A.D. 79. Parthia is gripped by civil war. One king vying for the throne, desperate for help, welcomes an alliance from an unlikely source: a man claiming to be Nero, the dethroned Roman emperor. Meanwhile, young Gaius wishes he could spend his summer on the Bay of Naples amongst his books. Instead Pliny, the famous admiral, has sent him to befriend the nephew of Ulpius, the mysterious blind senator from Spain. A man Pliny does not trust. But when a Parthian hostage is nearly killed, days before Parthian emissaries are expected, and as rumours of the False Nero entering the land reaches Rome, Gaius and Pliny race to learn how these events are connected. As the political intrigue comes to a head, something happens that only the mysterious clairvoyant Sybil could have foreseen: Mount Vesuvius erupts, and black ash fills the sky...
Cold. Ruthless. Deadly. The myth of Lady Macbeth looms large. But behind the villainous portrait stands a real woman. This is her story . . .
Scotland, 1020 AD - King Malcolm II is fading fast. It is North vs South, for two families have a claim on the inheritance of his crown. Who will gain the Scottish throne?
On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, a flushed and nervous Cora MacDuff waits to marry her sweetheart, Macbeth. But her dreams are about to be stolen from her as the night she was hoping for turns into a brutal slaughter. In order to reclaim the life she was promised, she will learn to use every weapon at her disposal - even her son.
The beginning of a brand new Historical fiction series by the bestselling author of the QUEENS OF CONQUEST series, her new trilogy unearths the real women behind Shakespeare's most infamous queens . . . If you love Elizabeth Chadwick and Anne O'Brien you will adore Joanna Courtney What readers are saying about Joanna Courtney:
'I was hooked from the very first page and didn't want to put it down. Joanna Courtney is a new talent in the world of historical fiction and one that I would highly recommend. I look forward to reading more by this fantastic author' Bookbabblers 'A strong sense of atmosphere and place and time. I really got into the story, in fact I was so gripped by it at one point that I missed my bus. It was a really good, exciting, read. I cannot wait to read the next two books.' Michelle Birkby, author of THE HOUSE AT BAKER STREET 'Amazing' (Miranda Dickinson) 'A glorious, rich, epic story of love, friendship and sacrifice which will sweep you up and transport you to another time. I absolutely loved this and can't wait for the next book in the series' (Rachael Lucas, author of SEALED WITH A KISS and COMING UP ROSES) 'An absorbing and emotional debut novel' (Candis magazine) 'A beautifully written multi layered tale with a tremendously authentic sense of place and time . . . an epic feel . . . highly recommended' (LizLovesBooks) 'The story reaches a heart-rending climax. A must read. I loved it' (Freda Lightfoot, author of THE AMBER KEEPER) 'With lovely writing and a terrific sense of narrative drive, Joanna Courtney portrays an era of change through a story about a long forgotten Queen. In The Chosen Queen, Edyth is a heroine who inhabits a convincingly re-created historical world, peopled with personalities whose lives leap from the page. Superb! (Carol McGrath, author of THE DAUGHTERS OF HASTINGS trilogy) An outstanding opening to this new series set to rival historical fiction heavyweight
'Oisin Fagan announces himself as the best new young writer in Ireland' Colin Barrett 'A writer out to do whatever the hell he wants . . . a grisly, gross-out slice of medieval life and death, it's vigorously, writhingly itself, spilling out of any box you put it in' Observer An ambitious noble and his three serving men travel through the Irish countryside in the stifling summer of 1348, using the advantage of the plague which has collapsed society to buy up large swathes of property and land. They come upon Nobber, a tiny town, whose only living habitants seem to be an egotistical bureaucrat, his volatile wife, a naked blacksmith, and a beautiful Gaelic hostage. Meanwhile, a band of marauding Gaels are roaming around, using the confusion of the sickness to pillage and reclaim lands that once belonged to them.
As these groups converge upon the town, the habitants, who up until this point have been under strict curfew, begin to stir from their dwellings, demanding answers from the intruders. A deadly stand-off emerges from which no one will escape unscathed.
'Historical fiction at its finest.' @MargaretAtwood It is 1535 and Agnes Peppin, daughter of a West-country butcher, has been banished, leaving her family home in disgrace to live out the rest of her life cloistered behind the walls of Shaftesbury Abbey.
While Agnes grapples with the complex rules and hierarchies of the sisterhood, King Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Head of the Church of England. Religious houses are being formally subjugated, monasteries dissolved, and the great Abbey is no exception to the purge.
Cast out with her sisters, Agnes is at last free to be the master of her own fate. But freedom comes at a price as she descends into a world she knows little about, using her wits and testing her moral convictions against her need to survive - by any means necessary...
England 1648. A dangerous time for a woman to be different . . .
Midsummer's Eve, 1648, and England is in the grip of civil war between renegade King and rebellious Parliament. The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even to the remote Tidelands - the marshy landscape of the south coast.
Alinor, a descendant of wise women, crushed by poverty and superstition, waits in the graveyard under the full moon for a ghost who will declare her free from her abusive husband. Instead she meets James, a young man on the run, and shows him the secret ways across the treacherous marsh, not knowing that she is leading disaster into the heart of her life.
Suspected of possessing dark secrets in superstitious times, Alinor's ambition and determination mark her out from her neighbours. This is the time of witch-mania, and Alinor, a woman without a husband, skilled with herbs, suddenly enriched, arouses envy in her rivals and fear among the villagers, who are ready to take lethal action into their own hands.
Praise for Philippa Gregory:
`Popular historical fiction at its finest, immaculately researched and superbly told' The Times 'Philippa Gregory is truly the mistress of the historical novel. It would be hard to make history more entertaining, lively or engaging' Sunday Express `Gregory has popularised Tudor history perhaps more than any other living fiction writer . . . All of her books feature strong, complex women, doing their best to improve their lives in worlds dominated by men' Sunday Times 'Immaculate research, pacy narratives and a stubborn insistence that history is not only about men . . . a powerful reminder of how precarious the lives of the Tudor women could be' Daily Mail
The fates of Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild unfold to their stunning conclusion in this riveting final volume in The Golden Wolf Saga, a trilogy that conjures the ancient world with the gripping detail, thrilling action, and vivid historical elements of GAME OF THRONES and OUTLANDER.
Ragnvald has long held to his vision of King Harald as a golden wolf who will bring peace to Norway as its conqueror - even though he knows that Harald's success will eventually mean his own doom. He is grateful to have his beloved sister, the fierce and independent Svanhild, once more at his side to help keep their kingdom secure. Free from the evil husband who used her, she is now one of Harald's many wives.
While Svanhold is happy to be reunited with her beloved brother, and enjoys more freedom than ever before, she is restless and lonely. When an old enemy of Ragnvald's kidnaps his niece, Freydis, his sister follows the daughter she has neglected to Iceland, where an old love awaits. This strange new land offers a life far different from what each has left behind, as well as unexpected challenges and choices.
Ragnvald, too, must contend with change. His sons - the gifted Einar, the princely Ivar, and the adventurous Rolli - are no longer children. Harald's heirs have also grown up. Stepping back from his duties as king, he watches as his sons pursue their own ambitions. But Norway may no longer be large enough for so many would-be kings.
Now in their twilight years, these venerable men whose lives have been shaped by war must face another battle. A growing rebellion pits Ragnvald and his sons against enemies old and new, and a looming tragedy threatens to divide them all. Across the sea, Svanhild, too, wrestles with a painful decision, risking the dissolution of her fragile new family as she desperately tries to save it.
Yet as old heroes fall, new heroes arise. For years, Ragnvald and Svanhild pursued the destinies bestowed by their ancient gods. Though the journey has cost them much, their sacrifices and dreams will be honoured by the generations that follow, beginning with Freydis and Einar. Emerging from their parents' long shadows, they have begun to pursue their own glorious fates.
This compelling conclusion to the GOLDEN WOLF trilogy recreates Viking-age Scandinavia in all its danger, passion, power, and glory - a world of brutality and myth, loyalty and betrayal, where shifting alliances and vengeance can build kingdoms . . . and can tear them down.
The year is 1792 and Herbert Powyss is set on making his name as a scientist. He is determined to study the effects of prolonged solitude on another human being, though before now Powyss's sole subjects have been the plants in his greenhouse. He fills three rooms beneath Moreham House with books, paintings and even a pianoforte, then puts out an advertisement, hoping for a gentleman recluse to claim the substantial reward.
The only man desperate enough to apply is John Warlow, a semi-literate farm labourer who needs to support his wife Hannah and their six children. Cut off from nature and the turning of the seasons, Warlow soon begins losing his grip on sanity. Above ground, Powyss finds yet another distraction from his greenhouse in the form of Hannah, with whom he rapidly becomes obsessed. Does she return his feelings, or is she just afraid of his power over her family's lives?
Meanwhile, the servants are brewing up a rebellion inspired by recent news from across the Channel. Powyss may have set events in motion, but he is powerless to prevent their explosive and devastating conclusion.
Elegantly told and utterly transporting, The Warlow Experiment is an outstanding literary novel that announces a major new voice in British fiction.
From the author of CALIGULA (an engrossing new spin on a well-known tale - The Times) comes a new standalone novel in the Damned Emperors series: COMMODUS.
162AD. Rome is enjoying a period of stability and prosperity. The Empire's bounds are increasing, and two sons are born into the imperial succession for the first time in nearly a century. But all is not as it appears - cracks are beginning to show. The wars have rumbled on too long, and there are whispers of a sickness in the East.
Just thirty years later, the Empire will be caught up in civil war, the imperial dynasty ended, and Rome burned.
One man tried to hold the fracturing state together. To Rome, he was their Emperor, their Hercules, their golden gladiator fighting off all foes, their Commodus.
One woman tried to hold him together. To Commodus, she was, simply, Marcia.
Sometimes the fate for which you are destined is not your own...
1845, a village outside Sydney Town. Humble blacksmith Ian Steele struggles to support his widowed mother. All the while he dreams of a life in uniform, serving in Queen Victoria's army.
1845, Puketutu, New Zealand. Second Lieutenant Samuel Forbes, a young poet from an aristocratic English family, wants nothing more than to discard the officer's uniform he never sought.
When the two men cross paths in the colony of New South Wales, they are struck by their brotherly resemblance and quickly hatch a plan for Ian to take Samuel's place in the British army.
Ian must travel to England, fool the treacherous Forbes family and accept a commission into their regiment as a company commander in the bloody Crimean war...but he will soon learn that there are even deadlier enemies close to home.