Here's a forensic news tidbit with a literary angle: The bones of Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly, have been identified. Kelly was hanged and buried in a mass grave with more than 30 other criminals; his remains were identified thanks to a DNA sample provided by a relative. (The skull is missing; you can read more on that mystery here.)
Kelly, who was referred to by the head of the institute where the DNA identification took place as "the most controversial individual that Victoria has produced," has inspired more than one piece of art, but the biggest standout for readers is the take on his life provided by Australia's best-known novelist Peter Carey. The True History of the Kelly Gang won the Booker Prize in 2001 and has become something of a book club favorite.
The Frankfurt Book Fair took place last week, and it's always a source for major publishing news. One of the early news items has to do with author Ken Follett, whose historical novels and thrillers have been huge hits worldwide.
In a feature in BookPage about his last novel, World Without End, Follett said he wanted to "write another book that gets this kind of enthusiastic reception." We're pretty sure rights being sold in six countries, and a worldwide one-day laydown, counts as enthusiasm!
Fall of Giants will go on sale September 28, 2010, just in time for a planned miniseries based on Pillars of the Earth. (Penguin/Dutton got the U.S. rights.) It is the first of three books planned for the "New Century Trilogy," which will cover most of the 20th century. Fall of Giants follows five families through World War I and the Russian revolution, setting the stage for the next novel, which will cover World War II.
Tomorrow, BookPageXTRA subscribers will get a look at what's coming up in the next issue of BookPage (are you one of them?). Until then, we're serving up a few tantalizing quotes from some June BookPage reviews to you Book Case readers. Leave a comment by Tuesday, May 19, saying which book you most want to read, and why, for a chance to win all four novels.* Ready, set, read! [We have a winner! Congrats to April Hawkins.]
"Satisfying on so many levels, See's latest is above all a confirmation of unbreakable family bonds, as two Shanghai girls survive seemingly insurmountable setbacks, both at home and abroad." —Deborah Donovan
"The City & the City is a murder mystery, old-fashioned in its way, narrated by a tough-talking police investigator and layered with all the shadow and menace of a film noir. . . . a tightly plotted, thoroughly engaging read, at turns beguiling and revelatory." —Jedediah Berry
"Pelecanos has once again crafted a genre-transcending novel of rage and redemption guaranteed to appeal to a broad-spectrum audience." —Bruce Tierney
"By the time we meet Molly Divine Marx in the opening pages of The Late, Lamented Molly Marx, she is dead. But that by no means detracts from the many charms of Sally Koslow's wonderful new novel." —Amy Scribner
* Since we're sending out four hardcovers, this contest is limited to North American residents. But readers around the world are still welcome to comment!