Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Freebie: Rivers by Michael Farris Smith and Archangel by Andrea Barrett

Congratulations to Lara Smith, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: After Her by Joyce Maynard.

This week's book giveaway is a fiction duet.  One lucky reader will win hardback copies of both Rivers by Michael Farris Smith and Archangel by Andrea Barrett.

I've already written about Rivers here at the blog and said the opening lines were a prime example of why this novel is sitting very high atop my mountain of books to be read (aka Mt. NeveRest), but as a reminder, here's the publisher's jacket copy:
Following years of catastrophic hurricanes, the Gulf Coast—stretching from the Florida panhandle to the western Louisiana border—has been brought to its knees.  The region is so punished and depleted that the government has drawn a new boundary ninety miles north of the coastline.  Life below the Line offers no services, no electricity, and no resources, and those who stay behind live by their own rules.  Cohen is one who stayed.  Unable to overcome the crushing loss of his wife and unborn child who were killed during an evacuation, he returned home to Mississippi to bury them on family land.  Until now he hasn’t had the strength to leave them behind, even to save himself.  But after his home is ransacked and all of his carefully accumulated supplies stolen, Cohen is finally forced from his shelter.  On the road north, he encounters a colony of survivors led by a fanatical, snake-handling preacher named Aggie who has dangerous visions of repopulating the barren region.  Realizing what’s in store for the women Aggie is holding against their will, Cohen is faced with a decision: continue to the Line alone, or try to shepherd the madman’s captives across the unforgiving land with the biggest hurricane yet bearing down—and Cohen harboring a secret that may pose the greatest threat of all.  Eerily prophetic in its depiction of a southern landscape ravaged by extreme weather, Rivers is a masterful tale of survival and redemption in a world where the next devastating storm is never far behind.

Like Ship Fever and Servants of the Map, Andrea Barrett's new book of "fictions," Archangel, centers on "five pivotal moments in the lives of her characters and in the history of knowledge."  The jacket copy goes on to tell us more about what we'll find between the covers:
During the summer of 1908, twelve-year-old Constantine Boyd is witness to an explosion of home-spun investigation--from experiments with cave-dwelling fish without eyes to scientifically bred crops to motorized bicycles and the flight of an early aeroplane.  In 1920, a popular science writer and young widow tries, immediately after the bloodbath of the First World War, to explain the new theory of relativity to an audience (herself included) desperate to believe in an "ether of space" housing spirits of the dead.  Half a century earlier, in 1873, a famous biologist struggles to maintain his sense of the hierarchies of nature as Darwin's new theory of evolution threatens to make him ridiculous in the eyes of a precocious student.  The twentieth-century realms of science and war collide in the last two stories, as developments in genetics and X-ray technology that had once held so much promise fail to protect humans--among them, a young American soldier, Constantine Boyd, sent to Archangel, Russia, in 1919--from the failures of governments and from the brutality of war.  In these brilliant fictions rich with fact, Barrett explores the thrill and sense of loss that come with scientific progress and the personal passions and impersonal politics that shape all human knowledge.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of both Rivers and Archangel, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Oct. 3, at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Oct. 4.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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