With tales from Laird Barron, Stephen King, John Langan, Peter Straub, and many others, and featuring Datlow’s comprehensive overview of the year in horror, now, more than ever, The Best Horror of the Year provides the petrifying horror fiction readers have come to expect - and enjoy.
"Only a few decent stories in this bunch."
London’s Slough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what’s left of their failed careers. The “"low horses", as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here. But now the slow horses have a chance at redemption. An old Cold War-era spy is found dead on a bus outside Oxford, far from his usual haunts. The despicable, irascible Jackson Lamb is convinced Dickie Bow was murdered. As the agents dig into their fallen comrade’s circumstances, they uncover a shadowy tangle of ancient Cold War secrets.
"Sicily," said Goethe, "is the key to everything." It is the largest island in the Mediterranean, the stepping-stone between Europe and Africa, the link between the Latin West and the Greek East. Sicily's strategic location has tempted Roman emperors, French princes, and Spanish kings. The subsequent struggles to conquer and keep it have played crucial roles in the rise and fall of the world's most powerful dynasties.
"Sicily: The Unknown Sister of Despair"
In this wholly original audiobook, biologist David Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window into the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Each of this audiobook's short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers.
Experts believe that Brazil, the world's fifth largest country and its seventh largest economy, will be one of the most important global powers by the year 2030. Yet far more attention has been paid to the other rising behemoths: Russia, India, and China. Often ignored and underappreciated, Brazil, according to renowned, award-winning journalist Michael Reid, has finally begun to live up to its potential but faces important challenges before it becomes a nation of substantial global significance.
"A comprehensive history"
In this book, Emrys Westacott examines why, for more than two millennia, so many philosophers and people with a reputation for wisdom have been advocating frugality and simple living as the key to the good life. He also looks at why most people have ignored them, but argues that, in a world facing environmental crisis, it may finally be time to listen to the advocates of a simpler way of life.
For centuries the Túatha Dé Danann lived in peace on an island where time flowed more slowly and the seasons were gentle - until that peace was shattered by the arrival of invaders. The Gaels, the Children of Milesios, came looking for easy riches and conquest, following the story of an island to the west where their every desire could be granted. They had not anticipated that it would already be home to others, and against the advice of their druids, they began to exterminate the Túatha Dé Danann.
The Irish Revolution has long been mythologized in American culture but seldom understood. For too long the story of Irish independence and its aftermath has been told only within an Anglo-Irish context. Now, in the critically acclaimed Bitter Freedom, journalist Maurice Walsh, with "a novelist's eye for the illuminating detail of everyday lives in extremis" (Prospect), places revolutionary Ireland in the panorama of the global disorder born of the terrible slaughter of World War I and provides a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human face of the conflict.
At fourteen, the unworldly, idealistic Jack Easy leaves the luxury of his father's estate in England and sails into a world of action and adventure aboard the sloop of war HMS Harpy. At first, Jack finds it hard to stomach the discipline of naval life and, with his mischievous sense of humor, is always getting himself into scrapes. But soon he is bravely taming a band of mutinous seamen, outwitting a wily and murderous Sicilian nobleman, and breathing the smell of gunpowder and raw steel as the Harpy chases Spanish ships on the Mediterranean.
London. December 1981. The IRA is on the attack, a cold war is being waged, another war is just over the horizon, and Stephen Donaldson spends his days listening. When he first joined the Institute, he expected to encounter glamorous, high-risk espionage. Instead he gets the tape-recorded conversations of ancient Communists and ineffectual revolutionaries - until the day he is assigned a new case: the ultra-secret PHOENIX, a suspected internal leak.
When Leonard Franks and his wife, Ellie, leave London for their dream retirement in the seclusion of Dartmoor, everything seems perfect. But then their new life is shattered. Leonard heads outside to fetch firewood from the back of the house - and never returns. Nine months later, with the police investigation at a dead end, Leonard's family turn to David Raker - a missing persons investigator with a gift for finding the lost. But nothing can prepare Raker for what he's about to uncover.
"Great story line.... really struggled with the narrator"
Berlin, early 1948: The city, still occupied by the four Allied powers, still largely in ruins, has become the cockpit of a new Cold War, and as spring unfolds its German inhabitants live in fear of the Soviets enforcing a Western withdrawal. Here, as elsewhere in Europe, the legacies of the War have become entangled in the new Soviet-American conflict, creating a world of bizarre and fleeting loyalties, a paradise for spies. John Russell works for both Stalin’s NKVD and the newly-created CIA. He does as little for either as he can safely get away with.
"What a disappointment...and it's all the narrator"
Julius Caesar has been cut down. His blood stains the hands of a cabal of bold conspirators, led by famed general Marcus Brutus - whom Caesar once called a friend. Have these self-proclaimed liberators bravely slain a power-mad tyrant or brutally murdered the beloved Father of Rome? Hailed as heroes by a complicit Senate and granted amnesty, the killers eagerly turn toward plotting the empire’s future under their control. But Caesar’s death does not rest easily with all of Rome.
"HORRIBLE performance destroyed an interesting book"
Seventeen-year-old Megan Carver was an unlikely runaway. A straight-A student from a happy home, she studied hard and rarely got into trouble. Six months on, she's never been found. Missing persons investigator David Raker knows what it's like to grieve. He knows the shadowy world of the lost, too. So, when he's hired by Megan's parents to find out what happened, he recognizes their pain - but knows that the darkest secrets can be buried deep.
One year ago Alex Towne's body was found. One month ago his mother saw him on the street. One week ago David Raker agreed to look for him. He'll wish he hadn't. Mary Towne's son, Alex, had been missing for six years before he finally turned up - as a corpse in a car wreck. But now she's convinced he's still alive.
For millions of Londoners, the morning of 17 December is just like any other. But not for Sam Wren. An hour after leaving home, he gets onto a tube train, and never gets off again. No eyewitnesses. No trace of him on security cameras. Six months later, he's still missing. Out of options and desperate for answers, Sam's wife, Julia, hires David Raker to track him down.
"I liked it"
Half the world's population speaks a language that has evolved from a single prehistoric mother tongue. First spoken in Stone Age times on the steppes of central Eurasia 6,500 years ago, this mother tongue spread from the shores of the Black Sea across almost all of Europe and much of Asia. It is the genetic basis of everything we speak and write today - the DNA of language.
"Totally Reprehensible. No book I recommend less."
One of our finest narrative historians, Lawrence James has written an illuminating, genuinely new biography of Winston Churchill that focuses solely on his contradictory relationship with the British Empire. As a young army officer in the late 19th century serving in conflicts in India, South Africa, and the Sudan, his attitude toward the Empire was the Victorian paternalistic approach - at once responsible and superior.
"I loved it!"
Julius Caesar has been assassinated. A nation is in mourning. Revenge will be bloody... Rome's great hero has been brutally murdered by his most trusted allies. While these self-appointed Liberatores seek refuge in the senate, they have underestimated one man: Caesar's adopted son Octavian, a man whose name will echo through history as Augustus Caesar. Uniting with his great rival Mark Antony, Octavian will stop at nothing to seek retribution and avenge his father's death.
"Terrible narrator made me wince"
The worlds of ocean and ice were meeting in a frontier of rage, as if the earth had torn in two along this line. This was a place, if there ever was a place, where you could disappear. The year is 1845, and young researcher Eliot Saxby is paid to go on an expedition to the Arctic in the hope of finding the remains of the by-now-extinct Great Auk, a large flightless bird of mythical status. Eliot joins a hunting ship, but the crew and the passengers are not what they seem.
"You will either love or hate this book"