The Secret of Ji: Six Heirs

Pierre Grimbert, trans. from the French by Matt Ross and Eric Lamb. Amazon/AmazonCrossing, $14.95 trade paper (335p) ISBN 978-1-61109-409-1
An enigmatic man called Nol asked each nation of the Known World to send emissaries to the mysterious island of Ji; the nine sages vanished for months. Six returned with hard-won secret knowledge, reuniting frequently to share the secret with their descendants. Each generation guards this wisdom until the savage Züu, religious fanatics, begin assassinating the heirs of Ji. With the fate of the entire world threatened, Corenn , a descendant of the mages and priestess, flees with her niece, Léti; Léti's young boyfriend, Yan; and the deadly henchman Grigán. This gripping first book introduces a secondary world impressive in depth and believability, complete with shadowy assassin guilds and prophecies of the walking dead. Intricate religious and political beliefs lend depth to a mature sword-and-sorcery context. Grimbert revitalizes the traditional heroic quest with believable characters, political intrigue, and fizzling gender tension. This adult fairytale hides profound truths in enchanting archetypes and should satisfy fans of both epic fantasy and suspense. (Feb.) The Cloud Matt Richtel Harper, $11.99 mass market (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-225668-3 In Richtel's rousing second novel featuring Nathaniel "Nat" Idle (after 2011's Devil's Plaything), the San Francisco reporter is literally shoved into an investigation that explores the ramifications of vast changes the revolutionary technology "the Cloud" brings to manipulating, presenting, and storing data. Waiting for the subway, Idle is barreled over by a stumbling stranger who quickly disappears, leaving Idle bloody and concussed on the platform. Maybe an accident, Idle thinks, until he notices a slip of paper the man dropped bearing two names: Sandy Vello and Nathaniel Idle. Idle quizzes a helpful witness, then Googles Vello to locate a recent obituary as well as links to PRISM Corporation and the juvenile prison Twin Peaks. Idle finds himself trailed both physically and electronically, assaulted and concussed again, as he encounters a technological world of marvels and horrors. Richtel's woozy hero, often unsure what is real and what imagined, is an appropriate guide through this frightening, well-envisioned Cloud of the future. Agent: Laura Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 03/25/2013
Genre: Fiction
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