Publishers Weekly says Amy Knight’s ORDERS TO KILL is ‘A Vital Work for Understanding Modern-day Russia’

Gratified by this first review of my literary agency client Amy Knight’s ORDERS TO KILL: The Putin Regime and Political Murder. Publishers Weekly says “This is a vital work for understanding modern-day Russia.” Linked to here at the PW site and in the screenshot below (r.).


Last month I shared all the blurbs at an earlier post, including this one from Bill Browder: “Amy Knight’s [new book] builds a compelling case against the Putin regime for its complicity in the violent deaths of many of its critics—political opponents, muckraking journalists, and reform advocates. It also destroys the myth that we in the West can appease Putin to get him to behave himself.”—Bill Browder, author of Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice

Remembrance Rock, a Veritable Time Capsule at City College, Upper Manhattan

On a recent bike ride I happened upon Remembrance Rock on the upper Manhattan campus of City College, commemorating students who died in American wars. A lugubrious history respectfully memorialized in public space. A sadly fitting homage, to bring soil from the places where service members died to this spot on the island New Yorkers call home, and mingle it with soil from historic places in the city. A kind of time capsule committed to the ground in 1959, , among the things I’d never known about my own city.

 

 

The full text of the Whitmanesque message can be read easily by clicking here:

#RemembranceRock

Lawrence Ellsworth, Ushering in a New Heyday for Classic Adventure Fiction

Readers of this blog may recall that one of the authors I represent on the literary agency side of my business is Lawrence Schick, who under the pen name Lawrence Ellsworth has served as anthologist and editor of The Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure, and translator of Alexandre Dumas’s novel The Red Sphinx, an all but forgotten sequel to The Three Musketeers.

The two books were published by Pegasus Books in 2014 and 2017, respectively. The long-lost novel—which was praised by Washington Post critic Michael Dirda as an “Excellent, compulsively readable translation”—has been so successful that Pegasus later acquired from us the rights to Ellsworth’s new translation of The Three Musketeers, a sparkling, modern translation of Dumas’s classic adventure novel, which they will publish on January 2, 2018. 

With all the praise and interest that Ellsworth’s enterprise of reviving adventure fiction has attracted, Literary Hub assigned journalist Dwyer Murphy to do a profile of him for its readers. The result is a fascinating profile that touches on swords, fencing (author and interviewer visited a fencing academy in Harlem), knights errant, role-playing games (Schick was an original team member of the outfit that created Dungeons & Dragons), and other matters. Linked to here, you can also read the first few paragraphs in the screenshot below. I am delighted to be representing such a talented client as Lawrence. If you or someone you know enjoys adventure fiction, I recommend you check out his outstanding work.

Vicki Huddleston, former top US diplomat on Cuba, on the Letters Page of the NY Times

Very proud of my author client Vicki Huddleston—former head of the United States Interests Section in Havana, Cuba, 1999-2002—who has this letter to the editor running in the NY Times today on the Trump administration’s reversal of President Obama’s Cuba policy. Her book, Our Woman in Havana: A US Diplomat’s Inside Account of America’s Long Struggle With Fidel Castro’s Cuba, will be published by Overlook Press in 2018. Here’s the letter, and you can also find it via this link

Some Social Sharing I Did on Canada Day

In May 2014, soon after I began to publish and write my second website/blog, Honourary Canadian: Seeing Canada From Away, I wrote and assembled a personal essay titled “Why I Started this Blog and Call it Honourary Canadian.” It chronicles more than forty years of trips to Canada, first as a 12-year old traveling from Cleveland to Expo ’67 in Montreal, to many solo vacations when I was single and first working in NYC, to many trips with my wife and son, and since 2011, annual visits to Toronto for the NXNE music festival and for publishing activities, especially with author Elaine Dewar. The essay is longish, with almost 8,000 words of narrative text and more than 200 captioned photos, many taken on film back in the day, and scanned for the web.I’ll some day hope to fashion it as part of a book about Canada, seen from away. Having the chance to publish the essay is, in a sense, probably why I started the second site—to conjure up the experiences and landscapes I encountered in the nation to the north.

Canada Day 2017 was observed this past Saturday, on July 1 (sometime, I have to find out why US Independence Day, and Canada’s day, happen to be so close on the calendar). It was sort of a special one, as the 150th since Canada’s confederation. Many Indigenous groups weren’t keen to celebrate it, but it engendered widespread coverage, and debate about Canada’s colonialist past, a good thing. With the special anniversary in mind, I re-shared the link to the 2014 post on my  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn page, the first time I’ve done that on a Canada Day. There’s been a gratifying response, so I’m posting it here, too. Before I started the second site—no surprise—I published a lot of Canadian reflections here on The Great Gray Bridge.

An Anthology of 17th Century American Horror Writing

On the literary agency side of my editorial services business, I’m excited to have recently licensed this anthology to Pegasus Books for publication on October 31, 2017, Halloween, as noted in publishersmarketplace.com
COLONIAL HORRORS: Sleepy Hollow and Beyond, a new anthology that shows the roots of American horror writing stretch all the way back to the era when Arthur Miller set “The Crucible,” with little known writings from the seventeenth century by Cotton Mather, Increase Mather, and Richard Chamberlayne, along with selections by Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry James, and H.P. Lovecraft, to Pegasus, in a nice deal, for publication on Halloween this year, by Philip Turner at Philip Turner Book Productions (World).

I put out a tweet about it this week:

A Welcome Getaway in Rhode Island

After the recent Book Expo in NYC, when I worked about seven days straight before, during, and after the book industry trade show, my wife and I got a nice break from work and the city for a getaway in Rhode Island. This is a charming part of New England, quite accessible to where we live in Manhattan, reachable in about four hours through a stress-free combination of commuter rail to New Haven, CT, where we picked up a rental car, then drove in to the southern corner of the Ocean State. It wasn’t hot yet, not so hot that swimming in the ocean was desirable, but we waded in the surf and took great beach walks. We also encountered freshwater ponds that back up to the edges of the dunes, with the ocean crashing on the other side, both bodies of water separated by fields of fragrant wild rose bushes. We hope to head back for another break later in the summer or fall. More pictures here.

Endorsements for “ORDERS TO KILL: The Putin Regime and Political Murder”

As mentioned on the blog last month, on September 19, 2017, St Martin’s Press will publish my agency client Amy Knight’s new book Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder.  To date, we have received these five blurbs

1) “Amy Knight is our foremost expert on Russian spycraft. This incisive, deeply researched account of the Kremlin’s murderous dark arts should
be an electrifying wake-up call to the West about the danger we face from Putin’s gangster state.” —Edward Lucas, Senior editor, The Economist

2) “Amy Knight’s Orders to Kill builds a compelling case against the Putin regime for its complicity in the violent deaths of many of its critics—political opponents, muckraking journalists, and reform advocates. It also destroys the myth that we in the West can appease Putin to get him to behave himself.”—Bill Browder, author of Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice

3) “A brave and important book. Amy Knight has an expert understanding of Russia, its spy agencies, and the dark state created by Vladimir Putin and his KGB cronies. Putin’s critics have an uncanny habit of falling dead and Knight tells this story with rare skill. Compelling.”—Luke Harding, author of A Very Expensive Poison: The Murder of Alexander Litvinenko and Russia’s War with the West 

4) “Putin’s regime kills. It goes after its enemies at home and abroad and has created the environment in which powerful figures close to the Kremlin can also prosecute their own feuds with impunity. In this powerful and detailed account, Amy Knight tackles a series of individual and collective killings and amasses the evidence, some clear, some circumstantial, connecting them with the Kremlin. Whether you agree or disagree with any of the specific findings, having read this book it is impossible to question the extent to which the Kremlin is not just a kleptocracy, it is a ruthless one, at that.”—Mark Galeotti, author of Vory: The Story of Russian Organized Crime 

5) “Orders to Kill focuses unblinkingly on the grim but necessary topic of political murder during the seventeen year Putin period. Amy Knight is a meticulous analyst and is consistently balanced in her judgments. The two chapters on the poisoning through radioactive polonium of former KGB officer Aleksandr Litvinenko in London break significant new ground.  Knight demonstrates that the order to commit a number of the political killings she discusses can, with great likelihood, be traced back to President Putin himself or to his powerful Chechen Gauleiter Ramzan Kadyrov.”—John B. Dunlop, author of The Moscow Bombings of September 1999 

The photo below, with Putin and Chechen president Kadyrov, is one of more than a dozen pictures in the book. Pre-orders for the book can be placed via this link.