Please come and join us at 10AM this Saturday, November 18, to hear Minnesota author P.S. Duffy speak. At age 65, Ms. Duffy published her first novel, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land. The book won wide critical acclaim and was nominated for a number of awards. “When his beloved brother-in-law goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing to join the war and find him. Assured a position as a cartographer in London, he is instead sent directly into battle. Meanwhile, at home, his son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a town torn by grief. Selected as both a Barnes & Noble Discover pick and one of the American Bookseller Association’s Debut Dozen, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land offers a soulful portrayal of World War I and the lives that were forever changed by it, both on the battlefield and at home.” Ms. Duffy has had a long career at the Mayo Clinic working in neurologically based communications disorders, and has written a variety of things besides her novel. It should be a fascinating talk – hope to see you there!
Whenever I need a grown-up book to read, I ask Karen for a recommendation. Here’s her review of Ken Follet’s latest novel – don’t miss it!
Every staff member at our library has our certain genre that we tend to read, and I can credit the Ken Follett book The Pillars of the Earth for my love of historical fiction. I remember when it came out back in 1989, and savoring the whole 900 + pages of it. Goodreads says “Ken Follett is known worldwide as the master of split-second suspense, but his most beloved and bestselling book tells the magnificent tale of a twelfth-century monk driven to do the seemingly impossible: build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known.”
World Without End, published in 2007, takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own.
The long awaited third book in the Kingsbridge trilogy, A Column of Fire, skips ahead several centuries and includes a whole new cast of characters. In 1558, the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and love.
Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious conflict dividing the country, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions, and invasion plans. Over a turbulent half-century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. Elizabeth clings to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents.
The real enemies, then as now, are not the rival religions. The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else—no matter what the cost.
While all three books can be read as standalones, I was compelled to go back and read the first two (loved them as much the second time around!) and am looking forward to the new characters and intrigue in 16th century Kingsbridge in A Column of Fire.
Those of us who read and loved Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy have been waiting and hoping that he would return to that world for another story. Now that he has, I find myself in agreement with a Washington Post book reviewer: “Too few things in our world are worth a seventeen year wait: The Book of Dust is one of them.” He was one of many critics raving about this book. It was selected as an Amazon Best Book of October 2017; the reviewer wrote “Philip Pullman is that rare breed of author whose books are written for young people but are read and adored equally by adults. It’s been nearly two decades since Pullman wrote The Amber Spyglass, so it was both thrilling and terrifying (please be amazing, please be amazing…) when I first cracked open The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage and began to read. I need not have worried–The Book of Dust is Pullman at his best. Neither prequel nor sequel to His Dark Materials trilogy—Pullman calls this an “equel” and La Belle Sauvage is the first volume of a companion trio that can stand on its own. There are some familiar faces—most notably an infant Lyra Belacqua and her daemon Pantalaimon–and a particularly delightful new one: a boy named Malcolm whose kind heart, curious mind, and unerring sense of good, are the reason baby Lyra makes it to the safety of Jordan College. As in his earlier books, Pullman explores themes of religious and political freedom, the nature of good and evil, science and philosophy. The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage is a glorious adventure that delivers heart-in-your-throat moments and much to think about as we wait (not so patiently) to see what will happen next…–Seira Wilson.