One of the most popular and prolific historical novelists writing today, Bernard Cornwell looks at a little-known chapter in the American Revolution in his latest novel, The Fort. It's set in the summer of 1779, when the British sent a force of soldiers and ships to occupy Penobscot Bay in what was then Massachusetts (now Maine). And the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, without much consultation with Gen. George Washington and the Continental Army, sent a force of ships and men to kick them out.
Screenwriter Rosamund Lupton's debut mystery, Sister, was such a hit in the U.K. that it has taken less than a year to arrive in the States. Detective Bee Hemming was raised in London but lives in New York and works in marketing. She's drowsing through life until her younger sister Tess, only 21 and seven months pregnant, goes missing, and Bee must dedicate herself to the case. The result is a pulse-quickening cocktail of science fiction and whodunit shocker.
David Brooks, a columnist for The New York Times, delivers a giant parable about the power of our unconscious, and suggests that we might improve ourselves and our world by understanding how we really think. He invents two characters, Harold and Erica, whom we follow from childhood to grave, with commentary about how and why these characters behave and believe as they do, based on a dizzying range of philosophy and research. In its attempt to be a theory of everything, The Social Animal is ambitious and entertaining. But it's also messy.
Geopolitical intelligence expert George Friedman follows up on The Next 100 Years, his best-seller about the "impersonal forces" that shape history in the long term, with a look at the impact of current decision-making, especially by the U.S. government, on the world. Arguing that the U.S. is an "unintended empire" like Britain in 1910, he calls for an end to what he perceives as an American reluctance to engage in global affairs.
Charlotte Abbott edits "New in Paperback." A contributing editor for Publishers Weekly, she also leads a weekly chat on books and reading in the digital age every Friday from 4-5 p.m. ET on Twitter. Follow her at @charabbott or check out the #followreader hashtag.