Welcome to our weekly Books Digest where we round up the new books you should and shouldn’t read. This week features The Last Colony by Philippe Sands, Planta Sapiens: Unmasking Plant Intelligence by Paco Calvo and Dark Music by David Lagercrantz.
For more books, take a look at our Books Digest archive.
The last colony by Philippe Sands (Orion Editions, £12.59)
In the 1960s, newlywed and pregnant 20-year-old Liseby Elyse was suddenly kicked out of the only home she had ever known with just one suitcase. His deportation, along with the entire population of an island, was the result of a decision to offer the United States a base on one of the islands of the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, creating a new colony (the “British Indian Ocean Territory“) and forcibly evicting the inhabitants.
In the decades since, the Mauritian government has fought for the return of the Chagos, with the case eventually going to the World Court in The Hague in 2018. QC, the author, has been intimately involved in the case over the past few years as the people of Chagos have waited to hear the answer to two key questions: Did Britain illegally detach the Chagos from Mauritius? ? And should Liseby Elyse and her fellow Chagossians be allowed to return home?
In this short but hard-hitting book, Sands uses one woman’s struggle for justice to illuminate the impact of colonial rule in this complex case of international law and geopolitics.
Plant Sapiens: Unmasking Plant Intelligence by Paco Calvo with Natalie Lawrence (Little, Brown Book Group, £15.99)
Leading researcher Professor Paco Calvo offers a bold new perspective on plant biology and cognitive science. In Planta Sapiens: unmasking the intelligence of plants the reader is taken on a “mind-blowing” journey into the often underestimated and overlooked world of plant intelligence – with the aim of transforming the way we perceive other life forms.
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Science has explored the weird but wonderful ways plants communicate, behave and thrive in their environment. From chemical warfare to the emotions felt by plants, plant life thrives in a rich and dramatic world.
Plants are presented not only as our allies – inspiring new ways to approach global ecological issues – but also as our teachers, allowing us to expand our understanding of our own minds. Plant Sapiens is an awe-inspiring exploration and dazzling insight into plant life.
dark music by David Lagercrantz (Quercus Publishing, £14.89)
David Lagercrantz, famous Swedish journalist and author of fiction known for pursuing the Millennium trilogy written by Stieg Larssonreturns with the first installment of a new detective series inspired by the legacy of Sherlock Holmes. dark music follows Professor Hans Rekke and Micaela Vargas, two unlikely allies brought together to uncover a mysterious international conspiracy.
Born into a wealthy Stockholm family, Rekke is a single-minded and troubled former Stanford professor. Expert in “enhanced interrogation techniques” and plagued by personal demons and depressive episodes, Rekke’s mental state is increasingly fragile and his lack of filter and impulsive behavior alienates him from his peers while working. alongside the local police.
Vargas, on the other hand, is a capable community policewoman from a modest background, describing herself as “a neighborhood girl”, with a brother involved in the Stockholm slums. Uncompromising and tenacious, the chemistry between the two drives the plot of the mysterious crime.
A slow burner emphasizing character development, dark music is a finely written and engrossing reading of Scandi-crime – heralding future stories for its protagonists.