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Mu­nich Robert Har­ris Hutchin­son £20

Set over four crit­i­cal days in Septem­ber 1938, when Neville Cham­ber­lain trav­elled to Mu­nich in a last-ditch ef­fort to ap­pease Hitler and pre­vent Ger­many from in­vad­ing Cze­choslo­vakia, Har­ris’s lat­est of­fer­ing is an­other well-re­searched, at­mo­spheric and fast-paced lit­er­ary thriller, which grips from start to fin­ish. Mix­ing real events and his­tor­i­cal fig­ures with a fic­tional sub­plot in­volv­ing two ju­nior civil ser­vants from each side, who were at Ox­ford to­gether and who at­tempt to change the course of his­tory, Mu­nich cap­tures the mood of the times: the sus­pi­cion and the fear, the po­lit­i­cal in­trigue, the swag­ger of the Nazi ma­chine, and the wide­spread ela­tion at the mis­taken be­lief that war has been averted. Su­perb. Si­mon Humphreys

The His­tory Of Bees Maja Lunde Scrib­ner £14.99

This am­bi­tious novel in­ter­weaves the sto­ries of three bee­keep­ers. Wil­liam is a 19th-cen­tury Bri­tish bi­ol­o­gist who at­tempts to build a new type of bee­hive. In Ohio in 2007, Ge­orge strug­gles not only against the tide of modern farm­ing, but also with his son, who isn’t keen on tak­ing over the fam­ily farm. And the bees have long dis­ap­peared in Tao’s world – in 2098 China, she hand-pol­li­nates trees in their place, be­fore her son is mys­te­ri­ously taken away. Ex­plor­ing the re­la­tion­ships be­tween par­ents and chil­dren, ex­pe­ri­ence and in­tel­lect, and the in­di­vid­ual and com­mu­nity, Lunde’s tale lives up to the buzz. Gwen­dolyn Smith

Blue­bird, Blue­bird At­tica Locke Ser­pent’s Tail £14.99

Locke spins a com­plex tale in her fourth novel. Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger strug­gling with le­gal prob­lems and a fond­ness for bour­bon, probes the mur­der of a white woman and a black man in an east Texas town where a wealthy landowner and the lo­cal sher­iff have no use for out­siders. The case re­sists easy so­lu­tions amid racial fric­tion, old fam­ily se­crets, and the bru­tally vi­o­lent Aryan Brother­hood of Texas. Mem­o­rable char­ac­ters, en­gag­ing prose and a sound­track of down-home blues make for a win­ning lit­er­ary crime thriller. Jef­frey Burke

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