3 ARCs – Comment to Claim

February 18, 2015

This isn’t housecleaning.  This  is “I can’t wait to share.”  The first, Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale, comes out mid-March from Del Rey and is an exciting, truly original alternative history with interesting speculation about the mound-building Cahokia culture of 13th century North America.  It also has imaginative battle scenes featuring Cahokians dropping liquid fire from a sort of handglider onto traditional Roman legionaries. In every best sense of the word – fantastic!

Blaine Harden attended PNBA and spoke about his research for his book on how North Korea came to be and sustains its isolation. In the process, he was contacted by the protagonist defecting pilot No Kum Sok, who said call me back when you’ve researched me more because you should know who I am.  Harden followed up and the result is The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot.

The last is a renaissance history focusing on its dark side – a natural follow-up for Borgia lovers.

Please comment to claim.


Clash of eagles : book one of the Hesperian trilogy

Smale, Alan.  Clash of Eagles. Random House, 2015.

Perfect for fans of action-adventure and historical fiction–including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Steve Berry, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove–this stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. In the year 1218 AD, transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of worlds, cultures, and warriors. Ever hungry for land and gold, the Emperor has sent Praetor Gaius Marcellinus and the 33rd Roman Legion into the newly discovered lands of North America. Marcellinus and his men expect easy victory over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of a vast river the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has ever imagined. Forced to watch his vaunted force massacred by a surprisingly tenacious enemy, Marcellinus is spared by his captors and kept alive for his military knowledge. As he recovers and learns more about these proud people, he can’t help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the denizens of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats–both Roman and Native–promise to assail his newfound kin, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict. Advance praise for Clash of Eagles “Authoritatively researched, compellingly told, and with pleasing echoes of L. Sprague de Camp, Clash of Eagles is a modern masterpiece of what-if speculation.” –Stephen Baxter, Philip K. Dick Award-winning author of The Time Ships “Alan Smale has done remarkable work with the world-building in Clash of Eagles, dropping the sole Roman survivor of a massacre into the complex civilization of the Cahokian Native Americans in the thirteenth century. Yet what follows is more than a standard clash of cultures yarn, for there are other forces in play in this alternate North America, and Marcellinus knows his imperial masters will send more legions to replace his lost men. Can the determination and ingenuity of one man change the fate of a continent? I’m eager to find out.” –Harry Turtledove, New York Times bestselling author of How Few Remain “My favorite kind of alternate history: epic, bloody, and hugely imaginative.” –John Birmingham, author of Without Warning “Clash of Eagles is epic in its sweep, exciting in its narrative, and eyeball-kick sharp in its details.” –Nancy Kress, Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author of Beggars in Spain

The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot : The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom

Harden, Blaine. The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot.  Viking, 2015.

From the bestselling author of Escape from Camp 14, the murderous rise of North Korea’s founding dictator and the fighter pilot who faked him out In The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot , New York Times bestselling author Blaine Harden tells the riveting story of how Kim Il Sung grabbed power and plunged his country into war against the United States while the youngest fighter pilot in his air force was playing a high-risk game of deception-and escape. As Kim ascended from Soviet puppet to godlike ruler, No Kum Sok noisily pretended to love his Great Leader. That is, until he swiped a Soviet MiG-15 and delivered it to the Americans, not knowing they were offering a $100,000 bounty for the warplane (the equivalent of nearly one million dollars today). The theft-just weeks after the Korean War ended in July 1953-electrified the world and incited Kim’s bloody vengeance. During the Korean War the United States brutally carpet bombed the North, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and giving the Kim dynasty, as Harden reveals, the fact-based narrative it would use to this day to sell paranoia and hatred of Americans. Drawing on documents from Chinese and Russian archives about the role of Mao and Stalin in Kim’s shadowy rise, as well as from neverbefore- released U.S. intelligence and interrogation files, Harden gives us a heart-pounding escape adventure and an entirely new way to understand the world’s longest-lasting totalitarian state.


The ugly Renaissance : sex, greed, violence and depravity in an age of beauty

Lee, Alexander. The Ugly Renaissance.  Doubleday, 2015.

A fascinating and counterintuitive portrait of the sordid, hidden world behind the dazzling artwork of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and more Renowned as a period of cultural rebirth and artistic innovation, the Renaissance is cloaked in a unique aura of beauty and brilliance. Its very name conjures up awe-inspiring images of an age of lofty ideals in which life imitated the fantastic artworks for which it has become famous. But behind the vast explosion of new art and culture lurked a seamy, vicious world of power politics, perversity, and corruption that has more in common with the present day than anyone dares to admit. In this lively and meticulously researched portrait, Renaissance scholar Alexander Lee illuminates the dark and titillating contradictions that were hidden beneath the surface of the period’s best-known artworks. Rife with tales of scheming bankers, greedy politicians, sex-crazed priests, bloody rivalries, vicious intolerance, rampant disease, and lives of extravagance and excess, this gripping exploration of the underbelly of Renaissance Italy shows that, far from being the product of high-minded ideals, the sublime monuments of the Renaissance were created by flawed and tormented artists who lived in an ever-expanding world of inequality, dark sexuality, bigotry, and hatred. The Ugly Renaissance is a delightfully debauched journey through the surprising contradictions of Italy’s past and shows that were it not for the profusion of depravity and degradation, history’s greatest masterpieces might never have come into being.


5 Responses to “3 ARCs – Comment to Claim”

  1. Vicky Beatty Says:

    Re: Clash of Eagles…makes me think of the great teen novel by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac: Killer of Enemies, which is a fascinating mash-up of sci-fi, alternative history, and Navajo/Apache traditional stories!

  2. I’d love to get the Ugly Renaissance. Who doesn’t enjoy seamy, vicious power politics, perversity, and corruption? Mary C-OAK

  3. Darren Says:

    I couldn’t agree more – on its way!

  4. Marta Murvosh Says:

    Is it too late for , Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale??

    This isn’t housecleaning. This is “I can’t wait to share.” The first, Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale, comes out mid-March from Del Rey and is an exciting, truly original alternative history with interesting speculation about the mound-building Cahokia culture of 13th century North America. It also has imaginative battle scenes featuring Cahokians dropping liquid fire from a sort of handglider onto traditional Roman legionaries. In every best sense of the word – fantastic!

    Marta Murvosh Librarian – Marysville Library 360-658-5000, ext. 5033 Sno-Isle Libraries


  5. Darren Says:

    Not at all. On its way, thanks! I did bend up the cover a bit but it’s good otherwise.

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