This is the first of our monthly “Books We Loved” posts. They are not recommendations, exactly—everyone’s taste differs—but if you enjoy Five Directions Press books, we are reasonably sure you will like these books, too. And since our tastes also differ, we have signed our entries with our initials.
The Moor’s Account, Laila Lalimi (Vintage, 2014)
The exotic sixteenth-century settings stretch from Africa to Europe to “La Florida,” and I was there on the journey of the Moroccan slave, Mustafa el-Zamori, as he found his way out of slavery in this imagined memoir of a real person. The first black explorer of America, Mustafa is transformed from an impulsive youth into a wise man through hardships and his own keen observations—above all, his innate respect for humankind. Lalimi is a skillful historian and beautiful storyteller.—AA
Single in the City, by Michele Gorman (Notting Hill Press, 2014)
Anyone who's ever felt like a fish out of water will enjoy the frank and funny tale of Hannah, an American girl dropped into the middle of London and left to navigate an unfamiliar terrain of slang, strange foods, new friends and men with more baggage than the carousels at Heathrow.—CJH
Artemis Awakening, Jane Lindskold (Tor, 2014)
I fell in love with The Firekeeper Saga (Through Wolf’s Eyes) years ago, when people still bought books in bookstores, which is where I found it. A girl raised as a wolf, who regards human society from the viewpoint of a wolf: what could be more fascinating? I was delighted to discover that Jane Lindskold had a new series, based on an engineered pleasure planet left to its own devices after its creators destroyed themselves through war. Artemis Awakening is the first book in that new series (Artemis Invaded is already available). It’s a wonderful read, but don’t neglect Lindskold’s earlier books, which are just as good.—CPL
For a Q&A with Jane Lindskold, click here.
The Last Wife of Attila the Hun, Joan Schweighardt
(Booktrope Editions, 2015)
Nordic legend and fifth-century history complement each other beautifully in this story of Gudrun, the last wife of Attila the Hun and a Burgundian princess determined to avenge herself on the destroyer of her people. The story of the Nibelunglied, as related in the Poetic Eddas, but with more than one twist: an engrossing and compelling tale.—CPL
For an interview with Joan Schweighardt, visit New Books in Historical Fiction.