First week back to work and back to big long commutes. While all memory of my nice long break is over I did manage to read a couple of excellent books. So what did I read?
I started the week with a present from my friend Richard - The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes. This is one of a series of books based on the Dragon Age series (video game). This particular book is set in the Kingdom of Orlais in the court of Empress Celene. Orlais is a country of wealth where the nobles wear masks and play deadly political games. Celene has ruled the kingdom since she was a young girl and her constant companion (and lover) is the elf Briala. When an elven uprising threatens the peace in Orlais Celene rides in with her guards to administer swift justice. What she doesn't realise is that the Grand Duke Gaspard has set a very careful trap for Celene so that he can gain the throne himself. The game is afoot!
While this story is set within the world of the Dragon Age series this book is self contained and would be suitable even for those who aren't familiar with either the characters or the environment. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and thought the plot was well crafted and didn't rely on previous knowledge of Orlais or its history/politics.
My second book this week was one I received from the lovely people at Solaris via NetGalley - Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes. Dr. Toby Judd's life is about the change whether he wants it to or not. Judd decides to make a stand and declare that the prodigious author Matthew Cannonbridge is a fake. This declaration, so close to the bicentenary celebration of Cannonbridge's most famous works sets off a deadly chain of events. The story moves quickly between Toby in present day and Cannonbridge's life as he meets almost every famous literary character from Byron and Shelley, to Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde. Cannonbridge is a mystery indeed as the saviour to some and the downfall of others, he never changes and never grows old. Can Toby discover the truth before its too late?
Cannonbridge is an excellent book. I have to warn you though that housework or homework won't get done the minute you start this book. It definitely falls into the 'can't put down' category. I was never quite sure what was going to happen and couldn't help but cheer Toby on even though he was rather pathetic. Cannonbridge was a complete mystery and darkness personified. This book will be released by Solaris on the February 10th and I can't urge you enough to pre-order it now.
I discovered via Facebook that there was a new of Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences anthology - Ministry Protocol. Needless to say I quickly downloaded it.. I have only read a few short stories so far as you can only have so much fun at once! I particularly enjoyed the contribution by Karina Cooper. More to come over the next few weeks.
Continuing on the short story/novella theme I downloaded the The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace by Bec McMaster. This is a mini mystery from the London Steampunk series. The Nighthawks Gareth and Perry are involved in the case of the missing actress. This story is set immediately before these two characters full length novel Forged by Desire and is a bit of a teaser for the romance to come. I thought the story was OK but McMaster made a big point about one of the plot items and then seemed to forget about it towards the end. I also thought the cover, including the model, was too similar to the latest books in Karina Cooper's Cherry St. Croix series but that is just me being a book cover snob.
That is it for me for this week. I have been buying books recently so I hope to have a few more updates to tell about next week. Until then Happy Reading.