9 Writers at the Top of Their Game

The nine authors included here prove they're in the prime of their writing careers with their latest books.

Originally published on Kirkus. For more from Kirkus, click here.

  • 'Vagabond' by Gerald Seymour
    "An author who seemingly can do no wrong, British spymaster Seymour delivers another first-rate effort—this one focused on an
    "An author who seemingly can do no wrong, British spymaster Seymour delivers another first-rate effort—this one focused on an old-fashioned hero facing up to new challenges." Twenty years after the IRA declared a cease-fire in Northern Ireland, a small, unreconstructed group of its members are plotting to buy weapons from a Russian arms dealer. A legendary runner of agents for MI5 known as Vagabond is called out of self-imposed retirement to thwart their efforts to stir up trouble. Read full book review.
  • 'Blood Year' by David Kilcullen
    "Direct, insightful, and frightening, this book will prepare readers to see through the misguided, simplistic solutions to th
    "Direct, insightful, and frightening, this book will prepare readers to see through the misguided, simplistic solutions to the problems of Middle Eastern policy and Islamic terror so common in this election year." A "mid-level player in some of the key events of the past decade" delivers a dispassionate, discouraging analysis of how the Western counterterrorism effort has gone so terribly wrong. Read full book review.
  • 'Strange Gods' by Susan Jacoby
    "Jacoby draws the first detailed maps of a terrain that has been very much in need of intelligent, careful cartography."

I
    "Jacoby draws the first detailed maps of a terrain that has been very much in need of intelligent, careful cartography." In a work blending culture, religion, history, biography, and a bit of memoir (with more than a soupcon of attitude), the author of The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought (2013, etc.) returns with a revealing historical analysis of religious conversions. Read full book review.
  • 'Evicted' by Matthew Desmond
    "This stunning, remarkable book—a scholar’s 21st-century <i>How the Other Half Lives</i>—demands a wide audience."

A groun
    "This stunning, remarkable book—a scholar’s 21st-century How the Other Half Lives—demands a wide audience." A groundbreaking work on the central role of housing in the lives of the poor. Read full book review.
  • 'Dictator' by Robert Harris
    "Unfortunately for Cicero, his assessment of Octavian—'he’s a nice boy, and I hope he survives, but he’s no Caesar'—proves fa
    "Unfortunately for Cicero, his assessment of Octavian—'he’s a nice boy, and I hope he survives, but he’s no Caesar'—proves fatally wrong." Set during the last gasp of the Roman Republic, the final volume of Harris’ Cicero trilogy chronicles the great Roman statesman’s fateful encounters with both Julius and Augustus Caesar. Read full book review.
  • 'Forbidden' by Beverly Jenkins
    "For readers who enjoy love stories with steamy interludes against historical backdrops, Jenkins’ latest is not to be missed.
    "For readers who enjoy love stories with steamy interludes against historical backdrops, Jenkins’ latest is not to be missed." A biracial saloon owner hides his heritage after the Civil War but can’t bring himself to marry a spoiled white woman instead of the strong African-American woman who’s taken his fancy. Read full book review.
  • 'The Bitter Side of Sweet' by Tara Sullivan
    "A tender, harrowing story of family, friendship, and the pursuit of freedom."

Forced to labor on an Ivory Coast cacao pla
    "A tender, harrowing story of family, friendship, and the pursuit of freedom." Forced to labor on an Ivory Coast cacao plantation, Amadou risks everything for freedom. Read full book review.
  • 'The Mare' by Mary Gaitskill
    "Gaitskill explores the complexities of love (mares, <i>meres</i>…) to bring us a novel that gallops along like a bracing bar
    "Gaitskill explores the complexities of love (mares, meres…) to bring us a novel that gallops along like a bracing bareback ride on a powerful thoroughbred." A young Dominican girl from the mean streets of Brooklyn forges a relationship with a white woman living in a bucolic upstate town and learns to love horses and respect herself. Read full book review.
  • 'S.P.Q.R.' by Mary Beard
    "Beard’s enthusiasm for her subject is infectious and is well-reflected in her clever, thoroughly enjoyable style of writing.
    "Beard’s enthusiasm for her subject is infectious and is well-reflected in her clever, thoroughly enjoyable style of writing. Lovers of Roman history will revel in this work, and new students will quickly become devotees." The acclaimed classicist delivers a massive history of ancient Rome, which “continues to underpin Western culture and politics, what we write and how we see the world, and our place in it.” Read full book review.
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