Daily Mail

When a welcome goes badly wrong



by Rachelle Atalla

(Hodder £18.99, 368pp)

CATASTROPH­IC drought has forced Aida to return to her family’s isolated farm on the Scottish borders.

People are fleeing northwards, and when a camper van of strangers appears in the farm yard, they’re allowed to stay in return for helping out.

But they are not what they seem and dark secrets slowly reveal themselves, shifting the balance of power.

In romantic fiction, nature takes on the moods of the characters. Rachelle Attala reverses the process with the climate crisis stifling expression, desiccatin­g the heart and withering human bonds.

This brilliant, profoundly unsettling second novel will secure Atalla’s place as an extraordin­ary writer, and a poet of controlled bleakness.


by M.R.Carey

(Orbit £18.99, 512pp)

IN THE multiverse, when you’ve knackered one world, you can just step one dimension sideways into its quantum twin and ruin that one. With infinite resources, there’ll be nothing to fight over, and control will be ceded to a universal authority, the Pandominio­n — in theory, at any rate.

Carey has huge fun with the possibilit­ies: here’s one Earth where evolution has favoured dogs, another where it’s clever cats. But under the layers of brilliant social and scientific speculatio­n is a thumpingly gripping thriller with a warm, beating heart.

Who will save the multiverse? Follow the fortunes of a gigolo from the slums of Lagos, a timid yet doughty rabbit and a downloaded scientist to find out.


by Shannon Chakrabort­y

(Harper Voyager £16.99, 496pp)

CHANCES to describe a heroine as lusty are few and far between, so it’s a warm welcome for Amina al-Sirafi, a pirate queen of giant frame, gammy leg and tremendous appetite for booze, love and adventure. A bewitching blend of real history and Arabian Nights, Amina’s adventures involve all you want: maps, much fighting, treasure, deep sea monsters and weird birdgods on enchanted isles. But it’s her fabulous flaws that keep us gripped.

Sworn to put her swashbuckl­ing days behind her, she’s living in penury with her daughter when an opportunit­y to make a fortune comes knocking. Will her past — in the form of a beautiful demon boyfriend — catch up with her? Hell yes!

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