Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite authors of any genre, but definitely my favorite Sci-Fi author - hands down! His books draw me in and envelop me in their stunning worlds in ways that few others have ever done. "Ender's Game" was the first book of his that I read, and I must admit that I read it again at least once a year. It takes place in a future where we have faced an otherworldly foe known as the Buggers. Earth needs a battle commander fast enough and capable enough to compete with these highly advanced invaders, so they create The Battle School for children. Only the most brilliant of our youth are chosen to go, and the psychological, physiological and moral strategies that the grown-ups use on these children in order to find the one they seek has me racing through the pages every time I read it. Always the first book that I recommend, especially for teens, "Ender's Game" will not disappoint!
"The Genesis Code" by John Case is the single best thriller that I have ever read! It begins in a small church in Europe where a priest hears a dying man's confession. The priest then boards a train and heads straight for the Vatican where he waits for an audience with the Pope, and refuses to leave until they meet. Across the pond in America, Joe Lassiter mourns after a house fire killed his sister and nephew. He soon learns, however, that they were murdered before the fire was set. The murder of another mother and son, with striking similarities to Joe's sister and nephew, start him on an international adventure in search of the truth. I couldn't put this one down (I think I finished it in one sitting, as a matter of fact) and it is a book that haunts me to this day!
While on the subject of international thrillers, another of my favorites is "The Eight" by Katherine Neville. It centers around a chess set, once owned by Charlemagne, which is said to grant the person who plays the perfect game world domination. The pieces have been scattered throughout history and we visit the world leaders of yore who encountered the pieces including Napoleon, Catherine the Great and many, many more. For those who love historical fiction (like me!) this is a book that will definitely find itself on your top ten list!
Speculative fiction often doesn't resonate with me, only because by the time I've read the book many of the events it speculates about have already come to pass (or not). "The Truth Machine" by James Halperin is the exception. It was written in 1996, so a lot of the future it predicts has already happened in one way or another, but the genius of this novel is not wrapped up in the predictions. The story, told by a journalism computer far into the future, is about an unparalleled genius who invents an infallible lie detector, "The Truth Machine". Invented as a result of the country's new Swift and Sure justice system where it takes less than a year to get from trial to execution, and intended to prevent abuse of the new law, The Truth Machine is so perfect that soon it ekes into everyday society and dishonesty is eliminated from every aspect of the human condition. Exploring truth and what it means in stark detail makes this novel both poignant and terrifying. An excellent read!
There are still a few more to go (I keep adding favorites the more I think about this blog) but they will have to wait until next time!
Until then, I wish you good reading!