Amazon's Breakthrough Contest Introduces Literary Novelist

Amazon announced yesterday the three finalists for its fifth annual Breakthrough Novel Award in fiction. Along with two genre titles, Portland, Oregon, writer Brian Reeves's novel, A Chant of Love and Lamentation, was selected by editors at Penguin for the shortlist.

Reeves's story blends Hawaiian history—the author lived on the islands for a number of years—with fictional events that see the state moving toward regaining sovereignty. "This novel comes from my sincere hope that the people of Hawaii may someday soon reclaim what was once theirs," says the author in his bio note.

Also shortlisted were Alan Averill's The Beautiful Land, a "literary-flavored time-travel tale," in the words of literary agent and contest reviewer Donald Maass, and Charles Kelly's historical mystery, Grace Humiston and the Vanishing.

Registered customers of Amazon are now invited to vote on the winner of the novel competition, who will receive a publishing contract from Penguin and a fifteen-thousand-dollar advance against royalties. Voters can read a snippet from each book on the Amazon website or, if they have access to the Kindle, download an extended excerpt for free. The winner will be announced on June 16.