The Angel of Eden (The Mesopotamian Trilogy #3)
By: D.J. McIntosh
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
The thrilling conclusion to the Mesopotamian trilogy about the origin of angels and the real location of the lost Garden of Eden
In 2011, D.J. McIntosh took the book world by storm with her bestselling debut novel, The Witch of Babylon. Praised by The Globe and Mail for its “stellar research” and “superb writing,” it introduced readers to John Madison, a rakish New York art dealer who uncovered a fabulous treasure trove of antiquities in the hills outside Baghdad and the truth behind a famous story long believed to be a myth.
In this highly anticipated conclusion, Madison is hired by a famous magician to find a rare sixteenth century book on angel magic and the former assistant who stole it thirty-five years ago. Madison’s quest leads him from the great mosques and churches of Istanbul to the ruins of Pergamon and the temples of the ancient Near East, where he discovers the true location of the Garden of Eden, the nature of angels, and the dark story of his birth.
I don’t think I ever got around to reviewing the first novel here but I’ve greatly enjoyed the Mesopotamian trilogy thus far (review of the second novel) and the different locations and history that the author chose to focus on for her lead character. I was surprised when the third novel sprung up on the publication scene last year. I meant to go back to re-read the first two novels but in the end I just jumped right into reading this one 😛 The following may contain some spoilers as I will make some references to events from the previous novels!
Happy Canada Day! It’s a long weekend up here, which is nice, and to celebrate everything Canadian, I’ve decided to put together a wee list of some of my favourite books by Canadian authors that I’ve read in the past year (2015 – 2016).
Edit (09 July 2016): A little late as I’ve been away at the end of June/start of July, but you can consider this post as part of this month’s edition of So You Want to Read… (see previous posts)
- Still Mine by Amy Stuart (review) — I read this book earlier this year and it’s absolutely marvelous! Very atmospheric, foreboding, and mysterious; you’re not quite sure who to trust in this wee mining town in the middle of nowhere, and the protagonist is fighting her own past demons whilst searching for clues to the whereabouts of a missing woman. I’ve mentioned it recently how it’s a perfect vacation read, but it’s a great read any time, really.
- Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis (review) — This was last year’s winner of the Giller Prize, which prompted me to check it out (plus I got some verbal recommendations when I was at the bookstore shortly afterwards). It was absolutely stunning, from the premise of bringing human consciousness to this group of fifteen dogs to capturing the essense of human experience. Not to mention from the Canadian standpoint it gives a curious/change of perspective of the city I live in.
- Family Furnishings by Alice Munro (review) — No list of Canadian literature is ever complete without mentioning Alice Munro 😛 I selected this title, the latest compliation of her works, because it’s all around a solid collection. I found I prefer her later stories to her earlier ones–much easier to get into, the themes and scenarios interesting–and think this is a great starting point if you’ve never read anything by her before.
- Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (review) — Joseph Boyden is a quite a big author up here, writing about Aboriginal experience in Canadian history and about Aboriginals and their lives as a whole. I hadn’t gotten around to reading any of his books until this year and suffice to say it was quite a read! I learned a lot about the Aboriginal contribution to the Canadian forces during World War One as well as a myriad of other topics such as the residential schools and the serious issue of morphine addiction. Can’t wait to read more books by him!
- The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (review) — Any book by her, really (see author tag), but to date this title has to be my favourite from her. It’s absolutely atmospheric, feels like you’re almost in northern Scotland, at Slains, facing the sea. Both storylines–the 17th century one and the present day one–were absolutely enthralling, I couldn’t quite put it down once I started reading it. I’ve enjoyed almost all of her books save for one of two but if you’re new to her works or want a sample of her storytelling, this is definitely the book to check out.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And that’s my list of recommendations of books to check out by Canadian authors! Have you read any of these titles? If so, what did you think of them? If you haven’t read any of these, well, now’s your chance! I’m hosting a flash book giveaway where you can win your choice of book from the above five titles* 🙂 This giveaway is open internationally so long as The Book Depository ships to your country. This giveaway will run until 08 July 2016 at 11:59PM. A winner will be selected the following day and will have 48 hours to respond to the email so please make sure you enter a valid email address! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me at webmaster [at] eclectictales [dot] com. Bonne chance! 😀
* – If you’ve read the above titles by Alice Munro, Joseph Boyden, or Susanna Kearsley, I’d be happy to send you a book of theirs that you haven’t read.
Edit: Congrats to the winner of this giveaway, Denise! I hope you enjoy the book of you choice. Thanks again to everyone who entered!
Three Day Road
By: Joseph Boyden
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
It is 1919, and Niska, the last Oji-Cree medicine woman to live off the land, has received word that one of the two boys she grudgingly saw off to war has returned. She leaves her home in the bush of Northern Ontario to retrieve him, only to discover that the one she expected is actually the other.
Xavier Bird, her sole living relation, gravely wounded and addicted to the army’s morphine, hovers somewhere between the living world and that of the dead. As Niska paddles him the three days home, she realizes that all she can offer in her attempt to keep him alive is her words, the stories of her life.
In turn, Xavier relates the horrifying years of war in Europe: he and his best friend, Elijah Whiskeyjack, prowled the battlefields of France and Belgium as snipers of enormous skill. As their reputations grew, the two young men, with their hand-sewn moccasins and extraordinary marksmanship, became both the pride and fear of their regiment as they stalked the ripe killing fields of Ypres and the Somme.
Inspired in part by real-life World War I Ojibwa hero Francis Pegahmagabow, Three Day Road is beautifully written and told with unblinking focus, it is a remarkable tale, one of brutality, survival, and rebirth.
I’ve heard of Joseph Boyden and his work for a number of years–and heard many positive reviews about his books–but I hadn’t gotten around to reading any of his books. I’m trying to read more Canadian authors so yeah, figured it’s about time I check out one of his titles. This title intrigued me the most, with the World War One setting and the role of the Aboriginals in the army during this time.
The Handmaid’s Tale
By: Margaret Atwood
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population. The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions.
I seem to be on a roll these days, getting around to books that I’ve been meaning to get around to reading for years. This is one of those books. Good Canadian that I am, I never read it, lol, despite hearing about it for years and years and its impact in literature. This isn’t my first Margaret Atwood novel though; I had read her early novel Surfacing (review) a few years ago but I didn’t enjoy it. I figured maybe one of her more well-known novels would provide a different reading experience for me with regards to her body of work.
A Song for Arbonne
By: Guy Gavriel Kay
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
Based on the troubadour culture that rose in Provence during the High Middle Ages, this panoramic, absorbing novel beautifully creates an alternate version of the medieval world. The matriarchal, cultured land of Arbonne is rent by a feud between its two most powerful dukes, the noble troubador Bertran de Talair and Urte de Miraval, over long-dead Aelis, lover of one, wife of the other and once heir to the country’s throne. To the north lies militaristic Gorhaut, whose inhabitants worship the militant god Corannos and are ruled by corrupt, womanizing King Ademar. His chief advisor, the high priest of Corannos, is determined to irradicate the worship of a female deity, whose followers live to the south. Into this cauldron of brewing disaster comes the mysterious Gorhaut mercenary Blaise, who takes service with Bertran and averts an attempt on his life. The revelation of Blaise’s lineage and a claim for sanctuary by his sister-in-law sets the stage for a brutal clash between the two cultures. Intertwined is the tale of a young woman troubadour whose role suggests the sweep of the drama to come.
And here we are, the last of Guy Gavriel Kay’s book that I have on my TBR queue; after this book I only have his first trilogy and his latest two books that I haven’t read. Anyway, I put off this book for a bit because to date his books have been something of a hit-or-miss: I loved Tigana and liked The Lions of Al-Rassan (review) but not so much his other books. I heard good things about this book so I was hoping a little distance and other books sprinkled in between would temper my experience a bit.