The Half-Drowned King
By Linnea Hartsuyker
'Lovers of epic rejoice!...A vivid and gripping read' Madeline Miller, author of the Orange Prize Winner 2012 for The Song of Achilles'Linnea Hartsuyker brings myth and legend roaring to life in this superbly good page-turning saga of Viking-era Norway' Paula McClain, bestselling author of The Paris Wife and Circling the SunSince the death of Ragnvald Eysteinsson's father in battle, he has worked hard to protect his sister Svanhild and planned to inherit his family's land when he comes of age. But when the captain of his ship tries to kill him on the way home from a raiding excursion, he must confront his stepfather's betrayal, and find a way to protect his birthright. It is no easy feat in Viking-Age Norway, where a hundred petty rulers kill over parcels of land, and a prophesied high king is rising. But where Ragnvald is expected to bleed, and even die, for his honour, Svanhild is simply expected to marry well. It's not a fate she relishes, and when the chance to leave her stepfather's cruelty comes at the hand of her brother's arch-rival, Svanhild is forced to make the ultimate choice: family or freedom.Drawing from the Icelandic Sagas, The Half-Drowned King takes inspiration from the true story of Ragnvald of Maer, the right hand man of King Harald Fairhair, first king of all Norway, and his sister, Svanhild, as she tries to find freedom in a society where the higher her brother rises, the greater her worth as a political pawn.
By Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Prem is a recently married teacher who is neither very good at teaching nor at being married. He is promised an ally against his wife Indu, whom he regards with varying degrees of irritation, when his mother comes to visit. He soon finds, though, that maternal interference is far from helpful, and he receives comfort from an entirely unexpected quarter - his wife - as he discovers through her the joys of being a 'settled husband and householder'.From every page rise the heat, the smells, the flashing iridescent colours and the ceaseless rhythms of Indian life. And such is the strength of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's humorous and perceptive pen that this appealing tale of a young man trying to come to terms with marriage and maturity becomes more than a highly comic vignette of a particular society - it is also a reflection of a universal experience.
The House of Unexpected Sisters
By Alexander McCall Smith
Precious Ramotswe learns valuable lessons about first impressions and forgiveness in this latest installment of the much-loved, best-selling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.At Botswana's No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi are intrigued by the troubling dismissal of an employee at a thriving local business. The ladies proceed with investigations as they are inclined to do - with Mma Makutsi's customary vigour, and Mma Ramotswe's rather more subtle caution. Soon enough, interesting discoveries are made... marital subterfuge, undue influence and commercial chicanery! Clearly, there is more to this dismissal than at first imagined.While Mma Makutsi's focus, as self-appointed Principal Investigating Officer, is firmly on the case, Mma Ramotswe's attention is diverted by personal matters. Not only has her disgraced ex-husband reappeared in town, but she has stumbled on an unsettling family secret of her own - one that might threaten what she holds closest to her heart. As Precious contemplates this painful possibility, she must draw on her strength and compassion and confront The House of Unexpected Sisters. And for both Mma Makutsi and Mma Ramotswe, the wise words of their mentor Clovis Andersen - 'the needle swings in confusing ways' - have never been more prescient . . .
By Peter Parker
Why is it that for many people 'England' has always meant an unspoilt rural landscape rather than the ever-changing urban world in which most English people live? What was the 'England' for which people fought in two world wars? What is about the English that makes them constantly hanker for a vanished past, so that nostalgia has become a national characteristic?In March 1896 a small volume of sixty-three poems was published by the small British firm of Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. Ltd in an edition of 500 copies, priced at half-a-crown each. The author was not a professional poet, but a thirty-seven-year-old professor of Latin at University College, London called Alfred Edward Housman who had been obliged to pay £30 towards the cost of publication. Although slow to sell at first, A Shropshire Lad went on to become one of the most popular books of poetry ever published and has never been out of print. As well as being a publishing phenomenon, the book has had an influence on English culture and notions of what 'England' means, both in England itself and abroad, out of all proportion to its apparent scope. Housman Country will not only look at how A Shropshire Lad came to be written and became a publishing and cultural phenomenon, but will use the poems as a prism through which to examine England and Englishness. The book contains a full transcript of A Shropshire lad itself, also making it a superb present.
The Hunter of the Dark
By Donato Carrisi
A brutal killer is on the streets of Rome.He leaves no trace. And shows no mercy.A series of gruesome murders leaves the police force in Rome reeling, with no real clues or hard evidence to follow. Assigned to the case is Sandra Vega, a brilliant forensic analyst, struggling to come to terms with the crimes and her own past. Sandra's shared history with Marcus, a member of the ancient Penitenzeri - a unique Italian team, linked to the Vatican, and trained in the detection of true evil, means that the two are brought together again in the pursuit of a malignant killer.Soon Marcus and Sandra notice the emergence of a disturbing pattern running alongside the latest killings - and every time they think they have grasped a fragment of the truth, they are led down yet another terrifying path. A sensational new literary thriller from the bestselling author of The Whisperer, this novel captures the beautiful atmosphere of Rome and explores its dark and hidden secrets.
By Patrick Hamilton
The seventy-fifth anniversary edition, with a new introduction by Anthony Quinn.'I recommend Hamilton at every opportunity, because he was such a wonderful writer and yet is rather under-read today. All his novels are terrific' Sarah Waters'If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man' Nick HornbyLondon, 1939, and in the grimy publands of Earls Court, George Harvey Bone is pursuing a helpless infatuation. Netta is cool, contemptuous and hopelessly desirable to George. George is adrift in a drunken hell, except in his 'dead' moments, when something goes click in his head and he realises, without a doubt, that he must kill her. In the darkly comic Hangover Square Patrick Hamilton brilliantly evokes a seedy, fog-bound world of saloon bars, lodging houses and boozing philosophers, immortalising the slang and conversational tone of a whole generation and capturing the premonitions of doom that pervaded London life in the months before the war.
By James Harkin
On 19 August 2014, a member of the jihadist rebel group known as ISIS uploaded a video to YouTube. Entitled 'Message to America', the clip depicted the final moments of the life of kidnapped American journalist James Foley - and the gruesome aftermath of his beheading at the hands of a masked executioner. Foley's murder - and the other choreographed killings that would follow - captured the world's attention, and Islamic State's campaign of kidnapping exploded into regional war.Based on three years of on-the-ground reporting from every side of the Syrian conflict, Hunting Season is James Harkin's quest to uncover the truth about how and why Islamic State came to target Western hostages, who was behind it and why almost no one outside a small group of people knew anything about it until it was too late. He reveals how the campaign of kidnapping and the development of Islamic State were joined at the hip from the beginning. The book is an utterly absorbing account of the world's newest and most powerful terror franchise and what it means for modern war.
How Good We Can Be
By Will Hutton
Britain is beset by a crisis of purpose. For a generation we have been told the route to universal well-being is to abandon the expense of justice and equity and so allow the judgments of the market to go unobstructed. What has been created is not an innovative, productive economy but instead a capitalism that extracts value rather than creates it, massive inequality, shrinking opportunity and a society organised to benefit the top 1%. The capacity to create new jobs and start-ups should not disguise that in the main the new world is one of throw away people working in throw away companies. The British are at a loss. The warnings of The State We're In have been amply justified. Will Hutton observes that the trends that so disturbed him twenty years ago have become more marked. Rather than take refuge in nativism and virulent euro-scepticism, Britain must recognize that its problems are largely made at home - and act to change them. With technological possibilities multiplying, a wholesale makeover of the state, business and the financial system is needed to seize the opportunities by being both fairer and more innovative. The aim must be to create an economy, society and democracy in which the mass of citizens flourish. In this compelling and vital new book Hutton spells out how.
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
By Jonas Jonasson
Sitting quietly in his room in an old people's home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn't want to begin. His one-hundredth birthday party to be precise. The Mayor will be there. The press will be there. But, as it turns out, Allan will not . . .Escaping (in his slippers) through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, Allan's earlier life is revealed. A life in which - remarkably - he played a key role behind the scenes in some of the momentous events of the twentieth century.Translated by Roy Bradbury.
The Handsome Man's De Luxe Café
By Alexander McCall Smith
Even the arrival of her baby can't hold Mma Makutsi back from success in the workplace, and so no sooner than she becomes a full partner in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - in spite of Mma Ramotswe's belated claims that she is only 'an assistant full partner' - she also launches a new enterprise of her own: the Handsome Man's De Luxe Café. Grace Makutsi is a lady with a business plan, but who could predict temperamental chefs, drunken waiters and more? Luckily, help is at hand, from the only person in Gaborone more gently determined than Mma Makutsi . . . Mma Ramotswe, of course.
By Gill Hornby
It's the start of another school year at St Ambrose. But while the children are in the classroom colouring in, their mothers are learning sharper lessons on the other side of the school gates. Lessons in friendship. Lessons in betrayal. Lessons in the laws of community, the transience of power... and how to get invited to lunch.Beatrice - undisputed queen bee. Ruler, by Divine Right, of all school fund-raising, this year, last year and, surely, for many years to come.Heather - desperate to volunteer, desperate to be noticed, desperate just to belong.Georgie - desperate for a fag.And Rachel - watching them all, keeping her distance. But soon to discover that the line between amused observer and miserable outcast is a thin one.Wickedly funny and brilliantly observed, The Hive is a fascinating and subtle story about group politics and female friendship. From the joys and perils (well, mainly perils) of the Lunch Ladder, to the military operation that is the Car Boot Sale, via the dos and don'ts of dressing your child as a Dalek, all human life is here.
The House Of Sight And Shadow
By Nicholas Griffin
Against the window a pale hand, a gentle wave that was not a wave at all. A distant female face veiled by the sweep of a curtain. Then stillness. Bendix remained transfixed for a full minute. It was most certainly a woman'Early eighteenth-century London, and two doctors are criss-crossing the boundaries of morality in the heady pursuit of scientific progress. It is a challenge that leads Sir Edmund Calcraft, an eminent and notorious anatomist, and Joseph Bendix, his young ambitious student, into playing a dark game with the lawless side of London. But Bendix's growing passion for a woman he first glimpses in Calcraft's house threatens to end their mutual quest. From gallows to mad houses, from anatomical laboratories to frost fairs set on the frozen Thames, the two men begin to compete in both head and heart...Mixing history, myth, medicine and fiction, THE HOUSE OF SIGHT AND SHADOW is a compelling tale about ambition, deception and the vulnerability of love.
High Season In Nice
By Robert Kanigel
Nice is the queen of the Côte d'Azur. Founded by the Greeks some time after the sixth century BC, it has borne the tread of Roman legionnaires and Italy-bound Englishmen on the Grand Tour as well as Lost Generation literati from Hemingway to Fitzgerald. Since the late nineteenth century it has been known as a 'pleasure capital', and now tourism is its beating heart. But how did this happen? What was it that changed not just Nice or the French Riviera, but our leisure habits as a whole?HIGH SEASON is a book about pleasure and escape - about what five months or five days in a strikingly beautiful, foreign place, wrested from lives choked with stress and toil back home, meant to a few wealthy people 250 years ago, and mean to millions more of more modest means today. It is about how modern tourism got the way it did. It is about how Nice and the Riviera became what they are; and about the price they paid to do so.