'Conspiracies linking events as disparate as the sinking of the Titanic and the assassination of JFK have played themselves out in dark and unforeseen ways.
'The Cold War between Greater Germany and Imperial Japan is drawing to a close. America, divided and scarred, will be the final battleground in a world distinctly different, yet disturbingly familiar to our own.
'Six people have the means to avert the apocalypse. Welcome to the secret history of the twentieth century.' (Publisher's blurb)
Jamie is plunged into the horrific alternative universe that is the centuries-old Pilo Family Circus, a borderline world between hell and earth from which humankind's greatest tragedies have been perpetrated. Yet in this place peopled by the gruesome, grotesque and monstrous, where violence and savagery are the norm, Jamie finds that his worst enemy is himself - for when he applies the white paint, he is transformed into JJ, the most vicious clown of all. And JJ wants Jamie dead... (back cover)
"The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope." (Source: Shaun Tan website)
'Alyzon Whitestarr thinks of herself as more white mouse than star, until something happens that heightens her senses, enabling her to smell people’s feelings, perceive their essences, and see flashes of their lives. She is shaken to discover that some people’s spirits are afflicted by a strange and ravenous disease which is both sentient and hungry for new hosts. Seeking to learn how the disease is transmitted, Alyzon’s investigations lead her to a mysterious entrepreneur, a secretive group of young people with a habit of violence, and ultimately back to her own beloved family, where she will learn a shattering truth about the world . . .'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case is a short story entry in Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series. Set six months after the events in the novel Abhorsen, it tells of Nicholas's encounter with a Free magic creature in Ancelstierre and his return to the Old Kingdom. The story begins with Nicholas recuperating from the injuries he received at the hands of the Destroyer. After several idle months in Ancelstierre, he is desperate to return to the Old Kingdom, so when the opportunity arrives to actually do something, he accepts immediately. As a favour to his Uncle Edward, the Chief Minister of Ancelstierre, he travels to spend the weekend in a remote country house, the home of a family which would make a good political alliance. That seems easy enough, till he discovers that the house holds many secrets, and the worst of them is a relic of the Old Kingdom, too far from the Wall for any spark of its magical life to reignite. Unless someone finds a way to unleash its power...'
This darkly comic story takes place in 1894, 'and tells of a Hungarian bank clerk, Basil Smorta, who falls hopelessly in lust with Volusia, aka 'the Australian Songbird'. He follows her across Europe in company with a group of Fundamental Darwinists led by Lord Malicide Sain. They pursue their 'Black Crusade' at first by cart and carriage, then in Ingel Brankel's Mobilator. One bizarre and gruesome adventure follows another. The Ordeal of the Five Senses in the monks' lavabo, the excruciating apotheosis of Brother Dragorian, the doting love of the Love-Vampires, the bomb-throwing police force of Orblast, the sleep-tranced villagers in Morbol Villica and the sarcophagus of the Great One, the legendary marquis himself.'
Source: Author website http://www.richardharland.net/ (Sighted 07/01/2010)