Set in the twelfth century, The Anchoress tells the story of Sarah, only seventeen when she chooses to become an anchoress, a holy woman shut away in a small cell, measuring seven paces by nine, at the side of the village church.
Fleeing the grief of losing a much-loved sister in childbirth and the pressure to marry, she decides to renounce the world, with all its dangers, desires and temptations, and to commit herself to a life of prayer and service to God. But as she slowly begins to understand, even the thick, unforgiving walls of her cell cannot keep the outside world away, and it is soon clear that Sarah's body and soul are still in great danger...
Robyn Cadwallader writes: 'Who was she? Why did she choose enclosure? Was she afraid, excited, certain, doubtful? What about her family? And what would this small dark place be like as a home? In my mind, I went inside the cell. What was her experience: bodily, emotionally, spiritually, mentally? She was no longer just a weird idea; she was a woman. Sarah. My anchoress.'Tiny in scope but universal in themes, this is a wonderful, wholly compelling fictional achievement.
The Leopards of Normandy trilogy tells the story of William the Conqueror in all its wild, intoxicating, unfailingly dramatic glory.
The fate of England hangs in the balance of a fight between brothers The noble families of Europe are tearing themselves apart in their lust for power and wealth. Emma, Queen of England, is in agony over the succession to her husband Canute's throne... while her brother, the Duke of Normandy's sons battle in the wake of his death. Robert, the younger son, has been cheated of Normandy's mightiest castle and sets out to take it by force. He emerges from a bloody siege victorious and in love with a beautiful - and pregnant - peasant girl. Robert's child will be mocked as William the bastard. But we have another name for him... Conqueror.
The first instalment in the Leopards of Normandy trilogy paints a world seething with rivalry and intrigue, where assassins are never short of work.
Britannia, 45 AD: Vespasian's brother, Sabinus, is captured by druids. The druids want to offer a potent sacrifice to their gods - not just one Roman Legate, but two. They know that Vespasian will come after his brother and they plan to sacrifice the siblings on Midsummer's Day. But to whom will they be making this sacrifice? What were the gods of this land before the Celts came? Only the druids still hold the secret and it is one of pure malevolence. Vespasian must strive to save his brother whilst completing the conquest of the south-west of the haunted isle, before he is drawn inexorably back to Rome and the heart of Imperial politics. Claudius' three freedmen remain at the focus of power. As Messalina's time as Empress comes to a bloody end, the three freedmen each back a different mistress. But who will be victorious? And at what price for Vespasian?
Following the acclaimed Queen's Gambit, Elizabeth Fremantle brings us a new novel of intrigue and menace at the Tudor Court...
1554: Lady Jane Grey is executed by her cousin Queen Mary. Now Lady Jane's younger sisters Katherine and Mary, cursed with the Tudor blood that saw their sister killed, face the perils of the royal court alone. Lady Katherine - young and spirited - makes dangerous romantic liaisons. While Lady Mary - crook-backed and vulnerable - becomes the Queen's reluctant companion, yet yearns to escape court intrigue. And both girls fear their proximity to the Queen might be their undoing. For the childless Queen is ill.
If she should die Katherine may be pushed to power, but the Queen's half-sister Elizabeth casts a long shadow and if she gains the throne the court will become a terrifying maze of treachery and suspicion - where holding royal blood could be a death warrant for the two sisters...
This sumptuous historical drama is perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory and Hilary Mantel. Through the eyes of the Grey sisters we are given an insight into the treacherous rule of the Tudor Court.
A superb yet neglected novel, 'The General' is the most vivid, moving - and devastating - word-portrait of a World War One British commander ever written, here re-introduced by Max Hastings.
Best known for his Hornblower novels, C.S. Forester's 1936 masterpiece follows Herbert Curzon, who fumbled a fortuitous early step on the path to glory in the Boer War. 1914 finds him an honourable, decent, brave and wholly unimaginative colonel. Survival through the early slaughters in which so many fellow-officers perished then brings him rapid promotion. By 1916, he commands 100,000 British soldiers, whom he leads through the horrors of the Somme and Passchendaele. Wonderfully human, this is the story of a man of his time who is anything but wicked, yet presides over appalling sacrifice and tragedy.
In his awkwardness and his marriage to a Duke's unlovely, unhappy daughter, Curzon embodies Forester's full powers as a story-teller. Rendered with exquisite compassion are Curzon's patriotism, diligence, sense of duty and refusal to yield to difficulties. But also powerfully damned is the same spirit which caused a hundred real-life British generals to serve as high priests at the bloodiest human sacrifice in the nation's history.
A masterful and insightful study about the character of 1914-18's military commanders, 'The General' confirms Forester's rightful place as one of the finest novelists of his generation.
The year is 1346 and King Edward III is restless. Despite earlier victories his army has still not achieved a major breakthrough and the French crown remains intact. Determined to bring France under English rule and the French army to its knees he has regrouped and planned a new route of attack. And on the beaches of Normandy his men now mass, ready to march through France to victory. But the French are nowhere to be seen. Edward knows that the worst thing he could do would be to take the battle to the French, where they will have the advantage and so he sets up camp near a small hill at Crecy and waits. The Battle of Crecy will be a decisive turning point in the Hundred Years' Wars. This is the story of that battle and the men who won it.
The Raven's Head by Karen Maitland, author of the bestselling and much-loved Company of Liars, will delight fans of Kate Mosse or Deborah Harkness seeking a new, dark fix. 'A compelling blend of historical grit and supernatural twists' Daily Mail on The Falcons of Fire and Ice Vincent is an apprentice librarian who stumbles upon a secret powerful enough to destroy his master. With the foolish arrogance of youth, he attempts blackmail but the attempt fails and Vincent finds himself on the run and in possession of an intricately carved silver raven's head. Any attempt to sell the head fails ...until Vincent tries to palm it off on the intimidating Lord Sylvain - unbeknown to Vincent, a powerful Alchemist with an all-consuming quest. Once more Vincent's life is in danger because Sylvain and his neighbours, the menacing White Canons, consider him a predestined sacrifice in their shocking experiment. Chilling and with compelling hints of the supernatural, The Raven's Head is a triumph for Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages.
1571. At the great naval battle of Lepanto the Ottoman Empire is finally defeated, and it seems that Europe is safe. But then Nicholas Ingoldsby is summoned to London by the Queen herself and sent on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople, the heart of the old enemy - and then onward, to a little-known but rising power called Muscovy, ruled by a deranged but cunning czar - Ivan the Terrible. The rise of Muscovy has also caught the attention of the Ottomans; and their allies, the wild Tatar horsemen of the Asiatic steppes, Russia's ancient enemy. Soon Nicholas and his fellow travellers are caught up in their most dangerous adventure yet, trapped in a doomed Muscovy with a vast army of Tatar tribesmen riding down upon them, vowed to burn the city to the ground and extinguish Russia for ever...
Set in 1950s Mississippi, this is the story of two young mothers, Hazel and Vida - one wealthy and white and the other poor and black - who have only two things in common: the devastating loss of their children, and a deep and abiding loathing for one another.
Embittered and distrusting, Vida is harassed by Delphi's racist sheriff and haunted by the son she lost to the world. Hazel, too, has lost a son and can't keep a grip on her fractured life. After drunkenly crashing her car into a Christmas manger scene, Hazel is sedated and bedridden. Hazel's husband hires Vida to keep tabs on his unpredictable wife and to care for his sole surviving son. Forced to spend time together with no one else to rely on, the two women find they have more in common than they thought, and together they turn the town of Delphi on its head.
This is the story of a town, a people and a culture on the verge of a great change that begins with small things... like an unexpected friendship.
The epic true-life story of one of the most notorious maritime disasters of the nineteenth century - and inspiration for 'Moby Dick' - reissued to accompany a major motion picture due for release in March 2015. The sinking of the whaleship Essex by an enraged sperm whale in the Pacific in November 1820 set in motion one of the most dramatic sea stories of all time: the twenty sailors who survived the wreck took to three small boats (one of which was again attacked by a whale) and only eight of them survived their subsequent 90-day ordeal, after resorting to cannibalising their mates. Three months after the Essex was broken up, the whaleship Dauphin, cruising off the coast of South America, spotted a small boat in the open ocean. As they pulled alongside they saw piles of bones in the bottom of the boat, at least two skeletons' worth, with two survivors - almost skeletons themselves - sucking the marrow from the bones of their dead ship-mates.
Southwest Britain, AD 43. For the people of Caer Cad, 'skin' is their totem, their greeting, their ancestors, their land. Ailia does not have skin. Abandoned at birth, she serves the Tribequeen of her township. Ailia is not permitted to marry, excluded from tribal ceremonies and, most devastatingly, forbidden to learn. But the Mothers, the tribal ancestors, have chosen her for another path. Lured by the beautiful and enigmatic Taliesin, Ailia embarks on an unsanctioned journey to attain the knowledge that will protect her people from the most terrifying invaders they have ever faced. Set in Iron-Age Britain on the cusp of Roman invasion, Skin is a thrilling, full-blooded, mesmerising novel about the collision of two worlds, and a young woman torn between two men.
After the crucifixion, Jesus' followers - led by his brother James the Just - remained devout Jews, vigorously opposed to the Roman occupiers. But a rival faction emerged, via the charismatic itinerant Paul of Tarsus. Some called him a Saint and some a liar. But Paul began telling stories that would transform a small sect of Judaism into a world religion. The Tongues of Men or Angels is a dazzling act of imagination and learning. Jonathan Trigell shows the night sky of the Galilee lit not by guiding stars, but by flames of terror; he shows contested soil, on which miracles were performed and battles raged; he shows men of flesh and of blood, by turns loving and brutal. In doing so he unseals a tale that has been waiting through long ages.