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There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin's Must Reads: 'Never'

“A shrinking oasis in the Sahara Desert; a stolen U. S. Army drone; an uninhabited Japanese island; and one country’s secret stash of deadly chemical poisons: all these play roles in a relentlessly escalating crisis.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s a quote from the flyleaf of Ken Follett’s newest novel Never. When Follett researched his novel Fall of Giants he came to the realization that WWI was a war no one wanted. Never is the result of his wondering — could that happen again?

As the book progresses Follett describes tenuous relationships between North and South Korea and by extension China and the United States. Another thread revolves around an incredibly brave CIA agent tasked with discovering how jihadists are being funded and putting an end to it. That thread includes a tense escape from an African desert gold mine that enslaves people trying to flee Chad for a better life. As the book progresses Follett reveals the tough decisions presidents of countries must make, who influences them and how they might arrive at their decisions.

Again from the flyleaf, “Never is an extraordinary novel, full of heroines and villains, false prophets and elite warriors, jaded politicians and opportunistic revolutionaries. It brims with cautionary wisdom for our times and delivers a viscerally heart-pounding read that transports readers to the brink of the unimaginable.”

I read this book as the Ukrainians began battling for their existence so it felt a little too real. However if you’re looking for a well written cautionary tale about the importance of international diplomacy, then you must read Never by Ken Follett.

Betty Martin was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Lutheran pastor and his organist wife. Betty’s love of books was inspired by her father who read to all four children each night.