Completing an epic panorama that began in fifteenth-century Moorish Spain, Night of the Golden Butterfly moves between the cities of the twentyfirst century, from Lahore to London, from Paris to Beijing.
The narrator is rung one morning and reminded that he owes a debt of honor. The creditor is Mohammed Aflatun-known as Plato-an irascible but gifted painter living in a Pakistan where human dignity has become a wreckage. Plato, who once specialized in stepping back into the limelight, now wants his life story written.
As the tale unravels we meet Plato's London friend Alice Stepford, now a leading music critic in New York; Mrs. Naughty Latif, the Islamabad housewife whose fondness for generals forces her to flee to the salons of intellectually fashionable Paris; and there's Jindie, the Golden Butterfly of the title, the narrator's first love.
Interwoven with this chronicle of contemporary life is the turbulent history of Jindie's family. Her great forebear, D' Wenxi', led a Muslim rebellion in Yunnan in the nineteenth century and ruled the region for almost a decade, as Sultan Suleiman.
Night of the Golden Butterfly reveals Ali in full flight, at once imaginative and intelligent, satirical and stimulating.
Tariq Ali tells us the story of the aftermath of the fall of Granada by narrating a family sage of those who tried to survive after the collapse of their world. Ali is particularly deft at evoking what life must have been like for those doomed inhabitants, besieged on all sides by intolerant Christendom.
The Stone Woman is the third novel of Tariq Ali's Islam Quartet. Like its predecessors - Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree and The Book of Saladin - its power lies both in the story-telling and the challenge it poses to stereotyped images of life under Islam.
This fourth novel in Tariq Ali's Islam Quintet is set in medieval Palermo, a Muslim city rivaling Baghdad and Cordoba in size and splendor. The year is 1153. The Normans are ruling Siqqiliya, but Arab culture and language dominate the island and the court. Sultan Rujari (King Roger) surrounds himself with Muslim intellectuals, several concubines, and an administration presided over by gifted eunuchs. The bishops, expecting to be at the pinnacle of power, are angered by the decadence of the court. In this captivating novel, Tariq Ali charts the life and loves of the medieval cartographer Muhammed al-Idrisi. Torn between his close friendship with the sultan and his friends who are leaving the island or plotting a resistance to Norman rule, Idrisi finds temporary solace in the harem; but, confronted by the common people of Noto and Catania, his conscience is troubled.
Widow Ursula Blanchard is urged to remarry for the sake of Queen and Country in this latest enthralling historical adventure January, 1576. After three husbands, widow Ursula Blanchard has no desire to marry again. However, she is not in a position to refuse when Sir Francis Walsingham decides she must wed Count Gilbert Renard, the illegitimate son of King Henri II, in order to build a strategic alliance with the French. When the Count arrives at her country home to pay court, Ursula's misgivings grow stronger. Then one of her household staff is found dead at the bottom of the stairs. An accident - or something more sinister? The disturbing chain of events that follows sees Ursula heading on a perilous journey in a race against time to prevent a national catastrophe. En route she will encounter danger, hardship, conspiracy - and murder.
A retelling of The Beauty and The Beast set in Nazi Germany Kate Forsyth retells the German fairy tale The Singing, Springing Lark - the original beauty and the beast tale - as an historical novel set in Germany during the Nazi regime.
A young woman marries a Nazi officer in order to save her father. Whilst deeply attracted to him, she hates what his uniform stands for, and fears her new husband. Gradually she comes to realise that he is a good man at heart, and part of an underground resistance movement in Berlin called the Red Orchestra. However, her realisation comes too late. She has unwittingly betrayed him, and must find some way to rescue him and smuggle him out of the country before he is killed. The Red Orchestra was a real-life organisation in Berlin, made up of artists, writers, diplomats and journalists, who passed on intelligence to the American embassy, distributed leaflets encouraging opposition to Hitler, and helped people in danger from the Nazis to escape the country. They were betrayed, and many of their number were executed.
The Beast's Garden is a compelling and beautiful love story, filled with drama and intrigue and heartbreak, taking place in Berlin, Germany.
Why would a woman marry a serial killer? Because she cannot refuse...
Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives - King Henry VIII - commands her to marry him. Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn's trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent. But is this enough to keep her safe?
A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry's dangerous gaze turns on her. The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy - the punishment is death by fire and the king's name is on the warrant...
From an author who has described all of Henry's queens comes a deeply intimate portrayal of the last: a woman who longed for passion, power and education at the court of a medieval killer.
Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives - King Henry VIII - commands her to marry him. Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn's trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent. But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry's dangerous gaze turns on her. The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy - the punishment is death by fire and the king's name is on the warrant...
From the bestselling author of The Dovekeepers comes a love story about one of history's most captivating 'invisible' women: Rachel, the mother of Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro.
Growing up on the idyllic island of St Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel's mother, a pillar of their tight-knit refugee community of Jews who escaped the European Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for refusing to live by the rules. But Rachel's fate is not in her own hands: in order to secure the future of her father's business, she is married off to a widower with three children. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome nephew Frederic arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes control of her life, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal affecting her entire family, including her favourite son, Camille Pissarro, who will one day become a founder member of the Impressionists and one of history's greatest artists.
Set in a world of lush, exquisite beauty, The Marriage of Opposites shows Alice Hoffman at the height of her considerable powers. The marriage of Rachel and Frederic is an unforgettable story of an extraordinary woman and her forbidden love.
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' 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.
Ten years after the fall of Babylon, Cyrus's army is on the march again. His slave Croesus, no longer a young man, accompanies him as always, as does the king's son and heir Cambyses, who has inherited none of his father's diplomacy or charisma and all of his vanity and violence. When the warriors of Persia are unexpectedly crushed in battle Cyrus is put to death, and Cambyses assumes the throne. Croesus, once a king himself, is called upon to guide the young man; but the young man cannot be guided, and after taking offence at an insult by an Egyptian ruler, Cambyses takes the full force of his father's empire to Africa for bloody and brutal vengeance...
In Verona, a city ravaged by plague and political rivalries, a mother mourning the death of her day-old infant enters the household of the powerful Cappelletti family to become the wet-nurse to their newborn baby. As she serves her beloved Juliet over the next fourteen years, the nurse learns the Cappellettis' darkest secrets. Those secrets - and the nurse's deep personal grief - erupt across five momentous days of love and loss that destroy a daughter, and a family. By turns sensual, tragic, and comic, Juliet's Nurse gives voice to one of literature's most memorable and distinctive characters, a woman who was both insider and outsider among Verona's wealthy ruling class. Exploring the romance and intrigue of interwoven loyalties, rivalries, jealousies, and losses only hinted at in Shakespeare's play, this is a never-before-heard tale of the deepest love in Verona - the love between a grieving woman and the precious child of her heart. In the tradition of Sarah Dunant, Philippa Gregory, and Geraldine Brooks, Juliet's Nurse is a rich prequel that reimagines the world's most cherished tale of love and loss, suffering and survival.
An ambitious, absorbing and authentic historical novel which reimagines Anne's life from child princess in the glittering Restoration court to Queen of England.
The wicked, bawdy Restoration court is no place for a child princess. Ten-year-old Anne cuts an odd figure: a sickly child, she is drawn towards improper pursuits. Cards, sweetmeats, scandal and gossip with her Ladies of the Bedchamber figure large in her life. But as King Charles's niece, Anne is also a political pawn, who will be forced to play her part in the troubled Stuart dynasty.
As Anne grows to maturity, she is transformed from overlooked Princess to the heiress of England. Forced to overcome grief for her lost children, the political manoeuvrings of her sister and her closest friends and her own betrayal of her father, she becomes one of the most complex and fascinating figures of English history.
A mystery unsolved to this day. A mystic who confounds the cynics. A writer looking for the story that will make his name. A ghost ship appears in the mist. To the struggling author Arthur Conan Doyle, it is an inspiration. To Violet Petra, the gifted American psychic, it is a cruel reminder. To the death-obsessed Victorian public, it is a fascinating distraction. And to one family, tied to the sea for generations, it is a tragedy. In salons and on rough seas, at seances and in the imagination of a genius, these stories converge in unexpected ways as the mystery of the ghost ship deepens. But will the sea yield its secrets, and to whom?
A classic Patrick O'Brian novel, back in print after many years with three bonus tales of nautical adventure. Newly orphaned Derrick is entrusted to the care of his gruff uncle Sullivan, Captain of The Wanderer. After surviving a killer typhoon on the South China Sea, and accompanied by their eccentric elderly cousin, they set off across land to discover the treasures of Central Asia. Derrick befriends a fierce Mongol warrior and must help him battle a ruthless Chinese warlord. Given a gift of priceless jade, the group is pursued into the inhospitable mountains of Tibet where they are caught between fierce mountain monks and a terrifying unnamed creature that stalks them through the snow. This special edition includes three bonus tales - Noughts and Crosses, Two's Company & No Pirates Nowadays - that are prequels to the adventure of The Road to Samarcand, and are published together for the very first time.
Travelling home from the crusades, Richard was shipwrecked off the coast of Austria, after an encounter with pirates. Richard should have been under the Church's protection, but in Outremer he had given the Duke of Austria good reason to loathe him and he was captured. He was immediately claimed by the Holy Roman Emperor, who also bore a grudge against the captive English king. Richard was to spend fifteen months imprisoned. For a man of his fiery nature, it was truly shameful. His mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, began to move heaven and earth to raise a staggering ransom, travelling to Germany herself to buy the release of her favourite son. But it was not to be that easy. At the eleventh hour, Heinrich announced that he had had a better offer from the French king, Philippe, and Richard's own treacherous brother, John, offering Heinrich an even larger sum to continue Richard's captivity - or to turn him over to their tender mercies.
Under the command of Captain Charles Hayden, Royal Navy frigate HMS Themis is sent to counter the threat of the French forces in the West Indies. In the middle of the vast Atlantic, Hayden discovers two Spanish noblemen, castaway in a ship's boat - a stroke of almost impossible good fortune. The Spaniards' explanation for their plight seems so improbable that Hayden's officers suspect them of being criminals or even spies. But they have secrets far more shocking than that - secrets which will haunt Hayden in his new posting. Upon reaching the Barbados station, Hayden finds himself under the command of the vainglorious Sir William Jones, an impetuous and foolhardy officer. Refusing orders will cost Hayden his command. Accepting them might cost him his ship and crew.
Rome, 799 AD. The Pope is viciously attacked in the street, by unknown assailants. Sigwulf, a Saxon prince who has been exiled to the court of King Carolus in France, is sent to Rome as a spy to discover who was responsible. There, he discovers a web of lies - the only clue to the attackers' identity is an intricate gold buckle in one of their homes, which Sigwulf links with a mysterious gold warrior flagon he finds in the home of the Pope's chamberlain. Could the attack have its source in even the highest levels of the church? Pope Leo had made enemies among the nobility on his rapid ascension to St Peter's Throne, and there are many who would see another in his place. Sigwulf believes the key to the plot in Rome may lie with the master craftsman who created the flagon, and his journey takes him deep into dangerous, uncharted Avar territory...
Forced to flee Rome from the barbaric rampages of the Ostrogoths, merchant Nicander meets an unlikely ally in the form of Marius, a fierce Roman legionary. Escaping to a new life in Constantinople, the two land upon its shores lonely and penniless. Needing to make money fast, they plot and plan a number of outrageous money-making schemes, until they chance upon their greatest idea yet.Armed with a wicked plan to steal precious silk seeds from the faraway land of Seres, Nicander and Marius must embark upon a terrifyingly treacherous journey across unknown lands, never before completed. But first they must deceive the powerful emperor Justinian and the rest of his formidable Byzantine Empire in order to begin their journey into the unknown...An adventurous tale of mischief, humour and deception, Nicander and Marius face danger of the highest order, where nothing in the land of the Roman Empire is quite what it seems.
What happened before Alice fell down the rabbit hole?
Oxford, 1862. As Mary Prickett takes up her post as governess to the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church, she is thrust into a strange new world. Mary is poor and plain and desperate for change but the little girls in her care see and understand far more than their naive new teacher. And there is another problem: Mary does not like children, especially the precocious Alice Liddell. When Mary meets Charles Dodgson, the Christ Church mathematics tutor, at a party at the Deanery, she wonders if he may be the person to transform her life. Flattered by his attentions, Mary begins to believe that she could be more than just an overlooked, dowdy governess.
One sunny day, as Mary chaperones the Liddells on a punting trip, Mr Dodgson tells the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. But Mary is determined to become Mr Dodgson's muse and will turn all the lives around her topsy-turvy in pursuit of her obsession.
Scotland: AD 1297 Two heroes. One nation. United in the fight for freedom. In the spring of 1297, the two great Scottish heroes meet in Ayr: William Wallace, legendary champion of the common man, and Robert Bruce, who would perfect the guerrilla warfare developed by Wallace and use it to cement his place in history as Scotland's greatest king. Each is determined to defy the ambitions of England and its malignant king, Edward Plantagenet, whose lust to conquer and consume the realm of Scotland by blood and fury is unyielding. Their anger is about to unleash a storm that will last for sixteen years. From Jack Whyte, the master of the sweeping historical epic, comes the continuing story of two heroes who changed the entire destiny of Scotland by defying the might and power of the king of England.
An epic voyage, undertaken with the grandest of ambitions. When Laperouse leaves France in the Spring of 1785 with two ships under his command, he knows that he sails with the full backing of the French government. This is to be a voyage of scientific and geographical discovery - but every person on board has their own hopes, ambitions and dreams. As the ships move across vast distances in their journey of nearly four years, the different characters step forward and invite us into their world. From the remote Alaskan bay where a dreadful tragedy unfolds, to the wild journey Barthelemy de Lessups undertakes from the far east of Russia to St Petersburg, the reader sees the emotional, physical and mental toll exacted by such an endeavour. Landfalls marks the launch of a brilliant new writer, who creates an unforgettable world through a web of voices and narratives.