After her award-winning trilogy of Victorian novels, Sarah Waters turned to the 1940s and wrote THE NIGHT WATCH, a tender and tragic novel set against the backdrop of wartime Britain. Shortlisted for both the Orange and the Man Booker, it went straight to number one in the bestseller chart. In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his. Prepare yourself. From this wonderful writer who continues to astonish us, now comes a chilling ghost story.
Sarah Waters - Tipping the Velvet
This stunning and steamy debut chronicles the adventures of Nan King, a small-town girl at the turn of the century whose life takes a wild turn of its own when she follows a local music hall star to London… "Glorious…a sexy, sinewy sojourn of a young woman in turn-of-the-century England."–The Boston Globe "Erotic and absorbing…If lesbian fiction is to reach a wider readership, Waters is the person to carry the banner."–The New York Times Book Review "Wonderful…a sensual experience that leaves the reader marveling at the author's craftsmanship, idiosyncrasy and sheer effort."–The San Francisco Chronicle "Amazing….This is the lesbian novel we've all been waiting for."–Salon.com "Compelling…Readers of all sexes and orientations should identify with this gutsy hero as she learns who she is and how to love."–Newsday "Echoes of Tom Jones, Great Expectations…Waters's debut offers terrific entertainment: pulsating with highly charged (and explicitly presented) erotic heat."–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Gail Carriger - Heartless
Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant. Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?
Iain Pears - An Instance of the Fingerpost
_An Instance of the Fingerpost_ is that rarest of all possible literary beasts - a mystery powered as much by ideas as by suspects, autopsies, and smoking guns. Hefty, intricately plotted, and intellectually ambitious, _Fingerpost_ has drawn the inevitable comparisons to Umberto Eco's _The Name of the Rose_ and, for once, the comparison is apt. The year is 1663, and the setting is Oxford, England, during the height of Restoration political intrigue. When Dr. Robert Grove is found dead in his Oxford room, hands clenched and face frozen in a rictus of pain, all the signs point to poison. Rashomon-like, the narrative circles around Grove's murder as four different characters give their version of events: Marco da Cola, a visiting Italian physician - or so he would like the reader to believe; Jack Prestcott, the son of a traitor who fled the country to avoid execution; Dr. John Wallis, a mathematician and cryptographer with a predilection for conspiracy theories; and Anthony Wood, a mild-mannered Oxford antiquarian whose tale proves to be the book's "instance of the fingerpost". (The quote comes from the philosopher Bacon, who, while asserting that all evidence is ultimately fallible, allows for "one instance of a fingerpost that points in one direction only, and allows of no other possibility".) Like _The Name of the Rose,_ this is one whodunit in which the principal mystery is the nature of truth itself. Along the way, Pears displays a keen eye for period details as diverse as the early days of medicine, the convoluted politics of the English Civil War, and the newfangled fashion for wigs. Yet Pears never loses sight of his characters, who manage to be both utterly authentic denizens of the 17th century and utterly authentic human beings. As a mystery, _An Instance of the Fingerpost_ is entertainment of the most intelligent sort; as a novel of ideas, it proves equally satisfying.
Terry Pratchett - Jingo
Discworld goes to war, with armies of sardines, warriors, fishermen, squid and at least oen very camp follower. As two armies march, Commander Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch faces unpleasant foes who are out to get him... and that's just the people on his side. The enemy might be even worse. Jingo, the 21st in Terry Pratchett' s phenomenally successful Discworld series, makes the World Cup look like a friendly five-a-side.
Terry Pratchett - The Truth
William just wants to get at the truth. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to get at William, and it's only the third edition... William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld's first newspaper. Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalist's life - people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes.
J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter receives an ominous warning from a house-elf at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: if he returns to the school at the end of the summer, terrible things will happen. But return Harry must. His second year begins with a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Quidditch training and the intensification of old rivalries. Then the warning starts to ring true, as mysterious words are daubed on a wall, students are attacked and Ron's sister, Ginny, disappears. And so the search for Salazar Slytherin's heir begins, with the mystery pointing Harry to a clandestine chamber and a deadly creature at its heart...
J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon’s house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him who’s parents have been killed in a ‘car crash’. He is bullied by them and his fat, spoilt cousin Dudley, and lives a very unremarkable life with only the odd hiccup (like his hair growing back overnight!) to cause him much to think about. That is until an owl turns up with a letter addressed to Harry and all hell breaks loose! He is literally rescued by a world where nothing is as it seems and magic lessons are the order of the day. Read and find out how Harry discovers his true heritage at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, the reason behind his parents mysterious death, who is out to kill him, and how he uncovers the most amazing secret of all time, the fabled Philosopher’s Stone! All this and muggles too. Now, what are they?? The Author: This is Jo’s first book and she has already written seven outlines for Harry’s further adventures at Hogwarts. She lives in Edinburgh.
Terry Pratchett - Thud!
Koom Valley? That was where the trolls ambushed the dwarfs, or the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. It was far away. It was a long time ago. But if he doesn't solve the murder of just one dwarf, Commander Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch is going to see it fought again, right outside his office. With his beloved Watch crumbling around him and war-drums sounding, he must unravel every clue, outwit every assassin and brave any darkness to find the solution. And darkness is following him. Oh... and at six o'clock every day, without fail, with no excuses, he must go home to read Where's My Cow?, with all the right farmyard noises, to his little boy. There are some things you have to do.
Terry Pratchett - The Wee Free Men
There's trouble on the Aching farm - a monster in the river, a headless horseman in the driveway and nightmares spreading down from the hills. And now Tiffany Aching's little brother has been stolen by the Queen of the Fairies (although Tiffany doesn't think this is entirely a bad thing). Tiffany's got to get him back. To help her, she has a weapon (a frying pan), her granny's magic book (well, Diseases of the Sheep, actually) and - 'Crivens! Whut aboot us, ye daftie!' - oh, yes. She's also got the Nac Mac Feegle, the Wee Free Men, the fightin', thievin', tiny blue-skinned pictsies who were thrown out of Fairyland for being Drunk and Disorderly . . . A wise, witty and wonderfully inventive adventure set in the Discworld.
J. K. Rowling - The Casual Vacancy
When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
Iain Banks - The Business
Kate Telman is a senior executive officer in The Business, a powerful and massively discreet transglobal organisation. Financially transparent, internally democratic and disavowing conventional familial inheritance, the character of The Business seems, even to Kate, to be vague to the point of invisibility. It possesses, allegedly, a book of Leonardo cartoons, several sets of Crown Jewels and wants to buy its own State in order to acquire a seat at the United Nations. Kate's job is to keep abreast of current technological developments and her global reach encompasses Silicon Valley, a ranch in Nebraska, the firm's secretive Swiss headquarters, and a remote Himalayan principality. In the course of her journey Kate must peel away layers of emotional insulation and the assumptions of a lifetime. She must learn to keep her world at arm's length. To take control, she has to do The Business.
Terry Pratchett - Making Money
It's an offer you can't refuse. Who would not wish to be the man in charge of Ankh-Morpork's Royal Mint and the bank next door? It's a job for life. But, as former conman Moist von Lipwig is learning, life is not necessarily for long. The Chief Cashier is almost certainly a vampire. There's something nameless in the cellar (and the cellar itself is pretty nameless), and it turns out that the Royal Mint runs at a loss. A three-hundred-year-old wizard is after his girlfriend, he's about to be exposed as a fraud, but the Assassins' Guild might get to him first.. In fact, a lot of people want him dead. Oh. And every day he has to take the Chairman for walkies. Everywhere he looks he's making enemies. What he should be doing is... Making Money!
Terry Pratchett - A Hat Full of Sky
'Crivens!' A real witch never casually steps out of her body, leaving it empty. Eleven-year-old Tiffany does. And there's something just waiting for a handy body to take over. Something ancient and horrible, which can't die... Wise, witty and wonderful. A Hat Full of Sky is Terry Pratchett's second novel about Tiffany and the Wee Free Men - the rowdiest, toughest, smelliest bunch of fairies ever. They'll fight anything. And even they might not be enough to save Tiffany...
Terry Pratchett - Snuff
According to the writer of the best-selling crime novel ever to have been published in the city of Ankh-Morpork, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse. And Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe. There are many, many bodies and an ancient crime more terrible than murder. He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, and occasionally snookered and out of his mind, but never out of guile. Where there is a crime there must be a finding, there must be a chase and there must be a punishment. They say that in the end all sins are forgiven. But not quite all..
Terry Pratchett - Going Postal
Moist von Lipwig is a con artist... ..and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's ailing postal service back on its feet. It's a tough decision. But he's got to see that the mail gets through, come rain, hail, sleet, dogs, the Post Office Workers' Friendly and Benevolent Society, the evil chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, and a midnight killer. Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too.
Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean At The End of the Lane is a novel about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. It began for our narrator forty years ago when he was seven: the lodger stole the family's car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed -- within his family, and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a ramshackle farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac -- as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark.
Mark Lawrence - Prince of Fools
Hailed as "epic fantasy on a George R. R. Martin scale, but on speed" (Fixed on Fantasy), the Broken Empire trilogy introduced a bold new world of dark fantasy with the story of Jorg Ancrath’s devastating rise to power. Now, Mark Lawrence returns to the Broken Empire with the tale of a less ambitious prince... The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all. The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong. After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.
Terry Pratchett - Thief of Time
Time is a resource. Everyone knows it has to be managed. And on Discworld that is the job of the Monks of History, who store it and pump it from the places where it's wasted (like underwater - how much time does a codfish need?) to places like cities where there's never enough time. But the construction of the world's first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well, time for Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd. Because it will stop time. And that will only be the start of everyone's problems. Thief of Time comes complete with a full supporting cast of heroes and villains, yetis, martial artists and Ronnie, the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (who left before they became famous).
Iain Pears - The Bernini Bust
British art historian Jonathan Argyll has just sold a minor Titian to an American museum for a highly inflated price. But as he complacently awaits his cheque in the Californian sunshine, trouble erupts: the museum's billionaire owner is murdered, a dubious art dealer disappears, and a Bernini bust, apparently smuggled out of Italy, is missing. Things could hardly be worse, and the situation calls for assistance from his friends General Bottando and Flavia di Stefano of the Italian National Art Theft Squad, especially as things do get worse - the killer's attention turns to Jonathan himself. Cleverly mixing murder with art, _The Bernini Bust_ is a witty and intriguing mystery from the bestselling author of _An Instance of the Fingerpost._
Julian Barnes - Arthur & George
Arthur and George grow up worlds and miles apart in late nineteenth-century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Edinburgh, George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur becomes a doctor, and then a writer; George a solicitor in Birmingham. Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age, George remains in hardworking obscurity. But as the new century begins, they are brought together by a sequence of events which made sensational headlines at the time as The Great Wyrley Outrages. George Edjali's father is Indian, his mother Scottish. When the family begins to receive vicious anonymous letters, many about their son, they put it down to racial prejudice. They appeal to the police, to no less than the Chief Constable, but to their dismay he appears to suspect George of being the letters' author. Then someone starts slashing horses and livestock. Again the police seem to suspect the shy, aloof Birmingham solicitor. He is arrested and, on the flimsiest evidence, sent to trial, found guilty and sentenced to seven years' hard labour. Arthur Conan Doyle, famous as the creator of the world's greatest detective, is mourning his first wife (having been chastely in love for ten years with the woman who was to become his second) when he hears about the Edjali case. Incensed at this obvious miscarriage of justice, he is galvanised into trying to clear George's name. With a mixture of detailed research and vivid imagination, Julian Barnes brings to life not just this long-forgotten case, but the inner lives of these two very different men. The reader sees them both with stunning clarity, and almost inhabits them as they face the vicissitudes of their lives, whether in the dock hearing a verdict of guilty, or trying to live an honourable life while desperately in love with another woman. This is a novel in which the events of a hundred years ago constantly set off contemporary echoes, a novel about low crime and high spirituality, guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race; about what we think, what we believe, and what we know. Julian Barnes has long been recognised as one of Britain's most remarkable writers. While those already familiar with his work will enjoy its elegance, its wit, its profound wisdom about the human condition, Arthur and George will surely find him an entirely new audience.