The rugged landscape of Scotland attracts dreamers who move north, wrapped in fantasies of enjoying the simple life. They usually don’t last, but it looks as if Effie Garrard has come to stay. When Constable Hamish Macbeth calls on her, he’s amazed that she weathered the difficult winter. But Effie is quite delusional, imagining that she’s engaged to local artist Jock Fleming. Later, Effie is found in the mountains, poisoned by hemlock.
J. F. Penn - One Day in Budapest
A relic, stolen from the heart of an ancient city. An echo of nationalist violence not seen since the dark days of the Second World War. Budapest, Hungary. When a priest is murdered at the Basilica of St Stephen and the Holy Right relic is stolen, the ultra-nationalist Eröszak party calls for retribution and anti-Semitic violence erupts in the city. Dr Morgan Sierra, psychologist and ARKANE agent, finds herself trapped inside the synagogue with Zoltan Fischer, a Hungarian Jewish security advisor. As the terrorism escalates, Morgan and Zoltan must race against time to find the Holy Right and expose the conspiracy, before blood is spilled again on the streets of Budapest. One Day In Budapest is a chilling view of a possible future as Eastern Europe embraces right-wing nationalism. A conspiracy thriller for fans of Daniel Silva, where religion and politics intersect. The novella features Dr Morgan Sierra from the ARKANE thrillers, but is stand-alone and can be read separately from the ARKANE series.
Emily Brontë - Wuthering Heights (Penguin Readers)
On the wild and lonely Yorkshire moors a targic love story unfold as Cathrine Earnshow and Heathcliff fall in love. But Cathy marries another man, Edgar Linton, and breaks Heathcliff's heart. Years later, he returns to Wuthering Heights and takes his revenge on the Linton family.
Ian McGuire - The North Water
A 19th-century whaling ship sets sail for the Arctic with a killer aboard in this dark, sharp and highly original tale that grips like a thriller. Behold the man: stinking, drunk, brutal and bloodthirsty, Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaling ship bound for the hunting waters of the Arctic Circle. Also aboard is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money and no better option than to embark as ship's medic on this ill-fated voyage. In India during the Siege of Delhi, Sumner thought he had experienced the depths to which a man can stoop and imagined he'd find respite on the Volunteer, but now, trapped in the wooden belly of the ship with Drax, he encounters pure evil and is forced to act. As the true purposes of the expedition become clear, the confrontation between the two men plays out in the freezing darkness of an Arctic winter.
Mary Westmacott - Giant's Bread
A newly reissued edition of Agatha Christie's 'Mary Westmacott' novel, a Crime of the Heart novel about a soldier who returns from the grave. Vernon Deyre is a sensitive and brilliant musician, even a genius. But there is a high price to be paid for his talent, especially by his family and the two women in his life. His sheltered childhood in the home he loves has not prepared Vernon for the harsh reality of his adult years, and in order to write the great masterpiece of his life, he has to make a crucial decision with no time left to count the cost...
Margaret Drabble - The Ice Age
Anthony Keating is a middle-aged property developer in Yorkshire in the mid-seventies. Having escaped London's hustle-bustle and survived a heart attack aged just thirty eight, he awaits the return of his lover Alison, who is trying to help her daughter incarcerated in a draconian Eastern bloc country. With debts spiralling out of control, Anthony realises that he and his friends are bound to the engine driving the society in which they live and that should it falter, so will they. The Ice Age is a portrait of a Britain of boom and bust, and greed - and uncannily predicts the Thatcher years.
Patricia Cornwell - The Front
Massachusetts State Investigator Win Garano is given one of his most challenging cases yet when he is asked to investigate the death of a young British woman murdered more than forty years ago. Assumed to be a victim of the Boston Strangler, blind Janie Brolin was raped and left for dead in 1962. With no DNA and sketchy police records, this is a case that will test Garano to his limits. It will take him on a journey through the archives, into the latest innovations in forensic technology, and into partnership with senior officers at London's New Scotland Yard. And as Garano unearths deadly secrets from the past, his hard-nosed boss Monique Lamont is putting both their lives in jeopardy with her lust for power and success. With past and present colliding, the tension mounts with every page...
Lissa Evans - Big Change for Stuart
Stuart Horten (ten, but looks younger) is now the owner of a magician’s workshop – except that without his Great-Uncle’s Last Will and Testament, he can’t actually prove it. Which is a problem, since someone else wants it as well; someone who has a lot of money. The workshop contains seven magnificent stage illusions, but when Stuart starts to investigate them, he discovers that each is the gateway to a magical adventure, with a puzzle to solve, and a clue to extract. As the clues mount up, the adventures become riskier. Friendship is strained, and danger looms and Stuart has to decide what sort of prize he really, truly wants.
Lissa Evans - Small Change for Stuart
Stuart Horten—ten years old and small for his age—moves to the dreary town of Beeton, far away from all his friends. And then he meets his new next-door neighbours, the unbearable Kingley triplets, and things get even worse. But in Beeton begins the strangest adventure of Stuart’s life as he is swept up in quest to find his great-uncle’s lost workshop—a workshop stuffed with trickery and magic. There are clues to follow and puzzles to solve, but what starts as fun ends up as danger, and Stuart begins to realize that he can’t finish the task by himself. . . .
Lissa Evans - Horten's Incredible Illusions
Stuart Horten (ten, but looks younger) is now the owner of a magician's workshop - except that without his Great-Uncle's Last Will and Testament, he can't actually prove it.Which is a problem, since someone else wants it as well; someone who has a lot of money. The workshop contains seven magnificent stage illusions, but when Stuart starts to investigate them, he discovers that each is the gateway to a magical adventure, with a puzzle to solve, and a clue to extract. As the clues mount up, the adventures become riskier. Friendship is strained, and danger looms and Stuart has to decide what sort of prize he really, truly wants.
Deborah Chiel - Music Box
Ann Talbot refuses to believe the horrible accusations that her father is a Nazi war criminal. As a lawyer, she will defend him. As a daughter, she must stand by her father's side no matter what the public believes. But as a human being, she must open her heart to the darkest, most frightening possibilities of human nature ... A challenging mystery, a powerful courtroom drama, and one of the most provocatively human stories of our time.
J. G. Ballard - The Drought
The world is threatened by dramatic climate change in this highly acclaimed and influential novel, one of the most important early works by the bestselling author of ‘Cocaine Nights’ and ‘Super-Cannes’. Water. Man’s most precious commodity is a luxury of the past. Radioactive waste from years of industrial dumping has caused the sea to form a protective skin strong enough to devastate the Earth it once sustained. And while the remorseless sun beats down on the dying land, civilisation itself begins to crack. Violence erupts and insanity reigns as the remnants of mankind struggle for survival in a worldwide desert of despair.
Peter Carey - Parrot and Olivier in America
Olivier is a French aristocrat, the traumatized child of survivors of the Revolution. Parrot is the son of an itinerant printer who always wanted to be an artist but has ended up a servant. Born on different sides of history, their lives will be brought together by their travels in America.When Olivier sets sail for the New World, ostensibly to study its prisons but in reality to save his neck from one more revolution - Parrot is sent with him, as spy, protector, foe and foil. As the narrative shifts between the perspectives of Parrot and Olivier, and their picaresque travels together and apart - in love and politics, prisons and the world of art - Peter Carey explores the adventure of American democracy, in theory and in practice, with dazzling wit and inventiveness.
Alan Johnson - This Boy
Alan Johnson's childhood was not so much difficult as unusual, particularly for a man who was destined to become Home Secretary. Not in respect of the poverty, which was shared with many of those living in the slums of post-war Britain, but in its transition from two-parent family to single mother and then to no parents at all. This is essentially the story of two incredible women: Alan's mother, Lily, who battled against poor health, poverty, domestic violence and loneliness to try to ensure a better life for her children; and his sister, Linda, who had to assume an enormous amount of responsibility at a very young age and who fought to keep the family together and out of care when she herself was still only a child. Played out against the background of a vanishing community living in condemned housing, the story moves from post-war austerity in pre-gentrified Notting Hill, through the race riots, school on the Kings Road, Chelsea in the Swinging 60s, to the rock-and-roll years, making a record in Denmark Street and becoming a husband and father whilst still in his teens.
Scarlett Thomas - Bright Young Things
'Bright Young Things wanted for Big Project.' They're in the prime of their lives but our bright young things are all burnt out. Six sparky twenty-somethings just out of university and working dead-end jobs, they are all bored to tears with their lives and looking for a way out. When a mysterious job is advertised in the newspaper, they all apply. What they least expect is to find themselves prisoners on a deserted island. There's food in the fridge and they have a bedroom each, but there's no telephone, no television, and no way to escape.
Scarlett Thomas - The Seed Collectors
Aunt Oleander is dead. In the Garden of England her extended family gather to remember her, to tell stories and to rekindle old memories. To each of her nearest and dearest Oleander has left a precious seed pod. But along with it comes a family secret that could open the hardest of hearts but also break the closest ties... A complex and fiercely contemporary tale of inheritance, enlightenment, life, death, desire and family trees, _The Seed Collectors_ is the most important novel yet from one of the world's most daring and brilliant writers. As Henry James said of George Eliot's _Middlemarch_, _The Seed Collectors_ is a 'treasurehouse of detail' revealing all that it means to be connected, to be part of a society, to be part of the universe and to be human.
Rosie Clarke - The Downstairs Maid
When her father becomes ill, Emily Carter finds herself tasked with the responsibility of providing for the family and is sent to work as a servant girl at Priorsfield Manor. As she settles in to the family home, she strikes an unlikely friendship with the daughters of the house, as well as Nicolas, the Lord’s son. But there are others who wish to gain her attention, and as the threat of war comes ever closer, Emily finds that the wrong choice of suitor will have consequences...
Paul M. M. Cooper - River of Ink
In thirteenth-century Sri Lanka, Asanka, poet to the king, lives a life of luxury, enjoying courtly life and a sweet, furtive love affair with a palace servant, a village girl he is teaching to write. But when Magha, a prince from the mainland, usurps the throne, Asanka's role as court poet dramatically alters. Magha is a cruel and calculating king--and yet, a lover of poetry--and he commissions Asanka to translate a holy Sanskrit epic into the Tamil language spoken by his recently acquired subjects. The poem will be an olive branch--a symbol of unity between the two cultures. But in different languages, in different contexts, meaning can become slippery. First inadvertently, then deliberately and dangerously, Asanka's version of the epic, centered on the killing of an unjust ruler, inspires and arouses the oppressed people of the land. Asanka must juggle the capricious demands of a king with the growing demands of his own political consciousness--and his heart--if he wishes to survive and imagine a future with the woman he loves. The first novel from a remarkable young writer, River of Ink is a powerful historical tale set in the shadow of oppression--one with deep allegorical resonances in any time--celebrating the triumph of literature and love.
Charles Dickens - The Old Curiosity Shop
Little Nell is a 14-year-old beauty with a heart of gold raised by her kind, secretive grandfather. He runs an antique shop, and borrows significant sums of money from Mr.Quilp, the moneylender. No one knows what the grandfather does with the money, but he is thought to be rich and increasing his assets. Then the secret comes out: the old man is a gambler, he hopes to secure the future of his beloved granddaughter by winning a fortune. That, of course, never happens. The grandfather keeps losing, gambling the money away every night and sinking deeper in debt. When Mr.Quilp finds out where his money is going, he is furious. He takes the shop from the old man, and Little Nell and her grandfather flee from London, fearing more harm. They travel mostly on foot, Little Nell leading the way and taking care of her devastated grandfather who becomes a weak, childlike creature unable to think for himself.
Jane Gardam - Bilgewater
Marigold Green calls herself 'hideous, quaint and barmy'. Other people calle her Bilgewater, a corruption of Bill's daughter. Growing up in a boys' school where her father is housemaster, she is convinced of her own plainness and peculiarity. Groomed by the wise and loving Paula, upstaged by bad, beautiful Grace and ripe for seduction by entirely the wrong sort of boy, she suffers extravagantly and comically in her pilgrimage through the turbulent, twilight world of alarming adolescence.
Eric Newby - Love And War in the Apennines
Eric Newby escapes through a hospital window to become a POW on the run in Italy in 1943. With the Nazis moving in from the north and no certain way back to England, his situation appears grim. But with the help of local farmers and villagers, who risk their lives to shelter him, he survives. Hiding in shepherds' huts and even a cave, he achieves three precious months of freedom - and meets the determined and courageous woman who would become his wife. Love and War in the Apennines is an intimate account of the horror and surrealism of war, and of the heroism and selflessness of those caught up in its madness. Eric Newby creates an unforgettable record of the resilience of human nature in the face of despair, and forcefully remind us of the pointlessness of war.