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The Emperor’s Gold by Robert Wilton

The Emperor's Gold by Robert WiltonCorvus Books (an imprint of Atlantic Books) are starting to become a bit of a happy hunting ground for me in finding emerging talent in the crime and historical fiction genres to review. I was therefore more than a little fascinated by the sound of a debut novel called The Emperor’s Gold by Robert Wilton; this was not only because of my rapidly growing interest in well written historical fiction, but also due in no small part to Mr. Wilton’s packed c.v.

I won’t go into more detail here as I’m hoping to save that for a featured author post in the near future (#edit – which you can now read here), but suffice to say degrees in history from Oxford and London Universities and a career in the Ministry of Defence certainly appeared to give him all the right credentials.

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The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna by Barbara KingsolverWhat do you get if you cross a young man, a Russian political exile, a couple of Mexican artists and a United States in the grip of paranoia? Well if you’re lucky you might just get Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Lacuna.

I have never read any of her books up until now, and I’d been meaning to get around to reading The Poisonwood Bible but this one arrived in my to be read pile first. Many reviewers have judged it to be not really up there with Poisonwood so how did I get on with it myself?

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The Secret by Eva Hoffman

The Secret by Eva HoffmanWhat in the end turned out to be an intriguing short novel by writer and academic Eva Hoffman,  The Secret had been gathering dust on my bookshelves for a few years since my wife had read it. I know we are all at times guilty of the sin of judging books by their covers (publishers spend thousands getting us to do just that), but I had kind of dismissed it as being the type of book I would normally do my best to avoid. Definitely a mistake on my part; as during a recent clear out to the charity shop, whilst deciding what to ditch and what to keep, I read over the sleeve notes, had a quick flick through a few pages, and instantly saw that it deserved a closer look.

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The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly

The Lizard Cage by Karen ConnellyThe brutal and authoritarian military dictatorship of Burma, perhaps receives less than its fair share of column inches in the international media, possibly losing out to more recent conflicts. I think it is also fair to say that many national governments have a vested interest in deflecting attention, as over the years they are the ones responsible for supplying the Burmese government with the weapons to cruelly repress its own people.

The more exposure and publicity the Burmese situation receives, the better the chances of achieving the freedom and democracy that the country’s people deserve. Karen Connelly’s extensive travels in Burma and its surrounding regions have amply equipped her to write a compelling and at times heartbreaking story in The Lizard Cage, which tells of one man’s imprisonment and solitary confinement in the extremely violent and harsh Burmese prison system.

Karen Connelly won the Orange Award for New Writers in 2007 for The Lizard Cage.

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