It is March 1928. The Great War has been over for ten years, but Freddie still hasn’t recovered from the loss of his brother. Even now, on holiday in south-west France, he cannot escape his grief. When his car crashes, Freddie stumbles down the hills to a village nearby. There he meets Marie, a beautiful young woman, who is also mourning a lost generation. Her story of the fate of her family moves him deeply. But it will also lead him to the caves above the village – and to the heart of a shocking secret.
Bernard Cornwell - The Winter King
Uther, the High King of Britain, has died, leaving the infant Mordred as his only heir. His uncle, the loyal and gifted warlord Arthur, now rules as caretaker for a country which has fallen into chaos - threats emerge from within the British kingdoms while vicious Saxon armies stand ready to invade...
Conn Iggulden - Genghis
From the author of the bestselling The Dangerous Book for Boys He was born Temujin, the son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the rugged steppe. Temujin’s young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts: the betrayal of his father by a neighboring tribe and the abandonment of his entire family, cruelly left to die on the harsh plain. But Temujin endured - and from that moment on, he was driven by a singular fury: to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and to conquer enemies who could come without warning from beyond the horizon. Through a series of courageous raids against the Tartars, Temujin’s legend grew. And so did the challenges he faced - from the machinations of a Chinese ambassador to the brutal abduction of his young wife, Borte. Blessed with ferocious courage, it was the young warrior’s ability to learn, to imagine, and to judge the hearts of others that propelled him to greater and greater power. Until Temujin was chasing a vision: to unite many tribes into one, to make the earth tremble under the hoofbeats of a thousand warhorses, to subject unknown nations and even empires to his will.
Jessica Gregson - The Angel Makers
When the men of a remote Hungarian village go off to war in 1916, the women left behind realize their lives are much better without them. Suddenly, they are not being beaten; they have time for friendships; they even find romance with the injured Italian soldiers staying just outside of town. For Sari, an intelligent girl who's always been an outcast (her fellow villagers suspect her of being a witch because of her medical knowledge), it's the first time in her life she's had friends. When the men return at war's end, the freedom Sari and the others have enjoyed is suddenly snatched from them, and they realize they need to do whatever it takes to hold onto it. Sari puts her medical knowledge to use to off her husband. Then she helps one of her friends. And another. When the word spreads, she realizes her problems are only beginning. This creeping and hugely readable first novel is based on a true story.
Sadie Jones - Fallout
Sadie Jones, the award winning, bestselling author of The Uninvited Guests and The Outcast, explores the theater of love, the politics of theater, and the love of writing in this deeply romantic story about a young playwright in 1970s London. Leaving behind an emotionally disastrous childhood in a provincial northern town, budding playwright Luke Kanowski begins a new life in London that includes Paul Driscoll, an aspiring producer who will become his best friend, and Leigh Radley, Paul's girlfriend. Talented and ambitious, the trio found a small theater company that enjoys unexpected early success. Then, one fateful evening, Luke meets Nina Jacobs, a dynamic and emotionally damaged actress he cannot forget, even after she drifts into a marriage with a manipulative theater producer. As Luke becomes a highly sought after playwright, he stumbles in love, caught in two triangles where love requited and unrequited, friendship, and art will clash with terrible consequences for all involved. Fallout is an elegantly crafted novel whose characters struggle to escape the various cataclysms of their respective pasts. Falling in love convinces us we are the pawns of the gods; Fallout brings us firmly into the psyche of romantic love—its sickness and its ecstasy.
Tom Harper - The Lost Temple
For three thousand years, the world's most dangerous treasure has been lost. Now the code that reveals its hiding place is about to be broken ... Sam Grant is a disgraced ex-SOE soldier and an adventurer by trade. But he has a secret: six years ago, a dying archaeologist entrusted him with his life's work - transcripts of mysterious writing found in a hidden cave on Crete. Deciphered, it could lead to one of the greatest prizes in history.But the treasure is as dangerous as it is valuable. The CIA wants it; so does the KGB.Helped by a brilliant Oxford professor, and a beautiful Greek archaeologist with her own secrets to hide, Grant is plunged into a labyrinth of ancient cults, forgotten mysteries and lost civilizations.But time is running out. The secrets of the distant past may hold the key to the newest threats of the modern world...
Sebastian Faulks - A Possible Life
Terrified, a young prisoner in the Second World War closes his eyes and pictures himself going out to bat on a sunlit cricket ground in Hampshire. Across the courtyard in a Victorian workhouse, a father is too ashamed to acknowledge his son. A skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar; her voice sends shivers through the skull. Soldiers and lovers, parents and children, scientists and musicians risk their bodies and hearts in search of connection - some key to understanding what makes us the people we become. Provocative and profound, Sebastian Faulks's dazzling novel journeys across continents and time to explore the chaos created by love, separation and missed opportunities. From the pain and drama of these highly particular lives emerges a mysterious consolation: the chance to feel your heart beat in someone else's life
Bernard Cornwell - The Lords of the North
The Lords of the North begins soon after the events described in The Pale Horseman. Uhtred, having helped Alfred secure Wessex as an independent Saxon kingdom, returns north in an attempt to find his stepsister. Instead he discovers chaos, civil war and treachery in Northumbria. He takes the side of Guthred, once a slave and now a man who would be king, and in return expects Guthred's help in capturing Dunholm, the lair of the dark Viking lord, Kjartan. There is betrayal, romance and war, and all of it, as usual, based on real events.
Jessie Burton - The Miniaturist
There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . . On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways . . . Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall? Beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.
Bernard Cornwell - Harlequin
It was the time when the English came across the Channel to take the battle to the French. The army was led by the King, the great lords and knights, but it is the achers, the common men were to be England's secret weapon. Thomas Hookton is one of those archers. But he is also on a personal mission - one he frequently forgets in the joy of fighting - to avenge his father's killing by a French raider and to retrieve his family's treasure. But the journey is far more complex and treacherous than he had expected and the enemy who awaits him could harness the power of Christiandom's greatest relic - the Grail itself.
Isabel Wolff - Ghostwritten
A childhood mistake. A lifetime of regrets. Jenni is a ‘ghost’: she writes the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own. Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation – she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell. But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara’s help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest?
Bernard Cornwell - The Pale Horseman
Uhtred is a Saxon, cheated of his inheritance and adrift in a world of fire, sword, and treachery. He has to make a choice: whether to fight for the Vikings, who raised him, or for King Alfred the Great of Wessex, who dislikes him. In the late ninth century, Wessex is the last English kingdom. The rest have fallen to the Danish Vikings, a story told in The Last Kingdom, the New York Times bestselling novel in which Uhtred's tale began. Now the Vikings want to finish England. They assemble the Great Army, whose one ambition is to conquer Wessex. A dispossessed young nobleman, married to a woman who hails from Wessex, Uhtred has little love for either, though for King Alfred he has none at all. Yet fate, as Uhtred learns, has its own imperatives, and when the Vikings attack out of a wintry darkness to shatter the last English kingdom, Uhtred finds himself at Alfred's side. Bernard Cornwell's The Pale Horseman, like The Last Kingdom, is rooted in the real history of Anglo-Saxon England. It tells the astonishing and true story of how Alfred, forced to become a fugitive in a few square miles of swampland, fights his enemies against overwhelming odds. The king is a pious Christian, while Uhtred is a pagan. Alfred is a sickly scholar, while Uhtred is an arrogant warrior. Yet the two forge an uneasy alliance that will lead them out of the marshes to the stark hilltop where the last remaining Saxon army will fight for the very existence of England. Enthralling as both a historical and personal story, The Pale Horseman is a novel of divided loyalties and desperate heroism, featuring a cast of fully realized characters, from a king in despair to a beguiling British sorceress. And always, beyond the spearmen and the swordsmen are the folk who suffer as the tides of war sweep over their farmlands. From Bernard Cornwell, the New York Times bestselling author whom the Washington Post calls "perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today".The Pale Horseman is yet another masterpiece of historical and battle fiction that gives life to one of the most important and exciting epochs in the history of the English people and culture.
Philippa Gregory - The King's Curse
The final novel in the Cousins’ War series, the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries, The White Queen, by #1 New York Times bestselling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory tells the fascinating story of Margaret Pole, cousin to the “White Princess,” Elizabeth of York, and lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon. Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors. After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.
C. J. Sansom - Lamentation
Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councillors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government of Henry's successor, eight-year-old Prince Edward. As heretics are hunted across London, and the radical Protestant Anne Askew is burned at the stake, the Catholic party focus their attack on Henry's sixth wife, Matthew Shardlake's old mentor, Queen Catherine Parr. Shardlake, still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen. For Catherine Parr has a secret. She has written a confessional book, _Lamentation of a Sinner_, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King's attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down. But, although the book was kept secret and hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen's private chamber, it has - inexplicably - vanished. Only one page has been found, clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer. Shardlake's investigations take him on a trail that begins among the backstreet printshops of London but leads him and Jack Barak into the dark and labyrinthine world of the politics of the royal court; a world he had sworn never to enter again. Loyalty to the Queen will drive him into a swirl of intrigue inside Whitehall Palace, where Catholic enemies and Protestant friends can be equally dangerous, and the political opportunists, who will follow the wind wherever it blows, more dangerous than either. The theft of Queen Catherine's book proves to be connected to the terrible death of Anne Askew, while his involvement with the Cotterstoke litigants threatens to bring Shardlake himself to the stake.
Patrick O'Brian - The Yellow Admiral
At last! Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are back as Patrick O'Brian provides his indomitably loyal fans with another adventure, this one by land as well as by sea. Lucky Jack Aubrey finds himself not so lucky as his troubles amount ashore, his prospects of admiralty dimmed and Sophie's affection waning. At sea, he fares little better: in the storms off Brest he captures a French privateer laden with gold and ivory at the expense of missing a signal and deserting his post. And worst of all, in the spring of 1814, peace breaks out... Fortunately, Maturin returns from a mission in Chile with news that may help restore Aubrey to good favor with both his beloved navy and wife. Then, off to Gibraltar: Napoleon has escaped from Elba.
Edward Rutherfurd - Dublin
The epic begins in pre-Christian Ireland during the reign of the fierce and powerful High Kings at Tara, with the tale of two lovers, the princely Conall and the ravishing Deirdre, whose travails echo the ancient Celtic legend of Cuchulainn. From this stirring beginning, Rutherfurd takes the reader on a graphically realised journey through the centuries. Through the interlocking series of a powerfully-imagined cast of characters - druids and chieftains, monks and smugglers, merchants and mercenaries, noblewomen, rebels and cowards - we see Ireland through the lens of its greatest city.
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.
Josephine Tey - The Man In The Queue
Outside a London theatre a throng of people wait expectantly for the last performance of a popular musical. But as the doors open at last, something spoils all thought of entertainment: a man in the queue is found murdered by the deadly thrust of a stiletto...
Bernard Cornwell - Sword Song
'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched' OBSERVER The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish kingdom to the north and Alfred's Wessex in the south. But trouble stirs, a dead man has risen and new Vikings have arrived to occupy London. It is a dangerous time, and it falls to Uhtred, half Saxon, half Dane, a man feared and respected the length and breadth of Britain, to expel the Viking raiders and take control of London for Alfred. His uncertain loyalties must now decide England's future. A gripping tale of love, rivalry and violence, Sword Song tells the story of England's making. ' y.ere is Alfred's world restored - impeccably researched and illuminated with the colour and-passion of a master storyteller' JUSTIN POL HOR OF ALFR
Elizabeth Chadwick - The Conquest
Set during the Norman Conquests, Ailith has a child by the already married Rolf. When his wife Arlette returns, Ailith and Julitta flee to London. After her mother's death, Julitta returns to Rolf at Ulverton and falls in love with Benedict, despite Arlette's attempts to stop the relationship.
Alison Weir - The Lady in the Tower
Rejecting as myth that Henry VIII, desirous of a son and a new queen, asked his principal adviser Thomas Cromwell to find criminal grounds for executing Anne Boleyn, the prolific British historian Weir (The Six Wives of Henry VIII) concludes that Cromwell himself, seeing Anne as a political rival, instigated one of the most astonishing and brutal coups in English history, skillfully framing her and destroying her faction. Ably weighing the reliability of contemporary sources and theories of other historians, Weir also claims that though perhaps sexually experienced, Anne was technically a virgin before sleeping with Henry. Anne was also, Weir posits, a passionate radical evangelical, with considerable influence over Henry regarding Church reform. Weir wonders if Anne's childbearing history points to her being Rh negative and thus incapable of bearing a second living child. Dissecting four of the most momentous months in world history and providing an eminently judicious, thorough and absorbing popular history, Weir nimbly sifts through a mountain of historical research, allowing readers to come to their own conclusions about Henry's doomed second queen. 15 pages of color photos.