Magic and may­hem

A fan­tasy war, a fic­tional apoca­lypse and mur­der most foul, both real and imag­ined.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS - Ray­mond e. Feist Harper Voy­ager, 638 pages, fic­tion Slow Sur­ren­der Ce­cilia Tan For­ever Grand Cen­tral Pub­lish­ing, 296 pages, fic­tion Tes­ti­mony: Did You Hear It? James Smythe Blue Door, 400 pages, fic­tion Hyp­notic Gas­tric Band Paul McKenna Ban­tam Press, 144

IN the fi­nal vol­ume of the epic Rift­war cy­cle, the drag­ons are call­ing out for the world to be saved. The im­mi­nent civil war has fi­nally hap­pened and the King­dom of Isles is be­ing torn apart. With an empty throne, the en­e­mies are con­verg­ing and Hal, who is now Duke of Crydee, must fight them off un­til a king can be anointed by the Congress of Lords.

Al­liances need to be formed so that all lives can be saved. Elves, men, an­cient he­roes and drag­ons must work to­gether and be will­ing to make the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice. KA­RINA meets many men in the course of her job wait­ing ta­bles at a bar in New York. The mo­ment she sets eyes on James, though, she knows he’s dif­fer­ent. He might be a wealthy busi­ness­man like the oth­ers, but he’s far from typ­i­cal.

Soon, Ka­rina finds her­self pushed to the bound­aries of plea­sure and she is be­gin­ning to dis­cover a wild side that she never knew she had. Will she be will­ing to break all rules to sat­isfy the crav­ing James has awo­ken within her? FIRST, deaf­en­ing static en­velopes the world; then the words, “My chil­dren, do not be afraid”, heard by many on the planet; fol­lowed by in­ex­pli­ca­ble ill­ness, death, de­spair and de­struc­tion on a global scale. Is the apoca­lypse at hand? What would you do? Amidst con­fu­sion and fear, some turn to God. Oth­ers re­coil in re­sponse to what they be­lieve can only be an act of ter­ror­ism.

James Smythe feeds the reader the ac­counts of 26 in­di­vid­u­als in this world turned up­side down. In a sin­gle hour, the world is di­vided into those who heard the mes­sage and those who hadn’t. BRITISH hyp­no­tist Paul McKenna of­fers yet an­other self-help book, this time on a surgery-free weight loss sys­tem. While the gas­tric band pro­ce­dure sur­gi­cally re­duces the stom­ach’s avail­able space, McKenna claims that he can teach read­ers how to cre­ate a “hyp­notic gas­tric band”. Through hyp­no­sis, the book aims to teach the body how to be­have as if stom­ach space has ac­tu­ally been re­duced, thereby al­low­ing peo­ple to eat less. The book comes with a hyp­no­sis CD and in­struc­tional DVD. THESE are the me­moirs of young Amer­i­can Amanda Knox whose 2007 study trip to Italy turned into a four-year night­mare when she was ac­cused of mur­der­ing fel­low English stu­dent Mered­ith Kercher. Draw­ing from jour­nals she kept and let­ters she wrote at the time, Knox, now 26, re­counts her ex­pe­ri­ences of Ital­ian pris­ons and court rooms and be­ing at the cen­tre of an in­ter­na­tional me­dia cir­cus. Knox was con­victed in 2009, served four years in jail be­fore her sen­tence was over­turned in 2011 and she re­turned to the United States; how­ever, the case was re-opened in Italy in Septem­ber and is cur­rently on­go­ing. OR­DAINED priest and mem­ber of the Mus­lim Catholic Al­liance of New York Ge­orge Dardess teams up with Marvin Mich, a direc­tor of so­cial pol­icy at the US Catholic Fam­ily Cen­ter, to pro­vide a timely in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the com­mon ground shared by Chris­tians and Mus­lims in to­day’s multi-cul­tural world. The book finds in­spi­ra­tion in St Fran­cis’ peace­ful en­counter with the Sul­tan of Egypt dur­ing the Fifth Cru­sade in the 13th cen­tury, sow­ing clar­ity and un­der­stand­ing in place of the sus­pi­cion and prej­u­dice so of­ten found in pub­lic de­bate. The book also pro­vides prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tions on how to move be­liev­ers from dif­fer­ent faiths from merely talk­ing to each other to work­ing to­gether for the com­mon good. TRUTH is stranger than fic­tion they say, and this is some­thing De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Lo­gan McRae learns when a body is dis­cov­ered, chained to a stake and burned to a crisp. Then an­other body turns up, also killed bizarrely – and the strangest thing is that these mur­ders seem to have been plucked straight from the plot of a best­selling novel about witches. And then, there are the lit­tle knots of bones Lo­gan keeps find­ing out­side his home, a crime boss mak­ing life awk­ward for him, and a miss­ing teenager to boot. Is any or all of this con­nected to the mur­ders? THE lat­est book star­ring Lin­coln Rhymes has the quad­ri­plegic foren­sic ex­pert trav­el­ling in his high-tech wheel­chair to the Ba­hamas to solve what ap­pears to be a clas­sic con­tract killing done by a sniper shot from a near-im­pos­si­ble dis­tance. Lin­coln and his team not only get no help from the lo­cal Ba­hamian po­lice, but also have to deal with thugs out to kill them.

But with ev­i­dence that the or­der for the mur­der may have come from the high­est lev­els of the US govern­ment, Lin­coln and his part­ner, the re­doubtable Amelia Sachs, are not about to give up on this case. – Com­plied by Natalie Heng and Di­nesh Ku­mar Ma­ganathan

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