Lying in the sand dunes of Baritone Bay are the bodies of a middle-aged couple. Celice and Joseph, in their mid-50s and married for more than 30 years, are returning to the seacoast where they met as students. Instead, they are battered to death by a thief with a chunk of granite. Their corpses lie undiscovered and rotting for a week, prey to sand crabs, flies, and gulls. Yet there remains something touching about the scene, with Joseph’s hand curving lightly around his wife’s leg, “quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead, but not departed yet.”
“Their bodies had expired, but anyone could tell—just look at them—that Joseph and Celice were still devoted. For while his hand was touching her, curved round her shin, the couple seemed to have achieved that peace the world denies, a period of grace, defying even murder. Anyone who found them there, so wickedly disfigured, would nevertheless be bound to see that something of their love had survived the death of cells. The corpses were surrendered to the weather and the earth, but they were still a man and wife, quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead, but not departed yet.”
From that moment forward, Being Dead becomes less about murder and more about death. Alternating chapters move back in time from the murder in hourly and two-hourly increments. As the narrative moves backward, we see Celice and Joseph make the small decisions about their day that will lead them inexorably towards their own deaths. In other chapters the narrative moves forward. Celice and Joseph are on vacation and nobody misses them until they do not return. Thus, it is six days before their bodies are found. Crace describes in minute detail their gradual return to the land with the help of crabs, birds, and the numerous insects that attack the body and gently and not so gently prepare it for the dust-to-dust phase of death.
Patrick Süskind - Perfume
An acclaimed bestseller and international sensation, Patrick Suskind's classic novel provokes a terrifying examination of what happens when one man's indulgence in his greatest passion-his sense of smell-leads to murder. In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift-an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and frest-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume"-the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brillance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.
Dan Brown - Angels and Demons
When a world renowned scientist is found brutally murdered in a Swiss research facility, a Harvard professor, Robert Langdon, is summoned to identify the mysterious symbol seared onto the dead man's chest. His baffling conclusion: that it is the work of the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years - reborn to continue their bitter vendetta against their most hated enemy, the Catholic church.In Rome, the college of cardinals assembles to elect a new pope. Yet somewhere within the walls of the Vatican, an unstoppable bomb of terrifying power relentlessly counts down to oblivion. While the minutes tick away, Langdon joins forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to decipher the labyrinthine trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome to the long-forgotten Illuminati lair - a secret refuge wherein lies the only hope for the Vatican.But, with each revelation comes another twist, another turn in the plot, which leaves Langdom and Vetra reeling and at the mercy of a seemingly invisible enemy...ANGELS & DEMONS is a breathtakingly brilliant thriller which catapults the reader through the antiquity of Rome, through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals and even the most secret vault on earth. As the prequel to Dan Brown's worldwide bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, it has the distinction of introducing his readers to Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon.
Karen Chance - Embrace the Night
"Recently named the world’s chief clairvoyant, Cassandra Palmer still has a thorn in her side. As long as Cassie and a certain master vampire—the sizzling-hot Mircea—are magically bound to each other, her life will never be her own … The spell that binds them can only be broken with an incantation found in the Codex Merlini, an ancient grimoire. The Codex’s location has been lost in the present day, so Cassie will have to seek it out in the only place it can still be found—the past. But Cassie soon realizes the Codex has been lost for a reason. The book is rumored to contain some seriously dangerous spells, and retrieving it may help Cassie to deal with Mircea, but it could also endanger the world…"
Miyuki Miyabe - Brave Story
A young boy finds his destiny in a world of fantasy. L to R (Western Style). The Bravest Story Ever Told Young Wataru Mitani's life is a mess. His father has abandoned him, and his mother has been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Desperately he searches for some way to change his life--a way to alter his fate. To achieve his goal, he must navigate the magical world of Vision, a land filled with creatures both fierce and friendly. And to complicate matters, he must outwit a merciless rival from the real world. Wataru's ultimate destination is the Tower of Destiny where a goddess of fate awaits. Only when he has finished his journey and collected five elusive gemstones will he possess the Demon's Bane--the key that will unlock the future. Charity, bravery, faith, grace and the power of darkness and light: these are the provinces of each gemstone. Brought together, they have the immeasurable power to bring Wataru's family back together again. Young Wataru Mitani's life is a mess. His father has abandoned him, and his mother has been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Desperately he searches for some way to change his life--a way to alter his fate. To achieve his goal, he must navigate the magical world of Vision, a land filled with creatures both fierce and friendly. And to complicate matters, he must outwit a merciless rival from the real world.Wataru's ultimate destination is the Tower of Destiny where a goddess of fate awaits. Only when he has finished his journey and collected five elusive gemstones will he possess the Demon's Bane--the key that will unlock the future.Charity, bravery, faith, grace and the power of darkness and light: these are the provinces of each gemstone. Brought together, they have the immeasurable power to bring Wataru's family back together again.
Rick Riordan - The Sea of Monsters
In this second adventure in Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Percy is anticipating the end of seventh grade and a summer at Camp Half-Blood with kids who are the offspring of Greek gods and mortals. He dreams that his pal Grover, a satyr, is in danger. After monsters attack in his school gym class, Percy and Tyson, a homeless kid, are picked up by Annabeth, a half-blood friend, and rushed to the camp, which is under attack. The tree that guards the camp is dying, and Chiron, the activity director, has been dismissed. Another dream reveals that Grover, whose peril is increasing, is on the same island as the legendary Golden Fleece, which may be the cure for the troubled camp. With the help of Hermes, Percy and his pals set off to the Sea of Monsters, where they encounter legendary dangers. Riordan's clever mix of classical mythology, contemporary teen characters, and an action-packed adventure will bring new readers to the series.
George R. R. Martin - A Dance with Dragons
Six years have passed since the time of events in "A Storm of Swords". Autumn is ending, with the realm in disarray. Tommen sits on the Iron Throne, but it is Cersei who rules, supported by Casterly Rock and Highgarden. Thanks to Dorne, the north has become a lawless wilderness.
George R. R. Martin - A Clash of Kings
The second novel of Martin's titanic Song of Ice and Fire saga (A Game of Thrones, 1996) begins with Princess Arya Stark fleeing her dead father's capital of King's Landing, disguised as a boy. It ends with the princess, now known as Weasel, having led the liberation of the accursed castle of Harrenhal. In between, her actions map the further course of a truly epic fantasy set in a world bedecked with 8000 years of history, beset by an imminent winter that will last 10 years and bedazzled by swords and spells wielded to devastating effect by the scrupulous and unscrupulous alike. Standout characters besides Arya include Queen Cersei, so lacking in morals that she becomes almost pitiable; the queen's brother, the relentlessly ingenious dwarf Tyrion Lannister; and Arya's brother, Prince Brandon, crippled except when he runs with the wolves in his dreams. The novel is notable particularly for the lived-in quality of its world, created through abundant detail that dramatically increases narrative length even as it aids suspension of disbelief; for the comparatively modest role of magic (although with one ambitious young woman raising a trio of dragons, that may change in future volumes); and for its magnificent action-filled climax, an amphibious assault on King's Landing, now ruled by the evil Queen Cersei. Martin may not rival Tolkien or Robert Jordan, but he ranks with such accomplished medievalists of fantasy as Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson. Here, he provides a banquet for fantasy lovers with large appetites?and this is only the second course of a repast with no end in sight. Author tour.
George R. R. Martin - A Storm of Swords
The third volume of the high fantasy saga that began with A Game of Thrones and continued in A Clash of Kings is one of the more rewarding examples of gigantism in contemporary fantasy. As Martin's richly imagined world slides closer to its 10-year winter, both the weather and the warfare worsen. In the north, King Joffrey of House Lannister sits uneasily on the Iron Throne. With the aid of a peasant wench, Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer, escapes from jail in Riverrun. Jaime goes to the other youthful ruler, Robb Stark, to secure the release of Joffrey's prisoners, Robb's sisters Arya and Sansa Stark. Meanwhile, in the south, Queen Daenarys tries to assert her claim to the various thrones with an army of eunuchs, but discovers that she must choose between conquering more and ruling well what she has already taken. The complexity of characters such as Daenarys, Arya and the Kingslayer will keep readers turning even the vast number of pages contained in this volume, for the author, like Tolkien or Jordan, makes us care about their fates. Those two fantasy greats are also evoked by Martin's ability to convey such sensual experiences as the heat of wildfire, the chill of ice, the smell of the sea and the sheer gargantuan indigestibility of the medieval banquet at its most excessive. Perhaps this saga doesn't go as far beyond the previous bounds of high fantasy as some claim, but for most readers it certainly goes far enough to command their attention.
Bryan Davis - Starlighter
In the first novel of a new four-book fantasy series for young adults by bestselling author Bryan Davis, human and dragon worlds collide when Jason Masters enters the dragon planet and meets Koren, a descendant of humans who were kidnapped and are now the dragons' slaves.
Bryan Davis - Liberator
The Time Has Come As the long-awaited invasion of human forces looms, Jason, Koren, and Elyssa struggle to alert the soldiers to an unforeseen menace on the planet of Starlight---a deadly illness has been released, one that already has Koren in its grip. Starlighter Cassabrie harbors a secret she believes can counter the devastation being unleashed by dragon king Taushin's latest maneuverings, but she can disclose little of her risky plan. As Cassabrie fights to save her people, the dragon Magnar works to move the Starlight prophecy in his favor. His actions could release an ancient race of dragon-like beings, making the plight of humans even more perilous. Wishing only to free the slaves and to bring peace, a few young warriors are poised to face three armies as they battle for control of two worlds. Can love, faith, and courage be enough? Will Cassabrie be the human's last hope?
Bryan Davis - Diviner
The mysteries unfold As a Starlighter, Koren knows her destiny is to save her fellow human slaves from the dragons' bondage---but by following the orders of the smooth-talking dragon king, Taushin, has she in fact doomed her people and herself? As Koren struggles over her choices, Elyssa discovers a new aspect to her Diviner gifts when her pendant begins to unlock mysteries surrounding the stardrops from the Exodus star. Soon Elyssa, along with Jason and his father, also discover new truths behind the dragons' prophecy and learn that Randall has teamed with Magnar and Arxad to wage battle against Taushin's followers. With a major war imminent and talk of a new Starlighter in the air, confusion and uncertainty reign---something Taushin might have planned for all along.
George R. R. Martin - A Feast for Crows
Crows will fight over a dead man's flesh, and kill each other for his eyes. Bloodthirsty, teracherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life. The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow's Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.
George R. R. Martin - A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
Reissued for September 2011 in B format. Split into two books for the paperback, the third volume in George R.R. Martin's superb and highly acclaimed epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire continues the richest, most exotic and mesmerising saga since The Lord of the Rings. The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall. Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown in the Kingdom of the North, but his defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark's enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne. And Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.
Brent Weeks - Beyond the Shadows
A new queen has usurped the throne and is leading Cenaria into disaster. The country has become a broken realm with a threadbare army, little food, and no hope. Kylar Stern plans to reinstate his closest friend Logan as King, but can he really get away with murder? In the north, the Godking's death has thrown Khalidor into civil war. To gain the upper hand, one faction attempts to raise the goddess Khali herself. But they are playing with volatile powers, and trigger conflict on a vast scale. Seven armies will converge to save - or destroy - an entire continent. Kylar has finally learnt the bitter cost of immortality, and is faced with a task only he can complete. To save his friends, and perhaps his enemies, he must assassinate a goddess. Failure will doom the south. Success will cost him everything he's ever loved.
L. Frank Baum - The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy thinks she is lost forever when a terrifying tornado crashes through Kansas and whisks her and her dog, Toto, far away to the magical land of Oz. To get home Dorothy must follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and find the wonderfully mysterious Wizard of Oz. Together with her companions the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion whom she meets on the way, Dorothy embarks on a strange and enchanting adventure.
James Dashner - The Kill Order
The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series. Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease. Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees. Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.
Christopher Paolini - Eldest
Darkness falls... Despair abounds... Evil reigns... Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now, Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of the Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, filled with awe-inspiring new places and people, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn't sure whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall - one that puts Eragon in even graver danger. Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life...
J. R. R. Tolkien - The Hobbit
Seldom has any book been so widely read and loved as J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale, The Hobbit. Since its first publication in 1937 it has remained in print to delight each new generation of readers all over the world, and its hero, Bilbo Baggins, has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals: Alice, Pooh, Toad... As with all classics, repeated readings continue to bring new detail and perspectives to the reader's mind, and Tolkien's Middle-earth is a vast mine of treasures and knowledge, its roots delving deep into folklore, mythology and language. The Hobbit is, therefore, an ideal book for annotation: as well as offering a marvellous and entrancing story, it introduces the reader to the richly imagined world of Middle-earth, a world more fully and complexly realised in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.
Dan Brown - Deception Point
A shocking scientific discovery. A deception of staggering brilliance. A political thriller unlike any you’ve ever read... When a new NASA satellite spots evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory… a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election. With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Milne Ice Shelf to verify the authenticity of the find. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable—evidence of scientific trickery—a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy.
Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels
Considered the greatest satire ever written in English, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels chronicles the fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, principally to four marvelous realms: Lilliput, where the people are six inches tall; Brobdingnag, a land inhabited by giants; Laputa, a wondrous flying island; and a country where the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses, are served by savage humanoid creatures called Yahoos. Beneath the surface of this enchanting fantasy lurks a devastating critique of human malevolence, stupidity, greed, vanity, and short-sightedness. A brilliant combination of adventure, humor, and philosophy, Gulliver’s Travels is one of literature’s most durable masterpieces.