The Friday Face-Off: Just Then Flew Down A Monstrous Crow


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new 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.


Just Then Flew Down

Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off! This week we’re looking at covers which feature birds!

Monstrous crow you say? How about a teeny tiny one instead! Published by Jo Fletcher Books in both the US and the UK, this week we’re taking a look at the cover for the first book in the Dr. Thomas Bond series by Sarah Pinborough. Take a look and see what you think!


Jo Fletcher – UK Cover

Jo Fletcher – US Cover


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

Both covers for Sarah Pinborough’s Mayhem are inherently creepy, using the same striking colour palette of blacks, creams and reds, but with entirely different results. The flaming skull and the city map of the US cover are eye-catching and convey the book’s character but the typeface isn’t quite as effective as it might have been. By comparison the UK cover is much more paired back, showcasing some wonderful lettering amongst the swirls, blood spatters, gents and birds which come together to create a simple but effective winner!

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: Renewed Shall be Blade That Was Broken

A cover which features the word ‘blade’ in its title

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


| Links |

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek – Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books  – Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

S J Higbee @ Brainfluff – Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

DJ @ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape – The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley

Nick V. Reys @ ThePaperDragon – Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Recent Impulse Book Buys


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Recent Impulse Book Buys |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! This week we’re looking at our Top Ten books bought on a whim. As a result of my undeniable cover love and a rather impulsive nature, the majority of my bookshelf consists of impulse buys – so this Tuesday I’ve gone for my most recent acquisitions! In no particular order, here are the latest surprise additions to my shelves:
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| 1. |

BookofPhoenix

The Book of Phoenix

by Nnedi Okoraforheart

A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell….

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.

Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape.

But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future.
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| 2 |

The Folding Knife

by K.J. Parkerheart

Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man.

He is ruthless, cunning, and above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he’s only ever made one mistake.

One mistake, though, can be enough. heart

| 3 |

The Electric Church

Book One of the Avery Cates Series

by Jeff Somers

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In the near future, the only thing growing faster than the criminal population is the Electric Church, a new religion founded by a mysterious man named Dennis Squalor. The Church preaches that life is too brief to contemplate the mysteries of the universe: eternity is required. In order to achieve this, the converted become Monks — cyborgs with human brains, enhanced robotic bodies, and virtually unlimited life spans.

Enter Avery Cates, a dangerous criminal known as the best killer-for-hire around. The authorities have a special mission in mind for Cates: assassinate Dennis Squalor. But for Cates, the assignment will be the most dangerous job he’s ever undertaken — and it may well be his last. heart

| 4. |

The Rook

Book One of The Checquy Files

by Daniel O’Malley
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“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, The Rookis a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer. heart

| 5. |

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Book One of the Fairyland Series

by Catherynne M. Valente
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Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.heart

| 6. |

Malice

Book One of the Faithful and the Fallen

by John Gwynne

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A black sun is rising…

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors under King Brenin’s rule, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed shields in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars.

High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Some are skeptical, fighting their own border skirmishes against pirates and giants. But prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust. heart

| 7. |

Dark Eden

Book One of the Dark Eden Series

by Chris Beckett
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A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world: science fiction as it ought to be from British science fiction’s great white hope.

You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of Angela and Tommy. You shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees, hunting woollybuck and harvesting tree candy. Beyond the forest lie the treeless mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. The Oldest among you recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross between worlds. One day, the Oldest say, they will come back for you.

You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of two marooned explorers. You huddle, slowly starving, beneath the light and warmth of geothermal trees, confined to one barely habitable valley of a startlingly alien, sunless world. After 163 years and six generations of incestuous inbreeding, the Family is riddled with deformity and feeblemindedness. Your culture is a infantile stew of half-remembered fact and devolved ritual that stifles innovation and punishes independent thought.

You are John Redlantern. You will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. You will be the first to abandon hope, the first to abandon the old ways, the first to kill another, the first to venture in to the Dark, and the first to discover the truth about Eden.heart

| 8. |

The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King

by Michael R. Miller
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Dragons once soared in the skies, but that was before the Transformation, before they took human form. Now, demonic forces stand to obliterate them. When left mortally wounded, Darnuir, the Prince of Dragons, can only be saved through a dangerous rebirthing spell. He is left as a babe in human hands.

Twenty years later, Darnuir is of age to wield the Dragon’s Blade. As the last member of his bloodline, he is the only one who can. He is plunged into a role he is not prepared for, to lead a people he does not know. Shadowy demons ravage his new home and the alliance between humans, dragons and fairies has fractured.

Time is short, for new threats and deadlier enemies are emerging… heart

| 9. |

Shadow and Bone

Book One of the Grisha Trilogy

by Leigh Bardugo
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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.heart

| 10. |

city-of-bohane

City of Bohane

by Kevin Barryheart

Forty years in the future. The once-great city of Bohane on the west coast of Ireland is on its knees, infested by vice and split along tribal lines. There are the posh parts of town, but it is in the slums and backstreets of Smoketown, the tower blocks of the Northside Rises and the eerie bogs of Big Nothin’ that the city really lives.

For years, the city has been in the cool grip of Logan Hartnett, the dapper godfather of the Hartnett Fancy gang. But there’s trouble in the air. They say his old nemesis is back in town; his trusted henchmen are getting ambitious; and his missus wants him to give it all up and go straight… And then there’s his mother.

City of Bohane is a visionary novel that blends influences from film and the graphic novel, from Trojan beats and calypso rhythms, from Celtic myth and legend, from fado and the sagas, and from all the great inheritance of Irish literature. A work of mesmerising imagination and vaulting linguistic invention, it is a taste of the glorious and new.heart

Which books have you recently acquired on a whim? 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: You Got The Blues


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new 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 Falcons of Fire and Ice by Karen Maitland


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off! This week we’re looking at covers are predominantly blue!

Published by Penguin / Michael Joseph, The Falcons of Fire and Ice is a work of historical fiction written by one of my favourite authors, Karen Maitland. This Face-Off features the stunning  covers for the hardback and paperback editions of the book and, as usual, has created something of a dilemma of choice! Scroll down to see which one wins the Face-Off this week!


Penguin – Paperback Cover

Artwork by Mark Swan

Penguin – Hardback Cover

Artwork by Gray318


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

I honestly love both these covers which has led to a very difficult decision this week – as tempted as I was to call it a draw! The paperback is a splash of fire on ice, a decorative and elaborate typeface on a cool and muted backdrop. I love that misty, faded tree-scape and the vibrancy of the fiery falcon – this entire composition is very evocative.

The hardback meanwhile takes us back to the gorgeous stylised covers of Maitland’s previous novels – a style which I absolutely adore! Both bold and eye-catching, this illustrative style works well for the themes and period in which the books are set whilst capturing the wit and verve of Maitland’s writing. I love the splashes of colour and the woodblock print-style typeface which all come together to create one wonderful composition. This style of cover will never fail to please me!

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: Which Witch is Which?

A cover which features a witch and/or witchcraft

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

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The Friday Face-Off: Like One, That on a Lonesome Road


Friday Face Off 2cWelcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new 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.


A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off! This week we’re looking at covers which feature a road… preferably a lonely one!

Published by Titan in the UK and by Penguin / NAL in the US, A Curious Beginning is a book which fell into my lap through Goodreads a few months ago – and one which I am still yet to read! This Face-Off features two stunning covers in completely different styles, making this week’s choice incredibly difficult. Take a look and see which one, if any, came out on top!


Titan – UK Cover

Artwork by Julia Lloyd

Penguin / NAL – US Cover

Artwork by Michael Heath


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

This week is a definite draw! The style of the UK artwork is wonderful – and even better in real life! This eye-catching, illustrative cover is a light hearted edition which uses various Victoriana motifs to hint at the contents within. The colour palette – and that aged aquamarine especially – works perfectly as a backdrop to this elegantly fun composition, and the scroll-work and typeface used are interesting, detailed and work to draw the eye.

The US cover is a completely different affair and works with an atmospheric image to capture another side to the story. The use of lighting and a warm colour palette, especially the pink overlay to the street scene and the swirling mists, work together to create an eye-catching image – an image which almost feels like you could follow the figure into it – and the typeface is simple and elegant.

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

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksTomorrow’s theme is: You Got The Blues

A cover which is predominantly blue

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

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Book Haul: February 24




| Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart |

This eye-catching tome arrived on my doorstep just in time for the Girl Waits With Gun Official Blog Tour which commences on 7th March – an event I’m very much looking forward to! With a gun-toting, law-wielding, feisty female heroine, this is one novel I cannot wait to get lost in. So join me on the 9th March as the Blog Tour takes an official diversion to Books by Proxy for my scoop on Girl Waits With Gun.


Girl Waits With Gun - Cover


Girl Waits With Gun

Book One of the Kopp Sisters

by Amy Stewart

Historical Crime Fiction | 416 Pages | To be published by Scribe UK on 10th March 2016


Girl Waits With Gun - Blog Tour


| Synopsis |

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten, true story of one of the USA’s first female deputy sheriffs.

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mould. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters from the city to the country fifteen years before. When a powerful, ruthless factory owner runs down their buggy, a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their farm. The sheriff enlists her help, and it turns out that Constance has a knack for outwitting (and disarming) the criminal element, which might just take her back out into the world and onto a new path in life.

Through Amy Stewart’s exuberant storytelling, Constance Kopp catapults from a forgotten historical anecdote to an unforgettable historical-fiction heroine — an outsized woman not only ahead of her time, but sometimes even ahead of ours.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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Book Haul: February 23




| The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland |

I’ve been a huge fan of Karen Maitland for a while now – if you haven’t read Company of Liars I urge you to do so – and having had The Raven’s Head on my to read list for far too long I thought it was about time to pick up a copy. I fully expect this to be a literary delight full of disturbing history and superstition.


| Synopsis |

Vincent is an apprentice librarian who stumbles upon a secret powerful enough to destroy his master. With the foolish arrogance of youth, he attempts blackmail but the attempt fails and Vincent finds himself on the run and in possession of an intricately carved silver raven’s head.

Any attempt to sell the head fails … until Vincent tries to palm it off on the intimidating Lord Sylvain – unbeknown to Vincent, a powerful Alchemist with an all-consuming quest. Once more Vincent’s life is in danger because Sylvain and his neighbours, the menacing White Canons, consider him a predestined sacrifice in their shocking experiment.

Chilling and with compelling hints of the supernatural, The Raven’s Head is a triumph for Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads



| And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie |

And Then There Were None needs no introduction. As soon as I saw this book I knew it belonged on my bookshelf – the one Christie I’d definitely be remiss to miss!


| Synopsis |

First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads



| Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine |

I’ve never read any Rachel Caine or even heard much about this book before I bought it, though general opinion seemed to be favourable. This was definitely an impulse purchase… but who could resist such a gorgeous cover!


| Synopsis |

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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Teaser Tuesdays: February 23


Teaser TuesdaysWelcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: February 23 |

A Fever of the Blood

Book Two of the Frey and McGray Series

by Oscar de Muriel

Crime | Historical Fiction | 417 Pages | Published by Penguin in 2016


“For a ghastly moment their bodies writhed like worms on a fishing line, as the mob cheered wildly. Then, even as they convulsed in agony the witches’ arms rose slowly, straight like masts, all six pointing at the same spot, somewhere in the crowd.”

~ p. 03, A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel


| Synopsis |

New Year’s Day, 1889. In Edinburgh’s lunatic asylum, a patient escapes as a nurse lays dying. Leading the manhunt are legendary local Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray and Londoner-in-exile Inspector Ian Frey. Before the murder, the suspect was heard in whispered conversation with a fellow patient – a girl who had been mute for years. What made her suddenly break her silence? And why won’t she talk again? Could the rumours about black magic be more than superstition? McGray and Frey track a devious psychopath far beyond their jurisdiction, through the worst blizzard in living memory, into the shadow of Pendle Hill – home of the Lancashire witches – where unimaginable danger awaits..

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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Book Haul: February 13



The Rats 2


| The Rats by James Herbert |

Ahh another book which bears testimony to the fact that I cannot resist a shiny book cover! Having very few horror books in my reading repertoire, and barely managing to shift the one I’m currently dragging my way through- though I don’t dislike it by any means – I decided I’d break out of my genre comfort zone and give The Rats by James Herbert a try. Plus it has a foreword by Neil Gaiman… that should be worth reading at least!


| Synopsis |

It was only when the bones of the first devoured victims were discovered that the true nature and power of these swarming black creatures with their razor sharp teeth and the taste for human blood began to be realised by a panic-stricken city. For millions of years man and rats had been natural enemies. But now for the first time – suddenly, shockingly, horribly – the balance of power had shifted.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


The Folding KnifeThe Folding Knife 2


| The Folding Knife by K.J. Parker |

K.J Parker is one of those authors who I only know of because Amazon is desperately trying to get me to read their novels in a torrent of one dimensional recommendations. But it seems to have done the trick because here I am with Parker’s The Folding Knife to hand! Damn subconscious purchasing… I must admit though, the premise of this novel sounds right up my alley. Well played Amazon. Well played.


| Synopsis |

Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. Basso the Murderer. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man. He is ruthless, cunning and, above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he’s only ever made one mistake. One mistake, though, can be enough.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Electric Church


| The Electric Church by Jeff Somers |

Hello surprise sale purchase! The Electric Church and Jeff Somers were completely unknown to me before I happened across a wondrous bargain in the bookshop, but this series sounds very intriguing – and who doesn’t love a bit of cyberpunk? I can’t wait to give it a try!


| Synopsis |

In the near future, the only thing growing faster than the criminal population is the Electric Church, a new religion founded by a mysterious man named Dennis Squalor. The Church preaches that life is too brief to contemplate the mysteries of the universe: eternity is required. In order to achieve this, the converted become Monks — cyborgs with human brains, enhanced robotic bodies, and virtually unlimited life spans.

Enter Avery Cates, a dangerous criminal known as the best killer-for-hire around. The authorities have a special mission in mind for Cates: assassinate Dennis Squalor. But for Cates, the assignment will be the most dangerous job he’s ever undertaken — and it may well be his last.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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