Here are some selections from this week’s new releases. As usual click on the cover image to check for availability.
From New York Times bestselling author John Connolly, a wonderfully strange and brilliant novel about a boy, his dog, and their struggle to escape the wrath of demons. Young Samuel Johnson is in trouble. Not only is his eyesight so poor that he mistakenly asks out a letter box on a date, but an angry demon is seeking revenge for Samuel’s part in foiling the invasion of Earth by the forces of evil. It wants to get its claws on Samuel, and when Samuel and his faithful dachshund, Boswell, are pulled through a portal into the dark realm, the home of the Infernals, it gets its chance.
But catching Samuel is not going to be easy, for the Infernals have not reckoned on the bravery and cleverness of a boy and his dog, or the loyalty of Samuel’s friend, the hapless demon Nurd, or the presence of two clueless policemen and the unlucky, if cheerfully optimistic, driver of an ice-cream van.
Most of all, no one has planned on the intervention of an unexpected band of little men, for Samuel and Boswell are not the only inhabitants of Earth who have found themselves in the underworld. If you thought demons were frightening, just wait until you meet Mr. Merryweather’s Elves. . . .
The girl who led an army, the peasant who crowned a king, the maid who became a legend
It is the fifteenth century, and the tumultuous Hundred Years’ War rages on. France is under siege, English soldiers tear through the countryside destroying all who cross their path, and Charles VII, the uncrowned king, has neither the strength nor the will to rally his army. And in the quiet of her parents’ garden in Domrémy, a peasant girl sees a spangle of light and hears a powerful voice speak her name. Jehanne .
The story of Jehanne d’Arc, the visionary and saint who believed she had been chosen by God, who led an army and saved her country, has captivated our imagination for centuries. But the story of Jehanne—the girl—whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from a violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride and fight, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to persuade first one, then two, then thousands to follow her, is at once thrilling, unexpected, and heartbreaking. Rich with unspoken love and battlefield valor, The Maid is a novel about the power and uncertainty of faith, and the exhilarating and devastating consequences of fame.
In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead.
Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilization under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One—but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety—the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.
Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams working in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world.
And then things start to go wrong.
Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One brilliantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.
Mike October 20th, 2011