2017 – looking ahead

I had some grand schemes for posts over these holidays but unfortunately my good intentions have been scuppered by a resilient and rather nasty bout of flu. But, before I post my first review of a book published in 2017, I really want to write a bit about some of the books that I’m looking forward to in the coming year, especially during its first half. So here are just a few of the treats in store, presented by genre. I know I have missed things I shouldn’t have done – but surprises are always to be encouraged. We all like to read different types of books so these are the ones I’m personally looking forward to snuggling up with.

Historical fiction

Six Tudor Queens: Anne Boleyn – A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir (May 2017)
Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession by Alison WeirI am so fortunate to have had an advanced copy of this and I read it immediately. After having devoured the first novel about Katherine of aragon, this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 and it didn’t disappoint. I knew it wouldn’t. I loved it. This is the story not of how Anne Boleyn died (although that is tackled brilliantly and so powerfully), but of how she lived. The story feels fresh and new. Fabulous.

The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh (June 2017)
‘An irresistible mystery set in 1890s Edinburgh, Kaite Welsh’s The Wages of Sin features a female medical student-turned-detective, and will thrill fans of Sarah Waters and Antonia Hodgson. Sarah Gilchrist has fled from London to Edinburgh in disgrace and is determined to become a doctor, despite the misgivings of her family and society. As part of the University of Edinburgh’s first intake of female medical students, Sarah comes up against resistance from lecturers, her male contemporaries, and – perhaps worst of all – her fellow women, who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman… When one of Sarah’s patients turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into Edinburgh’s dangerous underworld of bribery, brothels and body snatchers – and a confrontation with her own past.’

Betrayal by Anthony Riches (March 2017)
betrayal-by-anthony-riches‘Rome, AD 68. Nero has committed suicide. One hundred years of imperial rule by the descendants of Julius Caesar has ended, and chaos rules. His successor Galba dismisses the incorruptible Germans of the Imperial Bodyguard for the crime of loyalty to the dead emperor. Ordering them back to their homeland he releases a Batavi officer from a Roman prison to be their prefect. But Julius Civilis is not the loyal servant of empire that he seems. Four centurions, two Batavi and two Roman, will be caught up in the intrigues and the battles that follow – as friends, as victims, as leaders and as enemies. Hramn is First Spear of the Bodyguard. Fiercely proud of his men’s honour, and furious at their disgrace, he leads them back to the Batavi homeland to face an uncertain future. Alcaeus is a centurion with the tribe’s cohorts serving Rome on the northern frontier – men whose fighting skills prove crucial as Roman vies with Roman for the throne. A wolf-priest of Hercules, he wields the authority of his god and his own fighting prowess. Marius is a Roman, first spear of the Fifth Legion: a self-made man who hates politics, but cannot avoid them in a year of murderous intrigue. Aquillius, former first spear of the Eighth Augustan, like Hramn, is in disgrace for refusing to dishonour his oath of loyalty. But their paths will lead them to opposite sides of an unforgiving war. And Civilis, Kivilaz to his countrymen, heroic leader, Roman citizen and patriotic Batavi, will change both the course of the Empire’s destiny and that of the centurions.’

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown (March 2017)
‘The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six… 1645. When Alice Hopkins’ husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives. But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women’s names. To what lengths will Matthew’s obsession drive him? nd what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?’

Incendium by A.D. Swanston (February 2017)
‘Summer, 1572 and England is vulnerable. Fear of plague and insurrection taint the air, and heresy, fanaticism and religious unrest seethe beneath the surface of society. Rumour and mistrust lead to imprisonment, torture and sometimes murder. To the young lawyer Christopher Radcliff and his patron and employer, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the prospects for peace are poor. As Leicester’s chief intelligencer, Radcliff is charged with investigating both rumours of rebellion at home and invasion from abroad. That the queen’s own cousin, the Duke of Norfolk, is found guilty of treason is a sign of just how deep the dissent goes. Supporters of the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots foment revolt, but the papist threat doesn’t just come from within. Across the channel, France is being swept up in a frenzy of brutal and bloody religious persecution while England’s other enemy of old, Spain, makes preparations to invade. Christopher’s own life is far from orderly. His relationship with the widow Katherine Allington is somewhat turbulent and he knows full well that the cut-throat world of court politics leaves no room for indiscretions. So England is a powder-keg, waiting for a spark to ignite it. And then a whisper of a plot that could provide that spark reaches Christopher. All he has to go on is a single word – ‘incendium’. But what does it mean and who lies behind it? He must find the answers before it is too late…’

Arminius by Robert Fabbri (January 2017)
Arminius by Robert Fabbri‘One man’s greatest victory. Rome’s greatest defeat. A.D. 9: In the depths of the Teutoburg Wald, in a landscape riven by ravines, darkened by ancient oak and bisected by fast-flowing streams, Arminius of the Cherusci led a confederation of six Germanic tribes in the annihilation of three Roman legions. Deep in the forest almost twenty thousand men were massacred without mercy; fewer than two hundred of them ever made it back across the Rhine. To Rome’s shame, three sacred Eagles were lost that day. But Arminius wasn’t brought up in Germania Magna – he had been raised as a Roman. This is the story of how Arminius came to turn his back on the people who raised him and went on to commit a betrayal so great and so deep, it echoed through the ages.’

Viper’s Blood by David Gilman (February 2017)
‘Edward III has invaded France at the head of the greatest host England has ever assembled. But his attempt to win the French crown is futile. The Dauphin will no longer meet the English in the field and the great army is mired in costly sieges, scavenging supplies from a land ruined by decades of conflict. Facing a stalemate – or worse – the English are forced to agree a treaty. But peace comes at a price. The French request that Blackstone escort their King’s daughter to Italy to see her married to one of the two brothers who rule Milan – the same brothers who killed Blackstone’s family to revenge the defeats he inflicted on them. Blackstone, the French are certain, will never leave Milan alive…’

The Mask of Command by Ian Ross (January 2017)
‘When a treacherous act of murder throws the western provinces into turmoil, Aurelius Castus is ordered to take command of the military forces on the Rhine. But he soon discovers that the frontier is a place where the boundaries between civilisation and barbarism, freedom and slavery, honour and treason have little meaning. At the very heart of the conflict are two vulnerable boys. One is Emperor Constantine’s young heir, Crispus. The other is Castus’s own beloved son, Sabinus. Only Castus stands between them and men who would kill them. With all that he loves in danger, Castus and a handful of loyal men must fight to defend the Roman Empire. But in the heat of battle, can he distinguish friend from enemy?’

The Coroner’s Daughter by Andrew Hughes (February 2017)
‘Dublin, 1816. A young nursemaid conceals a pregnancy and then murders her new-born in the home of the Neshams, a prominent family in a radical Christian sect known as the Brethren. Rumours swirl about the identity of the child’s father, but before an inquest can be held, the maid is found dead after an apparent suicide. When Abigail Lawless, the eighteen-year-old daughter of the coroner, by chance discovers a message from the maid’s seducer, she sets out to discover the truth. It’s the year without a summer. A climatic event has brought frost to mid-July, hunger and unrest, and a lingering fog casts a pall over the city. An only child, Abigail has been raised amid the books and instruments of her father’s grim profession, and he in turn indulges her curious and critical mind. Now she must push against the restrictions society places on a girl her age to pursue an increasingly dangerous investigation.’

Science fiction

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson (March 2017)
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley RobinsonI’m very fortunate to be reading this at the moment. It is utterly immersive. ‘The waters rose, submerging New York City. But the residents adapted and it remained the bustling, vibrant metropolis it had always been. Though changed forever. Every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island. Through the eyes of the varied inhabitants of one building Kim Stanley Robinson shows us how one of our great cities will change with the rising tides. And how we too will change.’

Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald (February 2017)
‘A Dragon is dead. Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed. The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent s violent deaths, is now a ward–virtually a hostage– of Mackenzie Metals. And the last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished of the surface of the moon. Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead, and more to the point that he is still a major player in the game. After all, Lucas always was the Schemer, and even in death, he would go to any lengths to take back everything and build a new Corta Helio, more powerful than before. But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey–to Earth. In an unstable lunar environment, the shifting loyalties and political machinations of each family reach the zenith of their most fertile plots as outright war erupts.’

The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter (January 2017)
the-massacre-of-mankind-by-stephen-baxterIt has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared. So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat. He is right. Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war. The Massacre of Mankind has begun.’

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (March 2017)
‘In the far future, humanity has left Earth to create a glorious empire. Now this interstellar network of worlds faces disaster – but can three individuals save their people? The empire’s outposts are utterly dependent on each other for resources, a safeguard against war, and a way its rulers can exert control. This relies on extra-dimensional pathways between the stars, connecting worlds. But ‘The Flow’ is changing course, which could plunge every colony into fatal isolation. A scientist will risk his life to inform the empire’s ruler. A scion of a Merchant House stumbles upon conspirators seeking power. And the new Empress of the Interdependency must battle lies, rebellion and treason. Yet as they work to save a civilization on the brink of collapse, others have very different plans…’

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan (January 2017)
‘Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left. None of this was supposed to happen. Adrift in space with nothing to hold on to but each other, Carys and Max can’t help but look back at the world they left behind. A world whose rules they couldn’t submit to, a place where they never really belonged; a home they’re determined to get back to because they’ve come too far to lose each other now.’

The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley (February 2017)
‘Somewhere on the outer rim of the universe, a mass of decaying world-ships known as the Legion is travelling in the seams between the stars. For generations, a war for control of the Legion has been waged, with no clear resolution. As worlds continue to die, a desperate plan is put into motion. Zan wakes with no memory, prisoner of a people who say they are her family. She is told she is their salvation – the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, a world-ship with the power to leave the Legion. But Zan’s new family is not the only one desperate to gain control of the prized ship. Zan must choose sides in a genocidal campaign that will take her from the edges of the Legion’s gravity well to the very belly of the world. Zan will soon learn that she carries the seeds of the Legion’s destruction – and its possible salvation.’

The End of the Day by Claire North (April 2017)
‘Charlie meets everyone – but only once. You might meet him in a hospital, in a warzone, or at the scene of traffic accident. Then again, you might meet him at the North Pole – he gets everywhere, our Charlie. Would you shake him by the hand, take the gift he offers, or would you pay no attention to the words he says? Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He never knows which.’

Crime and thrillers

Written in Bones by James Oswald (February 2017)
written-in-bones-by-james-oswald‘The roots of murder run deep… When a body is found in a tree in The Meadows, Edinburgh’s scenic parkland, the forensics suggest the corpse has fallen from a great height. Detective Inspector Tony McLean wonders whether it was an accident, or a murder designed to send a chilling message? The dead man had led quite a life: a disgraced ex-cop turned criminal kingpin who reinvented himself as a celebrated philanthropist. As McLean traces the victim’s journey, it takes him back to Edinburgh’s past, and through its underworld – crossing paths with some of its most dangerous and most vulnerable people. And waiting at the end of it all, is the truth behind a crime that cuts to the very heart of the city…’

Quieter than Killing by Sarah Hilary (March 2017)
‘Sometimes staying silent is the only way to survive. ‘You only ever ask that. Why did I do it? You never ask what they did.’ The winter cold is biting, and a series of assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out into the frosty, mean streets of London far more than they’d like. The attacks seem random, but when Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by a child – and someone who knows all about her. It will take a prison visit to her foster brother, Stephen, to help Marnie see the connections – and to force both her and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. For how can a damaged child really leave their past behind them?’

Corpus by Rory Clements (January 2017)
Corpus by Rory Clements‘1936. Europe is in turmoil. The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland. In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror. Spain has erupted in civil war. In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers. In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division. Dons and students must choose a side: right or left, where do you stand? When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe – and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson…’

Stasi Wolf by David Young (February 2017)
‘East Germany, 1975. Karin Müller, sidelined from the murder squad in Berlin, jumps at the chance to be sent south to Halle-Neustadt, where a pair of infant twins have gone missing. But Müller soon finds her problems have followed her. Halle-Neustadt is a new town – the pride of the communist state – and she and her team are forbidden by the Stasi from publicising the disappearances, lest they tarnish the town’s flawless image. Meanwhile, in the eerily nameless streets and tower blocks, a child snatcher lurks, and the clock is ticking to rescue the twins alive…’

Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan (January 2017)
‘The body is found by the river, near a spot popular with runners. With a serial rapist at work in the area, DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are initially confused when the Hate Crimes Unit is summoned to the scene. Until they discover that the victim, Corinne Sawyer, was born Colin Sawyer. Police records reveal there have been violent attacks on trans women in the local area. Was Corinne a victim of mistaken identity? Or has the person who has been targeting trans women stepped up their campaign of violence? With tensions running high, and the force coming under national scrutiny, this is a complex case and any mistake made could be fatal…’

Rattle by Fiona Cummins (January 2017)
‘A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter. He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum. Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt. Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs. What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions. Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge. It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.’

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole (February 2017)
‘A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter. The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?’

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (March 2017)
the-roanoke-girls-by-amy-engel‘Beautiful. Rich. Mysterious. The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies. Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back. She is a Roanoke girl. Is she strong enough to escape a second time?’

Sirens by Joseph Knox (January 2017)
‘Isabelle Rossiter has run away again. When Aidan Waits, a troubled junior detective, is summoned to her father’s penthouse home – he finds a manipulative man, with powerful friends. But retracing Isabelle’s steps through a dark, nocturnal world, Waits finds something else. An intelligent seventeen-year-old girl who’s scared to death of something. As he investigates her story, and the unsolved disappearance of a young woman just like her, he realizes Isabelle was right to run away. Soon Waits is cut loose by his superiors, stalked by an unseen killer and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman. He’s out of his depth and out of time. How can he save the girl, when he can’t even save himself?’

Defender by G.X. Todd (January 2017)
‘In a world where long drinks are in short supply, a stranger listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on a dusty road. The moment locks them together. Here and now it’s dangerous to listen to your inner voice. Those who do, keep it quiet. These voices have purpose. And when Pilgrim meets Lacey, there is a reason. He just doesn’t know it yet. Defender pulls you on a wild ride to a place where the voices in your head will save or slaughter you.’

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (January 2017)
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough‘Louise: Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets… David: Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife… Adele: Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her. But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears? Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?’

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields (January 2017)
‘On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing. In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness. Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care. It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.’

Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch (January 2017)
‘She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life. After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start. Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died. Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though. But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie. And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived. Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?’

The One by John Marrs (April 2017)
‘How far would you go to find THE ONE? One simple mouth swab is all it takes. One tiny DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for. A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people take the test. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…’

Ararat by Christopher Golden (April 2017)
‘Meryam and Adam take risks for a living. But neither is prepared for what lies in the legendary heights of Mount Ararat, Turkey. First to reach a massive cave revealed by an avalanche, they discover the hole in the mountain’s heart is really an ancient ship, buried in time. A relic that some fervently believe is Noah’s Ark. Deep in its recesses stands a coffin inscribed with mysterious symbols that no one in their team of scholars, archaeologists and filmmakers can identify. Inside is a twisted, horned cadaver. Outside a storm threatens to break. As terror begins to infiltrate their every thought, is it the raging blizzard that chases them down the mountain – or something far worse?’

2017 looks like it is going to be so good (for books, anyway…) and never has a good read seemed more vital and more inviting. I hope you find something here to entice you! I look forward to sharing the book love with you over the coming year. Hopefully, by then this flu will be gone!

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2 thoughts on “2017 – looking ahead

    1. Kate (For Winter Nights) Post author

      Thanks so much! I@ve had it 10 days now so it must be on the way out soon, I hope. The Claire North book is wonderful – I was fortunate to have had an early copy. I’ll put a review up a little closer to publication.

      Reply

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