Staff Picks

Go, Went, Gone

Summary: 
A widowed, newly-retired classics professor, an East German subsumed at the fall of the Wall into the West, a brilliant intellectual slowly climbs out of his head into an awakened heart through his gradual involvement with a band of African migrants, stranded undocumented, in Berlin. A profound and astonishing portrait of the world we live in and the lives we lead.

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War of the Wolf

Summary: 
In this chapter of the epic Saxon Tales series, Uhtred has regained his family’s fortress. However, peace is elusive, under threat from both an old enemy and a new foe. The old enemy comes from Wessex where there is a struggle to determine who will be the next king. The new foe is Sköll, a Norseman, who wishes to be King of Northumbria, leading an army of wolf-warriors, men who fight half-crazed in the belief that they are indeed wolves. Uhtred begins to believe he is cursed, must fend off one enemy while he tries to destroy the other. The author again does not disappoint, with a riveting account of adventure, courage, treachery, loss, and battle that he describes so brilliantly. This tale continues and I hate to have to wait for the next installment. Uhtred is destined to play a role in the fate of England's quest to become a unified nation under rule of the King of Wessex, whoever that turns out to be!!

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Eye of the Storm

Summary: 
The first in the Sean Dillon series is a fast-paced tale of espionage and terrorism. Allies in the IRA, Sean Dillon and Martin Brosnam have gone different ways. Now Dillon is a terrorist for hire, a master of disguise employed by Saddam Hussein. Brosnan is the one man who knows Dillon’s strengths and weaknesses. They are playing the deadliest game of their lives-- game that ends with Iraq’s attempted mortar attack on the British war cabinet at 10 Downing Street. Jack Higgins has crafted a wonderfully readable tale, that prevents you from putting the book down until you have reached the last page!

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Portrait of a Spy

Summary: 
Eleventh in the Gabriel Allon series finds Gabriel and his wife, Chiara, in London, visiting a gallery in St. James’s to authenticate a newly discovered painting by Titian,when a pair of deadly bombings in Paris and Copenhagen mar this autumn day. And while walking toward Covent Garden, Gabriel notices a man he believes is about to carry out a third attack. Before Gabriel can draw his weapon, he is knocked to the pavement and can only watch as the nightmare unfolds. Gabriel returns to his isolated cottage on the cliffs of Cornwall, until a summons brings him to Washington and he is drawn into a confrontation with the new face of global terror--an American-born cleric in Yemen to whom Allah has granted “a beautiful and seductive tongue.” Once a paid CIA asset, the mastermind is plotting a new wave of attacks. To destroy this network of death , Gabriel must reach into his violent past moving at a breathtaking pace from Washington to London to the climax in the Saudi desert. This is an extremely entertaining, but sobering book to read with an ending that defies description. Five Stars!!!

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A Terrible Country

Summary: 
Russian-American Andrei returns to Moscow in 2008 to escape his failing academic career and to take care of his failing grandmother, while his older brother’s Russian businesses and properties also fail. This portrait of Russian society captures the complexities that baffle the expat, and the misunderstandings that jeopardize relationships new and old. The novel is illuminating, funny, and affecting--Russian joyful sadness prevails.

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The Looking Glass War

Summary: 
This is unlike any of LeCarre's books I have read before-- a plot devoid of unexpected twists and turns, daring chases, thrilling fight scenes. Instead it focuses on rivalry between two intelligence units and planned action in South Germany. It would have been an easy job for the Circus: a can of film couriered from Helsinki to London. In the past the Circus handled all things political, while the Department dealt with matters military, but the Department has been dead since the War, its resources siphoned away. Now, one of their agents is dead, and vital evidence verifying the presence of Soviet missiles near the West German border is gone. John Avery is the Department's younger member and its last hope. Avery must infiltrate the East and restore his masters' former glory. John le Carré depicts a hopeless, grey world; reality in which man is just a pawn in the other’s game and promises are easily broken: totally depressing, but thoroughly absorbing. Again, he brilliantly doesn't spell out the ending, but you just know in your mind it's the worst possible outcome. I was emotionally spent after I had finished this book....Just brilliant!!!!!!

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The Life List of Adrian Mandrick

Summary: 
A hopeful and funny and poignant novel about extinction: the dying of species (and a 6-page memoriam to Native American tribes), the planet, family love, the nervous system of an opiate addict. Birds are the sustaining force for Adrian Mandrick, anesthesiologist, father, husband, son-- and he has buried the origin of his passion so deep he can hardly live at all.

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The Glitch

Summary: 
Tech company glass-ceiling buster Shelley Stone is living her most efficient life, gulping the challenges of marriage, parenthood, tasteful luxury home-staff management, with the help of her wearable personal assistant, her company’s product, the Conch. This novel captures the zeitgeist wittily in its own lingo as Shelley’s life deconstructs. Wry, entertaining and too true.

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A Death of No Importance

Summary: 
An historical, suspenseful mystery, this is the author's debut adult novel. I thoroughly enjoyed both the mystery itself along with the intimate look at NYC at the time of the Gilded Age for some, extreme poverty for others and the mix of the classes and mores of the time. This is a complex mystery solved by a very smart, observant woman of the time with many unexpected twists including the ending.

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The Eagle Has Flown

Summary: 
The last in the Liam Devlin series continues the story of the first book The Eagle Had Landed. Paratroop officer Steiner survived "Operation Eagle", and is now a POW somewhere in London. Himmler wants him back, ordering his top espionage agents to take charge of the perilous rescue mission. IRA assassin Liam Devlin, who is hiding out in the bars of Lisbon, playing piano, is persuaded to return to Britain in an attempt to effect the escape of German soldier Kurt Steiner from the Tower of London and return with him to Berlin. One more time Jack Higgins provides us with a fantastic tale of action and death, with sufficient twists and turns to keep the reader turning the page until the very end. A thoroughly riveting read..........

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