The Indian Empire At War
By George Morton-Jack
Almost two million volunteers served the Indian army in the Great War, always under British regimental officers, high commanders and staff. 150,000 of them were long-serving pre-war professional soldiers; most of the remainder were wartime recruits, drawn from across South Asia. Half of the Indian soldiers were sent overseas, and those who returned did so with a very different outlook on life.In most histories of the war, the Tommies, pals and poets have dominated the tales - but what of the war as experienced by their Indian counterparts? George Morton-Jack's remarkable, fresh take on the First World War sets this right, telling the Indian army's story of 1914-18 through the voices of the service's officers and ranks, and of the princes, priests, prostitutes and others who encountered them across the continents. It reveals their journeys to the greatest battlefields mankind had ever seen, their experiences as prisoners of war in Germany, Romania and elsewhere, and their missions as secret agents that took them down rivers, across deserts and through mountain ranges from Transylvania to Afghanistan and beyond.The Indian Empire at War is a fascinating, necessary book that illuminates a central part of the Great War that has too often been overlooked.
By Ed Nash
What makes an ordinary but highly educated Englishman, with no previous military training, decide to travel and fight in one of the most brutal conflicts on the planet?Desert Sniper is an extraordinary, true account of one man's journey from well-meaning volunteer to battle-scarred combat sniper, placing himself daily in the line of fire to fight one of the greatest evils of this new century. Ed Nash has travelled across the globe, and is working with refugees in Burma, when he first becomes aware of the terrible atrocities being committed under ISIS's newly established 'Caliphate', covering vast tracts of Iraq and Syria. In June 2015, he chooses to undertake the hazardous journey, via Northern Iraq, to Syria, to join ill-equipped and poorly trained but battle-hardened Kurdish forces as they attempt to halt Daesh's relentless advance. Nash is an articulate, insightful and refreshingly honest companion as he unpacks the shifting complexities of the political and military situation in which he finds himself. As one of a motley band of foreign volunteer fighters - veterans of other conflicts, adventurers and misfits, from many different countries - we follow him through his rudimentary training and early combat operations as he and his companions slowly gain the trust and respect of their Kurdish colleagues.Nash shows us the realities of the war on the ground in Syria in fascinating detail; the privations of the ordinary Kurdish soldiers, the terrible price paid by civilians caught in the cross-fire, the ever-present danger of lethal suicide bombers and occasional moments of striking beauty in amongst the carnage. A modern classic in the making, Desert Sniper will prove to be one of the most unforgettable accounts to emerge from the war against ISIS.
The Colours of all the Cattle
By Alexander McCall Smith
The latest installment from THE NO. 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY seriesMma Ramotswe's friend will persuade her to stand for election to the City Council. 'We need women like her in politics,' Mma Potokwani says, 'instead of having the same old men every time . . .' To be elected, Mma Ramotswe must have a platform and some policies. She will have to canvas opinion. She will have to get Mma Makutsi's views. Her slogan is 'I can't promise anything - but I shall do my best'. Her intention is to halt the construction of the Big Fun Hotel, a dubious, flashy business near a graveyard - an act that many consider to be disrespectful. Mma Ramotswe will take the campaign as far as she can, but lurking around the corner, as ever, is the inextinguishable Violet Sephotho.
By João Medeiros
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Great Britain ranked thirty-sixth in the medals table, finishing below countries like Algeria, Belgium and Kazakhstan. It was their worst ever record, a dismal performance labelled a national disgrace. But then something happened. In Sydney in 2000 and then Athens in 2004, Team GB achieved a much more respectable tenth place. By 2016, in Rio, they finished second, above China and Russia, with sixty-seven medals. How have they so convincingly reversed their fortunes?In Game Changers we meet the coaches and sports scientists who rethink how sport is analysed and understood, how athletes train and perform under pressure. In Liverpool in the 1980s, a motley group - a mathematician, a physiologist, a psychologist and a former Olympic basketball player - began to pioneer new ways of tracking performance. Over the decades that followed, performance analysis came of age, becoming an essential component of any elite team, from English Premier League title winners Manchester City to America's Cup high-performance sailing teams. Using a hybrid of scientific method and trial-and-error, scientists have uncovered the tenets of accelerated learning, the mechanics of physiological adaptation, the organisational principles behind elite teams, the understanding of how hormones and environment affect performance. These discoveries are not confined to athletic endeavours - they are universal and reveal what it takes to win not only in sports, but are applicable across a wide range of disciplines, including business, leadership and education.
By Val McDermid
Number one bestseller and queen of crime Val McDermid returns with her most breathtakingly atmospheric and exhilarating novel yet'Somebody has been here before us. And he's still here . . .'When a body is discovered in the remote depths of the Highlands, DCI Karen Pirie finds herself in the right place at the right time. Unearthed with someone's long-buried inheritance, the victim seems to belong to the distant past - until new evidence suggests otherwise, and Karen is called in to unravel a case where nothing is as it seems.It's not long before an overheard conversation draws Karen into the heart of a different case, however - a shocking crime she thought she'd already prevented. As she inches closer to the twisted truths at the centre of these murders, it becomes clear that she's dealing with a version of justice terrifyingly different to her own . . .'Another stellar read from McDermid, and further evidence that her "Queen of Crime" status will not be challenged' Scotsman'There is nothing more gratifying than watching a master craftswoman at work, and she is on fine form here' Observer'A compulsively readable tale' Irish Times
This Dark Business
By Tim Clayton
Between two attempts in 1800 and 1804 to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte, the British government launched a campaign of black propaganda of unprecedented scope and intensity to persuade George III's reluctant subjects to fight the Napoleonic War, a war to the death against one man: the Corsican usurper and tyrant.This Dark Business tells the story of the British government's determination to destroy Napoleon Bonaparte by any means possible. We have been taught to think of Napoleon as the aggressor - a man with an unquenchable thirst for war and glory - but what if this story masked the real truth: that the British refusal to make peace either with revolutionary France or with the man who claimed to personify the revolution was the reason this Great War continued for more than twenty years? At this pivotal moment when it consolidated its place as number one world power Britain was uncompromising. To secure the continuing rule of Church and King, the British invented an evil enemy, the perpetrator of any number of dark deeds; and having blackened Napoleon's name, with the help of networks of French royalist spies and hitmen, they also tried to assassinate him.This Dark Business plunges the reader into the hidden underworld of Georgian politics in which, faced with the terrifying prospect of revolution, bribery and coercion are the normal means to secure compliance, a ruthless world of spies, plots and lies.
By Simon Mawer
It's the summer of 1968, the year of love and hate, of Prague Spring and Cold War winter. Two English students, Ellie and James, set off to hitch-hike across Europe with no particular aim in mind but a continent, and themselves, to discover. Somewhere in southern Germany they decide, on a whim, to visit Czechoslovakia where Alexander Dubcek's "socialism with a human face" is smiling on the world.Meanwhile Sam Wareham, a first secretary at the British embassy in Prague, is observing developments in the country with a mixture of diplomatic cynicism and a young man's passion. In the company of Czech student, Lenka Konecková, he finds a way into the world of Czechoslovak youth, its hopes and its ideas. It seems that, for the first time, nothing is off limits behind the Iron Curtain.Yet the wheels of politics are grinding in the background. The Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev is making demands of Dubcek and the Red Army is massed on the borders. How will the looming disaster affect those fragile lives caught up in the invasion?
The Sea Queen
By Linnea Hartsuyker
Ragnvald Eysteinsson is now king of Sogn, but fighting battles for King Harald keeps him away from home, as he confronts treachery and navigates a political landscape that grows more dangerous the higher he rises.Ragnvald's sister Svanhild has found the freedom and adventure she craves at the side of the rebel explorer Solvi Hunthiofsson, though not without a cost. She longs for a home where her quiet son can grow strong, and a place where she can put down roots, even as Solvi's ambition draws him back to Norway's battles again and keeps her divided from her brother.As a growing rebellion unites King Harald's enemies, Ragnvald suspects that some Norse nobles are not loyal to Harald's dream of a unified Norway. He sets a plan in motion to defeat all of his enemies, and bring his sister back to his side, while Svanhild finds herself with no easy decisions, and no choices that will leave her truly free. Their actions will hold irrevocable repercussions for the fates of those they love and for Norway itself.The Sea Queen returns to the fjords and halls of Viking-Age Scandinavia, a world of violence and prophecy, where honor is challenged by shifting alliances, and vengeance is always a threat to peace.Praise for The Half-Drowned King: 'Suspenseful, intriguing, gripping' New York Journal of Books'An unusual Viking saga... creates a more nuanced and richer portrait of Viking society, with its complex web of rituals, laws and debts of honour, than the genre usually provides' Sunday Times 'Like Game of Thrones, only more unscrupulous' Wall St Journal
By David Sedaris
'Unquestionably the king of comic writing . . . Calypso is both funnier and more heartbreaking than pretty much anything out there' Hadley Freeman, GuardianIf you've ever laughed your way through David Sedaris's cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you're getting with Calypso. You'd be wrong. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself.With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny - it's a book that can make you laugh 'til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris's writing has never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumour joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris's darkest and warmest book yet - and it just might be his very best.
A Time of Love and Tartan
By Alexander McCall Smith
Catch up with the delightful goings-on in the fictitious 44 Scotland Street from Alexander McCall Smith . . .'A joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles, which moves beyond its setting to deal with deep moral issues and love, desire and friendship' Sunday ExpressIf only Pat Macgregor had an inkling of the embarrassment romantic, professional, even aesthetic that flowed from accepting narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bruce Anderson's invitation for coffee, she would never have said yes. And if only Matthew, her boss at the art gallery, hadn't wandered into his local bookshop and picked up a particular book at a particular time, he would never have knocked over his former English teacher or attracted the attentions of the police.Whether caused by small things such as a cup of coffee and a book, or major events such as Stuart's application for promotion and his wife Irene's decision to go off and study for a PhD in Aberdeen, change is coming to serial fiction's favourite street. But for three seven-year-old boys Bertie Pollock, Ranald Braveheart Macpherson, and Big Lou's foster son Finlay - it also means a getting a glimpse of perfect happiness.Alexander McCall Smith's delightfully witty, wise and sometimes surreal comedy spirals out to include tennis-playing Rwandan Forest People, researches into levitating Celtic saints, bogus headhunters in Papua New Guinea and primary school performances of Beckett. But its heart remains where it has always been true to life, love and laughter in Edinburgh's New Town.
Love Among the Ruins
By Judith Weinberger
Judith Weinberger was brought up in the 1930s in a comfortable family home by the side of the River Danube. Then, in 1944, everything changed with the coming of the Nazis.Judith's father told the family, 'Remember this. When the Germans offer you an easy or a difficult choice, always take the difficult one' . They were put on a train whose journey ended at Auschwitz. When they got out an officer told them they could either walk, or take a bus - the easy option - to their huts. Those who took the bus were taken straight to the gas chambers.Some months later Judith, her mother and her sister were spotted by a young doctor who selected them as patients. He was Dr Mengele - a man whose name still stands out in the annals of those who perpetrated the Nazi atrocities.Judith Weinberger survived to tell this remarkable tale, and later married a young Scottish soldier who had been evacuated from the Dunkirk beaches and then returned in 1944 to help liberate Europe. This is a wonderful story of courage and survival against seemingly impossible odds.
RCP 9: Simples and Rarities Suitable and Honourable to the College
By Alastair Compston
The Killing Habit
By Mark Billingham
'One of the great series of British crime fiction' The TimesFrom multi-million-copy number one bestseller Mark Billingham comes a twisting, unbearably gripping DI Tom Thorne and Nicola Tanner thriller inspired by a dramatic real-life case.How do you catch a killer who is yet to kill?We've all heard about the signs: coldness, cruelty, mistreatment of animals. DI Tom Thorne knows the psychological profile of a psychopath all too well, so when pets start disappearing on suburban London streets, he sees a chance to stop a future murderer.Others are less convinced, so Thorne relies on DI Nicola Tanner to help him solve the case, before the culprit starts hunting people. The journey brings them face to face with a killer who will tear their lives apart.----------'A new Mark Billingham is always a treat and The Killing Habit hurls the reader straight into the action. Thoroughly enjoyable for being so very real' SUSIE STEINER'Mark Billingham on superb form. A finely paced and polished procedural, with twists and turns galore and an ending that will chill your soul' CARA HUNTER'An unconventional literary superstar' MAIL ON SUNDAY'As ever with Billingham, a rich cast of characters and tense situations are marshalled with panache, leading to a final terrifying encounter' FINANCIAL TIMES'Thorne is a terrific invention' IRISH INDEPENDENT