This week’s releases include the thrilling prequel to Ken Follett’s beloved Kingsbridge series, and best of the month selections in the mystery, biography, and science fiction genres.
Learn more about these and all of our picks for the Best Books of the Month.
The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett
The inaugural book in the Kingsbridge series, The Pillars of the Earth, has sold over 27 million copies worldwide. So, Ken Follett knows what he’s doing, but no one would blame him for blinking twice at the prospect of penning the prequel. The Evening and the Morning proves he has nerves of steel. Set at the tail end of the Dark Ages when England was being pinched by the Vikings and the Welsh, it mines the growing pains of a budding legal system, one that wouldn’t only benefit the ruling class and corrupt clergymen. It’s also a star-crossed love story involving a humble boatbuilder and Norman noblewoman, two heroes whose journey provides the emotional center of an otherwise brutal, and yet beautiful, tale. Fans of Follett will certainly relish this very worthy addition to a beloved oeuvre, but it will also attract new admirers like yours truly, who initially balked at the 928 page count and then was disappointed that The Evening and the Morning didn’t stretch on to the afternoon. —Erin Kodicek
Don't Look for Me by Wendy Walker
Wendy Walker has a knack for dropping ordinary, suburban families into life-altering, mettle-testing scenarios in her novels. In Don't Look for Me, the Clarkes were an ordinary family until the death of nine year old Annie left them too shattered by anger, guilt, and estrangement to heal. So when Molly Clarke's Audi is found abandoned on a rural highway with a note left in a nearby hotel room that says that she's moving on and doesn't want her family to pursue her, all but her teenage daughter Nic acquiesce quickly to her wishes. Narrated by Nic and Molly in alternating chapters, readers will see what really happened to Molly and get swept up in the desperate momentum and agonizing suspense Walker creates, knowing how high the stakes are for Nic’s search, wondering if, in the face of grief and gaslighting, a tenacious daughter will be able to bring her mother home. —Vannessa Cronin
Wild Thing: The Short, Spellbinding Life of Jimi Hendrix by Philip Norman
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes Jimi Hendrix as “the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music,” and he’s often celebrated as the greatest rock guitarist of all time. To read Wild Thing is to step back in time to when Hendrix was coming onto the music scene and when he was at the top of his game. Philip Norman, the acclaimed biographer of musicians such as John Lennon, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton, delivers an electric story of Hendrix’s sound—the beats he grew up with, the music he created, and the legacy he left after his tragic death in 1970. —Al Woodworth
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
Paolini—best known for his fantasy series that began with Eragon—steps into the world of adult sci-fi with this tense story of an alien encounter. When Kira discovers an alien artifact on a planet being prepped for colonization, protocol demands that everyone aware of the artifact be temporarily cut off, so the aliens cannot trace signals back to humanity’s home worlds. A good plan in theory… but the reality gets far more complicated. And bloody. Paolini does an excellent job of heightening the tension with each page, even as he gives the reader some mental breathing space with moments of humor. —Adrian Liang
Check out the thrilling prequel to Ken Follett’s beloved Kingsbridge series, and best of the month selections in the mystery, biography, and science fiction genres.