An excellent audio version of a Christie classic. It would also work well for the "Locked room" category for the Halloween bingo.
Humans have colonized the backwater planet Umayma. For reasons that aren't clear, two main factions, Nasheen and Chenja, are at war and pretty much everyone able-bodied gets sent to the Front (except for a few specialists and other exceptions). Nasheen is run by women since men over the age of sixteen or so get sent to Front and very few make it to forty to come back. Chenja seems to keep back a few men to run things but otherwise it's pretty much the same story.
Nyx spent time at the Front and is now a bel dame, a kind of government-sanctioned bounty hunter (as opposed to a regular bounty hunter that isn't employed by the government) who hunts down deserters from the Front among others but she spends some of her time as a regular bounty hunter and gets involved in some illegal stuff that gets her sent to prison. Oh yeah, and she's supposed to cut off her target's head as proof, so I'm guessing that's what's supposed to be wrapped in the bundle she's cradling on the cover.
It's definitely gritty.
"Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert.
Drunk, but no longer bleeding, she pushed into a smoky cantina just after dark and ordered a pinch of morphine and a whiskey chaser. She bet all of her money on a boxer name Jaks, and lost it two rounds later when Jaks hit the floor like an antique harem girl.
Nyx lost every coin, a wad of opium, and the wine she'd gotten from the butchers as a bonus for her womb. But she did get Jaks into bed, and—loser or not—in the desert after dark, that was something."
Well, that was a promising opening.
This book is a compilation of five novellas that try to expand the plays of Shakespeare while mixing and matching them into a whole. So we have characters from the Tempest mixed in with those from a Midsummer's Night Dream mixed in with those from Macbeth (each time someone says his name he's owed a death) among others... It's weird and amusing and proves I should probably know my Shakespeare better. My favourite story was probably Coral Bones by Foz Meadows, the first one, but the others were entertaining too.
This was a quirky albeit sometimes condescending at the more intimate areas of life in the Victorian era. The tone did grate at times and I had to sometimes roll my eyes at the chatty condescension, but it was still funny and the tone didn't bother me all the time. It was a pretty quick read, and I enjoyed many of the quotes from "experts" of the day. There were also a lot of examples of advertisements and so on.
164 of 298 pages