By Marisa Silver
288 pages. Simon & Schuster.
One awful day, a boy named Ares (after the Greek god of war) drops his baby brother on his head. Malcolm grows up frantic, unfocused, "a smashed mirror" that can never be made whole, and Ares's young life becomes a tangle of regret and responsibility. That Gordian knot is the terror at the heart of The God of War (Simon and Schuster), the latest novel from Marisa Silver (No Direction Home). Read it for the tender furies of adolescence, the starkly beautiful descriptions of California's inland Salton Sea, and the devious valor of love.