the author of more than 200 novels, including Year One, Come Sundown, The Obsession, The Liar, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print. She lives in Maryland, USA.
Virgil Wander miraculously survives when his car hits a snag on the icy road and falls off into Superior icy Lake, near Duluth. Virgil survives but loses his memory and is unable to speak straight. He no longer recognizes the world around him. Virgil who is a movie house owner starts to piece together his past with the help of people around him — from Rune who is investigating a mystery of his disappeared son and Nadine who is married to a vanished man and Tom who is a journalist and Virgil’s oldest friend and the Pea family who have their own tragedies. There are several subplots and people that are woven into one big story. One of the subplots of this imagination-packed novel is the rebirth of the titular narrator and a minor-league in North Shore who had a moment of glory which the narrator never had. The eccentric young pitcher is nicknamed — the Mad Mouse — because of an uncontrollable fastball. Many will take it as a metaphor for the author himself who has already made a breakthrough with his debut — Peace Like a River, 2001. Then there is a kite-flying Nordic codger who is on a search for his son he had never seen — the disappeared pitcher. Then there is a half-domesticated and half-feral raccoon named Genghis. The sturgeon is homicidal. The town founder has become a film director while his erratic son is a source of bad luck to the city. The mythical and beautiful young mother and her son are hoping for the return of their Odysseus (the disappeared), who is likely to find love from Virgil. Then the story builds towards an annual festival called Hard Luk Days that will attract regional son Bob Dylan. There is a lot more to the story. It is an amazing imagined portrait of the people and region and people who could not revive their dead industries. Leif Engr takes readers to an imagined city of magical mysteries near Duluth. Virgil Wander is packed with imagination and humor that keeps you glued to the pages.
About the author
Leif Enger grew up in Osakis, Minnesota, where he worked as a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio before he wrote his bestseller debut Peace like a River, which won the Independent Publishers Book Award and was one of the Los Angeles Times and Time magazine’s best books of the year. His second novel So Brave, Young and Handsome, was a national bestseller and a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award Honor Book for fiction. He and his wife Robin live in Minnesota.
Red Moon is set in approximately 2050 when the man has finally colonized the moon and travel between the Earth and Moon has become a routine. American scientist Fred Fredericks arrives on the moon to install a communications system for China’s Lunar Science Foundation. Fred Fredericks is supposed to deliver a secure quantum-entangled phone to Chang Yazu who is the chief administrator of the Chinese Lunar Authority. Shortly after Fred Fredericks meets Yazu, Yazu faints and falls on the floor. He had been slow-poisoned. As Fred Fredericks is the last person to have met Yazu, he is accused of the murder. Fred has to go into hiding on the moon. Fred has actually become a pawn in the power struggle among Chinese governing elite. The Chinese government is also trying to catch Chan Qi — daughter of Chinese Minister of Finance — who has led the migrant workers’ rights movement in China. Cranky Chan Qi is pregnant and is hiding to escape the Chinese government’s wrath. Chan Qi is already in hiding on the moon. She has actually escaped from China. When she attempts to return to China in secret, unexpected events take place that will change everything — on the moon and on Earth. At the same time as Fred is visiting the moon, celebrity travel reporter Ta Shu is also traveling to the moon which he finds a dangerous place just like the Earth. Ta Shu is sympathetic to both Fred and Chan Qi and helps them as they look for refuge. Red Moon may initially seem to be a sci-fi novel; it actually is a political thriller. Kim Stanley Robinson shows that the superpowers take their political rivalries in the outer space as well. Robinson is a gifted storyteller who has woven a highly entertaining story around the likely future superpower rivalry between the United States and China.
About the author
Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. He is the author of eleven previous books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Fifty Degrees Below, Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt, and Antarctica–for which he was sent to the Antarctic by the U.S. National Science Foundation as part of their Antarctic Artists and Writers’ Program. He lives in Davis, California.