Lexicon; Max Barry, Hachette, Rs.350.

‘Poets’, masters of manipulation, use the secrets of language to warp others to their will. Two years ago, something terrible was unleashed in Broken Hill, an Australian mining town. Emily Ruff knows what happened. She was one of the poets, until she made a catastrophic mistake of falling in love. Wil Parke knows the truth too, only he doesn’t remember it. He also doesn’t know why he is immune to the poets’ powers. But he knows he needs to run. The race is on for a deadly weapon: a word. Because the poets know that words can kill.

My Name is Parvana; Deborah Ellis, Hachette, Rs.299.

Snatched from the ruins of a bombed-out school, Parvana is locked away by American soldiers in Afghanistan. She refuses to talk to her captors. But she has a diary, with a series of names in it. In Parvana’s story, lives are scattered like shrapnel in a country ravaged by war; a single mother fighting vicious tradition; young girls fettered by grim reality, dreaming of free skies.

She Rises; Kate Worsley, Bloomsbury, Rs.499.

Louise Fletcher, a dairy maid in Essex, has been warned of the lure of the sea. But she leaps at the chance to work as a maid to Rebecca, a captain’s daughter. At the side of her haughty, fascinating mistress, she navigates the treacherous waters of Harwich society. Meanwhile, young Luke is on a perilous journey across the ocean. The lives of Louise and Luke, and their worlds, perilous beyond imagining, are about to collide, with astonishing consequences.

Magadh; Shrikant Verma, Tr. Rahul Soni, Almostisland, Rs.399.

Magadh. Kashi. Kosambi. Hastinapur. Kapilavatsu. Ujjaini. Avanti. An anthology, Magadh is about the great cities of the past. Allegorically, it is also about present-day metropolises. These shimmering cities, with their moral and economic corruption, will go the way of Magadh. They’ll cease to shimmer, and then cease altogether.

The Black Coat; Neamat Imam, Penguin, Rs.499.

It is the 1970s. After a bloody struggle, Bangladesh is an independent nation. Nur Hussain is among the thousands pouring into Dhaka, looking for food a shelter. With a talent for mimicking the Prime Minister, he is taken under the wing of out-of-work journalist Khaleque. The duo begin cashing in on the nationalistic fervour of the masses. Money begins to pour in, but tensions between the two rise and reach a violent climax when Nur refuses to stick to the script.

Never Go Back; Lee Child, Random House, Rs.599.

In his latest adventure, Jack Reacher has made it to Virginia, from the snows of South Dakota. He wants to meet the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner. He liked her voice on the phone. But the officer behind Reacher’s old desk isn’t a woman. Why is Susan Turner not there? Now he himself is in trouble, accused of a 16-year-old murder. And he certainly doesn’t expect to hear the words: ‘You’re back in the army, Major. And your ass is mine.’ Will he be sorry he went back? Or will someone else?

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