Archives for January 2017

News of the World

News of the WorldNews of the World by Paulette Jiles, Grover Gardner
Format: audiobook
Published by Brilliance Audio on June 20th 2017


National Book Award Finalist—Fiction
It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.
Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

News of the World, a National Book Award nominee is a delight.  Janet Maslin in her New York Times review  of  News of the World called it a painfully simple story.

Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd is an older gentleman, who travels around Texas reading the news.  A friend asks Kidd to take a 10 year girl who the indians kidnapped when she was 6 years old and return to her family in Southern Texas.  What ensues is a trek fraught with danger from highwaymen, raiding Kiowa and the unforgiving desert. As Kidd and Johanna, as the Captain has named her, travel together they grow closer. 

In this 24/7 news cycle world, it is hard to image that a traveling news reader, the wonder of it all. I was enchanted by this book and would highly recommend it.

White Gold

White GoldWhite Gold by Caitlin O'Connell
Format: arc_ebook
Published by Alibi on February 7th 2017
Pages: 347

Series: Catherine Sohon #2

In this pulse-pounding follow-up to Ivory Ghosts—hailed by Jodi Picoult as “a win for any animal lover or reader with a conservationist’s heart”—wildlife biologist Catherine Sohon ventures into the darkest corners of China to hunt the world’s deadliest poachers.
Catherine Sohon has gone undercover in the Chinese underworld, where the illegal ivory trade is at an all-time high. Posing as a foreign buyer in the backroom of the Beijing Antique Market, she’s closing in on the smuggler who has eluded her since Namibia. Then ruthless gunmen burst in, leaving death in their wake and turning Catherine into a suspect in a triad turf war.
After a close call with a king cobra on a boat full of endangered wildlife, new clues propel her across the country, from open markets to an ivory carving factory in Guangzhou to the forests of southern Yunnan, home to the precious few remaining Chinese-Asian elephants. Her quest pits her against the same vicious trafficking kingpin—only now it’s clear that even high-level officials are looking the other way as the world’s endangered species flood into China from all across Asia and Africa. And when an old lover pays a surprise visit, Catherine is forced to confront the agonizing choices that still haunt her.
As Catherine races to execute a daring sting operation along the mountainous border of Myanmar, a shocking betrayal sends her into a tailspin. Now her life depends on the bond forged with an elephant named Lu Lu. Meanwhile, in the shadows awaits a powerful new adversary—someone with far more at stake than Catherine could possibly know.

White Gold is the second book in the Catherine Sohon Elephant Mysteries. Catherine has recently moved from Namibia to China in hopes of capturing, Nigel Lofty,  a big time endangered animal smuggler (worst type of person in the world). With the help of her college roommate, Ling Ru who after college returned to China and became a customs agent. Catherine and Ling Ru find themselves in some pretty tight spots which they manage to find a way out off. The book brings to light how brutal the illegal animal trade is, at times it was not enjoyable reading about how we mutilate animals.

The best part of the book was the descriptions of the elephants and their interactions with one another and humans. Elephants are fascinating animals.

Thanks to Alibi and NetGalley for the opportunity to read White Gold.