Desert Angel by Charlie Price (published 2nd February 2012)
He is waiting...
He is watching...
He will hunt her down.
Angel is on the run. Her mother is dead, her body buried in a shallow grave by her latest boyfriend, Scotty, an ruthless, illegal hunter who is prone to violence and who now wants Angel dead before she can talk to the police.
Angel has lived through more than a young girl should have but she’s determined to stay alive.
But in the scorching heat of the open desert, where can she hide?
Now Is The Time For Running by Michael Williams (published 2nd February 2012)
On the dusty fields of Zimbabwe, Deo finds meaning in football. He’s a Man United fan with a home-made ball and one day he’s going to make it big.
Innocent, his older brother, isn’t like the other boys; he’s slow sometimes, but no one dares say so – not with Deo watching.
When the soldiers come with their trail of death and destruction, the boys have no choice but to flee for their lives. Deo stuffs his football with billions of worthless dollars and leads his brother on the long and road to South Africa in search of safety.
On the run and in hiding, the boys weave their way through the border to South Africa, arriving with their meagre possessions and a handful of dreams.
A raw, beautiful and moving story of two brothers on a journey that will strengthen, toughen and ultimately, make or break them.
This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel (published 6th October 2011)
Victor and Konrad Frankenstein are twins, born just two minutes apart but with very different personalities. Along with their beautiful cousin Elizabeth, they lead a charmed life at their parents’ chateau. But when Konrad falls dangerously ill, everything changes.
Victor’s quest to find a cure leads him into the Dark Library, a secret room full of ancient, forbidden knowledge. On the spine-chilling mission that follows, he is forced to confront strange foes, alchemical forces and the most difficult torment of all – the pain of unrequited love.
Set against the turreted backdrop of eighteenth-century Geneva, This Dark Endeavour is the first book in Kenneth Oppel’s haunting new gothic duology.
The Haunting of Charity Delafield by Ian Beck (published 3rd November 2011)
A magical, enchanting tale, with stunning illustrations that will transport you into another world.
Flame-haired Charity Delafield has grown up in a vast, isolated house - most of which she is forbidden to explore - with her fiercely strict father. With only her kindly nurse, Rose, and her cat Mr Tompkins for company, she knows very little of the outside world - or of her own family's shadowy past. What she does know is that she is NEVER to go outside unsupervised. And she is NEVER to over-excite herself, because of the mysterious 'condition' that she has been told she suffers from.
But Charity has a secret. All her life, she has had the same strange dream - a dream of a dark corridor, dden somewhere in the house. Then, one day, Charity stumbles across the corridor. It leads to a door . . . and suddenly she realises things are not quite what they seem.
The Adventures of the New Cut Gang by Philip Pullman (published 1st September 2011)
Thunderbolt, Benny, Bridie and Sharky Bob are a mixed bunch of vagabonds and urchins who come together to form the New Cut Gang in two comic tales of stolen silver, skullduggery and desperadoes. Fake coins are turning up all over Lambeth and the finger of suspicion is pointing at Thunderbolt's dad - could he really be the forger? The crime-busting New Cut Gang come to the rescue! And when just two clues - a blob of wax and a Swedish match - are discovered at the scene of a break-in, the children find themsevles on the trail of an extremely cunning criminal. Set in late Victorian London, these two action-packed thrillers have now been put together in a single volume - with new illustrations throughout from Horrible Histories illustrator, Martin Brown.
Starters by Lissa Price (published 5th April 2012)
I can't tell you much at all about this one except that the concept is brilliant. If you are a fan of science fiction, dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic stories then I this could be the book for you. As soon as I am allowed I will bring you more information on this book and its creepy cover.
And last, but by no means least:
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (published 8th November 2011)
Not so very long ago, Eragon - Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider - was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now, the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.
Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances.
The Rider and his dragon have come farther than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaësia? And if so, at what cost?
Out of all of these I think the titles I am most excited about are The Dark Endeavour (Kenneth Oppel is a fantastic writer who winds pretty much every prize going in his native Canada, and this may be the book that propels him into worldwide stardom); The Haunting of Charity Delafield (great writer, brilliant illustrator. No cover image for this yet but I am reliably informed that Ian has illustrated it himself and it is stunning); and The Adventures of the New Cut Gang (I love Pullman's work. Even before I had read His Dark Materials I was already a big fan of his Sally Lockhart books. The two stories that have been collated into this one volume by David Fickling were originally published by Puffin back in the mid-1990s. I have never read them and I was very lucky to pick up a proof copy yesterday, although I will probably end up buying the hardback edition when it is published for Martin Brown's illustrations).
After the presentation we were introduced to two authors whose work I have loved over the past year: Lindsey Barraclough, author of the brilliant Long Lankin, and Andy Mulligan, author of the superb Trash. Of course, I had my copies of both books in hand and both authors were very gracious and signed my books.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning and my huge thanks go to the team at Random House Children's Books for their kind hospitality and generosity as I managed to walk away with a handful of great looking books.