The Friday Face-Off: It Shuffles Through The Dry, Dusty Darkness


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.


Pyramids by Terry Pratchett


Welcome to the Friday Face-Off! This week we’re comparing covers which feature mummification!

Lucky for us speculative fiction lovers there are numerous books in the fantasy world which have been inspired by Egyptology but those pesky mummies seem to be few and far between. Mr. Pratchett of course can never disappoint and threw Pyramids into my lap to aid in this week’s cover exploration. With mummies tearing their way out of the original cover and lying soundly in the sarcophagus for the Russians, these two covers go head to head in this Friday’s Face-Off!


Original – Cover #1

Cover Art by Josh Kirby

Russian – Cover #2


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

From chaos, colour and action to sombre, creepy and mysterious, these two covers for Terry Pratchett’s Pyramids could not be more different. As with all the original Discworld covers I love the vibrancy and detail, the riot of figures and the wonderful humour reminiscent of the novels. This is a cover which demands attention and further exploration; a cover you can get lost in as much as the book.

By comparison the Russian cover for Pyramids is startlingly simple. The typeface is elegant and uncomplicated and the single, mysterious image on a dark background allows the plume of dust and wispy wrappings to bring a hint of mystery and darkness to the fore. However, the beauty of Kirby’s art is that it captures Pratchett’s humorous writing incredibly well – you see it and you know it’s Pratchett; something that sadly the Russian cover barely even hints at.

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is:

You Couldn’t Not Like Someone Who Liked The Guitar

A cover which features a guitar

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


| Links |

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books

Sarah @ Brainfluff

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Productions

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Friday Firsts: Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky


Welcome to Friday Firsts – a new weekly meme created by Tenacious Reader. New Book: First paragraphs. First impressions. New favourite?


| Friday Firsts: June 09 |

Spiderlight

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Fantasy | 298 Pages | Published by Tor in 2016


| First Paragraphs |

THE WORDS THAT TWANGED and thrummed their way to Nth said, New food coming, and he stirred, resettling his legs to take the measure of the message: how far, what direction, who originated it. Mother’s Brood was large. Some of her children were more reliable than others.

New food. Different food. That had everyone’s interest. Across the span of the web, that was strung in mistlike sheets from tree to tree across their forest, he felt the others rousing, rising from their torpor. There was always food, even for so many bodies as Mother’s Brood ran to, but variety was welcome.

In the dark wood, the deer ran in their many herds, feeding in the clearings under the shadow of the webs, and being fed upon in turn. Mother saw to it that there were always clearings, where the great trees had been poisoned and weakened. There would always be deer aplenty.

In the trees there were monkeys, and they were clever and often escaped the hunt or the web, but this, too, was Mother’s plan. The monkeys were just clever enough that there would always be enough monkeys. They were aware enough to realize their fate, when they were caught, and that gave their juices an extra savor.

There were no wolves, no stalking cats. It was not that the flesh of these things was unpalatable, but they were wasteful. They consumed too many deer and monkeys for their presence to be tolerated.

New food , though. Nth waited for the words of the web to tell him that this prize wastaken, so that he could beg Mother for a taste.

More speech came from the hunters, a constant commentary as they shadowed the intruders into the dark wood, hurrying above them while their siblings wove traps and barriers to channel them and funnel them.

New food. Man.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| First Impressions |

My third week of Friday Firsts and once again I return with one of my favourite authors! Adrian Tchaikovsky has written a multitude of outstanding fantasy and science fiction novels which always appear to hit the mark – and Spiderlight, I expect, will be no exception.

The novel begins in the heart of the dark brood itself. The thoughts,  hungers and animalistic desires that creep through this cluster of spiders are brought to the fore in Spiderlight’s opening paragraphs, leaving an impression of tension, excitement and a sense that this is going to be one unique novel!

What are you currently reading? What were your first impressions?

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Waiting on Wednesday: Our Dark Duet


Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine.


| Waiting on Wednesday: June 07 |

Our Dark Duet

Book Two of Monsters of Verity

by V. E. Schwab


Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

To be published by Titan on 13th June 2017

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Historical Fiction On My TBR


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


| Top Ten… Historical Fiction On My TBR |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! This week I’m taking a look at the historical fiction which has made its way onto my shelves. Ok, so some are more fantasy than history… and some are only by authors who made their name in the historic fiction genre… but they still made it onto my TBR! Take a look and see if any made your list.
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| 1. |

Conclave

by Robert Harrisheart

The Pope is dead.

Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election.

They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals.

Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.
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| 2 |

All The Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerrheart

Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee with a dangerous secret.

Werner is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine that claimed his father’s life, until he discovers a knack for engineering. His talent wins him a place at a brutal military academy, but his way out of obscurity is built on suffering.

At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in.

Doerr’s combination of soaring imagination and meticulous observation is electric. As Europe is engulfed by war and lives collide unpredictably, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ is a captivating and devastating elegy for innocence.
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| 3 |

Dunstan

by Conn Iggulden

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In the year 937, King Æthelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, readies himself to throw a great spear into the north. His dream of a kingdom of all England will stand or fall on one field and the passage of a single day.

At his side is Dunstan of Glastonbury, full of ambition and wit, perhaps enough to damn his soul. His talents will take him from the villages of Wessex to the royal court, to the hills of Rome – from exile to exaltation.

Through Dunstan’s vision, by his guiding hand, England may come together as one great country – or fall back into anarchy and misrule…

From one of our finest historical writers, Dunstan is an intimate portrait of a priest and performer, a visionary, a traitor and confessor to kings – the man who changed the fate of England.heart

| 4. |

Clash of Eagles

by Alan Smale

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In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, a legion under the command of general Gaius Marcellinus invades the newly-discovered North American continent. But Marcellinus and his troops have woefully underestimated the fighting prowess of the Native American inhabitants. When Gaius is caught behind enemy lines and spared, he must reevaluate his allegiances and find a new place in this strange land.
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| 5. |

Rotherweird

by Andrew Caldecott

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The town of Rotherweird stands alone – there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird’s independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.

For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused.

But secrets have a way of leaking out.

Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town’s long-derelict Manor House.

Slickstone and Oblong, though driven by conflicting motives, both strive to connect past and present, until they and their allies are drawn into a race against time – and each other. The consequences will be lethal and apocalyptic.

Welcome to Rotherweird!
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| 6. |

The Underground Railroad

by Colson Whitehead

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Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven – but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
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| 7. |

The Irregular: A Different Class of Spy

by H. B. Lyle
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London 1909: The British Empire seems invulnerable. But Captain Vernon Kell, head of counter-intelligence at the War Office, knows better. In Russia, revolution; in Germany, an arms race; in London, the streets are alive with foreign terrorists. Kell wants to set up a Secret Service, but to convince his political masters he needs proof of a threat – and to find that, he needs an agent he can trust. The playing fields of Eton may produce good officers, but not men who can work undercover in a munitions factory that appears to be leaking secrets to the Germans.

Kell needs Wiggins. Trained as a child by Kell’s old friend Sherlock Holmes – he led a gang of urchin investigators known as the Baker Street Irregulars – Wiggins is an ex-soldier with an expert line in deduction and the cunning of a born street fighter. ‘The best’, says Holmes.

Wiggins turns down the job – he ‘don’t do official’. But when his best friend is killed by Russian anarchists, Wiggins sees that the role of secret agent could take him towards his sworn revenge.

Tracking the Russian gang, Wiggins meets a mysterious beauty called Bela, who saves his life. Working for Kell, he begins to unravel a conspiracy that reaches far beyond the munitions factory.
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| 8. |

Norse Mythology

by Neil Gaiman
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Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
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| 9. |

Incendium

by A. D. Swanston
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Summer, 1572 and England is vulnerable. Fear of plague and insurrection taint the air, and heresy, fanaticism and religious unrest seethe beneath the surface of society. Rumour and mistrust lead to imprisonment, torture and sometimes murder. To the young lawyer Christopher Radcliff and his patron and employer, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the prospects for peace are grave – and as Leicester’s chief intelligencer, he is charged with investigating both the rumours of rebellion at home and invasion from abroad.

But Radcliff’s own life is far from orderly. His relationship with the widow Katherine Allingham is somewhat turbulent and the cut-throat world of court politics leaves no room for indiscretions.

That the queen’s own cousin, the Duke of Norfolk, is found guilty of treason, it is a sign of just how deep the dissent goes. Jesuit priests have been sent to England in order to foment revolt but the threat of a Catholic uprising comes not just from within. Across the channel, France is caught up in a frenzy of brutal religious persecution and England’s other enemy of old, Spain, is making preparations to invade. England is a powder-keg, just waiting for a spark to ignite it – and then Christopher Radcliff hears word of a plot that could provide that spark. The word is ‘incendium’ – but what does it mean and who lies behind it? Suddenly Christopher Radcliff is caught up in a race against time…
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| 10. |

Eight Months on Gazzah Street

by Hilary Mantelheart

Frances Shore is a cartographer by trade, a maker of maps, but when her husband’s work takes her to Saudi Arabia she finds herself unable to map the Kingdom’s areas of internal darkness. The regime is corrupt and harsh, the expatriates are hard-drinking money-grubbers, and her Muslim neighbours are secretive, watchful. The streets are not a woman’s territory; confined in her flat, she finds her sense of self begin to dissolve. She hears whispers, sounds of distress from the ’empty’ flat above her head. She has only rumours, no facts to hang on to, and no one with whom to share her creeping unease. As her days empty of certainty and purpose, her life becomes a blank — waiting to be filled by violence and disaster.
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What books have you added to your TBR recently? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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The Friday Face-Off: Shoot For The Moon


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.


Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald


Welcome back to the Friday Face-Off! This Friday we’re comparing covers which feature the moon.

If there’s one book that immediately springs to mind when it comes to moon-related-cover-goodness, it’s this one. Published by Tor in the US and by Gollancz in the UK, Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald has two out of this world covers which immediately catch the eye. Scroll down and take a look at these stellar beauties!


Tor – Cover #1

Cover Art by Victor Mosquera

Gollancz – Cover #2

Cover Art by Blacksheep


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

Two different artists, two beautiful covers and one impossible decision. The Tor cover depicts a skyline emerging from the dusty moon rock glowing against a backdrop of infinite space. The subtle play of colour, the simple yet elegant typeface and the central flare of dust come together to create a beautiful and eye catching cover.

By comparison the Gollancz cover uses a bold theme to attract attention. A vivid image of a moon painted in blues and greys, a star scattered sky and a bold and brilliant title make it difficult to choose an overall winner from these two epic covers. Luna: New Moon – let’s call this one a draw.

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is:

It shuffles through the dry, dusty darkness

A cover which features mummification

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


| Links |

Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek

Sarah @ Brainfluff

Mogsy @ The Bibliosanctum

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Legion of Flame


Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine.


| Waiting on Wednesday: May 31 |

The Legion of Flame

Book Two of The Draconis Memoria

by Anthony Ryan


The Legion of Flame is the action-packed second novel in the Draconis Memoria series – an enthralling epic fantasy of magic, adventure and the furious battle to forge an empire.

Claydon Torcreek has survived drake-infested jungles, hostile tribes and the cold touch of betrayal – yet his troubles have only just begun.

The legendary white drake – believed to be nothing more than a myth – has awoken from its long slumber, with a thirst to reduce the world of men to ashes.

One city has already fallen to the drake’s formidable legions. More will follow, unless Clay can uncover an ancient secret that lies buried beneath the southern ice.

Once again Clay must face unthinkable danger, and this time he carries not just the hopes of his own nation, but the fate of the entire world.

To be published by Orbit on 06th July 2017

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Teaser Tuesdays: May 30


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker.


| Teaser Tuesdays: May 30 |

Legion: Skin Deep

by Brandon Sanderson

Sci-Fi | Novella| 208 Pages | Published by Gollancz in 2015


“Arnaud adjusted his spectacles. ‘Well, um, you see, in quantum physics we talk about possibilities. One interpretation says that dimensions are infinite, and everything that can happen, has happened. It seems to follow if this is true, then each of us aspects somewhere has existed in some dimension or realm of possibility as a real person. A curious thought, would you not agree, Étienne?’

‘Curious indeed,’ I said. ‘It –’

‘So I’m real,’ J.C. interjected. ‘The smart guy just said it.'”

~ 33% | Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson


| Synopsis |

Stephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the new story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there’s a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous…

What follows is a visionary thriller about the potential uses of technology, the mysteries of the human personality, and the ancient human need to believe that death is not the end. Legion: Skin Deep is speculative fiction at it most highly developed. It reaffirms Sanderson’s place as one of contemporary fiction’s most intelligent—and unpredictable—voices.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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The Friday Face-Off: Of All The Words of Mice and Men


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.


The Builders by Daniel Polansky


Welcome to the Friday Face-Off! For this week’s comparison we’re on the look out for covers which feature mice (though all rodents are welcome!).

Published by Tor globally and by Acheron in Italy, The Builders by Daniel Polansky features two incredibly striking covers that just beg for you to turn the first page. Take a look at these two artistic beauties and see which one is your favourite.


Tor – Cover #1

Cover Art by Richard Anderson

Acheron- Cover #2



| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

I’d like to say the choice was incredibly difficult this week – the runner-up is, after all, an absolutely amazing piece of art – but I can’t help but be seduced by the sheer beauty and atmospheric qualities of Richard Anderson’s artwork. Needless to say, due to my quite clear bias, it was an unfair contest from the start.

But let’s not overlook the details. The Tor cover is dramatic, gritty and gives the reader an immediate feel for the dark (if humorous) writing within while the Acheron cover speaks of comic western violence with its bold, selective palette and blocky typeface. I love the ink-like splatters and watercolour wash of the former and the styalised figures of the latter. But most of all, I love that both covers have instantly recognisable characters and that both transport you instantly into Polansky’s writing. Amazing covers. Amazing book.

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is:

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars

A cover which features the moon

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


| Links |

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books

Sarah @ Brainfluff

Mogsy @ The Bibliosanctum

Ronyell @ RabbitEarsProductions

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O


Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine.


| Waiting on Wednesday: May 24 |

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O

by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland


You think you know how the world works? Think again.

From bestselling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed historical and contemporary commercial novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller that questions the very foundations of the modern world.

1851 England

The Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace has opened, celebrating the rise of technology and commerce. With it the power of magic – in decline since the industrial revolution began – is completely snuffed out. The existence of magic begins its gradual devolution into mere myth.

21st Century America

Magic has faded from the minds of mankind, until an encounter between Melisande Stokes, linguistics expert at Harvard, and Tristan Lyons, shadowy agent of government, leads to the uncovering of a distant past.

After translating a series of ancient texts, Melisande and Tristan discover the connection between science, magic and time travel and so the Department of Diachronic Operations – D.O.D.O. – is hastily brought into existence. Its mission: to develop a device that will send their agents back to the past, where they can stop magic from disappearing and alter the course of history.

But when you interfere with the past, there’s no telling what you might find in your future…

Written with the genius, complexity, and innovation that characterize all of Neal Stephenson’s work and steeped with the down-to-earth warmth and humour of Nicole Galland’s storytelling style, this exciting and vividly realized work of science fiction will make you believe in the impossible, and take you to places – and times – beyond imagining.

To be published by The Borough Press on 15th June 2017

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