By John McGhie
Shortlisted for the Author's Club First Novel Award'Remarkable and redemptive . . . like the best of John le Carre' A. L. KennedyKenya, 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. With veteran Mau Mau fighters demanding 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.
By Lawrence James
Modern Britain is a nation shaped by wars. The boundaries of its separate parts are the outcome of conquest and resistance. The essence of its identity are the warrior heroes, both real and imagined, who still capture the national imagination; from Boudicca to King Arthur, William Wallace to Henry V, the Duke of Wellington to Winston Churchill. In WARRIOR RACE, Lawrence James investigates the role played by war in the making of Britain. Drawing on the latest historical and archaeological research, as well as numerous unfamiliar and untapped resources, he charts the full reach of British military history: the physical and psychological impact of Roman military occupation; the monarchy's struggle for mastery of the British Isles; the civil wars of the seventeenth century; the 'total war' experience of twentieth century conflict. WARRIOR RACE is popular history at its very best: immaculately researched and hugely readable. Balancing the broad sweep of history with an acute attention to detail, Lawrence James never loses sight of this most fascinating and enduring of subjects: the question of British national identity and character.
Want You Gone
By Chris Brookmyre
From the award-winning, million-selling author of Black Widow comes a twist-filled story of secrets and lies.What if your deepest secret was revealed?Sam Morpeth is growing up way too fast, left to fend for a younger sister when their mother goes to prison and watching her dreams of university evaporate. But Sam learns what it is to be truly powerless when a stranger begins to blackmail her.Who would you turn to?Meanwhile, reporter Jack Parlabane has finally got his career back on track, but his success has left him indebted to a volatile, criminal source. Now that debt is being called in, and it could cost him everything. What would you be capable of?Thrown together by a vindictive and mysterious mutual enemy, Sam and Jack are about to discover they might be each other's only hope.
The Word Detective
By John Simpson
Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going but the best way to future-cast is to look at the past. John Simpson animates for us a tradition of researching and editing, showing us both the technical lexicography needed to understand a word, and the careful poetry needed to construct its definition. He challenges both the idea that dictionaries are definitive, and the notion that language is falling apart. With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, John Simpson gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself. He splices his stories with entertaining and erudite diversions into the history and origin of words such as 'kangaroo', 'hot-dog' , 'pommie', 'bicycle' , not ignoring those swearwords often classed as 'Anglo-Saxon' ! The book will speak to anyone who uses a dictionary, 'word people' , history lovers, students and parents.
Wealth and Power
By Orville Schell, John Delury
By now everyone knows the basic facts of China's rise to pre-eminence over the past three decades. But how did this erstwhile sleeping giant finally manage to arrive at its current phase of dynamic growth? How did a century-long succession of failures to change somehow culminate in the extraordinary dynamism of China today? By examining the lives of eleven influential officials, writers, activists and leaders whose contributions helped create modern China, Wealth and Power addresses these questions. This fascinating survey moves from the lead-up to the first Opium War through to contemporary opposition to single-party rule. Along the way, we meet titans of Chinese history, intellectuals and political figures. By unwrapping the intellectual antecedents of today's resurgent China, Orville Schell and John Delury supply much-needed insight into the country's tortured progression from nineteenth-century decline to twenty-first-century boom. By looking backward into the past to understand forces at work for hundreds of years, they help us understand China today and the future that this singular country is helping shape for all of us.
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine
By Alexander McCall Smith
Mma Ramotswe is not one to sit about. Her busy life as the proprietress of the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency gives her little time for relaxation. Nonetheless, she is persuaded by her co-director Mma Makutsi to take a holiday. But Mma Ramotswe finds it impossible to resist the temptation to interfere with the agency's cases - secretly, she intends . . . This leads her to delve into the past of a man whose reputation has been called into question. It also leads her to an orphan named Samuel. Meanwhile, Violet Sephotho, Mma Makutsi's arch-enemy, has had the temerity to set up a new secretarial college - one that aims to rival that great institution, the Botswana Secretarial College. Will she get her comeuppance? It will be a close-run thing.
The Wit In The Dungeon
By Anthony Holden
He was born in the year Dr Johnson died, and died in the year A.E. Houseman and Conan Doyle were born. The 75 years of Leigh Hunt's life uniquely span two distinct eras of English life and literature. A major player in the Romantic movement, the intimate and first publisher of Keats and Shelley, friend of Byron, Hazlitt and Lamb, Hunt lived on to become an elder statesman of Victorianism, the friend and chamption of Tennyson and Dickens, awarded a sate pension by Queen Victoria. Jailed in his twenties for insulting the Prince of Wales, Hunt ended his long, productive life vainly seeking the Poet Laureatship with fawning poems to Victoria. A tirelessly prolific poet, essayist, editor and critic, he has been described as having no rival in the history of English criticism. Yet Hunt's remarkable life story has never been fully told.Anthony Holden's deeply researched and vibrantly written biography gives full due to this minor poet - but major influence on his great Romantic contempories.
World Gone By
By Dennis Lehane
'The best gangster novel since The Godfather' Stephen KingJoe Coughlin is untouchable. Once one of America's most feared and prominent gangsters, he now moves effortlessly between the social elite, politicians, police and the mob. He has everything he could possibly want; money, power, a beautiful mistress, and anonymity. But in a town that runs on corruption, vengeance and greed, success can't protect Joe from the dark truth of his past -- and ultimately, the wages of a lifetime of sin will finally be paid in full . . .Chilling, heart-breaking and gripping, this is the most complex and powerful novel to date from Dennis Lehane, writer on The Wire and author of modern classics such as Shutter Island, Gone, Baby, Gone and The Given Day.
The Whispering City
By Sara Moliner
Winner of an English PEN 'PEN Translates!' award.Barcelona, 1952: General Franco's fascist government is at the height of its oppressive powers, casting a black shadow across the city. When wealthy socialite Mariona Sobrerroca is found dead in her mansion in the exclusive Tibidabo district, the police scramble to seize control of the investigation. Ana Martí Noguer, an eager young journalist, is surprised to be assigned this important story, shadowing Inspector Isidro Castro.But Ana soon realises that a bundle of strange letters unearthed at the scene point to a sequence of events dramatically different from the official version. She enlists the help of her cousin Beatriz, a scholar, and what begins as an intriguing puzzle opens up a series of revelations that implicate the regime's most influential figures. The two women have placed themselves in mortal danger. As the conspiracy unfolds, Ana's courage and Beatriz's wits will be their only weapons against the city's corrupt and murderous elite.
By Georgia Gould
Young people growing up in Britain today face a narrowing job market, high housing costs and the prospect of a lifetime of hard work with less reward. The ideas of social responsibility that arose after the Second World War are straining under the demands of a globalised world. Too often public debate divides Britain's youth into the 'feral rats' of the London riots and the 'posh boys' of Eton. Business leaders rail at the entitled and unemployable young people they are asked to give jobs to, politicians complain about apathetic teens and commentators devote endless column inches to the issue of a 'self-obsessed' generation.Georgia Gould travelled across the UK to uncover the values, aspirations and challenges of young Brits, from job seekers in Bradford and working-class families in Glasgow's Easterhouse estate, to student protesters at Sussex University and young entrepreneurs in London such as YouTube sensation Jamal Edwards. If we show young people that we trust them with the future of our country, we will find that they are ready to rise to the challenge. This timely work points the way towards a new social contract and gives a voice to young Britain.http://bit.ly/YoungBritain
By Tim Clayton
'A fabulous story, superbly told' Max HastingsThe bloodbath at Waterloo ended a war that had engulfed the world for over twenty years. It also finished the career of the charismatic Napoleon Bonaparte. It ensured the final liberation of Germany and the restoration of the old European monarchies, and it represented one of very few defeats for the glorious French army, most of whose soldiers remained devoted to their Emperor until the very end. Extraordinary though it may seem much about the Battle of Waterloo has remained uncertain, with many major features of the campaign hotly debated. Most histories have depended heavily on the evidence of British officers that were gathered about twenty years after the battle. But the recent publication of an abundance of fresh first-hand accounts from soldiers of all the participating armies has illuminated important episodes and enabled radical reappraisal of the course of the campaign. What emerges is a darker, muddier story, no longer biased by notions of regimental honour, but a tapestry of irony, accident, courage, horror and human frailty.An epic page turner, rich in dramatic human detail and grounded in first-class scholarly research, Waterloo is the real inside story of the greatest land battle in British history, the defining showdown of the age of muskets, bayonets, cavalry and cannon.
Women at the Ready
By Robert Malcolmson, Patricia Malcolmson
From the summer of 1938, British women from all walks of life joined the Women's Voluntary Services (WVS). This disparate band of women came together for the common good - to help serve and protect their communities. By 1941 a million women had enrolled. These brave and dutiful women played a vital role in Britain's victory. The positive impact of the WVS on wartime society was universally acknowledged. They were instrumental in implementing the large-scale evacuation of children from bomb-targeted cities, in the care of the wounded, and in keeping those in war service fed. Lady Reading, founder and fearless leader, was one of the most influential women in twentieth-century Britain. The story of the WVS has never been fully told before. Social historians Patricia and Robert Malcolmson bring this vital part of the Second World War to life in a vivid and engaging way through the diaries and records of the women serving their country on the Home Front. Women at the Ready promises to be a magnificent saga of sacrifice and determination.
By Primo Levi
'This is not a book for journalists. Civil servants, too, will feel uneasy while reading it, and as for lawyers, they will never sleep again. For it is about a man in his capacity as homo faber, a maker of things with his hands, and what has any of us ever made but words. I say it is "about" the man who makes; truly, it is more a hymn of praise than a description, and not only because the toiler who is the hero of the book is a hero indeed - a figure, in his humanity, simplicity, worthy of inclusion in the catalogue of mythical giants alongside Hercules, Atlas, Gargantua and Orion. He is Faussone, a rigger' Bernard Levin, The Times
By Iain Banks
A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing... Innocent in the ways of the world, an ingenue when it comes to pop and fashion, the Elect of God of a small but committed Stirlingshire religious cult: Isis Whit is no ordinary teenager.When her cousin Morag - Guest of Honour at the Luskentyrian's four-yearly Festival of Love - disappears after renouncing her faith, Isis is marked out to venture among the Unsaved and bring the apostate back into the fold. But the road to Babylondon (as Sister Angela puts it) is a treacherous one, particularly when Isis discovers that Morag appears to have embraced the ways of the Unsaved with spectacular abandon...Truth and falsehood; kinship and betrayal; 'herbal' cigarettes and compact discs - Whit is an exploration of the techno-ridden barrenness of modern Britain from a unique perspective.
The Wasp Factory
By Iain Banks
'One of the most brilliant first novels I have come across' Telegraph'One of the top 100 novels of the century' Independent 'Brilliant...irresistible...compelling' New York Times'Macabre, bizarre, and impossible to put down' Financial Times'Read it if you dare' Daily Express The Wasp Factory is a bizarre, imaginative, disturbing, and darkly comic look into the mind of a child psychopath - one of the most infamous of contemporary Scottish novels. 'Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different reasons than I'd disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim. That's my score to date. Three. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.' Enter - if you can bear it - the extraordinary private world of Frank, just sixteen, and unconventional, to say the least.
When The Devil Drives
By Chris Brookmyre
Is the devil merely the name we give the worst in ourselves?When private investigator Jasmine Sharp is hired to find Tessa Garrion, a young woman who has vanished without trace, it becomes increasingly clear that there are those who want her to stay that way. What begins as a simple search awakens a malevolence that has lain dormant for three decades, putting Jasmine in the crosshairs of those who would stop at nothing to keep their secrets buried.Uncovering a hidden history of sex, drugs, ritualism and murder, Jasmine realises she may need a little help from dark places herself if she's going to get to the truth. But then needs must...
When I Die
By Philip Gould
On 29 January 2008 Philip Gould was told he had cancer. He was stoical, and set about his treatment, determined to fight his illness. In the face of difficult decisions he sought always to understand the disease and the various medical options open to him, supported by his wife Gail and their two daughters, Georgia and Grace.In 2010, after two hard years of chemotherapy and surgery, the tests came up clear - Philip appeared to have won the battle. But his work as a key strategist for the Labour party took its toll, and feeling ill six months later, he insisted on one extra, precautionary test, which told him that the cancer had returned. Thus began Philip's long, painful but ultimately optimistic journey towards death, during which time he began to appreciate and make sense of his life, his work and his relationships in a way he had never thought possible. He realized something that he had never heard articulated before: death need not be only negative or painful, it can be life-affirming and revelatory.Written during the last few months of his life, When I Die describes the journey Philip took with his illness, leaving to us what he called his lessons from the death zone. This courageous, profoundly moving and inspiring work is as valuable a legacy to the world as anyone could wish to bestow - hugely uplifting, beautifully written with extraordinary insight.
Walking On Glass
By Iain Banks
Her eyes were black, wide as though with some sustained surprise, the skin from their outer corners to her small ears taut. Her lips were pale, and nearly too full for her small mouth, like something bled but bruised. He had never seen anyone or anything quite so beautiful in his life.'Graham Park is in love. But Sara Fitch is an enigma to him, a creature of almost perverse mystery. Steven Grout is paranoid - and with justice. He knows that They are out to get him. They are. Quiss, insecure in his fabulous if ramshackle castle, is forced to play interminable impossible games. The solution to the oldest of all paradoxical riddles will release him. But he must find an answer before he knows the question.Park, Grout, Quiss - no trio could be further apart. But their separate courses are set for collision.
Worse Than War
By Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen brings us now an original and important study of genocide that reconceives its very nature. He does so not by examining a series of genocides but by exploring the nature of mass killing itself. Our failure to clearly describe, explain, and understand the mechanisms of genocide has made it difficult to prevent, and this book will change that. Through exhaustive research, he brilliantly lays out the roots and motivations of mass slaughter, exploring such questions as: Why do genocides occur? What makes people willing to slaughter others? Based on his thoroughgoing reconceptualization of genocide, Goldhagen proposes novel, sensible, and effective measures to put an end to this scourge of humanity, which is worse, even, than war.
Where The Bodies Are Buried
By Chris Brookmyre
A 'tense, moving, and gloriously twisted' (Mark Billingham) top ten Sunday Times bestseller from the award-winning author of Quite Ugly One Morning Detective Catherine McLeod was always taught that in Glasgow, they don't do whodunit. They do score-settling, vendettas and petty revenge. And however she looks at it, the discovery of a dead drug-dealer in a back alley means she's going to be busy.Meanwhile, aspiring actress Jasmine Sharp is reluctantly - and incompetently - working for her uncle Jim's private investigation business. When Jim goes missing, Jasmine has to take on the investigator mantle for real, and her only lead points to a professional assassin who has been dead for twenty years. Soon Jasmine stumbles into a web of corruption and secrets that leaves her running for her life.'[A] smartly written mainstream detective story . . . Brookymre deftly twists one case around the other' Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review'A brainy, barbed noir, this book takes its time setting the scene and establishing its characters. Most of its violence occurs off the page. But with its contrasting characters . . . and skillfully orchestrated sense of bad things to come, the novel maintains a solid grip on the reader. Brookmyre isn't as well-known in the States as fellow Scottish mystery writers Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Denise Mina, but this first-rate effort may change that' Kirkus Reviews (starred review)