The thrilling climax to the Ibis trilogy that began with the phenomenal Booker-shortlisted Sea of Poppies. It is 1839 and tension has been rapidly mounting between China and British India following the crackdown on opium smuggling by Beijing. With no resolution in sight, the colonial government declares war. One of the vessels requisitioned for the attack, the Hind, travels eastwards from Bengal to China, sailing into the midst of the First Opium War. The turbulent voyage brings together a diverse group of travellers, each with their own agenda to pursue. Among them is Kesri Singh, a sepoy in the East India Company who leads a company of Indian sepoys; Zachary Reid, an impoverished young sailor searching for his lost love, and Shireen Modi, a determined widow en route to China to reclaim her opium-trader husband's wealth and reputation. Flood of Fire follows a varied cast of characters from India to China, through the outbreak of the First Opium War and China's devastating defeat, to Britain's seizure of Hong Kong. Flood of Fire is a thrillingly realised and richly populated novel, imbued with a wealth of historical detail, suffused with the magic of place and plotted with verve. It is a beautiful novel in its own right, and a compelling conclusion to an epic and sweeping story - it is nothing short of a masterpiece.
It's 1811. Wellington has finally driven Napoleon's armies from Portugal, but the cost has been high. Fearing a French counter-attack, the British must rally their tired men and go on the offensive. Lieutenant Hamish Williams of the 106th Foot relishes the call to action. Spurred on by the prospect of at last redeeming himself in the eyes of Jane McAndrews, he hopes for a battlefield promotion. But Williams is marching into the bloodiest battle of the war - Albuera. As entire regiments are destroyed in the desperate pursuit of victory, the fate of Williams and his comrades hangs in the balance...
"There is only one bond that I trust: between a woman and her sisters. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and in rivalry, we always think of each other."
When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined – with Margaret’s younger sister Mary – to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland and France.
United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.
Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska's hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska, and its rich natural resources, to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy. Forrester leaves behing his young wife, Sophie, newly pregnant with the child he had never expected to have. Adventurous in spirit, Sophie does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks, while her husband carves out a path through the wilderness. What she does not anticipate is that their year apart will demand every ounce of courage and fortitude of her that it does of her husband.
1667. The civil wars are over. King Louis XIV crushed the nobility's rebellion against his father; the throne is his. But far from giving up, the aristocracy hounds his every step, waiting for the right moment to seize power for themselves. If they will not be loyal, they will obey, no matter the cost. To ensnare them, he must spin a web: the greatest palace the world has ever seen, Versailles, a prison of opulence where his power is absolute. Trapped by his invitation, lured away from Paris, the nobles have no choice but to play Louis' game of manipulation and treachery. Meanwhile, the court becomes a battlefield of tactical liaisons and salacious passions. The Queen, Theresa of Austria, must fight to keep her husband's attentions while he falls under the spell of his powerful mistress, the sister of the King of England, who knows full well that the power of desire can bring even a king to his knees. Versailles is not the paradise it appears to be; instead, it is a labyrinth of treason and hushed secrets, of political schemes and deadly conspiracies. It is a place of passion and death, love and vengeance. The King will take what is rightfully his.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves, but Cora is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is coming into womanhood; even greater pain awaits. Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, and they plot their escape. Matters do not go as planned - Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her - but they manage to find a station and head north.
In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is not a metaphor - a secret network of tracks and tunnels has been built beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, where both find work in a city that at first seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens - and Ridgeway, the relentless slave-catcher sent to find her, arrives in town. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing journey, state-by-state, seeking true freedom.
Like Gulliver, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey - Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in states in the pre-Civil War era. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage, and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
The award-winning author of The River Wife returns with a multigenerational family saga set in the unforgiving Nebraska Sand Hills in the years following the massacre at Wounded Knee an ambitious tale of history, vengeance, race, guilt, betrayal, family, and belonging, filled with a vivid cast of characters shaped by violence, love, and a desperate loyalty to the land.
Ten years after the Seventh Cavalry massacred more than two hundred Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, J.B. Bennett, a white rancher, and Star, a young Native American woman, are murdered in a remote meadow on J.B.’s land. The deaths bring together the scattered members of the Bennett family: J.B.’s cunning and hard father, Drum; his estranged wife, Dulcinea; and his teenage sons, Cullen and Hayward. As the mystery of these twin deaths unfolds, the history of the dysfunctional Bennetts and their damning secrets is revealed, exposing the conflicted heart of a nation caught between past and future.
At the center of The Bones of Paradise are two remarkable women. Dulcinea, returned after bitter years of self-exile, yearns for redemption and the courage to mend her broken family and reclaim the land that is rightfully hers. Rose, scarred by the terrible slaughters that have decimated and dislocated her people, struggles to accept the death of her sister, Star, and refuses to rest until she is avenged.
A kaleidoscopic portrait of misfits, schemers, chancers, and dreamers, Jonis Agee’s bold novel is a panorama of America at the dawn of a new century. A beautiful evocation of this magnificent, blood-soaked land it's sweeping prairies, seas of golden grass, and sandy hills, all at the mercy of two unpredictable and terrifying forces, weather and lawlessness and the durable men and women who dared to tame it. Intimate and epic, The Bones of Paradise is a remarkable achievement: a mystery, a tragedy, a romance, and an unflagging exploration of the beauty and brutality, tenderness and cruelty that defined the settling of the American West.
Elizabeth Fremantle's The Girl in the Glass Tower is a stunning historical thriller set in the chaos leading up to the death of Elizabeth I. Tap. Tap. Tap on the window. Something, someone wanting to be heard. Waiting to be free. Tudor England. The word treason is on everyone's lips. Arbella Stuart, niece to Mary, Queen of Scots and presumed successor to Elizabeth I, has spent her youth behind the towering windows of Hardwick Hall. As presumed successor to the throne, her isolation should mean protection - but those close to the crown are never safe. Aemilia Lanyer - writer and poet - enjoys an independence denied to Arbella. Their paths should never cross. But when Arbella enlists Aemilia's help in a bid for freedom, she risks more than her own future. Ensnared in another woman's desperate schemes, Aemilia must tread carefully or share her terrible fate ...The Girl in the Glass Tower brilliantly explores what it means to be born a woman in a man's world, where destiny is strictly controlled and the smallest choices may save - or destroy - us.
As sisters they share an everlasting bond; As queens they can break each other s hearts. There is only one bond that I trust: between a woman and her sisters. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and in rivalry, we always think of each other. When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined with Margaret s younger sister Mary to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland, and France. United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.
A decade has passed since the death of Caradoc, King of the Dumnonii tribe, and his friend, Flavius Magnus Maximus. Britain is battered by Pict invaders, and centurion Constantinus and his legionnaires are fighting them to the death. Maximus's daughter, Lady Severa, holds the key to the throne of the High King of the Britons and when she is threatened with abduction, Constantinus escorts her to the safety of Tintagel. Agreeing to marry her, he is crowned the High King, and Severa bears him two sons, Ambrosius and Uther. But, as the ruler of Britain, Constantinus is poisoned by greed and jealousy, and his thirst for greatness in the Roman Empire will cost him dear...
70AD. Disgraced, dishonoured and banished into exile on pain of execution if he ever returns to Rome, the former military tribune Gaius Valerius Verrens makes his way East through the death and destruction of the savage Judaean rebellion. Valerius knows his only hope of long term survival and a restoration of his family's fortunes lie with his friend Titus, commander of the Army of Judaea and son of the newly crowned Emperor Vespasian. But when he reaches the ring of legionary camps around the seemingly impregnable city of Jerusalem he finds Titus a changed man. Gone is the cheerful young officer he knew, replaced by a tough, ruthless soldier under pressure from his father to end the insurrection at any cost. Soon, Valerius finds himself at the centre of a web of intrigue spun by Titus's lover, Queen Berenice of Cilicia, and her sometime ally, the general's turncoat adviser, Flavius Josephus, who have an ulterior motive for ending the siege quickly. Yet the laurels that will regain his honour cannot be won in the negotiations in the murky tunnels beneath Jerusalem. Only amid the fire and blood of battle will he equal the glory that brought him the title Hero of Rome.
On 31 March 1836 the publishers Chapman & Hall launched the first issue of a new monthly periodical entitled The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Conceived and created by the artist Robert Seymour, it contained four of his illustrations; the words to accompany them were written by a young journalist who used the pen-name Boz.
The story of a sporting-cum-drinking club presided over by fat, loveable Mr Pickwick, assisted by his cockney manservant Sam Weller, The Pickwick Papers soon became a popular sensation, outselling every other book except the Bible and Shakespeare's plays, and read and discussed by the entire population of the British Isles, from the duke's drawing-room to the lowliest chophouse. The fame of Mr Pickwick soon spread worldwide – making The Pickwick Papers the greatest literary phenomenon in history.
But one does not need to have read a single word of The Pickwick Papers to be enthralled by the story of how this extraordinary novel came to be. The creation and afterlife of The Pickwick Papers is the subject of Stephen Jarvis's novel, Death and Mr Pickwick.This vast, intricately constructed, indeed Dickensian work is at once the ultimate homage to a much-loved book, tracing its genesis and subsequent history in fascinating detail, and a damning indictment of how an ambitious young writer expropriated another man's ideas and then engaged in an elaborate cover-up of The Pickwick Papers' true origin.
Few novels deserve to be called magnificent. Death and Mr Pickwick is one of them.
The first part in an epic historical trilogy - The Estonian answer to Wolf Hall - by the nation's greatest modern writer Jaan Kross's trilogy dramatises the life of the renowned Livonian Chronicler Balthasar Russow, whose greatest work described the effects of the Livonian War on the peasantry of what is now Estonia. Like Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell, Russow is a diamond in the rough, a thoroughly modern man in an Early Modern world, rising from humble origins to greatness through wit and learning alone. As Livonia is used as a political football by the warring powers of Russia, Sweden, Poland and Lithuania, he continues to climb the greasy pole of power and influence. Even as a boy, Russow has the happy knack of being in the right place and saying the right thing at the right time. He is equally at home acting as friend and confidante to his ambitious patron and as champion for his humble rural relatives. Can anything halt his vertiginous rise? Like most young men he is prey to temptations of the flesh ...
A sumptuously imagined novel of passion, ideas and friendship.
Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890's, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery which defined the era, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way.
They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners' agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.
Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.
1938. A perfect summer on the Greek island of Lefkas for three young people untroubled by the simmering politics of Europe. Peter, visiting from Germany while his father leads an archaeological dig, has become close friends with locals Andreas and Eleni. As the world slides towards conflict and Peter is forced to leave, they swear to meet again. 1943: Andreas and Eleni have joined the partisan forces resisting the German invasion. Peter has returned - now a dangerously well-informed enemy intelligence officer. A friendship formed in peace will turn into a desperate battle between enemies sworn to sacrifice everything for the countries that they love...
In the dying days of the Wars of the Roses a secret war is born. The battle for a crown is about to become a fight for the world.
Bastard son, mercenary soldier, protector of the rightful king, seeker of a secret more treacherous than any in Christendom: Jack Wynter is destined to live in dangerous times.
In England, the Wars of the Roses ended a decade ago with the fall of the House of Lancaster and the victory of King Edward of York. But peace sleeps uneasy in this divided realm and when the king dies unexpectedly it isn't long before old blood feuds and ambitions are awoken.
In the sun-baked city of Seville, unaware of the clouds of war rising over England, Jack Wynter is cursing his fortune. Sent here by his secretive father, king's man, Sir Thomas Vaughan - with a locked chest he has been ordered to guard with his life - Jack wonders if this mission was simply a ruse to get an illegitimate, inconvenient son out of the country. But when a stranger arrives with news that his father has been arrested for treason, Jack finds himself thrust into the heart of a deadly conspiracy.
What is the secret Jack has been guarding? Is it the reason for his father's fall? The only place he is going to find answers is back in England, where young Prince Edward is due to become king... unless his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, decides to make a move for the throne. It is also where Jack's half-brother, Harry, broods bitterly over their father's apparent preference for a bastard son.
Jack Wynter is coming home, to a realm of intrigue and corruption, mystery and war. Somehow, he is connected to a secret that can kill him - or make him. Its influence spans Europe and will draw him towards the very edge of the known world, and beyond, in Robyn Young's dazzling new epic.