“The Winter Soldier” by Daniel Mason – The Healer’s Sacrifice
Daniel Mason enjoys taking his readers on grand trips through time and around the world, doing so once again in his novel The Winter Soldier.
Taking us to Vienna in 1914, the story follows a young medical student, Lucius, who dreams of becoming a battlefield surgeon. Instead, he finds himself sent to a remote mountain outpost ravaged by typhus, with only a single nurse remaining.
Facing an hour darker and more desperate than he could have ever expected, Lucius is forced to make decisions bound to change the lives of all those touched by his presence.
“Jerusalem” by Alan Moore – Holy City of English Decadence
Alan Moore may have established his reputation largely through timeless comic books such as Watchmen, but he has also proven himself to be a novelist with no equal, namely through his 2016 work titled Jerusalem.
In it, we are taken on an exploration of the madness, brilliancy, decay and degeneracy which has seeped over the years into the town of Northampton in the United Kingdom, taking a close look at the lives of its denizens, forgotten to the rest of the world.
“Circe” by Madeline Miller – The Bridge Between Gods and Mortals
Madeline Miller has certainly made the best literary use of her time researching Greece and its mythology, recently penning her second novel titled Circe, told from the perspective of the titular character from the Odyssey.
In her own tale, Zeus exiles her to a deserted island after feeling threatened by her power, a place where Circe meets many famous mythological figures and begins her journey onwards to not only defy the Olympians, but also to choose which side she belongs to: gods or mortals.
“The Piano Tuner” by Daniel Mason – Jungle for a Confused Soul
Daniel Mason surprised many when back in 2003 he published his first ever novel while still being a medical student, The Piano Tuner.
Transporting us back to 1886 when the British Empire still existed, the book tells the story of Edgar Drake, the titular tuner, as he receives a strange commission from the War Office: to service an eccentric army surgeon’s piano in Burma.
So begin Edgar Drake’s travels to a turbulent and secretive country on the verge of making history.
“The Philosopher’s Flight” by Tom Miller – Outsider of the Arcane Science
Tom Miller has certainly made a good decision in giving authorship a chance after working as an emergency room doctor for many years, gifting us with the very special novel The Philosopher’s Flight.
In it, we follow Robert Weekes, a young practitioner of empirical philosophy, an arcane branch of science used to accomplish the unfathomable.
After winning a scholarship to study in a famous all-women’s school, he begins struggling to find his place in the world and is soon faced with some real dangers stemming from a group of anti-philosophical radicals.
H.P. Lovecraft’s Short Stories – The Misadventures of Randolph Carter
Though H.P. Lovecraft is generally considerate enough to spare his characters from more than one venture into the heart of madness, Randolph Carter suffered a rather different fate.
The sole character written by the author with the distinction of being the protagonist across multiple stories, Carter appeared in the following three stories we will explore: The Dream-Quest of Kaddath, The Statement of Randolph Carter and The Unnamable.
“The Labyrinth of the Spirits” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – The Footsteps of Corruption
Carlos Ruiz Zafon has enchanted his readers in every way imaginable with each entry in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books universe, intimately exploring the dark and Gothic streets of Barcelona and the curiosities they hold in store.
With The Labyrinth of the Spirits, Zafon brings the series to a close with a story following a young inspector trying to unravel the disappearance of Spain’s Minister of Culture. Little does she know, it’s only the tip of the conspiracy iceberg… and her road to the truth is littered with the dead.
“Return to Hiroshima” by Bob Van Laerhoven – The Nuclear Eulogy
Bob Van Laerhoven has always been a very apt author when it comes to weaving complex stories, and few get more intriguing and complicated than his most recent novel, Return to Hiroshima.
The book tells the intersecting stories of a Belgian diplomat’s son, a police inspector, a Yakuza lord who may or may not be a demon, his potentially-insane daughter, a lowly punk with ultra-nationalistic ideals, and the infamous Japanese Secret Service Unit 731. All of their paths cross in the nuclear past of Hiroshima’s war history.
“White Rose, Black Forest” by Eoin Dempsey – The Lone Flower in the Muck
Eoin Dempsey has given his blood and soul to researching White Rose, Black Forest, going as far as travelling to Germany to gather as much information as he could.
This novel of historical fiction takes us to December 1943 and introduces us to Franka Gerber, a German woman who hates the Nazi regime, largely in part due to it claiming the lives of her father and brother.
One day, she finds a new reason to live as she comes across an injured airman from the Luftwaffe and takes him in to her family cottage. As she cares for him they begin to develop a strong bond, and it becomes apparent there is much more to this man’s identity than meets the eye.
“Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said” by Philip K. Dick – Erased from the Databases of Existence
Philip K. Dick has explored many profound themes through his multitude of science-fiction stories, always dwelling on the big questions that relate back to human nature in one way or the other.
In Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, he presents us with Jason Taverner, an internationally-famous show host who one day wakes up to find that nobody recognizes him and that he’s been completely erased from all the governmental databases.
Unfortunately for him, he lives in a society where lack of identification is a very serious crime, and is forced to go on the run with a whole bunch of shady characters hiding from the regime.