Her royal birth gave her claim to the thrones of two nations; her marriage to the young French dauphin promised to place a third glorious crown on her noble head.
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Instead, Mary Stuart became the victim of her own impulsive heart, scandalizing her world with a foolish passion that would lead to abduction, rape and even murder. Betrayed by those she most trusted, she would be lured into a deadly game of power, only to lose to her envious and unforgiving cousin, Elizabeth I. His face made a fist at the world. The twined remnant of umbilicus projected vulnerably. Hands, feet and prick. He had come equipped for the job.
This work, originally published in , has been hailed as the most influential Scottish novel of the second half of the 20th century. It is also the intricate picture of a family in the heyday of the British Empire, an epic story spanning almost a hundred years and stretching from Edinburgh to the Crimea, from an expanding America to the India of the Raj.
Meet Frank Cauldhame. It was just a stage I was going through. A darkly brilliant novel of self-discovery the cutting edge of experimental fiction. It leads from nowhere to nowhere, the mysterious world-spanning structure on which everyone seems to live. But as the ghoulish killings mount and the tabloid headlines scream, Rebus cannot stop the feverish shrieks from within his own mind.
The problems of everyday living accumulate and begin to torture Joy, who blames her problems not on her work or on the accidental drowning of her illicit lover, but on herself. The year is Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart.
For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. Twelve remarkable, gritty stories starring Detective Inspector John Rebus in his home city of Edinburgh, as only Ian Rankin can portray it: not just the tearooms and cobbled streets of the tourist brochures, but a modern urban metropolis with a full range of criminals and their victims — blackmailers, peeping Toms, and more than one kind of murderer.
Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. It is the sort of lethally funny cocktail of pathos, violence, and outrageous hilarity that only Irvine Welsh can pull off. See reviews. Morvern Callar , a low-paid employee in the local supermarket in a desolate and beautiful port town in the west of Scotland, wakes one morning in late December to find her strange boyfriend has committed suicide and is dead on the kitchen floor.
What she does next is even more appalling. Bible John killed three women, and took three souvenirs. Oilman Allan Mitchelson died for his principles. And convict Lenny Spaven died just to prove a point. Now a copycat is at work. The occasion: high school reunion. The place: an oil rig converted into a tourist resort. The outcome: carnage. In this haunting, entrancing novel, Michel Faber introduces us to Isserley, a female driver who cruises the Scottish Highlands picking up hitchhikers.
Scarred and awkward, yet strangely erotic and threatening, she listens to her hitchhikers as they open up to her, revealing clues about who might miss them if they should disappear. When Rilke, a dissolute and promiscuous auctioneer, comes across a collection of highly disturbing photographs during a house clearance he feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them. Driven to discover whether the images represent a real event or a fantasy, Rilke is drawn into a nether world of illicit urges and powerful obsessions.
A compulsive journey of discovery, decadence and deviousness follows. So when he first takes up meditation at the Buddhist Center, no one takes him seriously. But as Jimmy becomes more involved in a search for the spiritual, his beliefs start to come into conflict with the needs of his wife, Liz. Cracks appear in their apparently happy family life, and the ensuing events change the lives of each family member.
Filled with thorny characters and a Scottish atmosphere as thick as a highland mist, The Sunday Philosophy Club is irresistible, and Isabel Dalhousie is the most delightful literary sleuth since Precious Ramotswe. Isabel is fond of problems, and sometimes she becomes interested in problems that are, quite frankly, none of her business.
This may be the case when Isabel sees a young man plunge to his death from the upper circle of a concert hall in Edinburgh. The resulting moral labyrinth might have stymied even Kant. Nothing captures the charm of Edinburgh like the bestselling Isabel Dalhousie series of novels featuring the insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective. The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.
Their neighbor, Domenica, is an eccentric and insightful widow. Back are all our favorite denizens of a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. Bertie the immensely talented six year old is now enrolled in kindergarten, and much to his dismay, has been clad in pink overalls for his first day of class. Bruce has lost his job as a surveyor, and between admiring glances in the mirror, is contemplating becoming a wine merchant. Pat is embarking on a new life at Edinburgh University and perhaps on a new relationship, courtesy of Domenica, her witty and worldly-wise neighbor.
McCall Smith has much in store for them as the brief spell of glorious summer sunshine gives way to fall a season cursed with more traditionally Scottish weather. A powerful story of secrets and suspicions, hidden histories and mysterious disappearances set in Victorian Scotland. Scotland, Bessy is intrigued by her new employer but puzzled by her increasingly strange requests and her insistence that Bessy keep a journal of her mundane chores and most intimate thoughts.
And it seems that the missus has a few secrets of her own, including her near- obsessive affection for Nora, a former maid who died in mysterious circumstances. Suddenly out of retirement, Jackson is once again in the midst of several mysteries that intersect in one giant and sinister scheme.
Girl meets boy. But what happens when an old story meets a brand new set of circumstances? It is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations. As she sits in her Bloomsbury home, with her two birds for company, elderly Harriet Baxter sets out to relate the story of her acquaintance, nearly four decades previously, with Ned Gillespie, a talented artist who never achieved the fame she maintains he deserved. Back in , the young, art-loving, Harriet arrives in Glasgow at the time of the International Exhibition.
After a chance encounter she befriends the Gillespie family and soon becomes a fixture in all of their lives.
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But when tragedy strikes — leading to a notorious criminal trial — the promise and certainties of this world all too rapidly disorientate into mystery and deception. Elizabeth Pringle has lived on the beautiful island of Arran for over 90 years; the retired teacher and spinster is a familiar and yet solitary figure tending her garden and riding her bicycle around the island.
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Bruce Thomson; and a report of the trial, compiled from contemporary newspapers. As ice water melts into the Atlantic, frenzied London residents evacuate by the thousands for warmer temperatures down south—but not Dylan. Hundreds of miles away, twelve-year-old Estella and her survivalist mother, Constance, scrape by in the snowy, mountainous Highlands, preparing for a record-breaking winter.
I would say that the Broken Empire books are the exact opposite because they are actually set on post-apocalyptic Earth.
I'm halfway through Emperor of Thorns at the moment. Definitely the best books I read this year or last year for that matter. Didn't mention them because in my mind the setting is very standard low fantasy; the sci-fi elements shine through at key moments but the story is much more "about" castles, kings, swords, magic, armies of the undead, etc. Of course, that doesn't diminish them at all, they're absolutely incredible. I agree. Book of the New Sun wasn't published recently, but it's fantastic regardless.
Discarding the series because it was written in the 80s is a huge mistake. Not discarding anything, just trying to get a feel for what has been published recently. I loved New Sun, but haven't read the sequel series es? Long Sun is at least a good, and a lot more coherent, than New Sun. Short Sun gets a good bit weirder and a bit more fantastical at times than the first two but is still great and expertly IMHO ties it all together into a whole series deserving of the name "Solar Cycle". I do not remember, if it was ever explicitly mentioned or if the protagonists knew what happened, but I always thought it was that normal Earth was devastated by a nuclear war and they developed some quantum magic to split the planet into new ones.
This was actually the first series I thought of. It took me a long time to actually get into this series. Tried reading the first book a couple different times, got about 40 pages in each time and kind of lost interest. Finally, after having the books for about 10 years, I decided to give it another chance. I am so glad I did, what an awesome story.
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Heroes Die might work for you. It's the first of a series called the Acts of Caine, and I absolutely freaking love it. Currently on my 3rd reread. The first book is within my top books of all time. Tregellis is a physics PHD, and his depiction of heaven is coached in those terms quantum waveforms and weirdness. Its definitely worth a look. It basically raises the question "What is Harry Potter and his friends were actually real world kids? Neurotic, troubled, very smart, and attending a pretentious and intimidating college of magic. While a lot of it is set in the real world, the characters eventually find themselves in Fillory think Narnia only a lot darker.
It's a pretty weird place to begin with sorta traditional fantasy, but also very much not , but as the story continues things get stranger and stranger. Much of the second book is set on the outskirts of Fillory, where the laws of physics or magic are kind of breaking down Miserere by reddit poster Teresa Frohock is another one that qualifies - her book straddles worlds, with the characters traveling to other parallel dimensions, so to speak. It involves a lot of "realized" religion aspects and is one of the more bizarre-cool books I've ever read.
I will check it out, though. I could see how people would get that from the cover - it's one of the more unique settings and stories I've read. Not medieval fantasy in the slightest, despite the cover. Both officially sci-fi but very fantasy-seeming. The Book of the New Sun is basically a perfect fit for what you want, other than the whole last five years thing. The world is our own, but millions of years in the future, such that a space age has actually both come and gone; humanity is left in a dark age.
It's probably the best and most intelligently written fantasy series that I at least have had the pleasure of reading. I illustrated "Kingdoms of Light" by Alan Dean Foster several years ago and was impressed with the inventiveness, it is fantasy not SF, originally published by Warner Books. Another wizards seeks to defeat him and bring the color back- he fails, yet succeeds. Each color in the spectrum is brought back individually by an unexpected cast of characters Three Parts Dead and its sequels by Max Gladstone are fantasy books in a futuristic setting where mages are like lawyers, priests are like investment bankers, and gods power industry.
Majestrum and its sequel s? Dark Eden by Chris Beckett is a good story, though pretty thoroughly scifi. The world is completely alien. I loved it. A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski is a wonderful story about a water world at odds with a galactic empire - more fantasy than scifi. I loved the 'Daughter of Elysium' by the same author. The world is really interesting and weird - read it when I was in teens and couldn't make sense. Re-tried last year and I loved it. Karl Schroeder's Virga series Up to 5 books last I checked.
Not recent and I'm sorry for ignoring that part of your request, but if you haven't read them then you are missing out. Check out Piers Anthony's Xanth series. Matches what you're asking for to a T. Unconventional world? Last 5 years? Finch by Jeff Vandermeer surely makes the cut.
You'll never look at mushrooms the same way again. The Echoes of Empire by Mark T. The Gaunt and Bone series by Chris Willrich is a collection of short stories, the first short one being partially conventional, but then the rest head to a very China influenced setting, but very strangely fantastical. Ohhh yes, Garden of Stones is exactly like what I'm looking for. I had heard of it before and totally forgot. Thank you so much.
You're very welcome. I hope that you do enjoy it, and all 3 books are out now, so no waiting. Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey features a delightfully strange setting.
Five Unconventional Fantasy Relationships | LitReactor
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