Swimming To Ithaca
By Simon Mawer
On her deathbed, Dee Denham, at one time the toast of colonial Cyprus, tells her son Thomas that her illness is a punishment. Compelled by grief and a confused childhood memory of betrayal, Thomas finds himself searching for the meaning of her last words. He searches through faded photographs and love letters, seeks out survivors and examines his own imperfect recollections. A vanished world comes to life: the restless, seductive island of Cyprus at the end of Empire, a place of oleander and carob trees, cocktails at the Harbour Club and adultery in shuttered bedrooms, peopled by ghostly admirers and conspirators, lovers and spies. Dee's story, an intimate history of violence and tenderness for which Thomas finds himself quite unprepared, gathers momentum, against, in the background, the ominous roar of approaching disaster.A vivid evocation of the past and a deft examination of the dangerous power of memory, SWIMMING TO ITHACA sets fragile human relationships against the unstoppable force of history and sheds new light on both.
By David Fuller
The American Civil War is in full flame, and tobacco plantation slave Cassius Howard finds he must risk everything to learn the brutal truth concerning the murder of Emoline Justice, the freed black woman who secretly taught him to read and who once saved his life.Against an epic backdrop and with fleeting moments of redemptive passion, Sweetsmoke captures brilliantly the daily indignities and harrowing losses suffered by slaves, as well as the turmoil of a country waging countless wars within itself, and the lives of myriad people fighting for freedom.
Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine
By Alexander McCall Smith
Edinburgh basks in glorious, but brief, summer sunshine, and Isabel Dalhousie - philosopher, philanthropist and mother - searches for the perfect birthday present for her husband Jamie. While carefully seeking out a gift, Isabel finds herself at a viewing for an auction, and happens upon an old friend in distress - a friend who decides to unburden herself of her secrets, and to reveal a clue within a painting hanging on the walls of the auction house.Soon Isabel discovers that this secret binds her not only to her friend, but also to another woman. Questions about morality and loyalty disturb Isabel's peaceful existence with her young son and precious family, but she must face up to them in order to ensure that no one is led astray. Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine is a charming and gentle novella featuring one of Alexander McCall Smith's most loved characters: Isabel Dalhousie.
Sweet Land Stories
By E. L. Doctorow
These dazzling short works are crafted with all the weight and resonance of the novels for which E. L. Doctorow is famous. You will find yourself set down in a mysterious redbrick house in rural Illinois ('A House on the Plains'), working things out with a baby-kidnapping couple in California ('Baby Wilson'), living on a religious-cult commune in Kansas ('Walter John Harmon'), sharing the heartrending cross-country journey of a young woman navigating her way through three bad marriages ('Jolene: A Life'), and witnessing an FBI special agent at a personal crossroads while he investigates a grave breach of White House Security ('Child, Dead, in the Rose Garden').Comprised in a variety of moods and voices, these remarkable portrayals of the American spiritual landscape show a modern master at the height of his powers.
Surviving The Sword
By Brian MacArthur
Many of the prisoners held by the Japanese during the WWII were so scarred by their experiences that they could not discuss them even with their families. They believed that their brutal treatment was, literally, incomprehensible. But some prisoners were determined that posterity should know how they were starved and beaten, marched almost to death or transported on 'hellships', used as slave labour - most notoriously on the Burma-Thailand railway - and how thousands died from tropical diseases. They risked torture or execution to draw and write diaries that they hid wherever they could, sometimes burying them in the graves of lost comrades.The diaries tell of inhumanity and degradation, but there are also inspirational stories of courage, comradeship and compassion. When men have unwillingly plumbed the depths of human misery, said one prisoner, the artist Ronald Searle, they form a silent understanding of what solidarity, friendship and kindness to others can mean. The diaries and interviews with surviving prisoners drawn on in SURVIVING THE SWORD will tell a new generation about that solidarity, friendship and kindness.
A Surrey State Of Affairs
By Ceri Radford
Constance Harding's comfortable corner of the Home Counties is her own little piece of heaven. Her time is spent party-planning (disastrous), matchmaking for her startlingly well-dressed son Rupert (catastrophic), and dreaming of the hat aisles at John Lewis. But she's about to learn that her perfect home conceals scandal that would make the vicar blush.Her Lithuanian housekeeper's polyester underwear keeps appearing in her husband's study, her parrot has gained a troubling new vocabulary and her daughter is turning into a Lycra-clad gap-year strumpet. As her family falls apart, Constance embarks on an extraordinary journey. From tripping in Ibiza to riding with a handsome Argentinean gaucho whose only English words are 'Britney' and 'Spears', Constance discovers a wider world she thought it was too late to find . . .
By Chang-Rae Lee
June Han has forged a life thousands of miles from her birthplace: she has built a business in New York, survived a husband, borne a child. But her past holds more secrets than she has ever been able to tell, and thirty years after her escape from war-ravaged Korea, the time has come for her to confront them.Hector Brennan, fighter, drinker and 'failure grand and total', is the man who long ago saved June's life. And between them lies the story of the beautiful, damaged Sylvie Tanner, whose elusive love they both once sought. On a journey that takes them from the scorched hillsides and abandoned rice paddies of a shattered Korea to a blood-soaked century-old Italian battlefield, together June and Hector go in search of their past, bound together by a legacy of shocking acts of violence and love.Compelling, suspenseful and unforgettable, THE SURRENDERED is a stunning epic of war, redemption and human longing. It is a masterpiece.
By Peter de la Billiere
Since 1854 the Victoria Cross has been the highest award for gallantry in the British Armed Forces. It bears the simple legend 'For Valour', but behind it are thrilling and ultimately humbling tales of unimaginable bravery. SUPREME COURAGE tells the tales of some of those who have won the medal, bringing this badge of honour alive with breath-taking accounts of courage in action. Visiting battle-scenes across the globe, peppering his accounts with letters and first-hand accounts, Sir Peter de la Billière uncovers not just heroism but the hearts and minds of men. With his accounts of Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, Indians and the Gurkhas, Sir Peter de la Billière does more than accompany the man into battle. He reveals their backgrounds, the climate of their times, what it was that drove them on, and the price of fame - the burden of expectation in civilian life that accompanied more than one recipient to a pauper's grave. Extraordinary and intensely moving, SUPREME COURAGE is a thrilling addition to the literature of war, and a unique and magnificent monument to heroism.
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
By David Foster Wallace
A collection of insightful and uproariously funny non-fiction by the bestselling author of INFINITE JEST - one of the most acclaimed and adventurous writers of our time. A SUPPOSEDLY FUN THING... brings together Wallace's musings on a wide range of topics, from his early days as a nationally ranked tennis player to his trip on a commercial cruiseliner. In each of these essays, Wallace's observations are as keen as they are funny. Filled with hilarious details and invigorating analyses, these essays brilliantly expose the fault line in American culture - and once again reveal David Foster Wallace's extraordinary talent and gargantuan intellect.
Supping With Panthers
By Tom Holland
In 1888 Dr John Eliot returns to London haunted by the memory of a terrible expedition to a remote Himalayan kingdom, where he had uncovered horrors far beyond the frontiers of science. Yet Eliot's faith in reason is to be tested even further when the body of a friend, drained white of blood, is dragged up from the Thames, and another associate goes missing. Eliot's quest to uncover the mystery reveals a deadly conspiracy, but then, in the lair of an enigmatic Eastern adventuress, he glimpses hints of a truth yet more extraordinary, of dark and terrible pleasures, of a whole new world ...Vampires and immortals walk the gas-lit streets of Victorian London, mingling with Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Lord Byron, and Tom Holland meshes fact with fiction in this brilliantly imaginative novel of passion and suspense.
By F. David Peat
Since Einstein, physicists have been pursuing a holy grail - a single theory that would order all the subatomic particles in the universe and unify the forces of nature. Such a theory would answer questions like: How did the universe begin? What is the origin of time? What is matter? What is the ultimate meaning of physical laws?F. David Peat explains the development and meaning of the theory they came up with - the Superstrings Theory - in a thoroughly readable, dramatic manner accessible to lay readers, even those with no knowledge of maths. The theory states that everything in the universe - matter, forces, even space itself - consists of minuscule strings of ten dimensions, six of which are so tightly curled up that only four are visible to us. The consequences of this theory are nothing less than astonishing.
By Richard Koch, Greg Lockwood
Networks rule the world. Take any organization: a corner shop, a new venture, a gang of drug traffickers, the United Nations, Google, the place you work. They are all networks, with their own rules and values and ways of communicating. Everybody belongs to networks and they make a huge difference to our lives - to our happiness and to our opportunities. SUPERCONNECT looks at how the successful and fortunate few behave - and shows that if you want to be one of them, you have to play by the network rules.Acquaintances, friends of friends, distant neighbours, random encounters - all can put us in touch with new, different worlds that bring big breaks or surprising sources of happiness. We are becoming more and more connected - via the web, mobile phone technology and global media. How does this affect us? And how can we make the most of these connections?
By David Rothkopf
The Superclass - politicians, military leaders, finance gurus, energy barons, media moguls and thought leaders - is the small group that currently plays the greatest role in shaping the progress of globalization and perhaps the group most changed by that phenomenon, so much so that they have more in common with one another than they do with their own countrymen. And because this group frequently operates outside all national and international regulation, they are often in conflict with the elite in their own countries. Rothkopf offers a provocative and trenchant examination of the overlapping international power clusters. He reveals who is a member of this global Superclass and who is likely to be joining it and transforming it in the years ahead. And he will explore how the aggressive pursuit of self-interest by some in this class helped to create a world in which inequity is greater than ever - something that may well threaten international stability in our lifetimes.
Sunshine on Scotland Street
By Alexander McCall Smith
Scotland Street witnesses the wedding of the century of Angus Lordie to Domenica Macdonald, but as the newlyweds depart on honeymoon Edinburgh is in disarray. Recovering from the trauma of being best man, Matthew is taken up by a Dane called Bo, while Cyril eludes his dog-sitter and embarks on an odyssey involving fox-holes and the official residence of a cardinal. Narcissist Bruce meets his match in the form of a sinister doppelganger; Bertie, set up by his mother for fresh embarrassment at school, yearns for freedom; and Big Lou goes viral. But the residents of Scotland Street rally, and order - and Cyril - is restored by the combined effects of understanding, kindness, and, most of all, friendship.
By James Miller
Mark Burrows is an 'invisible man', a British secret agent adept at moving undetected through the most hostile environments. Summoned for one last mission, he must make contact with Charlie Ashe, his fearsome former colleague and brother-in-law. Ashe has reappeared with a new name and a terrifying new agenda in the Storm Zone, a mysterious region racked by devastating hurricanes and inhabited by cults, criminal gangs and insurgent armies. The mission will force Burrows to question his loyalties and to understand that the greatest danger lies not with his target, but with the forces that seek to control the world around him.
The Sunday Philosophy Club
By Alexander McCall Smith
Amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher who also uses her training to solve unusual mysteries. Isabel is Editor of the Review of Applied Ethics - which addresses such questions as 'Truth telling in sexual relationships' - and she also hosts The Sunday Philosophy Club at her house in Edinburgh. Behind the city's Georgian facades its moral compasses are spinning with greed, dishonesty and murderous intent. Instinct tells Isabel that the young man who tumbled to his death in front of her eyes at a concert in the Usher Hall didn't fall. He was pushed.With Isabel Dalhousie Alexander McCall Smith introduces a new and pneumatic female sleuth to tackle murder, mayhem - and the mysteries of life. As her hero WH Auden maintained, classic detective fiction stems from a desire for an uncorrupted Eden which the detective, as an agent of God, can return to us. But then Isabel, being a philosopher, has a thing or two to say about God as well.
By Ed Conway
The idea of world leaders gathering in the midst of economic crisis has become all-too familiar. But the summit at Bretton Woods in 1944 was the only time countries from around the world have agreed to overhaul the structure of the international monetary system. And, what's more, they were successful - it was the closest to perfection the world's economy has ever been, and arguably the demise of the Bretton Woods system is behind our present woes.This was no dry economic conference. The delegates spent half the time at each other's throats, and the other half drinking in the hotel bar. The Russians nearly capsized the entire project. The French threatened to walk out, repeatedly. John Maynard Keynes had a heart attack. His American counterpart was a KGB spy. But this summit could be instrumental in preventing World War Three.Drawing on a wealth of unpublished accounts, diaries and oral histories, this brilliant book describes the conference in stunning colour and clarity. Bringing to life the characters, events and economics and written with exceptional verve and narrative pace,this is an extraordinarily accomplished work of history from a talented new writer.
Summer In February
By Jonathan Smith
Sir Alfred Munnings, retiring President of the Royal Academy, chooses the 1949 Annual Banquet to launch a savage attack on Modern Art. The effect of his diatribe is doubly shocking, leaving not only his distinguished audience gasping but also many people tuning in to the BBC's live radio broadcast. But as he approaches the end of his assault, the speech suddenly dissolves into incoherence when he stumbles over a name - a name he normally takes such pains to avoid - that takes him back forty years to a special time and a special place.Summer in February is a disturbing and moving re-creation of a celebrated Edwardian artistic community enjoying the last days of a golden age soon to be shattered by war. As resonant and understated as The Go-Between, it is a love story of beauty, deprivation and tragedy.
Summer After The Funeral
By Jane Gardam
A rather mysterious old clergyman is dead, and his most adoring child, sixteen-year-old Athene is desolate. A statuesque beauty, greatly admired, she is also lonely, untouchable and living a secret life of fairly dangerous fantasy.Athene's mother, at once highly organised and monumentally vague, dispatches her children to spend the holidays with assorted friends and relatives. For Athene, victim of plans gone awry, that golden summer after the funeral becomes deliciously puzzling fodder for her fantasy. Stuck in a seaside hotel with an inarticulate and beautiful boy, marooned in a seaside cottage with a painter, and finally alone in an empty school with a young master, she finds that men are not all as saintly as her father- and that she is far from saintly herself...
By Tom Darling
They have lost everything but each other.When Grace Hooper, on the verge of womanhood, and her nine-year-old brother Billy are left orphaned by a freak accident at the beginning of a long, hot summer, they find themselves cast adrift from their old life and numb with grief. Sent to stay with their estranged grandfather on the remote farm where their mother grew up, there they must try and uncover a new understanding of the world and their place in it. But in the relentless heat and the unnatural calm of the near-deserted farm, nature itself soon becomes both enemy and ally - and as the bond between brother and sister disintegrates, Grace discovers that the farm hosts a tragic past and an uncertain future.At once disturbing and compelling, Summer is a beautifully written and deeply atmospheric exploration of loss and regeneration.