Thomas Becket lived at the centre of medieval England. Son of a draper’s merchant, he was befriended and favoured by Henry II and quickly ascended the rungs of power and privilege. He led 700 knights into battle, brokered peace between warring states and advised King and Pope. Yet he lost it all defying his closest friend and King, resulting in his own bloody murder and the birth of a legend. In John Guy’s masterful account the life, death and times of Thomas Becket come splendidly alive.
In 2013 Guy Stagg made a pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem. Though a non-believer, he began the journey after suffering several years of mental illness, hoping the ritual would heal him. For ten months he hiked alone on ancient paths, crossing ten countries and more than 5,500 kilometres. The Crossway is an account of this extraordinary adventure.
Having left home on New Year’s Day, Stagg climbed over the Alps in midwinter, spent Easter in Rome with a new pope, joined mass protests in Istanbul and survived a terrorist attack in Lebanon. Travelling without support, he had to rely each night on the generosity of strangers, staying with monks and nuns, priests and families. As a result, he gained a unique insight into the lives of contemporary believers and learnt the fascinating stories of the soldiers and saints, missionaries and martyrs who had followed these paths before him.
Seven years ago, two boys went missing at sea – and only one was brought to shore. The Sandbank, a remote stretch of coast dotted with beach huts, was scarred forever.
Sarah’s son survived, but on the anniversary of the accident, he disappears without trace. As new secrets begin to surface, The Sandbank hums with tension and unanswered questions. Sarah’s search grows more desperate and she starts to mistrust everyone she knows – and she’s right to.
Someone saw everything on that fateful day seven years ago. And they’ll do anything to keep the truth buried.
Early in the morning of 6 May 1840, on an ultra-respectable Mayfair street, a footman answered the door to a panic-stricken maid from a nearby house. Her elderly master, Lord William Russell, was lying in bed with his throat cut so deeply that the head was almost severed.
The whole of London, from monarch to street urchins, was gripped by the gory details of the Russell murder, but behind it was another story, a work of fiction, and a fierce debate about censorship and morality. Several of the key literary figures of the day, including Dickens and Thackeray, were drawn into the controversy, and when Lord William’s murderer claimed to having been inspired by the season’s most sensational novel, it seemed that a great deal more was on trial than anyone could have guessed.
Bringing together much previously unpublished material from a wide range of sources, Claire Harman reveals the story of the notorious Russell murder case and its fascinating connections with the writers and literary culture of the day. Gripping and eye-opening, Murder by the Book is the untold true story of a surprisingly literary crime.
Mona is a young Irish girl in the big city, with the thrill of a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding house. On her first night out in 1970s Birmingham, she meets William, a charming Irish boy with an easy smile and an open face. They embark upon a passionate affair, a whirlwind marriage – before a sudden tragedy tears them apart.
Decades later, Mona pieces together the memories of the years that separate them. But can she ever learn to love again?
The death of Dr David Kelly in 2003 is one of the strangest events in the 21st century. This scrupulous scientist, an expert on weapons of mass destruction, was caught up in the rush to war in Iraq and in the pressure of those around Tony Blair to provide evidence that Saddam Hussein was producing chemical weapons. Kelly seemed to have tipped into sudden depression when he was outed as a source by Andrew Gilligan. Case closed, for Blair, Alastair Campbell and the intelligence agencies.
But the circumstances of his death are replete with disquieting questions – every detail, from his motives to the method of his death, his body’s discovery and the way in which the state investigated his demise, seems on close examination not to make sense. There was never an inquest into his death, which would have allowed medical and other evidence to be carefully interrogated. In this painstaking and levelheaded book, Miles Goslett shows why we should be deeply sceptical of the official narrative and reminds us of the desperate measures those in power resorted to in those feverish summer months of 2003.
The independent kingdom of Scotland flourished until the beginning of the last century. Its great trading port of Challaid, in the north west of the country, sent ships around the world and its merchants and bankers grew rich on their empire in Central America.
But Scotland is not what it was, and the docks of Challaid are almost silent. The huge infrastructure projects collapsed, like the dangerous railway tunnels under the city. And above ground the networks of power and corruption are all that survive of Challaid’s glorious past.
Darian Ross is a young private investigator whose father, an ex cop, is in prison for murder. He takes on a case brought to him by a charismatic woman, Maeve Campbell. Her partner has been stabbed; the police are not very curious about the death of a man who laundered money for the city’s criminals. Ross is drawn by his innate sense of justice and his fascination with Campbell into a world in which no-one can be trusted.
A hot beach. A young family on holiday. A fatal moment of inattention…
And now Dave Jepsom is in their lives.
Dave Jepsom, with his muscles, his pale eyes, his expressionless face.
He saved their child. How can they ever repay him? Especially as what he seems to want in return is everything.
HOW DO YOU SOLVE YOUR OWN MURDER?
Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen.
But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger.
As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go.
Goa, 1992. Six year old Jess and her little brother Sparrow are on the beach, playing at the water’s edge. They look to the place where Mama and Pa had been sitting, but there’s no one there. Jess and Sparrow hold hands and sit on the sand so that they can catch the moment when their parents come back. But nobody comes back. And one sleep goes by and then two, and then twenty-two, then forty, then ninety-five, right to the end of numbers. And nobody came back. London, 2017. Jess, now a lawyer, wife and mother has become a locker of doors. She has built walls around her life and her ordered home to keep further disaster at bay. Ro has taken a different path. He has followed his missing mother all his life in the hope that one day he will find her and she will love him again. When Ro steps through the garden gate back into Jess’s carefully guarded world, bad things start to happen. The time has come for Jess to find out what happened on the beach that day.
Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone – even a 100% bad person – deserve a chance to be good?
Twenty-nine year-old Raina is still unmarried and battling her family’s expectations for her future – they think that by now she should have been married in a dream Indian wedding. The pressure reaches new heights when her grandmother, Nani, decides to play matchmaker in order to find her the perfect arranged marriage. Eager not to disappoint her family, Raina goes along with the plan but when the love of her life returns – ex-boyfriend Dev – she’s forced to confront her true feelings. As she tries to free herself from the cultural pressures she faces, Raina realises that sometimes you have to disappoint those closest to you in order to forge your own path.
A gripping account of how, in the depths of the First World War, Russia’s greatest revolutionary was taken in a ‘sealed train’ across Europe and changed the history of the world.
By 1917 the European war seemed to be endless. Both sides in the fighting looked to new weapons, tactics and ideas to break a stalemate that was itself destroying Europe. In the German government a small group of men had a brilliant idea: why not sow further confusion in an increasingly chaotic Russia by arranging for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the most notorious of revolutionary extremists, currently safely bottled up in neutral Switzerland, to go home?
Catherine Merridale’s Lenin on the Train recreates Lenin’s extraordinary journey from harmless exile in Zurich, across a Germany falling to pieces from the war’s deprivations, and northwards to the edge of Lapland to his eventual ecstatic reception by the revolutionary crowds at Petrograd’s Finland Station.
With great skill and insight Merridale weaves the story of the train and its uniquely strange group of passengers with a gripping account of the now half-forgotten liberal Russian revolution and shows how these events intersected. She brilliantly uses a huge range of contemporary eyewitnesses, observing Lenin as he travelled back to a country he had not seen for many years. Many thought he was a mere ‘useful idiot’, others thought he would rapidly be imprisoned or killed, others that Lenin had in practice few followers and even less influence. They would all prove to be quite wrong.
As the acknowledged ‘Queen of Crime’, P. D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special short story for Christmas. Four of the best of these have been drawn from the archives and published here. P. D. James’s prose illuminates each of these perfectly formed stories, making them ideal reading for the darkest days of the year. While she delights in the secrets that lurk beneath the surface at family gatherings, her Christmas stories also provide tantalizing puzzles to keep the reader guessing.
P. D. James embraces the challenge of the short-story form, and ingeniously weaves the strands of plot, setting, characterisation and surprise to create a satisfying whole within only a few thousand words.
From the title story about a strained country-house party on Christmas Eve, to another about an illicit affair that ends in murder, and two cases for James’s poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh, each treats the reader to James’s masterfully atmospheric storytelling, always with the lure of a mystery to be solved.
London, 1654. Oliver Cromwell is at the height of his power and has declared himself Lord Protector. Yet he has many enemies, at home and abroad.
London is a teeming warren of spies and merchants, priests and soldiers, exiles and assassins. One of the web’s most fearsome spiders is Damian Seeker, agent of the Lord Protector. No one knows where Seeker comes from, who his family is, or even his real name. All that is known of him for certain is that he is utterly loyal to Cromwell, and that nothing can be long hidden from him.
In the city, coffee houses are springing up, fashionable places where men may meet to plot and gossip. Suddenly they are ringing with news of a murder. John Winter, hero of Cromwell’s all-powerful army, is dead, and the lawyer, Elias Ellingworth, found standing over the bleeding body, clutching a knife.
Yet despite the damning evidence, Seeker is not convinced of Ellingworth’s guilt. He will stop at nothing to bring the killer to justice: and Seeker knows better than any man where to search.
THE SEEKER is Winner of the 2015 CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger.
The second novel from the author of the Man Booker-shortlisted Snowdrops explores guilt, collusion and rivalry over the course of two men’s lives
California, 1993: Neil Collins and Adam Tayler, two young British men on the cusp of adulthood, meet at a hostel in San Diego. They strike up a friendship that, while platonic, feels as intoxicating as a romance; they travel up the coast together, harmlessly competitive, innocently collusive, wrapped up in each other. On a camping trip to Yosemite they lead each other to behave in ways that, years later, they will desperately regret.
The story of a friendship built on a shared guilt and a secret betrayal, The Faithful Couple follows Neil and Adam across two decades, through girlfriends and wives, success and failure, children and bereavements, as power and remorse ebb between them. Their bifurcating fates offer an oblique portrait of London in the boom-to-bust era of the nineties and noughties, with its instant fortunes and thwarted idealism. California binds them together, until-when the full truth of what happened emerges, bringing recriminations and revenge-it threatens to drive them apart.
The Faithful Couple confirms Miller as one of the most exciting and sophisticated novelists in the UK – someone who can tell a great story, with a sense of serious moral complexity. This is that rare bird: a literary novel with mass appeal as well as the potential to win prizes.
Alex Mercer and his son Max find their next-door neighbour dead in the bath. It looks like suicide, but the police want to talk to Alex’s wife.
Millicent married Alex for a work permit: at least that has become the myth. The truth is they married for love, but neither wants to be exposed as a romantic. They swear and smoke in front of their son, but that’s as far as their rebelliousness goes.
The police question Millicent about a bracelet found at the neighbour’s house. She admits to a mild flirtation –nothing more. But Max knows things about his mother that no son should know, and he wants to share that burden with his father.
Alex starts to wonder how close he came to losing his wife. Part of him is almost glad the neighbour is dead.
Then the murder investigation begins…
The exciting new Jelly Pie series of books for girls from Marianne Levy about a little film star with a big personality.
I’m an incredibly famous film star! I get to sign autographs and be in magazines and I have my very own chaperone, Jeffrey, to look after me. Hooray! But I am also a very serious person. I love nature. I have a bag decorated with butterflies. Did you know that butterflies turn into caterpillars? Amazingly amazing! And that’s why I’m helping to save a nature reserve. I’ve never saved anything before, but it can’t be very hard . . . can it?
Love, Ellie May xxx
Ellie May is the new comedy heroine on the block. With a ditzy brain but an enormous heart she finds herself in all manner of troubles, whether it’s rubbing shoulders with other celebrities or getting back to nature to protect endangered animals.
THE SPY WITH 29 NAMES is a gripping account of the exploits of Juan Pujol, the most extraordinary double agent of the Second World War, who was awarded both an Iron Cross by Germany and an MBE by Britain.
After the Spanish Civil War, determined to fight the spread of totalitarianism, Pujol pursuaded the German intelligence services to take him on. But in fact, he was determined all along to work for the British, whom he saw as the exemplar of democracy and freedom. The MI5 brought him to London, where he created a bizarre fictional network of spies – 29 of them – that misled the entire German high command, including Hitler himself. Above all, in Operation Fortitude he diverted German Panzer divisions away from Normandy, playing a crucial role in safeguarding D-Day and ending the war, and securing his reputation as the greatest double agent in history.
Meticulously researched, yet told with a novelist’s verve, THE SPY WITH 29 NAMES uncovers the reality – far, far stranger than any fiction – of one of recent history’s most important and dramatic events.