Mary Renault - The Praise Singer - Little, Brown Book Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781405526241
    • Publication date:06 Aug 2015
Books in this series

The Praise Singer

A Virago Modern Classic

By Mary Renault

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

In a masterful novel that vividly recreates the world of Ancient Greece, Mary Renault tells the story of Simonides, an ugly boy destined to create beauty through his extraordinary poetic talent. Combining the scholarship of a historian with the imagination of a great novelist, Mary Renault brings the ancient world vividly to life.

'Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours' MADELINE MILLER

Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us' HILARY MANTEL


In the story of the great lyric poet Simonides, Mary Renault brings alive a time in Greece when tyrants kept an unsteady rule and poetry, music, and royal patronage combined to produce a flowering of the arts.

Born into a stern farming family on the island of Keos, Simonides escapes his harsh childhood through a lucky apprenticeship with a renowned Ionian singer. As they travel through 5th century B.C. Greece, Simonides learns not only how to play the kithara and compose poetry, but also how to navigate the shifting alliances surrounding his rich patrons. He is witness to the Persian invasion of Ionia, to the decadent reign of the Samian pirate king Polykrates, and to the fall of the Pisistratids in the Athenian court. Along the way, he encounters artists, statesmen, athletes, thinkers, and lovers, including the likes of Pythagoras and Aischylos. Using the singer's unique perspective, Renault combines her vibrant imagination and her formidable knowledge of history to establish a sweeping, resilient vision of a golden century.

'There's much to say about her interweaving of myth and history and, just as interestingly, there's much to wonder at in the way she fills in the large dark spaces where we know next to nothing about the times she describes . . . an important and wonderful writer . . . she set a course into serious-minded, psychologically intense historical fiction that today seems more important than ever' - Sam Jordison, Guardian

Biographical Notes

Mary Renault (1905-1983) was born in London and educated at St Hughs, Oxford. She trained as a nurse at Oxford's Radcliffe Infirmary, where she met her lifelong partner, Julie Mullard. Her first novel, Purposes of Love, was published in 1937. In 1948, after North Face won a MGM prize worth $150,000, she and Mullard emigrated to South Africa. There, Renault was able to write forthrightly about homosexual relationships for the first time - in her masterpiece, The Charioteer (1953), and then in her first historical novel, The Last of the Wine (1956). Renault's vivid novels set in the ancient world brought her worldwide fame. In 2010 Fire From Heaven was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781844089604
  • Publication date: 06 Aug 2015
  • Page count: 288
  • Imprint: Virago
Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us — Hilary Mantel
I never learned Latin or Greek; I wasn't raised on the classics, even in translation. So all my sense of the ancient world - its values, its style, the scent of its wars and passions - comes from Mary Renault. I turned to writing historical fiction because of something I learned from Renault: that it lets you shake off the mental shackles of your own era, all the categories and labels, and write freely about what really matters to you — Emma Donoghue
Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours — Madeline Miller
There's much to say about her interweaving of myth and history and, just as interestingly, there's much to wonder at in the way she fills in the large dark spaces where we know next to nothing about the times she describes . . . an important and wonderful writer . . . she set a course into serious-minded, psychologically intense historical fiction that today seems more important than ever — Sam Jordison, The Guardian
Running Press Adult

Mead

Fred Minnick
Authors:
Fred Minnick

With fantastical narratives, home-brewing instructions, and original craft cocktail recipes, Mead is the ultimate exploration of the resurgent alcoholic beverage that is nearly as old as time itself. Beloved by figures as diverse as Queen Elizabeth and Thor, the Vikings and the Greek gods, mead is one of history's most storied beverages. But this mixture of fermented honey isn't just a relic of bygone eras -- it's experiencing a cultural renaissance, taking pride of place in trendy cocktail bars and craft breweries across the country. Equal parts quirky historical narrative, DIY manual, and cocktail guide, Mead is a spirited look at the drink that's been with us even longer than wine. Mead gives readers a fascinating introduction to the rich story of this beloved beverage -- from its humble beginnings to its newfound popularity, along with its vital importance in seven historic kingdoms: Greece, Rome, the Vikings, Poland, Ethiopia, England, and Russia. Pairing a quirky, historical narrative with real practical advice, beverage expert Fred Minnick guides readers through making 25 different types of mead, as well as more than 50 cocktails, with recipes from some of the country's most sought-after mixologists.

Virago

Faces In The Water

Janet Frame
Authors:
Janet Frame
Fleet

Love and Ruin

Paula McLain
Authors:
Paula McLain

In 1937, courageous and independent Martha Gellhorn travels to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War, and finds herself drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in devastating conflict. She also finds herself unexpectedly - and uncontrollably - falling in love with Ernest Hemingway, a man already on his way to being a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the tumultuous backdrops of Madrid, Finland, China, and especially Cuba, where Martha and Hemingway made their home, their relationship and professional careers ignite. But when Hemingway publishes the biggest literary success of his career, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the suffocating demands of a domestic lifestyle, or risk losing her husband by forging her way as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that will force her to break his heart, and her own.Based on a true storyMartha Gellhorn was one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th centuryFOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLLS was dedicated to Martha, and inspired by the time they were together in Spain. It was Hemingway's most successful book to date, it sold half a million copies within months, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and triumphantly reestablished his literary reputation

Piatkus

Silent Swans 1

Sherrilyn Kenyon
Authors:
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Constable

The Blood

E. S. Thomson
Authors:
E. S. Thomson

I knew the smell of death well enough. But here the sweetness of decay was tainted with something else, something new and different. It was a curious, moist smell; a smell that spoke of the ooze and slap of water, of gurgling wet spaces and the sticky, yielding mud of low-tide...Summoned to the riverside by the desperate, scribbled note of an old friend, Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain find themselves on board the seamen's floating hospital, an old hulk known only as The Blood, where prejudice, ambition and murder seethe beneath a veneer of medical respectability. On shore, a young woman, a known prostitute, is found drowned in a derelict boatyard. A man leaps to his death into the Thames, driven mad by poison and fear. The events are linked - but how? Courting danger in the opium dens and brothels of the waterfront, certain that the Blood lies at the heart of the puzzle, Jem and Will embark on a quest to uncover the truth. In a hunt that takes them from the dissecting tables of a private anatomy school to the squalor of the dock-side mortuary, they find themselves involved in a dark and terrible mystery. Praise for E.S. Thomson:'Meticulously researched and masterfully plotted, E.S. Thomson has written a complex, harrowing and highly enjoyable tale' - Daily Express'Here's a tale of Victorian London to freeze your blood on a cold winter's night' - Evening Telegraph

Constable

The Throne of Caesar

Steven Saylor
Authors:
Steven Saylor
Grand Central Publishing

We Were Strangers Once

Betsy Carter
Authors:
Betsy Carter

On the eve of World War II, one German Jewish family is forced to emigrate and face a new future in America, one fraught with degradations big and small, which each person suffers and conquers in a unique way. Egon Schneider, a thriving ophthalmologist and ladies' man in Frankfurt, is reduced to being "The Cheese Man" at a local grocery in Washington Heights; Catrina Harty, a vivacious daughter of dirt-poor Irish immigrants, has fought her way to a comfortable if unhappy spinsterhood; and Meyer Leavitt, Egon's terminally acerbic best friend, is a former children's book author turned sandwich-board salesman turned newspaper columnist. Together they suffer the wonders and indignities of this strange new world--and each other--in the hopes of creating a permanent home for "The Lucky Ones."

Sphere

Island in the East

Jenny Ashcroft
Authors:
Jenny Ashcroft
Hachette Audio

Craven House

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton

In Craven House, among the shifting, uncertain world of the English boarding house, with its sad population of the shabby genteel on the way down - and the eternal optimists who would never get up or on - the young Patrick Hamilton, with loving, horrified fascination, first mapped out the territory that he would make, uniquely, his own. Although many of Hamilton's lifelong interests are here, they are handled with a youthful brio and optimism conspicuously absent from his later work. The inmates of Craven House have their foibles, but most are indulgently treated by an author whose world view has yet to harden from scepticism into cynicism. The generational conflicts of Hamilton's own youth thread throughout the narrative, with hair bobbing and dancing as the battle lines. That perennial of the 1920s bourgeoisie, the 'servant problem', is never far from the surface, and tensions crescendo gradually to a resolution one climactic dinnertime.

Little, Brown Young Readers US

The Star Thief

Lindsey Becker
Authors:
Lindsey Becker

Honorine's life as as maid at the Vidalia mansion is rather dull, dusting treasures from faraway places and daydreaming in front of maps of the world. But everything changes when she catches two brutish sailors ransacking Lord Vidalia's study, and then follows a mysterious girl with wings out into the night....Suddenly, Honorine is whisked into the middle of a battle between the crew of a spectacular steamship and a band of mythical constellations. The stars in the sky have come to life to defend themselves against those who want to harness their powers. Much to her surprise, Honorine is the crux of it all, the center of an epic clash between magic and science, the old ways and the new. But can this spirited young girl bring both sides of a larger-than-life fight together before they unleash an evil power even older than the stars?

Little, Brown

The Stars are Fire

Anita Shreve
Authors:
Anita Shreve
Hachette Audio

White Highlands

John McGhie
Authors:
John McGhie

Kenya, 1952, a colony on the edge. Settlers drink sundowners on the veranda but the servants can't be trusted. Beyond manicured lawns, in the dark of the forest, freedom is stirring. Johnny Seymour has seen too much war and seeks solace photographing East African wildlife. But when isolated white families are slaughtered by Mau Mau gangs, the British respond brutally and Johnny is reluctantly pulled into the horror. After his African driver Macharia disappears, Johnny is forced to confront shocking truths about his own country and ask how far he'll go to help a friend. Nearly sixty years later, disgraced young barrister Sam Seymour knows nothing about her grandfather. Even his name is taboo. All she understands is that Johnny did something so awful that his only son - her father - had to be rescued from Kenya.Now as veteran Mau Mau fighters demand reparations for past sins, she's been offered a chance to unpeel history and discover why. In a narrative spanning the generations, White Highlands follows Sam and Johnny as they confront the might of the British state. One man stands in both their way - Grogan Littleboy, a ruthless colonial survivor who'll do anything to defeat Mau Mau, past and present. A startlingly original novel set in both the present day and Kenya in the 1950s during the Mau Mau uprising - one of the least known and darkest episodes in British colonial history.

Constable

Dark Asylum

E. S. Thomson
Authors:
E. S. Thomson

The lips had been darned closed with six long, black, stitches. Clumsily executed, they gave the face a crude deaths-head appearance, like a child's drawing scrawled upon a wall . . .1851, Angel Meadow Asylum. Dr Rutherford, principal physician to the insane, is found dead, his head bashed in, his ears cut off, his lips and eyes stitched closed. The police direct their attention towards Angel Meadow's inmates, but to Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain the crime is an act of calculated retribution, rather than of madness. To discover the truth Jem and Will must pursue the story through the darkest corners of the city - from the depths of a notorious rookery, to the sordid rooms of London's brothels, the gallows, the graveyard, the convict fleet and then back to the asylum. In a world where guilt and innocence, crime and atonement, madness and reason, are bounded by hypocrisy, ambition and betrayal, Jem and Will soon find themselves caught up in a web of dark secrets and hidden identities.'Following on from the events of acclaimed debut Beloved Poison, Dark Asylum vividly portrays the Gothic horror and questionable science of Victorian mental asylums in chilling detail. Meticulously researched and masterfully plotted, E.S. Thomson has written a complex, harrowing and highly enjoyable tale' - Daily Express'Here's a tale of Victorian London to freeze your blood on a cold winter's night' - Evening Telegraph

Orbit

The Sudden Appearance of Hope

Claire North
Authors:
Claire North
Hachette Audio

Beneath a Burning Sky

Jenny Ashcroft
Authors:
Jenny Ashcroft

***A 2017 KINDLE BETSELLER***The beautiful and gripping story of love, betrayal and mystery, set against the heat and intrigue of colonial Alexandria. Perfect for fans of Kate Furnivall, Dinah Jefferies and Victoria Hislop.'Beautifully described . . . A moving love story' Tracy Rees'Exotic and mysterious - I was gripped by this complex tale' Dinah Jefferies******Central Alexandria, June 1891When twenty-two-year-old Olivia is coerced into marriage by the cruel Alistair Sheldon she leaves England for Egypt, his home and the land of her own childhood. Reluctant as she is to go with Alistair, it's in her new home that she finds happiness in surprising places: she is reunited with her long-estranged sister, Clara, and falls - impossibly and illicitly - in love with her husband's boarder, Captain Edward Bertram.Then Clara is abducted from one of the busiest streets in the city. Olivia is told it's thieves after ransom money, but she's convinced there's more to it. As she sets out to discover what's happened to the sister she's only just begun to know, she falls deeper into the shadowy underworld of Alexandria, putting her own life, and her chance at a future with Edward, the only man she's ever loved, at risk. Because, determined as Olivia is to find Clara, there are others who will stop at nothing to conceal what's become of her . . .Beneath a Burning Sky is a novel of secrets, betrayal and, above all else, love. Set against the heat and intrigue of colonial Alexandria, this beautiful and heart-wrenching story will take your breath away.Further praise for Jenny Ashcroft:'A summer must-read' Red'This story of twists and turns transcends era and genre. Absolutely brilliant' Kerry Fisher'First-class writing, brilliant characters, fascinating locations and gripping plots' Tracy Buchanan'Exquisitely written . . . unputdownable and unforgettable' Iona Grey

Abacus

The Secret Chord

Geraldine Brooks
Authors:
Geraldine Brooks

LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 20161000 BC. The Second Iron Age. The time of King David.Anointed as the chosen one when just a young shepherd boy, David will rise to be king, grasping the throne and establishing his empire. But his journey is a tumultuous one and the consequences of his choices will resound for generations. In a life that takes him from obscurity to fame, he is by turns hero and traitor, glamorous young tyrant and beloved king, murderous despot and remorseful, diminished patriarch. His wives love and fear him, his sons will betray him. It falls to Natan, the courtier and prophet who both counsels and castigates David, to tell the truth about the path he must take.Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthral her many fans.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Amazons

Lyn Webster Wilde
Authors:
Lyn Webster Wilde
Constable

Beloved Poison

E. S. Thomson
Authors:
E. S. Thomson
Constable

Wrath of the Furies

Steven Saylor
Authors:
Steven Saylor
Virago

A View Of The Harbour

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor