I am really really excited to tell you that we have Sarah Dunant coming to a morning with Bookoccino on Friday August 30. I know it’s a little way off, but I couldn’t wait to share this very exciting news. Sarah’s latest book, Blood and Beauty, continues her stories of the Italian Renaissance which she started with Birth of Venus, Company of the Courtesan and Sacred Hearts. But this time, instead of reading about the women of the times, we are thrown into the world of the Borgias, with their quest for power, their lust, their manipulations. If you haven’t read the book, do yourself a favour and grab a copy. Sarah really knows how to bring history to life.
I’ve never read Max Barry. He’s Australian, he used to put two x’s in Max with his previous books. Now he’s dropped one and gone international with another brilliant dystopian thriller which grabbed me the same way Gun Machine by Warren Ellis did. A book I picked up thinking I would read a page or two to get the feel, and then a couple of hours later I’m still glued. Lexicon is two different stories, seemingly unrelated, which come together with a bang. What if someone worked out the combination of words that could kill? So if you understand the personality of someone, particular words used together can kill them. Something happened in Broken Hill where thousands of people were killed, and the town is now offlimits. A couple of years later, Emily, a young homeless girl, is picked up by a scout for an organisation which trains teenagers how to use words to manipulate people. Then Wil Parke, a man who can’t remember his past, is assaulted in an airport toilet, his girlfriend is killed and he is kidnapped. You can see where this is going, can’t you, but the ending really is a knockout. Brilliant. If you’re after an afternoon in a chair with a book you can’t put down, this has to be it. It’s one of Kirkus’ 10 best reads for summer (or winter in our case).