THE FOLLY OF THE WORLD
It is likely you have never read a book like this one. Bullington takes inspiration from a 16th-century painting and the Flemish proverbs therein to spin a wildly fantastical tale that will keep you guessing at every turn. The language here is lyrical, bawdy and constantly challenging. The voices and characters are unique and solid, and also somehow ephemeral, flitting from here to there and back again as they will. This book and its distinctive characters will charm you.
In 1421, the North Sea floods Holland, forever changing the known world. The watery disaster brings a variety of challenges for a deranged thug, a con man and a half-feral girl. If they can quiet their own desires, anger and lust, they might profit beyond their wildest dreams. If they cannot, they will surely be destroyed. Those who were taken by the floodwaters alone would surely be thankful for such a mercy. (ORBIT, Dec., 528 pp., $15.99)