The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates
A major historical novel from “one of the great artistic forces of our time” (The Nation)—an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power, and loss in early-twentieth-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned
Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man–a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.
When the bride’s brother sets out against all odds to find her, his path will cross those of Princeton’s most formidable people, from Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House and retired to town for a quieter life, to soon-to-be commander in chief Woodrow Wilson, president of the university and a complex individual obsessed to the point of madness with his need to retain power; from the young Socialist idealist Upton Sinclair to his charismatic comrade Jack London, and the most famous writer of the era, Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain–all plagued by “accursed” visions.
An utterly fresh work from Oates, The Accursed marks new territory for the masterful writer. Narrated with her unmistakable psychological insight, it combines beautifully transporting historical detail with chilling supernatural elements to stunning effect.
Six Years by Harlan Coben
In the last years of the Forerunner empire, chaos rules. The Flood—a horrifying shape-changing parasite—has arrived in force, aided by unexpected allies. Internal strife within the ecumene has desperately weakened Forerunner defenses.
Too little, too late, the legal rate of Juridicals is only now investigating possible crimes by the Master Builder and others. Evidence-gathering agents known collectively as Catalog have been dispatched to collect testimony from the Librarian and both Didacts: the Ur-Didact, treacherously abandoned in a Flood-infested system, and the Bornstellar Didact, who accompanies the Librarian as she preserves specimens against the dire possibility of Halo extermination.
Facing the imminent collapse of their civilization, the Librarian and the Ur-Didact reveal what they know about the relationship between the long-vanished Precursors and the Flood.
The Precursors created many technological species, including humanity and the Forerunners. But the roots of the Flood may be found in an act of enormous barbarity, carried out beyond our galaxy ten million years before…
Because of that barbarism, a greater evil looms. Only the Ur-Didact and the Librarian–husband and wife pushed into desperate conflict–hold the keys to a solution.
Facing the consequences of a mythic tragedy, one of them must now commit the greatest atrocity of all time—to prevent an insane evil from dominating the entire universe