December is here, the snow will soon be falling, time to curl up inside with a good book. We’re already being inundated with best of 2013 lists, but there are still a good 30 days of book releases ahead of us before we say hello to 2014.
Here are a few titles coming out this December.
Caribbee (M) by Julian Stockwin (December 3). If you love seafaring adventures — authors like C. S. Forester and Alexander Kent — you should know about Julian Stockwin. Stockwin is a retired navy man who begin his Kydd series of novels — which the author’s website describes as “closely based on real events from history, is the story of one man’s journey from pressed man to Admiral in the Great Age of Fighting Sail” — in 2001. Caribbee is the 14th book in that series.
“More than a decade ago, Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi were in the Caribbean as sailors before the mast in the old Trajan. Now Kydd, a storied hero of Trafalgar, holds the glory of being Post- captain of the 32-gun frigate, L’Aurore. His almost unbelievable feat of self-advancement is the toast of his own crew…but the envy of others less blessed than he. After unremitting war a Caribbean posting seems a welcome respite. But, in addition to the balmy warmth and turquoise waters, Kydd and Renzi find themselves facing a familiar threat as the French imperil Britain’s vital sugar trade. When more and more merchantmen begin vanishing from the sea, fear spreads. Before long, the sugar ships refuse to set sail at all. Now Kydd and Renzi must embark on a dangerous game of espionage, seamanship and breath-taking action in order to destroy this new and terrible danger to the Empire.”
Embassy of Cambodia (M) by Zadie Smith (December 3). It shouldn’t come as a surprise that as someone who works closely with books, I’m interested in publishing trends and changes in the industry. It’s no secret that the rising popularity of eBooks is making the publishing industry re-examine what it does. To me, this new release by respected UK author Zadie Smith is an example of a publisher trying something new. Embassy of Cambodia is a short story — at 93 pages its a long, short story but a single short story in a volume nonetheless. It was first published in the New Yorker, but now is presented as a hardcover book for fans and Christmas shoppers.
Cockroaches (M) by Jo Nesbo (December 10). Lately, it seems like I can’t get through one of these new fiction lists with out typing the words “translated from the insert Scandinavian language here” and this month is no exception with the latest from Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø. Nesbø’s detective Harry Hole has become a favourite among readers, Cockroaches is the latest in a series that has as much (if not more) to offer readers looking for something new after the latest Inspector Rebus mystery as it does for those looking to fill the reading gap after enjoying the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
The Blood Crows (M) by Simon Scarrow (December 24). Here’s one that should be a must read for fans of historical military fiction. “A new military adventure for battle-hardened centurions Macro and Cato, fighting for the Empire in Britannia. For nearly ten years, the Roman Empire has fought ceaselessly to strengthen its hold over Britannia. But opposition from native tribes led by the ruthless warrior Caratacus threatens to destroy everything. Prefect Cato and Centurion Macro are summoned by Governor Ostorius to Londinium. Tasked with leading a newly formed cavalry cohort into the heartland of Wales, they must destroy the growing resistance. But with Caratacus hatching increasingly ambitious plans and disorder threatening from within Macro and Cato’s own ranks, this final test will push the soldiers to their limits. And if they do not emerge as victors, the Emperor Claudius’s rule may be at stake, and the very foundations of the Roman Empire could be shattered irrevocably.”
Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink (M) by Kim Gruenenfelder (December 24). We’ll finish on a light note with this latest from American author Gruenenfelder. A which is a follow up to her wedding-centred light romance There’s Cake in My Future which Publisher’s Weekly described as a great read “in a girls-just-wanna-have-fun way . . . hip and amusing without ever thinking too hard.” Expect similar fare here as the author picks up where her characters left off in the last instalment. Sounds like good put-your-feet-up and enjoy some egg nog holiday reading.