TBR Thursday 176…

Episode 176…

I had already typed this post yesterday, boasting about how I hadn’t had an increase in the TBR for five weeks. Then the postman knocked the door. So… up five to 232!! 

Here’s what’s rolling down the TBR tracks soon… a brilliant selection this week, I think!

Historical Fiction

Courtesy of Mantle, Pan MacMillan. This was one that arrived yesterday and I’m thrilled to bits! Possibly my most eagerly anticipated book of the year – all 801 pages of it! The Shardlake series is my favourite historical fiction series ever and a new one is better than being let loose in a chocolate shop! So for once when I say “can’t wait”, I mean it literally. I’ve already begun…

The Blurb says: Summer, 1549. Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . .

The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.

Since the old King’s death, Matthew Shardlake has been working as a lawyer in the service of Henry’s younger daughter, the Lady Elizabeth. The gruesome murder of the wife of a distant Norfolk relation of Elizabeth’s mother, John Boleyn – which could have political implications for Elizabeth – brings Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton to the summer assizes at Norwich. There they are reunited with Shardlake’s former assistant Jack Barak. The three find layers of mystery and danger surrounding the death of Edith Boleyn, as a second murder is committed.

And then East Anglia explodes, as peasant rebellion breaks out across the country. The yeoman Robert Kett leads a force of thousands in overthrowing the landlords and establishing a vast camp outside Norwich. Soon the rebels have taken over the city, England’s second largest . . . 

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Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. Another of the horror anthologies I’ve been lucky enough to acquire for this spooky season. The porpy and I will both need new hair-dos by the time we get through them all, I suspect…

The Blurb says: A young, inexperienced governess is charged with the care of Miles and Flora, two small children abandoned by their uncle at his grand country house. She sees the figure of an unknown man on the tower and his face at the window. It is Peter Quint, the master’s dissolute valet, and he has come for little Miles. But Peter Quint is dead.

Like the other tales collected here – ‘Sir Edmund Orme’, ‘Owen Wingrave’, and ‘The Friends of the Friends’ – ‘The Turn of the Screw’ is to all immediate appearances a ghost story. But are the appearances what they seem? Is what appears to the governess a ghost or a hallucination? Who else sees what she sees? The reader may wonder whether the children are victims of corruption from beyond the grave, or victims of the governess’s ‘infernal imagination’, which torments but also enthrals her?

‘The Turn of the Screw’ is probably the most famous, certainly the most eerily equivocal, of all ghostly tales. Is it a subtle, self-conscious exploration of the haunted house of Victorian culture, filled with echoes of sexual and social unease? Or is it simply, ‘the most hopelessly evil story that we have ever read’?

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Historical Fiction

I bought this in August 2013 so it must be time to read it, I feel. It has lingered on the TBR because it’s quite long and is the first part of a trilogy. But I’m still as keen to read it now as I was back then…

The Blurb says: At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton.

* * * * *


Courtesy of Quercus via NetGalley. A Gothic thriller from Elly Griffiths! I shall quietly ignore the hideous Gone Girl/Disclaimer reference in the blurb – do publishers really want to put people off?? Well, they’ve failed – I’m super-excited about this one!

The Blurb says: A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Wilkie Collins and MR James meet Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

* * * * *

NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads or Amazon UK.

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?

* * * * *


Due to having totally run out of reviews and to having received Tombland (did I mention it’s 801 pages?), I’m disappearing for a bit to do some intensive reading. Don’t get up to mischief while I’m gone…

72 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 176…

  1. Ah, a new Shardlake novel! I know you’ll love that one, FictionFan. And that Griffiths looks awfully appealing. I give her credit for doing the new and innovative, and ‘stretching’ herself. I’ll be interested in what you think of that. Enjoy your time away 🙂

    • I’m thrilled to have another Shardlake – and this one with Elizabeth, though she’s not yet Queen! The Griffiths sounds great – yes, I love that she does different stuff too. So many writers get stuck in a long-running series and end up trying nothing else. And though obviously everyone will have favourites, most of what she does is excellent. Will do! I think I’ve got enough books to keep me occupied for a week or two… 😉

  2. I’ve read and reviewed the Stranger Diaries. I actually liked Gone Girl more :)) but I don’t really see the connection between the two books. Is Tombland part of a series? Did you read others? How’s the writing? Happy reading anyway! 🙂

    • Oh, I’ll pop over and see what you thought! Haha – I haven’t actually read Gone Girl, but I’m so fed up with every book being compared to it. (And I hated Disclaimer… 😉 ) Yes, it’s a series of historical novels about a lawyer in Tudor times who keeps getting involved in crimes involving the royals. I think this is the eighth – they don’t come along too often, but they’re always huge when they do! I’ve read them all – they’ve been on my must-read-as-soon-as-they-come-out list for years… 😀

      • How is the writing in others? Would you recommend the books? I have some kind of prejudice against such covers, as if inside them are simple fairytales. It is beautiful, though, and I probably need to calibrate my “cover perception”. If it’s well written I would definitely give it a try.

        • They’re very well written – I can’t stand poor writing, so would never have stuck with them otherwise. I’m 150 pages into this one now and loving it… 😀

    • Totally futile! It really is a brilliant series – he started out as a proper historian, so it’s all based round real facts and people and feels right, if you know what I mean. *whispers* I’ve just spent the last six week reading a weighty tome on the Reformation, and realised last night that the first fifty pages of Tombland had told me just about as much and that I’d actually understood it… and stayed awake through it! But don’t tell anyone I said that… 😉

  3. Really, that postman is contributing to your downfall, it’s a conspiracy, you are not to blame at all! Should I embark on the Shardlake series? They look so massive…

    • I know – I suspect he’s a Russian! Yes, you should!! They are massive but I find them totally immersive and incredibly well researched. As BookerTalk says, they’re a surprisingly quick read. They’re so page-turnery that for once it makes me happy to see a page count of over 800… 😀

  4. I’ve read several by Elly Griffiths and enjoyed them a lot, so that’s where I’d start. Strange writing in one’s diary? *shudders* I’ll miss you while you’re away, FF, but if I were embarking on an 800-plus page novel, I too would be “gone fishing”!! Enjoy your time away!

    • The Elly Griffiths looks fab, doesn’t it? She’s such a good writer and I like that she’s willing to try out new things. Haha – I must admit I do feel I’m drowning in books, so some intensive reading is essential. Be good while I’m gone! 😀

    • I was so thrilled to get a copy of it!! Yes, he’s always on my present to myself list too – I start looking forward to his next book as soon as I read the final page of his last one… 😀

  5. For some reason I’ve had it with Shardlake. I think the last couple of novels have been too self-indulgent. However, I heartily recommend Sea of Poppies which definitely should have won the Booker the year it was shortlisted.

    • I’m the other way round – I’ve thought the last couple were his best yet. I find them so immersive that despite the great length I’m happy to wallow in them for a week or two! Oh, that’s good to hear – I’ve been keen to read them for ages, but find I keep putting the longer books off these days – I’m trying to get back to a better balance…

    • Haha – I know! Normally that would have me screaming and running for the hills, but I love this series so much I’m always thrilled to see that they’re so massive! Yes, I thin The Stranger Diaries sounds great too – I like that she tries something different every now and then, too.

  6. I don’t have a copy of Tombland yet, so I’m jealous! On the other hand, maybe that’s a good thing as I don’t think I could cope with an 801 page novel at the moment. I loved Sea of Poppies and the other books in the trilogy…hope you do too. 🙂

    • I was so thrilled to get a copy!! Haha – it’s odd. Usually 801 pages would have me screaming and running for the hills, but with Shardlake I’m always delighted at the thought of getting immersed for a week or two! Oh, good – I’ve been wanting to read them for years but keep putting them off just because of the length (I know, totally inconsistent!) but the time has come… 😀

  7. Ahh, I think I bought at least the first in the Shardlake series! It sounds like I need to get on the ball with it! These all look and sound so good! I hope you won’t disappear for long. You can read 900 pages pretty quickly, right?!

    • You definitely need to read them all! It’s a great series – I find them totally immersive. Ha! I’m a much slower reader than you and for some reason I’m currently reading an 800-page novel, an 800-page history book and a 600-page classic. Not to mention feeding the porpy with horror stories… I may be some time! 😉

  8. Tombland hasn’t arrived here yet – I hadn’t realised it’s so long! I got the new Rebus yesterday and a couple of NetGalley books I’d requested 😊- but not the new Elly Griffiths’ book 😢. I’ve also had Sea of Poppies for a while now … I think I’ll be ‘Gone fishin’ for a while too. Happy Reading!

    • Ooh, I’m jealous about the Rebus – I haven’t managed to acquire it yet! Tombland’s out in a couple of weeks – 150 pages in and I’m loving it. I’m looking forward to both the Griffiths and Sea of Poppies too – I keep putting off longer books so I can feed the blog-beast but I need to rethink that – they’re something so enjoyable about getting lost in a long book for a couple of weeks… Enjoy your fishin’!

    • This will be my first introduction to him, and I’m really looking forward to it. Even other Indian writers tend to mention him admiringly in their own books – always a great recommendation!

  9. You know, a mere mortal is actually a little relieved to hear that you sometimes run out of reviews! I’m astounded by the quantity of (quality) writing you do FF. Enjoy your timeout. I too am looking forward to the Shardlake and Strenger Diaries.

    • Haha – thank you! 😀 When I get to the stage that I’m typing up tomorrow’s post at 2.30 a.m. the night before, I know it’s time to take a break and restock! The Shardlake is great so far – I’m totally immersed in it… 😀

    • I don’t know! But now you’ve heard of him you have no excuses! Only 8 books with an average of maybe 700 pages per book – better get started! 😉

      Thank you – I’m totally immersed… 😀

  10. 801 pages- that’s the longest then- I hope it isn’t the last though. But I have a couple of thousand pages yet to go before I get to that one. I am reading through the series slowly (should be starting Sovereign this month) unlike my mother who read all of them back to back. Will pick up a copy of Tombland, anyway.

  11. And incidentally, 232 is not so bad, mine is something like 316 ( a lot of free ebooks in that count, but still)-and I ordered 3 more yesterday (the 316 includes those).

    • Well, I’ve read up a storm over the last two weeks but unfortunately all the books have been monsters in length so I’ve still got hardly any reviews! I accidentally opened The Stranger Diaries last night, and got kinda hooked… 😀

      Hope you’re enjoying your break!

    • Sorry about the delay in replying – been on a blog break! Well, I ended up reading The Turn of the Screw in one sitting too, and then having bad dreams afterwards! Tombland was brilliant – I really envy you still having all this series to read for the first time. I really want to re-read them from the beginning… if only I could find the time!

  12. Oh, you and I took a break at the same time! 🙂 I hope you’re doing some awesome reading. The new Elly Griffiths definitely appeals to me and I can’t wait to hear what you think. I’m still making my way slowly through the Ruth Galloway books.

    • Well, I’ve been reading up a storm, but all the books have been monsters in length so I feel as if I haven’t got anywhere! 😀 I accidentally opened the Elly Griffiths last night – it’s not at the top of my list yet – and was hooked from the first couple of pages… can’t wait to get to it properly now!

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