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.
The Siege of Calais, during the Hundred Years' Wars. The thrilling second novel in a new series for master of the historical adventure, Michael Jecks, perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden. Calais, 1346. Berenger Fripper and his men are stationed in the ancient port city, a city under English control and surrounded by enemies. They are here to defend their newly won territory from the French and their allies the Genoese. Enemies are all about them, but there is also trouble within. Someone in the vintaine is leaking vital information to the French, jeopardizing not only the safety of the men but also the future of the war, and Berenger must find out who before it's too late. And when the vintaine is attacked at sea and captured by the Genoese it looks as though their luck has run out. Can Berenger defeat the enemies that surround him and keep the English victorious?
The Roman Empire's conquest of Britannia is under threat from within. A messenger on the streets of Rome has been intercepted and tortured, revealing a plot to sabotage the Roman army's campaign against Caratacus, commander of Britannia's native tribes. A treacherous agent's mission is to open a second front of attack against them and eliminate the two Roman soldiers who could stand in the way. Unwarned, the Prefect Cato and the Centurion Macro are with the Roman army pursuing Caratacus and his men through the mountains of Britannia. Defeating Caratacus seems within their grasp. But the plot against the two heroes threatens not only their military goals but also their lives. Includes 2 maps and Roman army organisation chart.
In a world of battle and betrayal men will fight - and kill - to sit on the Throne of the Caesars. Rome, AD238 Emperor Maximinus' reign hangs in the balance.
At the helm of an empire that is bleeding manpower and money to sustain his wars in the north, rebellions flare in the far reaches of its territories. In Africa, Gordian the Elder and Younger are proclaimed as the new Augusti. A family descending from the imperial bloodline, they represent a chance for the establishment to take back the empire. In Rome, the first blood of the revolt is shed when an assassin murders Maximinus' prefect and announces to Rome that their ruler is dead and the Gordians have taken the throne.
Still bitter at having a soldier from the barracks wearing the imperial purple, the Senate endorses the rebellion: the Gordiani are hailed as Emperors. But as chaos descends on the capital, news reaches Maximinus of the betrayal. A man of war, he acts with decisive brutality and violence. On the dusty plains outside Carthage, bloody battle will determine the fate of the Roman empire.
Manchester 1809. Would-be industrialist Michael Croxon chases young street hawker Mary Jebb into a wretched warren after she cons his brother out of his money. In an unguarded moment he develops a suppressed attraction to the girl.
After he bears witness in court against her, Mary sends him a Penny Heart token from the prison hulks bearing a strange verse, the reverse announcing that she will be transported for 7 years. Two years later, in order to build a manufactory, Michael has married awkward Grace Moore, who is overjoyed at her luck, but soon disappointed to learn it was only to gain her land. Meanwhile, Mary escapes from Botany Bay to be shipwrecked on the wild coast of New Zealand, where she loses her lover and the last of her scruples. Using her conning skills, Mary returns home and adopts the identity of 'Peg', the Croxon's cook at their lonely Hall.
After Mary helps Grace compile a book of husband-pleasing recipes, Grace's new womanly wiles seem to earn Michael's affection. But when Grace discovers two matching Penny Heart love tokens that tell of banishment to the ends of the earth, she enters a world of deceit and double-crossing, and uncovers a tale of revenge that culminates in murder.
From the author of Midnight in St Petersburg, a novel of love, art, music and family secrets set amongst the Russian emigre community of Paris in 1937. Evie, a rebellious young American leaves New York in search of art and adventure in jazz-age Paris, where her grandmother lives. But on arrival, her grandmother's sudden death leaves Evie compelled to carry out her dying wish: to find a man from her past called Zhenya. The quest leads Evie deep into the heart of the Russian emigre community of Paris. With the world on the brink of war, she becomes embroiled in murder plots, conspiracies and illicit love affairs as White faces Red Russian and nothing is as it seems. With Jean, a liberal Russian writer by her side, Evie finally seems to have found the passion and excitement she's yearned for. But is she any nearer to discovering the identity of the mysterious Zhenya, or the heartbreak of her grandmother's past?
AD 273. Obsessed by the solar religions of the east, the emperor Aurelian sets out to obtain every sacred object within his realm. But one - a mysterious rock said to channel the power of the sun god - lies beyond his reach. Warrior-priest Ilaha has captured the legendary stone and is using it to raise an army against Rome. For Imperial agent Cassius Corbulo and ex-gladiator bodyguard Indavara, stopping him constitutes their greatest challenge yet. Assisted by a squad of undercover soldiers and a Saracen chieftain, they trek south across the deserts of Arabia, encountering sandstorms, murderous money-lenders and a ruthless German mercenary. And when they finally reach Ilaha's mountain fortress, they face thousands of warriors who will give their lives to protect him... and the black stone.
The significance of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book to our musical canon is well known; the remarkable story of its copyist and compiler, Francis Tregian, less so. Born into Cornish Catholic nobility and plumb into the choppy waters of the Elizabethan Age, he must rely on his surpassing skill as a musician to survive. Anne Cuneo deftly recreates the musician's journey across Renaissance Europe, which sees him befriending Shakespeare, swapping partitions with William Byrd and Monteverdi, and playing in the court of Henri IV of France. The result is as gripping as it is authentic: an epic, transcontinental choreography in which Europe's monarchs tussle with pretenders to their thrones, and ordinary people steer between allegiances to God, nation and family.
The reign of the Capetian kings has ended and John II, 'The Good', second of the Valois dynasty, has taken the throne. Under his leadership the Hundred Years War, one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts in history, escalates and England and France begin to tear each other apart. Cardinal Perigord, narrating the drama, shows us a monarch as vain and cruel as he is incompetent. Under his turbulent reign, warring factions plunder the land, famine threatens the people and the Black Death spreads far and wide. France is bleeding to death around the new king.
Berlin, September 1872. The Duncker brothers, Max and Wolfgang, own a thriving publishing business in the city. Clever, irresponsible Max is as fond of gambling and brothels as the older, wiser, Wolfgang is of making a profit.
When Max's bad habits get out of hand, Wolfgang sends him to the Spa town of Homburg, to dance attendance upon a celebrity author - the enigmatic Sibyl, also known as George Eliot. As enthralling and intelligent as her books, she soon has Max bewitched. Yet Wolfgang has an ulterior motive: for his brother to consider Sophie von Hahn, daughter of a wealthy family friend, as a potential wife.
At first, Max is lured by Sophie's beauty and his affectionate memories of their shared childhood. But Sophie proves to be nothing like the vision of angelic domesticity Max was expecting. Mischievous, wilful and daring, Sophie gambles recklessly and rides horses like a man. Both women have Max in thrall - one with her youth and passion, the other with her wisdom and fierce intelligence. Out of his depth, Max finds himself precariously balanced between Sophie and the Sibyl.
What's more, Sophie worships the great novelist of questionable morals - and is determined to meet her.
A compelling Victorian novel and a playful meditation on the creation of literature, Sophie and the Sibyl balances a tale of courtship and seduction with a fascinating, lively imagining of the writer George Eliot at the end of her boldly unconventional life, and the height of her fame.
A select band of soldiers led by Luke Magoris are given the mission of persuading Tamerlane to defend Constantinople. The great conqueror must turn his forces to the West to fight the Ottomans, who otherwise would destroy Constantinople and the Byzantine empire. Luke, torn away from the woman he loves and all he knows, is trained as a Mongol warrior to impress Tamerlane and his army before joining his fellow Varangian guards, descendants of the men who once brought a vital treasure out of Constantinople. It is this treasure, some say, that can still save the empire - uniting the Christian churches of the east and west in one final triumphant crusade to smite the Ottomans. No longer an innocent patriot, Luke is caught in the crossfire and begins to question if his mission is honourable - or whether those who sent him have the best interests of Byzantium at heart. The Towers of Samarcand is a powerful historical novel full of lively characters and enthralling scenes of battle, wealth, beliefs and trade in a part of the world torn by the clash of empires.
Meet Nat Love. Born a slave in Texas, he escapes a lynching and finds a mentor who trains him in shooting, riding, reading, writing and gardening. But the enemies of his youth pursue him, and soon he is on the run again...In the course of a tumultuous life, he becomes in turn a Buffalo Soldier, a bouncer, a ratcatcher, a sharpshooter, a dime-novel star, a friend to Wild Bill Hickock and a US Marshall. From Texas to Deadwood and back down south, he both dodges and courts violence, hoping one day to get his revenge. Featuring cowboys, Apaches, buffalo and much, much more, this is a mostly true tale of how the West was won from one of America's most original writers.
It seems that having discovered a new world, we have been doomed to then lose it. The year is 1775. Captain James Cook is forty-seven years old and the toast of the Admiralty, the Royal Society and the English public after his triumphant second world voyage. His wife, Elizabeth, pregnant with their sixth child, relishes the fact that her now-famous husband is home for good. He has been absent far too long. But James cannot resist the call of the sea. Offered the chance to discover a long-sought passage from the North Pacific to the North Atlantic, he accepts the challenge. Much against Elizabeth's wishes, he sets sail for the Pacific, where destiny awaits on the shores of a distant tropical island. The stunning conclusion the trilogy that began with The Secret Life of James Cook and continued with James Cook's New World.
Winner of the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition. 'A sparkling and compelling mystery. Amy Snow captured our hearts from the very first page' Richard and Judy. Abandoned on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy is taken in at nearby Hatville Court. But the masters and servants of the grand estate prove cold and unwelcoming. Amy's only friend and ally is the sparkling young heiress Aurelia Vennaway. So when Aurelia tragically dies young, Amy is devastated. But Aurelia leaves Amy one last gift. A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can follow. A life-changing discovery awaits...if only she can unlock the secret.