TBR Thursday 208…

Episode 208

A huge drop in the TBR this week – down 3 to 223! I wish I could say this is because I’ve been racing through piles of great books, but it’s actually because several have been consigned to the garbage…

Here are a few more that I should be reading soon

History

The Hour of Peril by Daniel Stashower

This one was very kindly sent to me by a blog buddy who clearly knows my tastes very well! Civil War-era history, political conspiracy and an edge of true crime complete with famous detective Allan Pinkerton – sounds great!  

The Blurb says: Daniel Stashower, the two-time Edgar award-winning author of The Beautiful Cigar Girl, uncovers the riveting true story of the Baltimore Plot, an audacious conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the Civil War.

In February of 1861, just days before he assumed the presidency, Abraham Lincoln faced a clear and fully-matured threat of assassination as he traveled by train from Springfield to Washington for his inauguration. Over a period of thirteen days the legendary detective Allan Pinkerton worked feverishly to detect and thwart the plot, assisted by a captivating young widow named Kate Warne, America’s first female private eye. As Lincoln’s train rolled inexorably toward the seat of danger, Pinkerton struggled to unravel the ever-changing details of the murder plot, even as he contended with the intractability of Lincoln and his advisors, who refused to believe that the danger was real. With time running out Pinkerton took a desperate gamble, staking Lincoln’s life and the future of the nation on a perilous feint that seemed to offer the only chance that Lincoln would survive to become president.

Shrouded in secrecy and, later, mired in controversy, the story of the Baltimore Plot is one of the great untold tales of the Civil War era, and Stashower has crafted this spellbinding historical narrative with the pace and urgency of a race-against-the-clock thriller.

* * * * *

Classic Science Fiction

The Question Mark by Muriel Jaeger

Courtesy of the British Library. Not content with feeding my addiction for vintage crime, the BL is now intent on getting me hooked on vintage sci-fi. Not that I’m complaining… quite the reverse! I prefer older SF to contemporary stuff by far, because it tends to concentrate less on science and technology and more on humanity…

The Blurb says: In 1926 Muriel Jaeger, dissatisfied with the Utopian visions of H G Wells and Edward Bellamy, set out to explore ‘The Question Mark’ of what a future society might look like if human nature were properly represented. So, disgruntled London office worker Guy Martin is pitched 200 years into the future, where he encounters a seemingly ideal society in which each citizen has the luxury of every kind of freedom. But as Guy adjusts to the new world, the fractures of this supposed Utopia begin to show through, and it seems as if the inhabitants of this society might be just as susceptible to the promises of false messiahs as those of the twentieth century. Preceding the publication of Huxley’s Brave New World by 5 years, The Question Mark is a significant cornerstone in the foundation of the Dystopia genre, and an impressive and unjustly neglected work of literary science fiction. This edition brings the novel back into print for the first time since its original publication.

* * * * *

Historical Fiction

The Second Sleep edited by Robert Harris

Courtesy of Hutchinson. A new release from Robert Harris is always a major event in my reading life and this one sounds very intriguing – a little different from his usual, perhaps…

The Blurb says: 1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote English village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artefacts–coins, fragments of glass, human bones–which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death?

Fairfax becomes determined to discover the truth. Over the course of the next six days, everything he believes–about himself, his faith and the history of his world–will be tested to destruction.

* * * * *

Vintage Crime

Murder in the Mill-Race by ECR Lorac

Courtesy of the British Library again! ECR Lorac has become one of my favourites of the authors the BL has been re-issuing, so I’m delighted they’ve brought out another. Her settings are always one of her strengths, so I’m looking forward to a trip to Devon…

The Blurb says: When Dr Raymond Ferens moves to a practice at Milham in the Moor in North Devon, he and his wife are enchanted with the beautiful hilltop village lying so close to moor and sky. At first they see only its charm, but soon they begin to uncover its secrets – envy, hatred and malice.

Everyone says that Sister Monica, warden of a children’s home, is a saint – but is she? A few months after the Ferens’ arrival her body is found drowned in the mill race. Chief Inspector Macdonald faces one of his most difficult cases in a village determined not to betray its dark secrets to a stranger.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

56 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 208…

  1. Gosh, I have so many Robert Harris books to read… I will be interested in how you find The Question Mark. This kind of science fiction is not a preferred genre for me, but there do seem to be some interesting ideas in this book.

    • I’ve been trying to catch up with Harris’ back catalogue, but he’s been pretty prolific! I’m intrigued by this new sci-fi series – I haven’t heard of any of the authors, so I’m wondering if they’ll turn out to be as much hidden gems as their classic crime novels have proved to be…

  2. Too bad your DNF pile has increased this week. Of course, the up side is that we’ll have a chance to read some of your negative reviews, which are priceless. The Question Mark sounds good. Hopefully it will be released on Audable at some point so I can get hold of it.

    • Hahaha – I do get a bit grumpy when a book doesn’t work for me – I take it personally! As you’ll discover tomorrow… 😉 I see they’re doing audiobooks of the vintage crime novels now, so fingers crossed they do the same for the sci-fi. I’ll mention it next time I’m in touch with them and ask if they’re planning to…

      • Cheers, that would be great. It’s good to know they’ve started releasing some of the Vintage Crime, as I often find it’s more to me taste than some of the more contemporary offerings.

        • Yes, I’m really enjoying the vintage crime stuff – I really prefer the older style where the focus is on a nice middle-class mystery, rather than on either the detective’s angst-filled life or the gritty side of society. I guess because I mostly read crime for entertainment – I get my heavy stuff from literary fiction or factual books.

  3. Ah, so some of your books have left for Station DNF, FictionFan? That is a disappointment, especially when there are so many good books out there. But you’ve got some great ones there. The Harris looks especially appealing to me. And there’s a Lorac, too! Oh, and I want to look into the BL’s policy of re-releasing all sorts of books when they know we all have groaning TBRs… 😉

    • They have indeed – one way tickets to nowhere!! 😂 I think all four of these look great this week. Harris and Lorac are favourite authors already, I’m intrigued to see if the new vintage sci-fi series is as good as the classic crime one, and of course the highlight is the Stashower book – sounds exactly my kind of thing! 😀

  4. Well, gee, ALL of these look good, especially The Hour of Peril. I guess we “forget” that other presidents were hated, too?!! Anyway, you’ve got some winners here — surprised your TBR has dropped, with tempting selections like these!

    • The Hour of Peril looks great, doesn’t it? And so me! Haha – yes, I never understand why anyone wants to be President or Prime Minister – at least half the country is always going to hate them! I’m trying to control my additions but it’s not easy…!

  5. Well, yes…. I’m tempted by two in particular!

    I loved Robert Harris’s trilogy featuring Cicero and his novel about Pompeii, but I’ve not read any of his other stuff. Is it all good?

    That’s a new-to-me science fiction writer so I look forward to your review of that, too.

    • I’ve still not read a lot of his stuff – I only came across him a few years ago so am trying to work backwards, but it’s not easy because he keeps bringing out new books! I loved Enigma, An Officer and a Spy, and Fatherland most so far, I think. Oh, and Munich! I’ve only read the first Cicero and haven’t read the Pompeii one yet…

      Yes, I haven’t heard of any of the authors in their new vintage sci-fi range, but the same applied to the crime classics series when I started reading them and I love them now, so I’m hoping the sci-fi ones are just as good… though I’m scared about what it could do to my TBR!

  6. Yes, please to all of them!! Especially, the Lincoln story. Unfortunately, I barely get through any books these days, so I will try to forget, I ever read this post. Well done, for reducing your TBR though (even if it was the easy way).

    • The Lincoln one sounds great, doesn’t it? And so me! Hahaha – I’m struggling to get through the books at the moment too, but oddly I never seem to struggle about acquiring more!! 😉

  7. I love them all, and I won’t hesitate to add them to my TBR! I’m sad for the ones that ended up in the garbage though!

    (Is it wrong that I always look for Eva’s comment on TBR posts?! She missed this one! ♥️)

    • I’ve enjoyed all the ones I’ve read, so mostly it’s just a matter of which subject appeals most. For me, I think Enigma is my favourite – it’s about the codebreakers at Bletchley Park. But I also loved An Officer and a Spy, about the Dreyfuss affair in France, and Fatherland which is a sort of crime novel set in an alternative 1960s in a world where the Nazis won the war and Hitler is still in power…

        • That was the first Harris I read and I thought it was great. I didn’t know much about Dreyfus either, and one of the things I love about Harris is that his history seems to be pretty accurate with only occasional detours for literary purposes. So he not only entertains, he educates!

  8. I’m relieved to say that this week I’m not tempted, but no doubt you’ll get me next time! My TBR list is going nowhere – I’m pretty much treading water. Read one, add two, decide I don’t want to read one, add two more, you know…

    • Yes, I’ve been stuck in the 220s for ages – glad it’s not leaping up but can’t seem to get it to go down either! Well, I’m shocked that I haven’t tempted you – I shall try to snare you when I review them… assuming I don’t abandon them all! 😉

    • I love the look of some of these old sci-fi novels the British Library is re-issuing. This will be the first one I try so I have my fingers crossed – though can I cope with another bookish addiction?? I think they usually publish them in the US not long after they come out in the UK, so I hope you can get hold of it at some point at a reasonable cost.

      Thanks for popping in and commenting. 😀

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