Historical Fiction

November 2018

The Air You Breathe

Some friendships, like romance, have the feeling of fate.

Skinny, nine-year-old orphaned Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when in walks a girl who changes everything. Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron, is clever, well fed, pretty, and thrillingly ill behaved. Born to wildly different worlds, Dores and Graça quickly bond over shared mischief, and then, on a deeper level, over music.

One has a voice like a songbird; the other feels melodies in her soul and composes lyrics to match. Music will become their shared passion, the source of their partnership and their rivalry, and for each, the only way out of the life to which each was born. But only one of the two is destined to be a star. Their intimate, volatile bond will determine each of their fortunes--and haunt their memories.

Traveling from Brazil's inland sugar plantations to the rowdy streets of Rio de Janeiro's famous Lapa neighborhood, from Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood back to the irresistible drumbeat of home, The Air You Breathe unfurls a moving portrait of a lifelong friendship--its unparalleled rewards and lasting losses--and considers what we owe to the relationships that shape our lives.

The Burning Stone

Fleeing the massacre of his entire family save a single uncle, young Roman aristocrat Quintus Varrus arrives in fourth-century London not knowing who is to blame for the murders nor whom he can trust now. He fears for his life, but when he meets a young Irish woman named Lydia Mcuil, their lives quickly become intertwined and her father offers to set the young Roman up as a smith (under an Irish alias) in the town of Colchester while the young lovers get to know each other from a distance.


But the assassins haven't forgotten Quintus and a deadly ambush is barely thwarted, bringing the young Roman into friendship with his rescuer, a hardened former military policeman known as Rufus Cato, who has his own score to settle with the powerful man behind the attack. Quintus is introduced to the secrets of an ancient brotherhood that is trying to halt the rot that is destroying their beloved Empire--secrets that may finally reveal the identity of those who murdered his family, and expose the shocking reason why.


Set against the backdrop of a world in turmoil, this prequel to The Skystone, first in the Dream of Eagles series, is richly textured, intricately plotted, and filled with action and adventure: a perfect addition to the works of this master storyteller.

Button Man

After a string of New York Times bestselling suburban thrillers, Andrew Gross has reinvented himself as a writer of historical thrillers. In his latest novel, Button Man, he delivers a stirring story of a Jewish family brought together in the dawn of the women's garment business and torn apart by the birth of organized crime in New York City in the 1930s.


Morris, Sol, and Harry Rabishevsky grew up poor and rough in a tiny flat on the Lower East Side, until the death of their father thrust them into having to fend for themselves and support their large family. Morris, the youngest, dropped out of school at twelve years old and apprenticed himself to a garment cutter in a clothing factory; Sol headed to accounting school; but Harry, scarred by a family tragedy, fell in with a gang of thugs as a teenager. Morris steadily climbs through the ranks at the factory until at twenty-one he finally goes out on his own, convincing Sol to come work with him. But Harry can't be lured away from the glamour, the power, and the money that come from his association with Louis Buchalter, whom Morris has battled with since his youth and who has risen to become the most ruthless mobster in New York. And when Buchalter sets his sights on the unions that staff the garment makers' factories, a fatal showdown is inevitable, pitting brother against brother.


This new novel is equal parts historical thriller, rich with the detail of a vibrant New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, and family saga, based on Andrew Gross's own family story and on the history of the era, complete with appearances by real-life characters like mobsters Louis Lepke and Dutch Schultz and special prosecutor Thomas Dewey, and cements Gross's reputation as today's most atmospheric and original historical thriller writer.

My Name Is a Knife

Following on All True Not a Lie in It, her brilliant, award-winning first novel, Alix Hawley brings us the dramatic end of fabled frontiersman Daniel Boone's story--a heartbreaking and powerful imagining of a crucial period in North American history.

The truth of it is that Daniel Boone, captured by the Shawnee, now the adopted son of a chief he respects and husband to a Shawnee wife, does not want to come back to his settler life. But when he learns the Shawnee and the English plan to attack the fort he founded, where his white wife and children remain, he escapes in order to warn them. No arms open to greet him, however: Rebecca has taken all of their children save one--Jemima--back east. The other settlers view him with suspicion, and some of them want him hanged as a traitor. Yet even his enemies know that nobody but Boone can save them in the brutal siege of the fort that is soon upon them, led by Blackfish, Boone's Shawnee father.


Heartsick over the carnage, when the siege is over Boone travels east to retrieve his family. He finds a wife who has made a life for herself and their children, and still resents him for their oldest son's death. Slowly he woos her, until Rebecca finds herself following him back to Kentucky, to a new Boone settlement across the river from the old one. For a brief and peaceful time, Boone believes that maybe there's a way that indigenous and white can travel forward together, but inevitably he realizes that he can't control the juggernaut of hate and conquest that will soon roll over the Shawnee and the Cherokee. And he has to decide whether to simply be killed in the fighting, or to kill. In the tragic aftermath, Rebecca is left to wonder whether there is any way she can continue to love what remains of Boone.

Sand

Set in the aftermath 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, this darkly sophisticated literary thriller by one of Germany's most celebrated writers is now available in the US for the first time.

North Africa, 1972. While the world is reeling from the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, a series of mysterious events is playing out in the Sahara. Four people are murdered in a hippie commune, a suitcase full of money disappears, and a pair of unenthusiastic detectives are assigned to investigate. In the midst of it all, a man with no memory tries to evade his armed pursuers. Who are they? What do they want from him? If he could just recall his own identity he might have a chance of working it out. . . .

This darkly sophisticated literary thriller, the last novel Wolfgang Herrndorf completed before his untimely death in 2013, is, in the words of Michael Maar, “the greatest, grisliest, funniest, and wisest novel of the past decade.” Certainly no reader will ever forget it.