Few authors are as ambitious as Edward Rutherford. And Dublin: Foundation, the first of a massive two-part epic, is possibly Rutherford’s most challenging undertaking yet—and (on the evidence of this first book) could well be his most considerable achievement. Rutherford’s sheer readability belies his obvious seriousness. His arm-straining volumes may cover every possible variety of human experience (couched in historical backgrounds of immense detail and authenticity), but he remains a storyteller of no mean skills. From the early books that made his name (notably the much-acclaimed Sarum), through to the more recent blockbuster London, the author has combined a panoramic, Homeric vision with a James-Joyce like concentration on the minutiae of everyday life; the results of this synthesis are brought to perfectly honed effect in Dublin: Foundation.
Parallels with Joyce’s Dublin are not appropriate here, though. The scope is far wider and stretches back into history. Beginning in Pre-Christian Ireland as the Kings of Tara reigned autocratically, we encounter the lovers Prince Conall and the beautiful Deidre. An army sized dramatis personae surround the lovers, representing every player in a turbulent era. We are shown many of the key events in Irish history, with parts for Saint Patrick, the Nordic savagery of the Vikings and the battles with the cunning Henry VIII. As this operatic volume ends with the approach of the Reformation, the orchestration of narrative commands total respect. —Barry Forshaw
Mary Renault - The Persian Boy
The Persian Boy traces the last years of Alexander’s life through the eyes of his lover, Bagoas. Abducted and gelded as a boy, Bagoas was sold as a courtesan to King Darius of Persia, but found freedom with Alexander after the Macedon army conquered his homeland. Their relationship sustains Alexander as he weathers assassination plots, the demands of two foreign wives, a sometimes-mutinous army, and his own ferocious temper. After Alexander’s mysterious death, we are left wondering if this Persian boy understood the great warrior and his ambitions better than anyone.
Marlon James - A Brief History of Seven Killings
On 3 December 1976, just weeks before the general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions, seven gunmen from West Kingston stormed his house with machine guns blazing. Marley survived and went on to perform at the free concert, but the next day he left the country, and didn’t return for two years. Not a lot was recorded about the fate of the seven gunmen, but much has been said, whispered and sung about in the streets of West Kingston, with information surfacing at odd times, only to sink into rumour and misinformation. Inspired by this near-mythic event, A Brief History of Seven Killings takes the form of an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, reporters, journalists, and even Keith Richards' drug dealer. Marlon James’s bold undertaking traverses strange landscapes and shady characters, as motivations are examined – and questions asked – in this compelling novel of monumental scope and ambition.
Philippa Gregory - The Other Boleyn Girl
Mary Boleyn catches the eye of Henry VIII when she is a girl of just fourteen. But her joy is cut short when she discovers that she is a pawn in her family's plots. When the capricious king's interest warnes, Mary is ordered to pass on her knowledge of how to please him to her friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Anne soon becomes irresistible to Henry, and Mary must resign herself to being the other Boleyn girl. But beyond the court is a man who dares to challenge the power of her family to offer Mary a life of freedom and passion. If only she has the courage to break away - before the Boleyn enemies turn on the Boleyn girls... (Harper, 2011)
Diane Haeger - The Secret Bride
Mary Tudor, the headstrong younger sister of the ruthless King Henry VII, has always been her brother's favorite-but now she is also an important political bargaining chip. When she is promised to the elderly, ailing King Louis of France, a heartbroken Mary accepts her fate, but not before extracting a promise from her brother: When the old king dies, her next marriage shall be solely of her choosing. For Mary has a forbidden passion, and is determined, through her own cunning, courage, and boldness, to forge her own destiny. The Secret Bride is the triumphant tale of one extraordinary woman who meant to stay true to her heart and live her life just as her royal brother did-by her own rules...
Philippa Gregory - A Respectable Trade
Bristol in 1787 is booming, a city where power beckons those who dare to take risks. Josiah Cole, a small dockside trader, is prepared to gamble everything to join the big players of the city. But he needs capital and a well-connected wife.
Kodolányi János - A vas fiai
A tatárjárás ideje, IV. Béla tragikus küzdelme országa világi és egyházi nagyjaival, a "hűséges" szövetségessel, Harcias Frigyes osztrák herceggel, Batunak, a hódításra éhes, mégis megfontolt mongol vezérnek pusztító hadjárata elevenedik meg Kodolányi János jelentős regényében, e szélesen hömpölygő, művészi hitelű krónikában. Gyöngéd szerelem és erőszak diplomáciai cselfogások és belső viszályok, hazaszeretet és árulás, emberi nagyság és önzés váltják egymást, és szövődnek össze a könyv lapjain, mely felidézi történelmünk egyik legválságosabb, de ugyanakkor legérdekesebb korát. Kodolányi írói vállalkozása igen jelentős alkotást hozott létre, mely megjelenése idején alkalmas volt arra, hogy a történelmi regény eszközeivel intse, figyelmeztesse az országot, annak haladó és hazaszerető erőit a német fasizmus terjedésének veszélyére. A könyv értékei, művészi szépségei ma is élvezetet nyújtanak az olvasónak.
Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz - Vörös pajzsok
A kitűnő lengyel író, kinek legutóbb Máter Johanna című elbeszéléskötetét olvashattuk magyarul, e történelmi regényében páratlanul szuggesztív képet fest a XII. századról. Hőse, Szendomiri Henrik, Barbarossa császár unokatestvére és barátja. Megfordult Rómában, találkozott a forradalmár pappal, Bresciai Arnolddal, megcsodálta a szicíliai Roger király félpogány-félkeresztény világát, a templomos rend lovagjaként harcolt a Szentföldön, és Damaszkuszban megismerkedett a költő Szaladinnal, a később híres hadvezérrel. Széles látókörű és nemes szívű ember, de vajon jó politikus-e? Képes-e egyesíteni a szomszédos Németországnak kiszolgáltatott, megosztott Lengyelországot? Emberi erényei, személyes tisztessége, vonakodása az erőszakos cselekedetektől nem akadályozzák-e a hatalom okos gyakorlásában? Iwaszkiewicz regénye tulajdonképpen modern problematikát vet fel: Lengyelország és Európa kapcsolatát vizsgálja, Lengyelország szerepére világít rá Európa sorsának alakításában.
Philippa Gregory - The Queen's Fool
Into the treacherous Tudor court cornes Hannah. Becoming entangled in the schemes ofhandsome traitor Robert Dudley, she is sent as a Holy Fool to spy on Princess Mary. She finds a woman driven by a fatal desire to turn her people back to the true faith - while her sister Eliz.abpth waits to take advantage of any mistake she makes. Caught in the savage rivalry between the daughters ofHenry VIII, tom by her infatuation with Dudley and duty to her family, thrilled by her own strange gifts but scared ofthe unknown, Hannah must find a safe way through tumultuous times - when the wrong religion is a death sentence, science and rnagic are one, and true love can destroy you...
Tomori Gábor - Szívcsakra
A Szívcsakra című regény egy fiatalember és egy ifjú hölgy találkozásával indul, akik felmennek a lány lakására, és… nos, a regény nem róluk szól. Hanem Mátéról, Márkról, Lukácsról és Jánosról, akik nem azonosak Mátéval, Márkkal, Lukáccsal és Jánossal. Továbbá egy 16. századi vámpírról, aki körbeutazza a földgolyót, hogy kielégítse a vérszomját. És végül, de nem utolsósorban, egy ugyancsak 16. századi nyomozásról, amely Magyarországon folyt egy rejtélyes gyilkosságsorozat ügyében. A cselekményszálak a regény végén persze összeérnek, a rejtély megoldódik, és kiderül, hogy egy andalúziai falu 1528-ik évi történései, egy budai zsidó gyertyaöntő 1588-ik évi szállóvendégei, egy szintén budai török fürdő 21. századi felújítása, a brit hírszerzés Erzsébet-kori elődszervezete, valamint a Föld vélelmezett szívcsakráját a Pilis hegységbe helyező teória eredete között akár egészen kézzelfogható kapcsolat is lehetséges. És közben falat rezegtet a Black Sabbath, és földet renget a Motörhead.
D. M. Thomas - The White Hotel
It is a dream of electrifying eroticism and inexplicable violence, recounted by a young woman to her analyst, Sigmund Freud. It is a horrifying yet restrained narrative of the Holocaust. It is a searing vision of the wounds of our century, and an attempt to heal them. Interweaving poetry and case of history, fantasy and historical truth-telling, The White Hotel is a modern classic of enduring emotional power that attempts nothing less than to reconcile the notion of individual destiny with that of historical fate.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - The Palace of Illusions
Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to the time of the Indian epic The Mahabharat—a time that is half-history, half-myth, and wholly magical. Through her narrator Panchaali, the wife of the legendary five Pandavas brothers, Divakaruni gives us a rare feminist interpretation of an epic story. The novel traces Panchaali’s life, beginning with her magical birth in fire as the daughter of a king before following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at the brothers’ sides through years of exile and a terrible civil war. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her stratagems to take over control of her household from her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husband’s most dangerous enemy. Panchaali is a fiery female voice in a world of warriors, gods, and ever-manipulating hands of fate.
Philippa Gregory - The White Queen
The first in historical novelist Philippa Gregory's latest series The Cousins' War, The White Queen plunges the reader into the late medieval England of the Wars of the Roses. It tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the beautiful, ambitious wife of Yorkist king Edward and mother of the two princes whose deaths in the Tower of London have never really been explained. This is historical fiction as pure entertainment and none the worse for it: Gregory draws heavily on Woodville's reputation as a witch and the family myth that she cast an enchantment over Edward. Despite all the hocus-pocus, though, Gregory also keeps her reader glued with well-researched accounts of courtly intrigue and the sense that in this period, suspicion and brutal death were everywhere. There are tacky moments, such as when Elizabeth foresees Richard, who becomes the ill-fated King Richard III, dying in accordance with the lines in Shakespeare's play but this is, nonetheless, rollicking, page-turning stuff.
Michael Morpurgo - Farm Boy
Set on a farm in rural Devon, Farm Boy is a collection of Grandpa’s reminiscences and stories touchingly told to his grandson. Superbly told by a master storyteller and stunningly illustrated by Michael Foreman – an exquisite book. Joey was the last working horse on the farm, and the apple of Grandpa’s eye. In War Horse, published twelve years ago, Joey was sent away from the farm to be a warhorse in WWI. Grandpa had joined the cavalry in order to find, and fight, with Joey. Farm Boy brings us forward fifty years with Grandpa not only telling his grandson, Joey’s story but also a ‘shameful secret’ which he has held for years – Grandpa has never learned to read and write. The story is set in Iddesleigh in Devon and lovingly evokes the bonds between farm and farmer; grandson and grandfather. The spirit of rural life is superbly captured in both Michael Morpurgo’s writing and Michael Foreman’s illustrations. An irresistible title from acclaimed author-illustrator partnership. The title was first published in full colour by Pavilion.
Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Trafalgar
The seventeenth Sharpe novel sees Sharpe returning from India to London to join the newly formed Green jackets. Sharpe, though a little more comfortable with his new officer rank, is sure that this new unit is of lower status, and that he has failed. His ship home is shipwrecked: he is captured by pirates but fighting free with a few companions, finds himself on a British Navy ship heading to join Nelson's fleet. And there, in October 1805, he finds himself involved in the great sea battle, and discovers new skills in fighting on sea.
Barbara Lazar - The Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai
In the rich, dazzling, brutal world of twelfth century Japan, one young girl begins her epic journey, from the warmth of family to the Village of Outcasts. Marked out by an auspicious omen, she is trained in the ancient warrior arts of the samurai. But it is through the power of storytelling that she learns to fight her fate, twisting her life onto a path even she could not have imagined..
Mary Ann Shaffer - Annie Barrows - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams finds Juliet's name in a used book and invites articulate—and not-so-articulate—neighbors to write Juliet with their stories, the book's epistolary circle widens, putting Juliet back in the path of war stories. The occasionally contrived letters jump from incident to incident—including the formation of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while Guernsey was under German occupation—and person to person in a manner that feels disjointed. But Juliet's quips are so clever, the Guernsey inhabitants so enchanting and the small acts of heroism so vivid and moving that one forgives the authors (Shaffer died earlier this year) for not being able to settle on a single person or plot. Juliet finds in the letters not just inspiration for her next work, but also for her life—as will readers.
Philippa Gregory - Earthly Joys
Tremendous historical novel of the early 1600s, as seen through the eyes of John Tradescant, gardener to the great men of the age. A traveller in a time of discovery, the greatest gardening pioneer of his day, yet a man of humble birth: John Tradescant's story is a mirror to the extraordinary age in which he lives. As gardener and confidante to Sir Robert Cecil, Tradescant is well placed to observe the social and political changes that are about to sweep through the kingdom. While his master conjures intrigues at Court, Tradescant designs for him the magnificent garden at Hatfield, scouring the known world for ever more wonderful plants: new varieties of fruit and flower, the first horse chestnuts to be cultivated in England, even larches from Russia. Moving to the household of the flamboyant Duke of Buckingham, Tradescant witnesses at first hand the growing division between Parliament and the people; and the most loyal of servants must find a way to become an independent squire.
Colm Tóibín - The Master
In _The Master_, Colm Tóibín captures the exquisite anguish of a man who circulated in the grand parlours and palazzos of Europe, who was astonishingly vibrant and alive in his art, and yet whose attempts at intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love. It is a powerful account of the hazards of putting the life of the mind before affairs of the heart.
Philippa Gregory - The Red Queen
Heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort never surrenders her belief that her house is the true ruler of England and that she has a great destiny before her. Her ambitions are disappointed when her sainted cousin Henry VI fails to recognize her as a kindred spirit, and she is even more dismayed when he sinks into madness. Her mother mocks her plans, revealing that Margaret will always be burdened with the reputation of her father, one of the most famously incompetent English commanders in France. But worst of all for Margaret is when she discovers that her mother is sending her to a loveless marriage in remote Wales. Married to a man twice her age, quickly widowed, and a mother at only fourteen, Margaret is determined to turn her lonely life into a triumph. She sets her heart on putting her son on the throne of England regardless of the cost to herself, to England, and even to the little boy. Disregarding rival heirs and the overwhelming power of the York dynasty, she names him Henry, like the king; sends him into exile; and pledges him in marriage to her enemy Elizabeth of York's daughter. As the political tides constantly move and shift, Margaret charts her own way through another loveless marriage, treacherous alliances, and secret plots. She feigns loyalty to the usurper Richard III and even carries his wife's train at her coronation. Widowed a second time, Margaret marries the ruthless, deceitful Thomas, Lord Stanley, and her fate stands on the knife edge of his will. Gambling her life that he will support her, she then masterminds one of the greatest rebellions of the time - all the while knowing that her son has grown to manhood, recruited an army, and now waits for his opportunity to win the greatest prize. In a novel of conspiracy, passion, and coldhearted ambition, number one bestselling author Philippa Gregory has brought to life the story of a proud and determined woman who believes that she alone is destined, by her piety and lineage, to shape the course of history.
Szerencsés Károly - Ahogy rendeltetett
"Valami fontosat akartam mondani életről, szerelemről, országról, de most, mikor átadom az Olvasónak e könyvet, érzem: mániákusan csak azt a pillanatot kerestem, mikor omlik össze minden. A XX. század hetvenes éveiben járunk, ahová még elért a tatáőrokkal viaskodó magyarok vére, s ahol a központi elvtársak vezetésével épült a szocializmus. Hencegőn egyszerűnek tűnt a jövő, s mégis összeomlott minden: élet, rendszer, szerelem, de megmaradt az ország, s az ember is, hogy tökéletesedjen és szabadabb legyen: ahogy rendeltetett. Így lesz minden Halál után: sok szomorúság és sok öröm, új Élet, mely adatott az új embereknek. S már nem is fontos éltem-e én?"