Saturday Savings 03.09.2016

Histories, mysteries and more . . .

Labor Day weekend brings an end, for some, to summer, and the beginning, to others, of college football season. Mister Sister and I spent the last few days giving our house a much-needed deep cleaning as we get ready for Game Day celebrations. I’m ready to relax (after the game, of course) with some good books. Here’s what I’ve found on sale today:

TitanicWalter Lord’s account of the Titanic disaster earned him a reputation for meticulously researched literary non-fiction. Open Road Media brings his A Night to Remember and The Night Lives On, which examines factual and fanciful theories surrounding the ship and its sinking, in The Complete Titanic Chronicles, discounted today to $4.99 (USD) — $20 off its list price!

Endeavour Press offers the sensational and best-selling history from Lord Russell of Liverpool of Nazi war crimes, detailing the illegal as well as immoralScourge atrocities committed against Germany’s own citizens, prisoners of war and others.  Lord Russell of Liverpool—né Edward Frederick Langley Russell, 2nd Baron Russell of Liverpool—was Deputy Judge Advocate General for the British Army of the Rhine, and was a chief legal adviser for Britain during the war crimes trials following World War II. The Scourge of the Swastika, his history of those crimes, is on sale today for $1.99 (USD), down from $14.99 (USD).

Mysterious Press discounts Aaron Elkins’ fourth Gideon Oliver mystery, Old Boneswhich won the Edgar Award and which was voted one of 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century by the Independent Booksellers Association, to $1.99 (USD) from $7.99.

BonesBook description: With the roar of thunder and the speed of a galloping horse comes the tide to Mont St. Michel goes the old nursery song. So when the aged patriarch of the du Rocher family falls victim to the perilous tide, even the old man’s family accepts the verdict of accidental drowning. But too quickly, this “accident” is followed by a bizarre discovery in the ancient du Rocher château: a human skeleton, wrapped in butcher paper, beneath the old stone flooring. Professor Gideon Oliver, lecturing on forensic anthropology at nearby St. Malo, is asked to examine the bones. He quickly demonstrates why he is known as the “Skeleton Detective,” providing the police with forensic details that lead them to conclude that these are the remains of a Nazi officer believed to have been murdered in the area during the Occupation. Or are they? Gideon himself has his doubts. Then, when another of the current du Rochers dies—this time via cyanide poisoning—his doubts solidify into a single certainty: someone wants old secrets to stay buried . . . and is perfectly willing to eradicate the meddlesome American to make that happen.

I love Rudyard Kipling’s stories, and Kim, the classic story of an orphaned boy, a lama and two empires clashing over one magical land, is free today, thanks to Open Road Media.

Broken Angels, a WWII historical novel, released Tuesday

Recommended, with reservations

Broken AngelsBroken Angels is an ambitious, and somewhat successful, attempt to capture the pathos of a man, a woman and a child whose lives and souls are battered against the backdrop of World War II and the ruthless regime that swept across Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.

Ambitious, because Gemma Liviero defies convention to tell the story in the present tense with alternating points of view.  Somewhat successful, because this device feels contrived – and because none of the characters develop a distinctive voice.  The point of view alternates with the chapters, each character narrating in turn, but the style of speech, of thought, of description remains too constant, to unchanging, to reflect the change of perspectives that each character could, and ideally would, provide.

Most readers will have to work a bit to stay in the story.  Those who never tire of reading about the men, women and children whose lives were broken but whose spirits were never destroyed by the evil of this era won’t object and should be willing to follow these lives in their search for redemption.  Those who demand much more may not be so satisfied.

NOTE:  Sis received an advanced reading copy from Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.  She asserts that not only has no one influenced her opinions, no one has even attempted to do so.

From the publisher:  A Nazi doctor. A Jewish rebel. A little girl. Each one will fight for freedom—or die trying.

Imprisoned in the Lodz Ghetto, Elsi discovers her mother’s desperate attempt to end her pregnancy and comes face-to-face with the impossibility of their situation. Risking her own life, Elsi joins a resistance group to sabotage the regime.

Blonde, blue-eyed Matilda is wrenched from her family in Romania and taken to Germany, where her captors attempt to mold her into the perfect Aryan child. Spirited and brave, she must inspire hope in the other stolen children to make her dreams of escape a reality.

Willem, a high-ranking Nazi doctor, plans to save lives when he takes posts in both the ghetto and Auschwitz. After witnessing unimaginable cruelties, he begins to question his role and the future of those he is ordered to destroy.

While Hitler ransacks Europe in pursuit of a pure German race, the lives of three broken souls—thrown together by chance—intertwine. Only love and sacrifice might make them whole again.

About the author:  Gemma Liviero holds an advanced diploma of arts in professional writing, and she has worked as a copywriter, a corporate writer, and a magazine feature writer and editor. She is the author of the historical fiction novel Pastel Orphans, a coming-of-age story set in 1930s Berlin, as well as two gothic fantasies, Lilah and Marek. Broken Angels is her second historical novel. She now lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and two children.

Available in paperback, $14.95 (USD), and Kindle ebook, $5.99 (USD) — add Audible narration for $1.99. Also available with Kindle Unlimited.


Toward Night’s End, a Friday freebie

by M.H. Sargent — highly recommended

Kindle edition free today
Kindle edition free today

This historical novel of Japanese-American honor and patriotism opens on March 30, 1942, with the evacuation of more than 250 Japanese-Americans living on Bainbridge Island, in Puget Sound, Washington. The process had been going smoothly when the Army discovers that a 21-year old Japanese-American fisherman, Matthew Kobata, is missing. During their search for Matthew, two Caucasian men are found murdered on the island. Seattle detective Elroy Johnstone has come to the island to investigate the murders, and evidence leads him to suspect Matthew may be involved. But he is one step behind as Matthew escapes on his fishing boat. With Matthew now emerging as the prime suspect in the murders, the detective’s investigation then takes him to Seattle where another murder has occurred. This time a Japanese-American.

Complicating matters, the coroner finds that both the Japanese-American and one of the Caucasian men have identical tattoos, both on the left ankle. But what do these tattoos mean? And who has killed these three men? Matthew? And if so, why? And most important, where is Matthew? Johnstone’s investigation will take him from Seattle’s Naval Air Station to the Manzanar Relocation Center in Owens Valley, California, and back to Bainbridge Island. And, although he doesn’t know it, the clock is ticking and a countdown is in place for an event that could result in the unthinkable taking place Toward Night’s End.

A beautiful blend of historical fiction, literary fiction and WWII mystery/thriller . . .

Toward Night’s End is one of those novels that is so well-written that I found it hard to believe it is available free. It would be a bargain at its list price of $2.99, and I’d have happily forked over for a hardbound version if that had been my only choice.  Yet, I downloaded it for free, and it is free again today (but please verify before “buying” as Amazon’s prices are always subject to change without notice).

The novel, based on a true story, is set in the months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and around the forced internment of Japanese immigrants and their Japanese-American children and grandchildren, centering on the family of Matthew Kobata, who disappears in the hours before his family was ordered to leave their home on a Washington island and report for internment at Manzanar War Relocation Center in California.

My beautiful mom-by-marriage and her family were interred, forced from their home in Stockton, CA, to end up, eventually, in Arkansas. Her experience — and the experience of my aunts-by-marriage — piqued my interest in this novel, as much, if not more, than my enjoyment of mysteries.

Toward Night’s End is at once a work of literary fiction, a mystery, and a World War II novel. It’s beautifully written, and beautifully told, dwelling on the love of country both of those who chose to be Americans and those whose families have been Americans for more than two generations, as well as the betrayal of country.

M.H. Sargent is also the author of the CIA thriller MP-5 series Seven Days From Sunday, The Shot To Die For, Operation Spider Web, The Yemen Connection and Alliance of Evil.

Click to download Toward Night’s End

The Hiding Place, 35th anniversary edition

The Hiding Place, 35th anniversary edition by Corrie ten Boom with Elizabeth and John Sherrill

foreword by Joni Eareckson Tada

“Every experience God gives us . . . is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see.” — Corrie ten Boom

One of Sis’s all-time favorite among biographies & memoirs, now in a special 35th anniversary Kindle edition. Sis hopes you didn’t miss the special sale price, but she assures you this story is worth the list price.  Hardbound and paperback editions are also available.  

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps. Only Corrie among her family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphs over evil.  Here is the riveting account of how Corrie and her family were able to save many of God’s chosen people. For 35 years, millions have seen that there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still. Now The Hiding Place, repackaged for a new generation of readers, continues to declare that God’s love will overcome, heal, and restore.

Sis freely acknowledges that she has yet to know the depth of faith exhibited by either Corrie or her sister, Betjie, in either this book or in other books about their lives — but that doesn’t stop her from striving towards it. This is not only a riveting account of one family’s efforts to save Jews during World War II, but a compelling story of faith in action. Sis has read it dozens of times, as has her younger sis.  It is timeless, as important today as when it was first penned.  Or, possibly more?

Paperback Edition