In this month’s roundup of the best-reviewed BookLife titles, we highlight historical fiction, high fantasy, an assessment of artificial intelligence, a travelogue, and a Sherlock Holmes pastiche.
Blueprint by Jay Prasad
Synopsis: Prasad paints the postwar world with broad, sweeping strokes and painfully accurate details in this accomplished novel set in Germany and America.
PW’s Takeaway: Prasad’s novel, tightly written and comprehensive, provides readers with a powerful meditation on the aftermath of the Holocaust.
Comparable Title: H.G. Adler’s The Wall
Sample Line: “The last bomb tore the facade off her house. Where there once was a boundary between her bedroom and the street, a curtain of dust now wavered and shimmered in the moonlight.”
The Cracked Amulet by RB Watkinson
Synopsis: Watkinson kicks off a promising fantasy series with powers shifting in Dumnon, a world where a pervasive energy called wefan is contained within the “weave,” which is found throughout nature and the air itself.
PW’s Takeaway: Captivating characters, mythical creatures, and exciting battles make this a treat for fantasy readers.
Comparable Title: Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind
Sample Line: “The tree-spirit grinned at him then disappeared, only to reappear hanging upside down from a twig above Bryn’s head.”
Will Computers Revolt? by Charles J. Simon
Synopsis: Simon makes a welcome contribution to the literature on artificial intelligence.
PW’s Takeaway: The appealing blend of philosophy and hard science will be a treat for readers.
Comparable Title: Byron Reese’s The Fourth Age
Evergreen Dreaming by Peter Kurtz
Synopsis: Kurtz hikes from Georgia to North Carolina along the Appalachian Trail in this entertaining travelogue.
PW’s Takeaway: This charming memoir encourages wilderness purists to chase their dreams.
Comparable Title: Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods
Die Again, Mr. Holmes by Anna Elliott and Charles Veley
Synopsis: In this pastiche, Sherlock Holmes has been shot.
PW’s Takeaway: A clever variation that makes Holmes as a parent seem plausible.
Comparable Title: Laurie R. King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice