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Still Point is a brilliant, complex and confident first novel by young English writer Amy Sackville. A young couple move through their day, described in a perfect third person narrative style that misses no detail: Julia, as yet unaware of the depression into which she is slowly slipping, Simon, concerned about an affair he may or may not be approaching. Julia is a distant relative of fictional Arctic explorer Edward Mackley, and is archiving his effects in her attic. While she sweats out her flat modern life in the heat of a bad English summer, she dreams of his cold Victorian heroism and reconstructs his tragic final voyage. Sackville is a truly marvelous writer of fiction, able to balance two narratives a century apart without losing focus. The first novel I’ve read in 2011, and it’s a doozy.
Noted historian Robert Service examines the early days of the Russian Revolution. Along with accounts of the key events and the colorful characters involved, there is an exploration of the relations between the Western Powers and the Bolsheviks, in particular the attempts at striking trade agreements while simultaneously trying to undermine each other.
Loosely based on Norse culture, Mr. Stroud (the author of the Bartimaeus Trilogy) has written a thrilling and suspenseful adventure for young adults. Halli has grown up listening to the legends of the great heroes; however, in his village today, disputes are settled by council meetings with matriarchs as judges. How is a young boy to prove himself in such a docile world? When an innocent prank spirals out of control, Halli takes matters into his own hands to act as the heroes of old. With help from a girl even braver than he is, Halli's tale is filled with narrow escapes, physical hardships and even...monsters! An excellent, exciting read (for either sex) that speaks to the nature of courage and the hero in each of us.