‘As he dug he heard the familiar sound, like a giant ripping heavyweight canvas, an automatic weapon throwing bullets at the cyclic rate of almost two thousand rounds a minute , and the bullets tore into the side of the Maserati, beating in the metal with an ear-numbing clangor, while glass exploded in upon Peter like the glittering spray as the storm-driven wave strikes a rock. Glass chips pelted across his back, and stung his cheek and the back of his neck. They sparkled like a diamond tiara in his hair.’
The hijacking of a jumbo jet off the Seychelles galvanizes anti-terrorist chief Peter Stride into the action for which he has spent a lifetime training. But even in the hail of bullets which follows, he knows that this is only the beginning of a nightmare. Stride is the one man who might find the twisted genius who holds the world hostage – if only his every move were not anticipated by the enemy …
Tom Harper - The Book of Secrets
In a snowbound village in the German mountains, a young woman discovers an extraordinary secret. Before she can reveal it, she disappears. All that survives is a picture of a mysterious medieval playing card that has perplexed scholars for centuries. Nick Ash does research for the FBI in New York. Six months ago his girlfriend Gillian walked out and broke his heart. Now he's the only person who can save her - if it's not too late. Within hours of getting her message, Nick finds himself on the run, delving deep into the past before it catches up with him. Hunted across Europe, Nick follows Gillian's trail into the heart of a five-hundred-year-old mystery. But across the centuries, powerful forces are closing around him. There are men who have devoted their lives to keeping the secret, and they will stop at nothing to protect it.
Wilbur Smith - Gold Mine
North of Johannesburg, five companies share the Kitchenerville fields, furiously blasting and digging deep into the earth. For some men, gold mining is a way of life--and death. For some it's just a business. For one man, it's the most dangerous game of all... Rod Ironsides makes love to his boss's wife and drives his miners faster and harder than anyone has ever dared. A few weeks ago, Ironsides had a passion for golf and one-night stands. Now, he has been handed a prize and a curse: to blast through rock and reap a fortune--or be destroyed. From a split-second, oxygen-sucking explosion to a looming underground wall of water, there are a dozen ways Rod can fail. But his passion and fury won't let him back down from a conspiracy he cannot see: men who want to turn his mine into a death trap--for the bloodiest pay-day of all...
Ann Patchett - Bel Canto
In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry. Among the hostages are not only Hosokawa and Roxane Coss, the American soprano, but an assortment of Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Reuben Iglesias, the diminutive and gracious vice president, quickly gets sideways of the kidnappers, who have no interest in him whatsoever. Meanwhile, a Swiss Red Cross negotiator named Joachim Messner is roped into service while vacationing. He comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands, and the days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months. With the omniscience of magic realism, Ann Patchett flits in and out of the hearts and psyches of hostage and terrorist alike, and in doing so reveals a profound, shared humanity. Her voice is suitably lyrical, melodic, full of warmth and compassion. Hearing opera sung live for the first time, a young priest reflects: Never had he thought, never once, that such a woman existed, one who stood so close to God that God's own voice poured from her. How far she must have gone inside herself to call up that voice. It was as if the voice came from the center part of the earth and by the sheer effort and diligence of her will she had pulled it up through the dirt and rock and through the floorboards of the house, up into her feet, where it pulled through her, reaching, lifting, warmed by her, and then out of the white lily of her throat and straight to God in heaven. Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give, even in a novel so imbued with the rich imaginative potential of magic realism. But in a fractious world, Bel Canto remains a gentle reminder of the transcendence of beauty and love. --Victoria Jenkins
Dan Brown - The Da Vinci Code
Harvard professor Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call while on business in Paris: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered inside the museum. Alongside the body, police have found a series of baffling codes. As Langdon and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, begin to sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to find a trail that leads to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci - and suggests the answer to a mystery that stretches deep into the vault of history. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine code and quickly assemble the pieces of the puzzle, a stunning historical truth will be lost forever...
Wilbur Smith - River God
River God follows the fate of the Egyptian Kingdom through the eyes of Taita, a multi-talented and highly skilled eunuch slave. Taita is owned by Lord Intef and primarily looks after his daughter, Lostris, but also plays a large role in the day to day running of Lord Intef's estate. The Pharaoh of Egypt is without a male heir, and Taita inadvertently causes Pharaoh to take an interest in Lostris. Lostris meanwhile is in love with the soldier Tanus, who unbeknownst to her is hated by her father. Eventually Pharaoh marries Lostris and Intef reluctantly gives Taita to her as a wedding gift. Meanwhile, Tanus has angered Pharaoh by speaking bluntly about the troubles Egypt is in - most prominently the growing bandit threat which terrorizes all who travel outside of the major cities. Pharaoh condemns him to death for his actions, but is convinced to allow Tanus to redeem himself by attempting to eliminate all the bandits from Egypt within two years. Since his sentence is revealed on the last day of the festival of Osiris, he is to return on that day of the next festival with his task complete or face death by strangulation. Tanus, with the help of Taita, hunts down and captures the leaders of the Shrike bandits. On presenting them to Pharaoh, it is revealed that their leader is Lord Intef. Tanus has his death sentence lifted, but Intef manages to escape before he can be punished for his crimes. After the sentence is announced a storm sweeps through allowing Lostris and Tanus time to be secretly alone together. During this time Lostris conceives Tanus' first born, and before the secret can be discovered Taita arranges for her to resume her wifely duties to Pharaoh. When the child is born he is named Memnon and claimed by the Pharaoh as his own, and his true paternity is known only to Lostris, Taita, and Tanus. A new threat to the kingdom emerges - the warlike Hyksos. Equipped with the horse and chariot, as well as a superior recurved bow, their technological superiority is far greater than the Egyptian army's. The Pharaoh is killed, forcing a majority of the Egyptian nobility (including Lostris, Tanus, and Taita) to flee Egypt by heading up the Nile with the remaining army. During their exile Lostris gives birth to two more of Tanus' children, both daughters, but as their relationship has been a secret Taita creates a cover story where the ghost of Pharaoh sires the child. During their period in exile, they regain their technical superiority - Taita replicates and improves both the chariots and bows he has seen used to such great effect on the battlefield. While searching for a suitable burying place for Pharaoh's body, Taita is taken captive by one of the Ethiopian chieftains of the area - the brutal Arkoun. While in captivity, Taita becomes close friends with Masara, a fellow captive and the daughter of one of the rival chieftains. Taita eventually escapes captivity due to a freak flooding, finds the father of Masara, and strikes a deal with him to rescue Masara. With the help of Tanus, Memnon, and the Egyptian army, Arkoun is defeated. Tanus is mortally wounded during the battle and dies. Masara and Memnon fall in love and become married, with a wedding gift of several thousand horses which further boost the Egyptian army. Led by their new Pharaoh Tamose (formerly Prince Memnon), they return to Egypt. With their new-found weaponry and tactics, they defeat the Hyksos invaders and regain the upper kingdom of Egypt from Elephantine to Thebes.
Wilbur Smith - The Sound of Thunder
"In this astounding saga of colonial Africa, "New York Times "bestselling author Wilbur Smith captures a clash of nations--and the clamoring of one man's heart and soul..." IN A WONDROUS LAND, THE CANNONS OF WAR BEGIN TO RAGE... The year is 1899. The British Empire is at the height of its power. But in South Africa, proud Dutch colonists defy the Queen and her army--and a lush, wild world is torn apart by guns, spears, and swords. WHILE ONE MAN FIGHTS ALONE. Sean Courtney had been tragically separated from his family, but the Boer War has brought him back to his homeland--and into the sights of his enemy's guns. It has also returned him to Ruth Friedman, the only woman Sean can love, even though he shouldn't. As Sean's loyalties--to nation, man, and blood--are tested, a saga of duty and betrayal unfolds.... " " "THE SOUND OF THUNDER" "Action is Smith's game, and he is a master." "--The Washington Post Book World"
Wilbur Smith - The Triumph of the Sun
In the Sudan, decades of brutal misgovernment by the ruling Egyptian Khedive in Cairo precipitate a fierce and bloody rebellion and Holy War headed by a charismatic new religious leader, The Madhi or "Expected One". The British are forced to intervene to protect their national interests and to attempt to rescue the hundreds of British subjects stranded in the country. Along with hundreds of others, British trader and businessman, Ryder Courtney is trapped in the capital city of Khartoum. It is here that he meets Captain Penrod Ballantyne of the 10th Hussars, as well as the British Consul, David Benbrook and his three beautiful daughters. Against the vivid and bloody backdrop of the siege of Khartoum, in which British General Charles George Gordon is killed and the British retreat, these three powerful men fight to survive. 'A fine storyteller . . . TRIUMPH OF THE SUN is one of his very best' Daily Mail
Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol
The most anticipated publication of the decade, The Lost Symbol is the stunning new thriller featuring Robert Langdon. Six years in the writing, it is Dan Brown's extraordinary sequel to his internationally bestselling Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Nothing is ever what it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. Set over a breathtaking 12 hour time span, the book's narrative takes the reader on an exhilarating journey through a masterful and unexpected landscape as Professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon, is once again called into action.
Janet Evanovich - Two for the Dough
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is still learning the ropes at her cousin Vinnie’s bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso—a suspiciously wealthy, working class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend—the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli—who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch—only makes the hunt more thrilling…. Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol-packing Granda Mazur as a decoy, Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move…and his next move might be Stephanie’s last.
Steve Berry - The Jefferson Key
Cotton Malone has been called on to defend his country's safety in many exotic locations around the world, often using his knowledge of history to get to the heart of mysteries and conspiracies stretching back for centuries. But never has the danger been quite so close to home. A stunning opening sets the tone of explosive action and mind-bending intrigue as Cotton battles an extraordinary group of families whose unseen influence dates back to the pages of the U.S. Constitution - and whose thirst for power is about to be satisfied by the cracking of a code devised by Thomas Jefferson himself.
Agatha Christie - Why Didn't They Ask Evans?
When a man plunges down a cliff, two adventurous young friends decide to find his killer! While playing an erratic round of golf, Bobby Jones slices his ball over the edge of a cliff. His ball is lost, but on the rocks below he finds the crumpled body of a dying man. With his final breath the man opens his eyes and says, 'Why didn't they ask Evans?' Haunted by these words, Bobby and his vivacious companion, Frankie, set out to solve a mystery that will bring them into mortal danger!
Gaston Leroux - The Phantom of the Opera
The little known, brilliant original text by Gaston Leroux has been immortalized by screen and stage adaptations. One of the greatest horror stories of all time, The Phantom of the Opera makes compulsive reading. It abounds with wonderful descriptions, extraordinary events, tragedy, horror, pathos, tremendous humour and a gallery of charming minor characters. Leroux's portrait of the hideous musician, crazed by his own extreme ugliness, shows compassionate insight into a criminally insane mind. MUsic infuses the story, enriching the many dimensions of the novel which is steeped in the glamour of life at the Pris Opera. The author's knowledge of the building itself and the extraordinary history of its construction create a basis of realism in the story. Incredible, seeminly supernatural elements are artfully infused with real facts, with references to real people, places and events, so that the novel is a dazzling blend of illusion and reality, between which it is hard to distinguish, so that each chilling moment is intensified. Gaston Leroux was a master of his genre.
Iris Murdoch - A Severed Head
Martin Lynch-Gibbon believes he can possess both a beautiful wife and a delightful lover. But when his wife, Antonia, suddenly leaves him for her psychoanalyst, Martin is plunged into an intensive emotional re-education. He attempts to behave beautifully and sensibly. Then he meets a woman whose demonic splendour at first repels him and later arouses a consuming and monstrous passion. As his Medusa informs him, 'this is nothing to do with happiness'.
Agatha Christie - The Secret of Chimneys
What connects Chimneys, a formidable country estate nestled in the English countryside, with the small Balkan nation of Herzoslovakia? If Anthony Cade had known the answer, perhaps the chance to earn a thousand pounds just delivering a parcel would not have seemed like such easy money! The Secret of Chimneys was written in 1925 - a mystery thriller involving jewel thieves, a murderous international conspiracy, and the combined forces of Scotland Yard and the French Sûreté.
Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express
Travelling on the Orient Express, Poirot is approached by a desperate American named Ratchett. Afraid that someone plans to kill him, Ratchett asks Poirot for help. Sadly the very next day Ratchett's worst fears become reality, when he is found dead in his cabin, a victim of multiple stab wounds. With nothing but a scrap of paper to go on, Poirot must piece together Ratchett’s identity before he can establish which of his fellow passengers murdered him.
Agatha Christie - By the Pricking of My Thumbs
In the nursing home where Tommy Beresford's aunt Ada now lives, fellow resident Mrs. Lancaster stirs up worry among those in charge with her bizarre, disjointed ramblings about 'your poor child' and 'something behind the fireplace'. Intrigued, Tommy and his wife Tuppence, who are now in their sixties, conduct an investigation that leads them down some dark and dangerous paths, and possibly into a confrontation with a child killer...
Agatha Christie - Dumb Witness
Everyone blamed Emily’s accident on a rubber ball left on the stairs by her frisky terrier. But the more she thought about her fall, the more convinced she became that someone was trying to kill her. On April 17th she wrote her suspicions in a letter to Hercule Poirot. Mysteriously he didn’t receive the letter until June 28th… by which time Emily was already dead… ‘One of Poirot’s most brilliant achievements.’ Glasgow Herald
Agatha Christie - N or M?
After the outbreak of the Second World War and many years after they worked for British intelligence, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford feel useless and sidelined. When Tommy is approached to go undercover once more, however, Tuppence decides to join him on his mission whether she is wanted or not. The duo begin a search for a German agent who may have infiltrated British command. Another British agent that was following these Germans left a cryptic message on his deathbed: "N or M. Song Susie". Grant knew that "Song Susie" stood for Sans Souci, a hotel in Leahampton, and N and M were two German spies, one male and one female. Tommy is to go to Sans Souci to investigate whether N, M or both are at the hotel and to figure out their identities. The plot of the book is filled with many plot-twists and an action-packed denouement.
Agatha Christie - 4.50 from Paddington
A friend of Miss Marple claims to have seen a murder committed on a passing train, but the police dismiss it, as no body has been found in the train or surrounding area, so the two women begin an investigation of their own.