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    How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City
    Author: Joan DeJean
    Hardcover – March 4, 2014
    Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

    The Bankers of Paris
    July 29 2014 — — Copyright 2014 by Joan DeJean — Pages: 173-175
    Today’s selection — from How Paris Became Paris by Joan DeJean. The first gigantic modern fortunes in Paris originated in the early 1600s not with the profits of commerce or industry but from high finance. These financiers arose through the profligacy of the king — both in his wars (the army grew from 40,000 soldiers to 400,000) and his lifestyle. The sheer magnitude of the king’s needs meant that the bankers of Paris displaced the famed bankers of Florence as the most important in Europe:
    "In the word financier’s inaugural appearance in English, in the 1652 The State of France, John Evelyn explained the workings of ‘the king’s revenue’ and described ‘the great Financiers who suck the very blood of the French people.’
    "For the first time, Europeans could use words invented with the objective of classifying individuals according to their financial status and of singling out persons of new wealth. Such individuals had existed before but evidently not in sufficient numbers for a society to bestow official linguistic recognition on the phenomenon. And whereas previously, in European cities such as Venice and Amsterdam, most recent wealth had been accumulated through trade and the overseas trade in particular, the parvenus of seventeenth-century Paris had amassed their fortunes by dealing not in goods but solely in money.
    "The emergence of the financier began in about 1600, when the French monarchy first encountered fiscal problems that have ever since plagued the modern state.
    "Prior to the seventeenth century and early in that century, the French state lived mostly within its means: Henri IV even built up a small surplus (Adam Smith claimed he was one of the last rulers ever to do so). Then, during the first quarter of the century, spending began to outstrip revenue. As a result, the bankers, especially Italians, who had ruled over the finances of all European nations in the sixteenth century gradually ceased to play a preeminent role in France. The individuals then known as bankers dealt in foreign currency exchange and transferred funds throughout Europe. When, for example, a monarch had to pay soldiers stationed on foreign soil, he would call on a banker. But once French monarchs began to spend on a previously unheard-of scale, the need for another type of financial agent became evident. Lyon, formerly the nucleus for French finance because of its association with Italian bankers, thus lost its centrality. And by the 1630s Paris — home to the financiers, the new financial agents on whom the crown increasingly depended — had become the country’s uncontested finance hub.
    "Whereas in the sixteenth century the French monarchy’s revenue had remained stable, in the range of eight to twenty million livres annually, during the first half of the seventeenth century this situation changed dramatically. Between 1590 and 1622, for example, revenue rose from about eighteen million livres to an estimated fifty million a year; by 1653, the total had grown to roughly 109 million, and it stayed well over a hundred million throughout Louis XIV’s reign. This meant that the French monarchy had access to resources that vastly outstripped those of its major European rivals. A noted eighteenth-century economist estimated that during Louis XIV’s reign France’s revenue was four times greater than England’s and nearly three times superior to that of the Dutch Republic.
    "Relatively little of that was spent on keeping up appearances: between 1600 and 1656, court expenses rose only from three million livres to six million. However, whereas in 1600 court expenses accounted for thirty-one percent of the budget, in 1656 they represented only seven percent. During that half-century, the cost of war changed the face of French finance.
    "France was at war with foreign enemies for sixty of the years between 1615 and 1715; it was torn by civil war for another five. In addition, Europeans had begun to wage war on a scale without precedent. The Thirty Years’ War (1618- 48), the War of the Grand Alliance or of the League of Augsburg (1688-97), and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) made armed conflict more costly than ever before. As a result, the French military machine never ceased growing. Whereas, for example, in the 1590s the French royal army was only forty thousand strong, less than a century later Louis XIV maintained a force of about four hundred thousand. Since France’s main rivals, England and Holland, were maritime powers and the French had no navy to speak of, the country spent on a colossal scale to acquire one: in 1661 its entire ‘fleet’ consisted of eighteen near wrecks, but soon one hundred and twenty vessels sailed under French colors.
    "Such transformations were possible because those in charge of the finances of France had begun to follow a logic later presented by Adam Smith as ‘the necessity of contracting debt in times of war’: ‘An immediate and great expense … will not wait for the gradual and slow returns of new taxes. In this exigency government can have no other resource but in borrowing.’
    "The French government’s bookkeeping divided expenses into ‘ordinary’ (court expenses) and ‘extraordinary.’ Due to the rising cost of war, between 1600 and 1656, extraordinary expenses ballooned-from just seven million livres to over a hundred million. When budget deficits began to surge, the state began to borrow as never before and thus had recourse to a type of financial agent who surfaced in the late sixteenth century: the financier.
    "The original financiers signed traités, tax or loan contracts, with the crown; they also bought, sometimes at auctions organized by the crown, charges or offices that made them part of a private fiscal administration with close ties to the government, an administration that vastly expanded in size in the course of the seventeenth century. In return, they acquired the right to collect a new tax or import or export duty from which they guaranteed the government a fixed income — and from which they were allowed to retain a sizeable share of the profits. Contract terms varied with supply and demand, but financiers always lent money at a cost far above the official rate of between five and eight percent. At moments when a war was going badly and the monarchy’s need was therefore most pressing and money most scarce, a rate of twenty-five percent became standard — hence the steady rise in ‘extraordinary’ expenses, a category that included the interest on loans.
    "Tax contracts were especially useful to the crown because the deal was closed and money changed hands very quickly. Contracts for five hundred thousand livres were soon common; many involved far larger amounts. Naturally, few financial agents were able to deal for such stakes: it’s likely that, at any moment in the century, fewer than a hundred individuals virtually controlled the financial fate of France. As the monarchy became ever more dependent on credit because its needs were growing, that number shrank. And thus it was that the first gigantic modern fortunes in Paris originated not with the profits of commerce or industry but from high finance."

    — 1 month ago with 2 notes
    #How Paris Became Paris  #Joan DeJean  #TF Books  #from the book  #tf france  #TF History  #Paris 

    The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases
    by Deborah Halber
    Hardcover – July 1 2014
    304 pages
    Simon & Schuster
    ISBN-10: 1451657587
    ISBN-13: 978-1451657586
    Note: Deborah Halber is a Boston-based journalist whose work has appeared in The Boston Globe; Technology Review; the interactive, illustrated digital magazine Symbolia; and many university publications. A native New Yorker, she received her BA from Brandeis University and an MA in journalism from New York University. A member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Mystery Writers of America, and the National Association of Science Writers, she has chronicled breakthroughs in neuroscience, molecular biology, energy, and technology at MIT and Tufts but is most enthralled with “quantum weirdness,” worm longevity, cell undertakers, and the properties of snail slime. Visit her at

    Book Review: ‘The Skeleton Crew’ by Deborah Halber
    About 4,000 unidentified corpses turn up in the U.S. every year, of which about half have been murdered. Can the Internet help?
    Reviewed by Edward Jay Epstein — July 16, 2014 —
    The public seems fascinated, if not obsessed, with crime-solving, if the high ratings of TV shows such as “CSI” and “NCIS” are any indication. The interest in crimes often proceeds from the high-profile identity of the victim or perpetrator. Think of the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, the vanishing of Jimmy Hoffa or the trial of O.J. Simpson. At the other end of the spectrum are crime victims who have no identity at all.
    These are the John Doe and Jane Doe corpses that are found without any papers or other identification markers. Even in an age when we are tracked electronically by our phone companies at every single moment, about 4,000 unidentified corpses turn up in the U.S. every year, of which about half have been murdered. In 2007 no fewer than 13,500 sets of unidentified human remains were languishing in the evidence rooms of medical examiners, according to an analysis published in the National Institute of Justice Journal.
    In her brilliant book “The Skeleton Crew,” Deborah Halber explains why local law enforcement often fails to investigate such deaths:”Unidentified corpses are like obtuse, financially strapped houseguests: they turn up uninvited, take up space reserved for more obliging visitors, require care and attention, and then, when you are ready for them to move on, they don’t have anywhere to go.” The result is that many of these remains are consigned to oblivion.
    While the population of the anonymous dead receives only scant attention from the police or the media, it has given rise to a macabre subculture of Internet sleuthing. Ms. Halber chronicles with lucidity and wit how amateur investigators troll websites, such as the Doe Network, Official Cold Case Investigations and Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community, and check online databases looking for matches between the reported missing and the unidentified dead. It is a grisly pursuit involving linking the images of dead bodies to the descriptions posted by people trying to find someone.
    Ms. Halber devotes most of “The Skeleton Crew” to describing a handful of cases that have given rise to this bizarre avocation. It started with an infamous Kentucky crime known as the Tent Girl Case: The victim was known only as Tent Girl because her body was found in 1968 inside a canvas tent bag. The hero of the story is Todd Matthews, a factory worker in Tennessee. Mr. Matthews became fascinated with the mystery in 1988, when he was still a teen, but was unable to find any clues to her identity until a decade later, when he stumbled on new information on the Internet. In 1998 he began searching forums and found one for lonely hearts and genealogy that had an intriguing post from a woman still looking for her long-lost sister, Barbara Hackmann-Taylor.
    Barbara had vanished in late 1967, on a date not far from the time when the Tent Girl was found. She had lived near the Tent Girl’s locale, and her sister’s description roughly matched that of Tent Girl. Mr. Mathews wrote the Kentucky police, who arranged for the remains of Tent Girl to be exhumed and her DNA to be tested. Eureka, it matched, and Tent Girl finally had a name. Mr. Matthews later founded the Doe Network, which became a nexus for curious citizens who wanted to follow in his footsteps.
    Ms. Halber superbly reports on this morbid new subculture. Aside from Tent Girl, she describes such odd cases as the Lady of the Dunes found in Cape Cod, Mass., in 1974; the Jane Doe in a red T-shirt who was found in Baltimore in 2000; and what Ms. Halber calls the “head in the bucket” case from Kearney, Mo., in 2001. Besides interviewing the Sherlock Holmes wannabes who have pursued these cases, Ms. Halber talks to police officers, forensic experts and medical examiners. She even attends grisly autopsies. As a result, we learn many unusual details: A human skeleton, it turns out, will fit in a 200-square-inch box.
    But the focus on anecdotes, as interesting as they are, diverts attention from a larger question. Just how many murders do these amateur sleuths help solve (if one considers cases like Tent Girl, where the murderer was never discovered, to be solved)? Ms. Halber estimates that, since the identification of Tent Girl in 1998, roughly 30,000 unidentified murder victims have been discovered. The posse of amateur sleuths, as far as I can see from her book, have helped police crack no more than a dozen cases. So 99.99% remain unsolved.
    The key to finding a solution to the stockpile of unidentified corpses, I would suggest, is not Internet sleuthing or crowdsourcing the identification of images of human remains, but increasing the efficiency of the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database. At present, the NCIC stores more than 100 million fingerprints in its automated fingerprint-identification system and is in the process of developing a national DNA- matching system. Its computers and software need to be upgraded to better mesh with those of local police, sheriffs and medical examiners. Once that task is accomplished, it has the potential to greatly (and speedily) reduce the population of the unidentified dead.
    Amateur sleuths, no matter how great their dedication, simply lack the resources. Because of legitimate privacy concerns, they do not have access to this FBI database. To be sure, they now can use a government-run website called National Missing and Unidentified Person System to find a roster of fresh cases, and they can continue searching for macabre matches on the Internet. And amateur sleuthing provides great satisfaction to armchair detectives, the author makes clear, not only in America but in such far off places as Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Indonesia. Ms. Halber’s real service is to bring to light the workings of this fascinating new subculture and one can expect her entertaining book will only add to their numbers.
    Note: Mr. Epstein’s most recent book is “The Annals of Unsolved Crime.”

    — 1 month ago with 2 notes
    #The Skeleton Crew  #Deborah Halber  #Edward Jay Epstein  #TF Book Reviews  #TF Books  #Politics & Social Sciences  #Crime & Criminals  #Forensic Science 

    Middlemarch Showed Me How to Live
    My junior year at Brown, I was so unhappy that I dropped out. In Arizona, I met a man; and I read Middlemarch.
    by Adelle Waldman — July 13 2014 —
    My junior year at Brown, I was so unhappy that I dropped out. The place had begun to strike me as too narrowly focused on career and a dreary brand of meritocratic accomplishment. I wanted to try a different kind of life. I moved to Arizona and worked as a waitress at a sports bar. I’d never been to Arizona before, but I thought it would be beautiful and unlike the East Coast. (It is both.)
    I craved insight into how to live, how to be happy, how to make sense of other people. I’d always turned to novels for answers, although not generally to the kinds of novels assigned in English class. Until I went to Arizona, I’d tended to assume that novels about women who lived before the 1960s and the sexual revolution could have no relevance for a modern young woman like me. The way we live now just seemed too fundamentally changed for fiction from earlier eras to resonate meaningfully, to be interesting on more than an academic level. I found books not by consulting course syllabi (I wasn’t even an English major) but by wandering through bookstores, picking up contemporary novels with appealing covers and quotes from The New York Times.
    And yet, by the time I was 19 or 20, I found I was often unsatisfied. I read books that were smart and funny and inventive about modern politics and pop-culture, but I found fewer books that resonated with me on the personal level. Many were nicely written, but I often suspected that the author didn’t know much more than I did about life, about psychology, about the things I really cared about. In too many books, it was obvious what the characters should do, who was good or bad and in what degrees; such books engendered in the reader a sort of puffed-up sense of his or her own superior smarts. But…my life was a mess. If personal life were as simple as it was in the books I read, I wouldn’t be as confused as I was.
    In Arizona, I made a close friend whose highbrow reading habits impressed me. He wasn’t reading for class—he wasn’t even in school—and he wasn’t stiff and pretentious, qualities I blithely associated with people who read Penguin Classic type novels “for fun.” He was lively and funny and very insightful about people—and he gave me some of the toughest and most useful advice I’d ever gotten about my romantic life. It was through his influence that I came, at 21, to read Middlemarch.
    I read other nineteenth-century novels as well (Stendhal and Austen resonated particularly), but Middlemarch was my favorite, in part because of the breadth of Eliot’s fictional lens, the way she characterized the tenor of characters’ intellectual lives as carefully and fairly—and as perceptively—as she characterized their thinking about romance and social life; this gave her characters a multi-dimensionality that seemed as unusual in fiction as it is common in real life, where people are many things at once, admirable in one light and pathetic in another. Eliot’s ability to describe people was, in its subtlety and depth and scrupulousness, so many levels above my pay-grade. My own attempts were feeble in comparison. “He plays bass and dislikes capitalism and has long hair and an intense look,” I’d say to a friend in explaining why I liked a certain guy, and the truth was that it was the best I could do. I didn’t have the intellectual tools to get beyond surface qualities and social signifiers, to think about, let alone talk about, people with anything approaching the complexity with which we actually experience one another in life.
    Once I learned how to read nineteenth-century (and some eighteenth-century) novels—that is, became accustomed to the language, stopped mistaking its seeming formality for graveness, and began to read in earnest, i.e., not like a pompous asshole (you know, the kind who reads the thing at arms’ length, only to search for evidence to bolster this or that pre-existing theory, and misses the heart)—the books began to teach me more than I ever expected, more than I ever thought there was to learn. Richardson to Austen and Gaskell and Eliot to Flaubert and Tolstoy, different as they are in many ways, share a rigorous, tough-minded but eminently fair approach to the analysis of inner lives. They are moral in the best, most liberal and broad-minded sense of that word.
    I feel extremely lucky. I’m not being melodramatic when I say that I don’t think I’d recognize the person I’d have become without Middlemarch and the rest, if I hadn’t gone to Arizona, met that particular friend. It wasn’t so much my writing that was primarily affected—it would take many years of reading and re-reading for any of this to find its way into my own attempts at fiction. It was that my thinking that changed, that became richer, less programmatic, less susceptible to the trendy idiom of the day.

    Q - Have you read Middlemarch?

    — 1 month ago with 2 notes
    #middlemarch  #Eliot  #tf books 

    The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent
    By Susan Elia MacNeal
    Reviewed by Margaret Cannon, Special to The Globe and Mail - Published Friday, July 04 2014
    Bantam, 320 pages, $18
    Are you a fan of The Bletchley Circle? Then you’re going to love the Maggie Hope series, set in Second World War Britain, with a clever spy/codebreaker as heroine and some perfectly puzzling plots. This fifth in the series has Maggie holidaying on the quiet Scottish coast when she’s plunged into an intriguing problem in Glasgow. Three ballerinas fall strangely ill and it will take MI5 to figure out what’s poisoning them and why. MacNeal knows her history and her plot mechanics and she makes great use of both.
    Susan is married and lives with her husband, Noel MacNeal, a television performer, writer and director, and young son in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
    Her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Fodor’s, Time Out New York, Time Out London, Publishers Weekly, Dance Magazine, and various publications of New York City Ballet. She’s also the author of two non-fiction books and a professional editor.
    New York Times-bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of the Maggie Hope Mystery series from Bantam/Random House. She is the winner of the Barry Award, and her books have been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, Dilys, ITW Thriller, Sue Feder, and Bruce Alexander awards.
    The first novel in the series is Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. It won the Barry Award and was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Mystery Readers International’s Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel. It was also nominated for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s 2013 Dilys Award for “the mystery title of the year that booksellers have most enjoyed hand-selling,” Mr. Churchill’s Secretary was also declared one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debuts of 2012 and Deadly Pleasures’s Best Paperback Original of 2012, and chosen as one of Target’s “Emerging Authors” series.
    The sequel, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, was a New York Times bestseller and chosen by as “Mystery of the Week” and one of “Seven Compulsively Readable Mysteries (for the Crazy-Smart Reader),” as well as Target’s “Emerging Author” series. It was nominated for the Macavity Award’s Sue Feder Historical Memorial Award.
    His Majesty’s Hope made the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and was chosen as one of Target’s “Emerging Authors” series. It was nominated for the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award and a 2014 International Thriller Writers Thriller Award.
    Book #4, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, debuted at #10 on the New York Times Bestseller List and was also a USA Today bestseller. Susan is currently working on Book #5, Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante.
    Q - Have you read any of  Susan’s books, if so what did you read and did you like it?

    — 1 month ago with 2 notes
    #The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent  #Susan Elia MacNeal  #TF Book Reviews  #TF Books  #Margaret Cannon  #Maggie Hope Mystery series 

    The Lady Of Sorrows
    By Anne Zouroudi
    Reviewed by Margaret Cannon, Special to The Globe and Mail - Published Friday, July 04 2014
    Little, Brown, 288 pages, $28 - 2010
    The world needed a clever Greek detective and Hermes Diaktoros is the perfect character for the role. In this fourth of the “Seven Deadly Sins” mysteries, Zouroudi takes us from an isolated Greek island that is home to a rare and saintly icon. But when Diaktoros sees the exquisite painted Virgin, something strikes him as odd. He consults an old friend, convinced the miraculous painting is a fake. But a fake from when? Decades? Months? Centuries? This is a wildly clever tale with a stunning setting and a really delightful detective.
    Q - Have you read any of Anne’s books, if so what did you read and did you like it?

    — 1 month ago with 2 notes
    #TF Book Reviews  #TF Books  #The Lady Of Sorrows  #Anne Zouroudi  #margaret cannon 

    Come, Sweet Death
    By Wolf Haas, translated by Annie Janusch
    Melville House, 240 pages, $15.95
    Reviewed by  Margaret Cannon, Special to The Globe and Mail - Published Friday, July 04 2014
    The utter delight of discovering Wolf Haas’s superb Detective Brenner books keeps me raving about the series. Melville House is bringing out the back list so this one dates from 1998 but that doesn’t keep it from being one of the wittiest and most appealing novels of the summer.
    This time out, Brenner is surviving by taking a job as an ambulance driver in Vienna. Naturally, this leads Brenner to problems. There’s the EMT’s little office pool on how many red lights they can run en route to the body/crash/hospital. Then there’s the competition between ambulance services for who can get there quicker and thus get the commission. It’s all too tawdry even for Brenner – but then there are the dying, who seem to be doing it a bit too soon.
    There isn’t a sacred cow that Haas doesn’t stab in this clever, funny novel. It’s ideal for a summer shore read.

    Notes: Wolf Haas was born December 14, 1960 in Maria Alm am Steinernen Meer, which is part of the Austrian province of Salzburg.
    He  is an Austrian writer. He is most widely known for his crime fiction novels featuring detective Simon Brenner, three of which were made into films. He has won several prizes for his works, including the German prize for crime fiction (Deutscher Krimipreis).
    Between 1996 and 2003 he wrote seven detective stories, of which six featured detective Simon Brenner.
    Three were made into films: Komm, süßer Tod (Come Sweet Death), Silentium! and Der Knochenmann (The Boneman).

    — 1 month ago with 2 notes
    #Come Sweet Death  #Wolf Haas  #Annie Janusch  #TF Book Reviews  #TF Books  #Margaret Cannon  #Simon Brenner 

    The Fever
    By Megan Abbott
    Little, Brown, 320 pages, $29
    Reviewed by  Margaret Cannon, Special to The Globe and Mail - Published Friday, July 04 2014
    A pretty Midwestern suburban town. A creepy toxic lake. A mysterious illness striking teenaged girls. Yes, it looks like we’re in Stephen King Land here, but Edgar Award-winning Abbott has more in her plotline than a creepy demon in this terrific psychological thriller.
    There is a large cast of characters, but most of the tale is told in the voice and mindof teenage kids, which means there are limits to the affect, the language and the emotional highs and lows. Kids do not think deeply or analytically and Abbott has that edge-of-hysteria mindset down to an art. As Deenie Nash’s best friend collapses and convulses in class, there’s fear and wonder. That soon turns to frenzied action and useless mind-grinding as another girl falls ill and then another. ??There are several fevers here, including the testosterone steam of teenaged boys, sext-sending girls, and assorted other insights into edgy youth behaviour that naïve parents don’t want to know about. A reminder of the great P.D. James adage that the most dangerous emotion is love.
    Notes: Megan Abbott is the award-winning author of seven novels, including Dare Me, The End of Everything and Bury Me Deep. Her stories have appeared in anthologies including Detroit Noir, Best Crime and Mystery Stories of the Year, Queens Noir, Wall Street Noir, The Speed Chronicles and the forthcoming Best American Mystery Stories of 2014. She is also the author of The Street Was Mine, a study of hardboiled fiction and film noir, and A Hell of a Woman, a female crime fiction anthology. She lives in Queens, NY. Her latest novel is The Fever (June 2014). You can find her on her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

    — 1 month ago with 2 notes
    #Megan Abbott  #The Fever  #Margaret Cannon  #psychological thriller  #TF Book Reviews  #TF Books 

    James Rollins Receives a $15 Million Multibook Deal
    By Alexander Alter — July 13, 2014 —
    The thriller writer James Rollins has stuck with the same editor and publisher for 15 years — the kind of devotion rarely seen in today’s fluid and fickle publishing business. Now, he is being richly rewarded for his loyalty.
    William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, recently agreed to pay Mr. Rollins close to $15 million for the next four books in his best-selling “Sigma” series. It is the kind of advance normally reserved for major political memoirs or gossipy celebrity tell-alls.
    The multibook deal signals William Morrow’s confidence that Mr. Rollins’s readership will continue to grow. His 20 books, which are mostly science-filled action and adventure thrillers in the vein of Michael Crichton, have a total of 6.7 million copies in print in the United States and are released by 36 foreign publishers. William Morrow acquired his first book in 1999, for $25,000.
    “He’s a real homegrown success story, and that carries a lot of weight for us,” said Lyssa Keusch, executive editor at William Morrow. “We have all the backlist, which makes the whole property worth more. That’s part of the reason we made this kind of investment.”
    With the slump in print sales in recent years, publishers have been more cautious about paying huge sums for book advances. Lately, however, there have been signs that editors are once again willing to make big bets.
    The novelist and essayist Leslie Jamison recently struck a seven-figure, two-book deal with Little, Brown. Earlier this year, the young adult novelist Cassandra Clare got a high seven-figure deal for her next fantasy trilogy, according to the website Publishers Marketplace. And this spring, the romance writer Maya Banks sold a trilogy of erotic novels to Berkley for seven figures, according to the site.
    The size of Mr. Rollins’s deal is especially unusual because there were not multiple bidders, and he was not jumping to another publishing house. Russell Galen, Mr. Rollins’s literary agent, said the agreement was a substantial jump from Mr. Rollins’s last book deal in 2010, when he landed a high seven-figure sum for three books.
    Mr. Rollins, 52, a former veterinarian whose real name is James Czajkowski, has been a stalwart author for William Morrow from the start. His first novel, “Subterranean,” was an instant hit, and his sales numbers have risen steadily each year.
    His most successful books, the “Sigma” series, center on an elite military research group that solves scientific mysteries and occasionally thwarts impending, world-destroying disasters. The 10th book in the series, “The Sixth Extinction,” which comes out in August, opens at a remote military research station where every form of life — humans, plants, insects, bacteria — has been mysteriously annihilated.
    He said he was “grateful and honored” by the deal his publisher gave him, but also a little unsettled by its size. “I am still a little freaked out by it,” he said.
    Mr. Rollins keeps a low profile at his home near Lake Tahoe, Calif. He does volunteer work helping to spay and neuter stray cats. (“I can still neuter a cat in under 30 seconds,” he boasted.) He meets with a group of 12 writers that gather every other week to critique one another’s work. His status as a best-selling author with a multimillion-dollar book deal have not earned him any extra credibility with the other authors, he says.
    “Every time I come in,” he said, “they tear me apart.”

    Notes: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    In 2008, Rollins was commissioned by Random House to write the novelization of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the 2008 American adventure science fiction film. This is the fourth film in the Indiana Jones franchise, created by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg.

    SIGMA Force series
    1 - Sandstorm (2004)
    2 - Map of Bones (2005)
    3 - Black Order (2006)
    4 - The Judas Strain (2007)
    5 - The Last Oracle (2008)
    6 - The Doomsday Key (2009)
    7 - The Devil Colony (2011)
    8 - Bloodline (2012)
    9 - The Eye of God (2013)
    10 - The Sixth Extinction (2014) -  photo II -  above

    — 1 month ago with 2 notes
    #tf books  #Author  #James Rollins  #publishing  #Sigma  #harpercollins  #William Morrow  #tf usa  #Lyssa Keusch  #the sixth extinction 

    The early thinking of Edmund Burke
    Freedom fighter
    An ideal political role model
    July 5 2014 -
    The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke: From the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence. By David Bromwich. Harvard University Press; 500 pages; $39.95, US price

    EDMUND BURKE, who died in 1797, is best known for his late writings on the French revolution. The 18th-century member of Parliament, who was a Whig, was one of the first to decry the revolt as the dangerous work of a swinish multitude. In a polemic that has echoes in the present day, he concludes: “The age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.”
    EDMUND BURKE, who died in 1797, is best known for his late writings on the French revolution. The 18th-century member of Parliament, who was a Whig, was one of the first to decry the revolt as the dangerous work of a swinish multitude. In a polemic that has echoes in the present day, he concludes: “The age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.”
    Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man”, which was published in 1791, is a direct riposte to Burke; indeed, Paine’s tract is subtitled, “Being An Answer to Mr Burke’s Attack on the French Revolution”. In what was to become one of the definitive treatises of the Enlightenment, Paine argues that rebellion and civic disobedience are permissible if a government violates its citizens’ rights. His arguments influenced and inspired Trotsky, Gandhi, Fidel Castro and, of course, Nelson Mandela.
    Burke is therefore remembered (a little unfairly) for a belief in order over freedom, in tradition over revolution. Jesse Norman, a Tory MP and recent biographer of Burke, calls him the father of conservatism. So a reappraisal of his early works is welcome. David Bromwich, a professor at Yale University, has written a history of Burke’s thought until American independence; a more liberal Burke emerges from this book.
    Although wary of the tumult that “extreme liberty” could cause, early on Burke campaigned for liberty. He spoke out against the increasingly tyrannical rule of George III in favour of John Wilkes, a radical publisher and libertine. Wilkes was not an easy man to support. He repeatedly libelled the king, inflamed the passions of the London mob and was, at the same time, a notorious lecher. He was damned even by libertine Samuel Johnson and liberty-loving William Pitt.
    But Burke coolly defended him on the principle that the king had abused his power. The government had issued arbitrary warrants for Wilkes’s publications, censored him, arrested him, forced him to flee the country, and denied him permission to take his seat in the House of Commons. Wilkes was sent to trial and jailed for libel. Burke was indignant at MPs who voted to bar Wilkes from Parliament. The first duty of MPs, he wrote, was “to refuse to support government until power was in the hands of persons who were acceptable to the people”.
    Mr Bromwich rightly identifies the originality of “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents”, a tract Burke pens in the midst of the Wilkes crisis. It is one of the first defences of party politics at a time when the party machine did not quite exist. The Whig party was closer to a hotchpotch of self-interested and discordant MPs. Parliamentarians thirsty for government cash supported whichever administration was in charge. George III created a roll of well-paid (but trivial) ministerial jobs to win them over. Burke urged stalwart politicians to form a corps, or a party, in defiance of such power.
    Burke continued to fight for liberty later on in life. He backed Americans in their campaign for freedom from British taxation. He supported Catholic freedoms and freer trade with Ireland, in spite of his constituents’ ire. He wanted more liberal laws on the punishment of debtors. He even pushed to curb the slave trade in 1780, a quarter of a century before it was abolished. “The most shameful trade that ever the hardened heart of man could bear”, he called it in a speech to the House of Commons in 1789. At a time of mass political rebellion and a flurry of pharisaic independent MPs, Edmund Burke seems an ideal role model: a backbencher for all ages.

    — 1 month ago with 2 notes
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