Category Archives: PAN

Winter of the World – Book Two of The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett

Pan Macmillan India will publish, Winter of the World, the second novel in Ken Follett’s uniquely ambitious and satisfying Century trilogy on 18th September 2012.

To celebrate the publication of this epic tale, Pan Macmillan India has tied-up with Costa Coffee India for a special promotion for Ken Follett fans. Under this promotion all readers who purchase the Pan Macmillan edition of the book will receive a voucher with a scratch coupon and will stand a chance to win a cup of Costa Coffee. This exciting offer is valid across all Costa Coffee outlets in India. But the offer doesn’t stop here! Each reader also gets a chance to win book hampers worth Rs. 10000/-, Rs. 5000/- and Rs. 2500/- when they buy this edition of the book.

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There is more exciting news in store for Ken Follett’s fans across the world. Pan Macmillan has also launched an ambitious digital storybank, offering Ken’s fans the chance to honour and commemorate their families’ experiences of living through the war.

Fans will be required to upload their stories on to the map-based app based on Ken’s facebook page, where they will also be able to read and listen to exclusive sample material from Winter of the World – tantalising glimpses of how Ken’s characters’ lives are also overtaken by the war. A selection of stories will then be published in a Winter of the World spin off ebook, due for publication in 2013, with all profits generated donated to charity. The app also allows lucky fans to get their hands on exclusive material from the book, such as signed mini samplers, a framed cover print and numbered, limited edition proofs.

The promotion will be supported by multiple marketing activities and extensive digital advertising in UK.

The app will have a huge global reach as Ken Follett’s publishers in the US, Penguin join with Pan Macmillan in this exciting project, which was launched on Thursday 23rd August 2012.

In Winter of the World, five fictional families live out their destinies as the world is shaken by war and tyranny. Now, Pan Macmillan invites Ken Follett’s digital fan community to take part in a project that illustrates exactly how real life families were also affected by the biggest upheaval of the 20th century.

Here is a book trailer:

Book Review: Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Title: Tell The Wolves I’m Home
Author: Carol Rifka Brunt
Publisher: Pan
ISBN: 978-1447202134
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

“Tell the Wolves I’m Home” by Carol Rifka Brunt cannot be classified as a Young Adult novel. It is not that for sure. It is haunting and adult in more ways than one. It is a beautiful human story that I was expecting on reading the synopsis and it delivers at every level.

The premise is simple: Fourteen-year old June Elbus loses her beloved uncle Finn Weiss to AIDS. Finn, who was a reclusive artist and spent the last months of his life painting a portrait of June and her older sister Greta. After Finn’s death, June chances upon another side to her uncle – an almost other life and she leads to the road of discovering her uncle and stitching the fragments in her mind and heart.

June learns that her uncle had a secret boyfriend, Toby. She is jealous of Toby. She is told by her family that her uncle died because of Toby as he was responsible for Finn’s disease. She hates him passionately at the beginning, but begins to learn more about her uncle through him, and eventually warms up to him, and grows to love him immensely. At the same time June misses her uncle in ways unimaginable and that is also at the core of the story, which sometimes is heartbreaking.

“Tell the Wolves I’m Home” is about acute grief and how does one deal with it. It is about growing up and how does one feel like an outsider – be it June, or Toby or Finn for that matter. Told from June’s perspective, the book is not easy to begin with – a lot of past and present scenes are muddled, but I somehow liked the time shifts as they added to the overall narrative.

The book has its own set of twists and turns. The good part is that there aren’t too much to handle at any point. Every character has his or her own story to tell and Carol has done justice to each of them.

Carol Rifka Brunt’s characters are flawed. No one is perfect. That is why I enjoyed reading this book the way I did. The title of the book is as unique as the plot. You need to read the book to figure, why this title was used.

My favourite character in the entire book has to be Toby. He is a great combination of tenderness, sentimentality and an outcast that only needs to be understood. In more than one way, the similarities between June and Toby are striking and maybe that was intentional.

The urgency in the writing is apparent. Words flow effortlessly and that style appealed to me as a reader. It kept taking me to a place that reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird in some ways and that is very special to me. Tell the Wolves I’m Home definitely has to be one of the best reads this year. Highly recommended.

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Book Review: Embassytown by China Mieville

Title: Embassytown
Author: China Mieville
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
ISBN: 978-0-330-53307-2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 405
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

There are very few authors who consistently write enthralling books month after month or year after year. China Mieville happens to be one of them. His books are of the “New Weird” genre and I am not kidding about that. I remember reading, “Perdido Street Station” a long time ago and completely taken in by his style and the magnificence of his writing. Since then I have read most of his books – from King Rat to The City and the City, Kraken and now “Embassytown”.

“Embassytown” for me was not an easy read. It doesn’t start off easy, being the hard-core sci-fi novel that it is. It took me quite a while to get into the book and enjoy it more so only after 100 pages or so. Let me now tell you something about the book.

The book takes place on a planet known as Ariekei. A colony of human beings has formed an improbable and unheard of alliance with an unusual species, the Ariekei, known by those who live on their planet as Hosts. What makes the Ariekei strange is the fact that they have a different language. Different in the sense that they utter each word in two distinct simultaneous voices, without any words, they cannot distinguish between the sounds they employ (I found this very fascinating), the meanings they intend therefore are not clear, and so they cannot lie or recognize meaningful speech (I found this quite futuristic and scary). The only pair of humans, who have been specifically modified for the purpose of coordinating their voices and their thoughts, can communicate with the Hosts. These paired humans are known as Ambassadors.

Avice, the narrator and protagonist of the story makes us see Ariekei right through her childhood and youth – portraying an urban existence so different from ours and yet deep-rooted in universal aspects of city life. In the first couple of chapters, Avice’s complicated history with different powers of Embassytown is detailed, leading to the one evening when everything changes. The overlapping sections are well-paced, revealing the narrative secrets one step at a time. Who is Avice? What happened to her? Why are she and her husband Scile back? What is the actual science fiction element of the novel? Mieville sure doesn’t serve anything to the reader on a platter. The mystery of Ariekei and Embassytown is revealed layer by layer for the reader. The suspense element is right high on the charts and makes you turn the page, wanting more.

Mieville weaves the story so well – taking something as common-place and often taken for granted, language and showing us its real nature – as a jumping-off point – the novel is not as much of ideas as it then becomes of images. The idea of a city in transit and the cultural clashes by synergizing humans and aliens is remarkable and scary at the same time. China Mieville makes the necessary paradigm shift required for the “science-fiction” novel, by bringing out the nuances and elements of the robust world-building and the distinct awe and terror required for such books.

“Before the humans came, we didn’t speak so much of many things. Before the humans came, we didn’t speak.” That is the crux of the book. Embassytown greatest strength lies in the fact that it speaks about the fragility and duplicity of language, about the meaning, its creation and how sometimes language just doesn’t remain a reference point. What I did not like about the book is that the brilliant secondary characters were not explored more. I would have loved to see them shape and have their own voices.

Embassytown is everything you wanted though in a sci-fi novel – weird, inventive and nail-biting intrigue. If you have the patience needed for such a book, then you will not be disappointed by it at all.

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Book Review: Sold by Patricia McCormick

Title: Sold
Author: Patricia McCormick
Publisher: Pan India
ISBN: 978-1406334050
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 263
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Sold is an account of a young Nepalese girl, Lakshmi who is sold into the sex trade in India by her family for the sole reason – Money. Patricia McCormick writes the book with great sensitivity and at the same does not let go of the bigger picture. The book is told through the eyes of Lakshmi – a thirteen year old, her beliefs (if any), her thoughts and her emotional sense of being, on understanding what she has been sold into.

Sold is written in free verse form and that is what makes it even more heartbreaking, because it is the sad poetry of life that comes through the pages. I had thought I had read enough already about the sex trade in India; however I was proved wrong after reading Sold.

The horrors of the flesh trade come alive in this book and that is most disturbing. As humans, we think we can handle almost everything, well certainly not a thirteen year old talking about how she was drugged and made to sleep with strangers.

I don’t know if this book can be recommended for young adults, and at the same time considering what they watch and see anyway, I guess they can read this book. McCormick’s writing is stark and raw. She doesn’t mince her words and one is not expected to while writing about a topic this sensitive. The story is heartbreaking and yet sometimes uplifting as Lakshmi shows courage to maintain her identity and survive her ordeal.

Such stories stay on and linger with you, even if you cannot do anything about the situation. We will never know what it is to live like Lakshmi did. The empathy will never be lost, hopefully. The book definitely widens the scope of what we know and what we chose to ignore and for that reason alone, I urge you to read this book.

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Book Review: Solace by Belinda McKeon

Title: Solace
Author: Belinda McKeon
Publisher: Pan
Genre: Literary Fiction
ISBN: 978-0330532327
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

This isn’t a book to choose if you want pace and plot: it’s a slow, gentle meditation, almost, on those classic literary themes: the tension between father and son, between the older generation and the younger, between the country and city, between family and individual, between dependence and autonomy. It is also the tale of a binding tragedy and the gulf of loneliness between them in today’s Ireland, slowly sinking into poverty and hardship.

The father is Tom Casey, a taciturn, withdrawn, hard-hit man, who is a farmer working in County Longford in Southern Ireland. He is the kind of man whose education is limited and he wants nothing more from life than what he already has. He belongs to the generation of men who believe themselves to be the king of their proverbial castle and every command of theirs should be adhered and obeyed – irrespective of it being right or wrong.

The person Tom connects least with is his son Mark, who as the book opens, is down from Dublin, visiting with his young daughter Aiofe, to help his father with the farm chores. The dynamics of the relationship between the father and the son are strained: Tom sees Mark as a sour human being, while Mark views his father as a cold and calculating human being. The strain of their relationship is felt through the entire Casey clan and this is all due to an incident that changed their entire course of lives.

I will not give away the incident even though it is a part of the prologue mainly because I feel that readers should discover most of the plot by themselves. Belinda’s writing is magical – not once did I find the need to keep the book away. The words are few and beyond, however the emotion is exact – it makes you empathize and think about the last time you were faced with such powerful and overwhelming emotions.

Solace is a book that will speak to you on different levels. For me, it made me realize and think back about the kind of relationship I shared with my father while I was growing up and it wasn’t easy. I could relate to a lot of passages and events describe and maybe that is the reason I could connect more. Solace is a book I would definitely recommend to all. Hope you are able to read and discover what I did.

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Solace: A Novel