Heron Books

  • Welcome to Heron Books

    Heron Books

    Heron Books is an imprint of Quercus Books, focussed on publishing high-quality storytelling in both fiction and non-fiction. A small and selective list, we have the advantage of being able take time to care for and develop authors and projects, allowing authors the chance to be as involved in the publishing process as they want and cultivating a lasting creative relationship.
    • Search for a Civilization

      The Celts

      Alice Roberts goes in search of the Celts and their treasures in a narrative history to accompanying a new BBC series.
      • The Historical Fictionist

        The magazine for fans of historical novels
      • James Heneage

        The Lion of Mistra

        Rome never fell. The empire continued as Byzantium. This epic historical novel concerns one man's role in saving the empire. The third novel in James Heneage epic Rise of Empires series.
      • Lucy Cruickshanks

        The Road to Rangoon

        This is a tale of ambition, salvation and hope that confirms Lucy Cruickshanks as a master storyteller.
      • A community for history lovers

        H For History

        From ancient Rome to the Tudor Court, revolutionary Paris to the Second World War, discover the best historical fiction and non-fiction at H For History

      About Heron Books

      Heron Books is an imprint of Quercus Books, focussed on publishing high-quality storytelling in both fiction and non-fiction.
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      Heron Books

      The Rocks

      By Peter Nichols

      Set on the island of Mallorca, The Rocks is a double love story told in reverse. Opening in 2005 with a dramatic event that seems to seal the mystery of two lives, the story moves backwards in time, unravelling over sixty years, amid the olive groves and bars, the boats and poolside parties, the lives and relationships of two intertwined families within an expat community of endearing and flawed characters. As one story is revealed, another, sweeter one, a love story of a couple from the younger generation, arises in the wake of their elder's failures.

      The Rocks is a darkly comic, bittersweet, finally heartbreaking novel, that slips back in time to reveal the shocking incident that marked and altered these lives for ever.

      Set over 60 years, this family drama will completely consume you.I have admired Peter Nichols for a long time. He shows an unflinching honesty in his writing and he brings to light the intricate dynamics of human relationships, both the noble and the small. Nothing escapes him.A beautifully crafted love story set against an idyllic backdrop of ocean breezes and lemon groves. Nichols expertly weaves a tale that stretches across decades and generations, giving us a unique and unforgettable cast of characters.A Mediterranean idyll, a family saga, a mystery. A love story that's as weird as real life, as rich and surprising and tender and affecting. The Rocks is all these things. Like Beautiful Ruins, it reminds me of all the reasons I read novels.An involving and erudite sagaGorgeously absorbing... Told in flashback, with wit, passion and charm'Peter Nichols's wondrous novel The Rocks is clearly the odyssey he was born to undertake, the book he was destined to write' Richard Russo.This is a sophisticated and ambitious novel but I'm going to keep my verdict simple: it is one of the best books I've read in a long time . . . The setting, the engaging cast of characters and the changes in morals and society over the decades are vividly painted and fascinating. The Rocks has everything I look for in a work of fiction but rarely find between one set of covers.Three generations, two families and the dangerous delights of a Mediterranean island, The Rocks is a bittersweet chronicle of unresolved feuds.For fans of The Cazalet Chronicles, the Clifton Chronicles and Tigers in Red Weather.A wonderful portrait of changing social mores over the decades.A remarkable new fiction author, with a writing style that recalls One Day.Highly promotable author will be available for events in the UK.
      Heron Books

      The Lion of Mistra

      By James Heneage

      'One hell of a fine book' Conn Iggulden. Rome never fell. It became Byzantium . . . As Ottoman forces invade, one man must defend his country and face his own personal destiny.

      A rich tale of clashing empires and trade wars, lost treasure and tempestuous love in an age when the fate of the world hung on the survival of Byzantium. It was an era that made the modern world and a place that was then, as now, the hinge between east and west. Luke Magoris, descendant of princes of England, is a man with a rare talent for war and for trade. To him falls the overwhelming task of defending his country and his beloved Mistra against the rampant Ottoman forces.

      Fascinating historical mysteries and vivid colourful characters. One hell of a fine book

      A stirring tale of the struggle for Byzantium, Heneage brings to life both the tragedy and the
      heroism

      A compelling narrative of intrigue, love and warAn electrifying historical novel'One hell of a fine book' Conn Iggulden. Rome never fell. It became Byzantium . . . As Ottoman forces invade, one man must defend his country and face his own personal destiny.For fans of Game of Thrones, Conn Iggulden and Simon ScarrowDedicated targeted marketing campaign and multiple planned festival appearances
      Heron Books

      The Celts

      By Alice Roberts

      'Informed, impeccably researched and written' Neil Oliver

      The Celts are one of the world's most mysterious ancient people. In this compelling account, Alice Roberts takes us on a journey across Europe, uncovering the truth about this engimatic tribe: their origins, their treasure and their enduring legacy today. What emerges is not a wild people, but a highly sophisticated tribal culture that influenced the ancient world - and even Rome.

      It is the story of a multicultural civilization, linked by a common language.

      It is the story of how ideas travelled in prehistory, how technology and art spread across the continent.

      It is the story of a five-hundred year fight between two civilizations that came to define the world we live in today.

      It is the story of a culture that changed Europe forever.


      'Roberts's lightness of touch is joyous, and celebratory' Observer

      'Clear-spoken and enthusiastic' Telegraph

      Alice Roberts is an anatomist, archaeologist, anthropologist, historian, television presenter, author and professor at the University of Birmingham. She has presented Coast, Digging for Britain and The Incredible Human Journey on BBC2, Inside Science on Radio 4 and has appeared as an expert on Time Team on Channel 4. She writes a regular column for The Observer and is passionate about human health, evolution and history. She lives in Bristol with her husband and two children.

      In 387 BC, Celtic warriors defeated a Roman army and sacked Rome. It was the bold act of a confident superpower, one that had dominated Europe for 300 years and whose influence stretched from Britain to Turkey, from Poland to Portugal.
      We know a lot about the Romans. They left monuments to their glories and written histories charting the exploits of their heroes. What do we know about the warriors that humiliated them 1,400 years ago? The Celts did not keep written records and so much of their story and many of their achievements were forgotten.
      And yet, their world in not entirely lost to us. Using the latest archaeological and scientific research, Alice Roberts takes us on ajourney across Europe, revealing a remarkable new story of the Celts: their origins, how they lived and thrived, and their enduring modern legacy.
      This is the story of a multicultural empire, built not just on military might and migration, but also through a cultural conquest of trade and influence. It was a pioneering civilization, capable of teaching Rome about weapons and infrastructure; of producing exquisite jewellery and intricate royal tombs; and of acting with callous brutality.
      This is a story of discovery that Alice Roberts brings to life with passion and knowledge.
      This is the story of a European culture that changed Britain forever.


      £25

      Major BBC2 series in collaboration with German TVNew revelations about pan-European CeltsAlice Roberts shortlisted for The Wellcome Book Prize 2015Foreword by Neil Oliver
      Heron Books

      The Book of Jobs

      By Lucy Tobin

      This book is a careers bible fit for today's job market, with exclusive advice and guidance from some of the biggest names in British business.

      No matter what stage of life one is at, whether a school leaver, university graduate or job changer, finding the right career to suit one's skills and characteristics has never been more challenging. The amount of choice and information can be daunting. Most of us only have a vague idea of what careers really entail on a day-to-day basis and yet that information could steer one towards - or away - from a job or university course.

      In this book Lucy Tobin has compiled an inspirational guide to the most popular jobs and careers in the UK, giving the inside scoop on what these jobs are really like day-to-day, what skills recruiters are really looking for and what courses to study to get your foot in the door.

      Jobs covered include: banker, actuary, publisher, fashion designer, barrister, zookeeper, chef, TV presenter, actor, journalist, civil servant, app developer, architect, engineer and psychologist.

      Lucy's journalistic approach, together with exclusive interviews with chef Antonio Carluccio, designer Kelly Hoppen, Dragon Den's James Caan, astronaut Tim Peake, footballer Michael Owen, author Tracy Chevalier and entrepreneur Jamal Edwards makes The Book of Jobs the careers guide to trust at every stage of life.

      The careers guide to trust at every stage of your life.A modern careers guide that reveals what jobs are really like day-to-day and what skills and qualifications are most relevant to school leavers, university graduates, job hunters and careers changers.Lucy Tobin is personal finance editor at the London Evening Standard where she writes a weekly column, 'How to Save it', filled with money-saving ideas. She is also a columnist and senior news feature writer at the Standard, and an incessant Tweet. Lucy was named Business Journalist of the Year at the Santander Media Awards and Young Journalist of the Year at the DLA Piper Journalist awards. Lucy is the author of four other books.Lucy Tobin is an award-winning Evening Standard journalist.Contributions and support from Antonio Carluccio, James Caan, Tracy Chevalier, Jamal Edwards and Michael OwenLucy Tobin to appear at graduate and careers fairs.
      Heron Books

      The Road to Rangoon

      By Lucy Cruickshanks

      In 1980s Burma, the British ambassador's son goes missing.

      Discovered in the north of the country, Michael Atwood is in imminent danger, trapped between sides fighting a bitter civil war and with no way of getting back to Rangoon. His best hope of salvation is to trust Thuza, a ruby smuggler who offers to help him escape.

      Beautiful and deeply scarred, Thuza has spent her entire life in a frontier town between rebel and government forces, never choosing a side but trying to make a living from both. For Thuza, the ambassador's son is her ticket out of poverty. For Than, an ambitious military officer, exploiting those caught up in the war offers an opportunity for promotion and distinction.

      But as all three learn to their cost, in this exotic, enigmatic and savage country, everyone has a price.

      This is a tale of ambition, salvation and hope that confirms Lucy Cruickshanks as a master storyteller.

      Lucy Cruickshanks' writing is powerful, pacy, vivid and involvingBurma springs to life through Cruickshanks' beautiful proseGripping and thought-provokingA gutsy, atmospheric thrillerAn intelligent and incredibly impactful read that stays with the reader long after turning the final pageAn enjoyable and well-written novelSet in a very difficult period of Burma's history, this novel brings the rawness and uncertainty of the times to life in the later 20th Century. There are very carefully observed mannerisms amongst the local people, and the oppressive times in which the people of Burma were living are acutely portrayed. It cleverly sets the historical for anyone who is going to visit in the 21st Century who wants to gain a sense of the country of Myanmar todayA beautifully atmospheric novel

      For someone who knew relatively nothing of the situation in Burma, this book is a real eye opener!
      Imagine living under such fear and not only from the obvious enemy but from your neighbour or man on the street who could just as easily betray you.
      Lucy has done a great deal of timeless and detailed research... and made it one heck on an insight into a better understanding of Burmese history

      Cruickshanks is skilled in her ability to marry her fiction with well-researched historical events. Indeed, having had a prior interest in Myanmar and its recent history, Cruickshanks effectively depicted a visceral world of bloodshed, without compromising on historical integrityI enjoyed Cruickshanks' handling of her material, and her research is thorough and fascinating. She weaves it all together into an atmospheric, evocative novelFrom the heart of Burma's exotic Rubyland comes an emotional thriller, as three lives are thrown together by the desperate choices they make to survive in a country gripped by civil warFeatures references to Aung San Suu Kyi's fatherFor fans of Rosie Thomas, Khalid Hosseini, Kate Furnivall, Rosanna LeyThe Trader of Saigon was shortlisted for the Not the Booker Prize and the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award
      Heron Books

      Love Notes for Freddie

      By Eva Rice

      We don't have long. Dancers are like dragonflies - in one day, dead in the water the next.

      Love Notes for Freddie is a rich, remarkable novel of what happens when three people see an open door.

      Marnie Fitzpatrick has a celebrated, dysfunctional stepfather, a twin brother who photographs family rows for fun, and has never met a boy that she prefers to a maths conundrum. Yet one afternoon in the company of wayward rebel, Rachel Porter, changes all of that. Forever.

      Julie Crewe once danced barefoot in Central Park with man she has never been able to forget, but after breaking her heart and both her ankles, re-invented herself as a teacher at St Libby's - a highly-rated girls' school in Hertfordshire.

      Freddie Friday - an electrician in the Shredded Wheat factory - wants to break away from everything that is expected of him, but circumstances and his past imprison him, except when he's moving to music.

      This is the story of what happened in the unsuspecting town of Welwyn Garden City during the long hot summer of 1969. It's about first love, and last love and all the complicated stuff in between, that can't be explained by any mathematical equation.

      This is what happened when they saw the open door.

      I so enjoyed this emotional, engaging, vivid and different coming-of-age story . . . The thought-provoking narrative twists between Marnie's and Julie's points of view, and is beautifully written, intelligent and grippingA beautiful tale of first loves, secret passions and, er, mathsIt seems there is a ready audience for novels set in the relatively recent past, with characters' quaint attitudes and period detail of clothes and music forming a large part of attraction - nostalgia-lit? This fine example of the genre offers intelligent, undemanding entertainment, which is sometimes all you need on a hot summer's dayA forbidden love. An impossible dream. A young man breaks hearts and boundaries in this romantic novel by the author of The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets.Eva Rice has written four novels and one non-fiction book. She is married to a musician and has three children. She lives in London.

      Love Notes for Freddie is a rich, remarkable novel of what happens when three people see an open door.
      Marnie Fitzpatrick has a celebrated, dysfunctional stepfather, a twin brother who photographs family rows for fun, and has never met a boy that she prefers to a maths conundrum. Yet one afternoon in the company of wayward rebel, Rachel Porter, changes all of that. Forever.
      Julie Crewe once danced barefoot in Central Park with man she has never been able to forget, but after breaking her heart and both her ankles, re-invented herself as a teacher at St Libby's - a highly-rated girls' school in Hertfordshire.
      Freddie Friday - an electrician in the Shredded Wheat factory - wants to break away from everything that is expected of him, but circumstances and his past imprison him, except when he's moving to music.
      This is the story of what happened in the unsuspecting town of Welwyn Garden City during the long hot summer of 1969. It's about first love, and last love and all the complicated stuff in between, that can't be explained by any mathematical equation.
      This is what happened when they saw the open door.

      The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets was a Richard and Judy Book Club choice and has sold over 250,000 copies through the UK TCM.The author is the daughter of Sir Tim Rice, and a songwriter in her own right.A coming-of-age story about dancing beyond class and gender boundaries in the vein of Billy Elliot.For fans of Elizabeth Jane Howard, Katie Fforde and Joanna Trollope.
      Heron Books

      Turning the Stones

      By Debra Daley

      Georgian England, mid-eighteenth century.

      As a foundling the young Em Smith is brought to the Cheshire country home of the ambitious Waterland family, where she serves as a companion to their daughter, Eliza. But as they grow up, Em's position becomes uncertain and she is increasingly troubled by the mystery of her birth. When Eliza goes in pursuit of a husband and a fortune in London, Em finds herself implicated in a horrific crime and must flee for her life.

      Her frantic escape takes her across country and onto the high seas, where she is at the mercy of the enigmatic smuggler, Captain McDonagh. But there is a more potent force drawing Emily on: a spirit whose presence she has felt all her life, and whose irresistible design - be it malicious or benevolent - will force her onwards to a distant shore. There she will confront the astonishing secret of her origins.

      'A glorious, intricate period romance: a perfect mix of Georgian high society blended with wild Irish magic. Em is a feisty heroine and the denoument is as perfect as it is unexpected' Manda Scott.'I marvelled at this novel. Gripping, assured and powerfully atmospheric; you know at once you are in the hands of a master storyteller' Rowan Pelling.'Gripping, tautly plotted and hauntingly beautiful: Debra Daley is a writer to watch' Vanora Bennett.An orphaned girl fights for survival in Georgian England, in a spirited novel for fans of Sarah Waters and Susan Hill.For fans of Sarah Waters, Susan Hill and Daphne du Maurier.Set in the same period as Philippa Gregory's Wideacre series.
      The Celts

      Alice Roberts talks about her new book and BBC TV series

      The Historical Fictionist

      Sign up to receive the free digital magazine for fans of historical novels
      Heron Books

      The Towers of Samarcand

      By James Heneage

      'One hell of a fine book' Conn Iggulden

      CAN THE GREATEST WARRIOR OF THE AGE AND A LOST ANGLO-SAXON TREASURE BE UNITED IN TIME TO RESCUE CONSTANTINOPLE?

      With an Ottoman army at the gates and Constantinople set to submit, Luke Magoris must make an epic journey across a continent to the ancient city of Samarcand to approach the last hope for the Byzantine world; the Mongolian conqueror Tamerlane.

      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.

      Set against the vast backdrop of the Anatolian plains, this is a powerful and enthralling historical novel, full of vivid characters, compelling mystery and sensational battles.

      Europe lies at the mercy of the invading Ottomans and hero Luke Magoris must unite the greatest warrior of the age and a lost Anglo Saxon treasure in time to rescue the Byzantine empire in the second of the epic Mistra ChroniclesThe follow-up to The Walls of Byzantium.The third in the series will be published July 2015.For fans of Game of Thrones and The Da Vinci Code.
      The Walls of Byzantium

      Book one in The Rise of Empires series

      Heron Books

      Dodger of the Dials

      By James Benmore

      The Artful Dodger is back doing what he does best: stealing, charming and leading a gang of petty thieves from the Seven Dials. But crime in London has become a serious business - and when Jack needs protection he soon finds himself out of his depth and facing the gallows for murder.

      The evidence against him seems insurmountable, until a young reporter by the name of Oliver Twist takes up his cause. Can they extricate Dodger from Newgate in time to escape the noose and save that which he treasures most, or is he destined for Fagin's fate?

      Prepare for a thrilling adventure through Dickensian London with one of literature's most memorable rogues.

      The second instalment in James Benmore's acclaimed Dodger series.

      A cracking plot replete with reversals and triumphs. Long may this series runA terrific read; I thoroughly recommend itTremendous fun - with an underlying theme which is deadly seriousDon't worry if you haven't read the first, or even Oliver Twist, this is stand-alone fun and action. For a really entertaining read go no furtherDodger is back! And oh, how I've missed him! The book is a gripping, fast-paced adventure with memorable moments, both light and dark. The characters are wonderfully written and have depth and personality which make the reader care deeply about what happens to them. Dodger of the Dials is a real treat. To Benmore, I make this humble request: Please sir, I want some moreDodger of the Dials blows its predecessor away. Highly recommended'Dodger is back! And oh, how I've missed him! The book is a gripping, fast-paced adventure with memorable moments, both light and dark ... Benmore has matured as an author and the quality of his writing shines through ... Please sir, I want some more' Bookbag.'Blows its predecessor away ... Emotive, cathartic and inspired ... How James Benmore has managed to mix Dickensian England and characters with a modern humour and outlook on the world and retain that feeling of the original is a marvel' Parmenion Books.When the Artful Dodger is collared for murder, he must turn to some old friends for help in escaping the nooseJames Benmore studied literature at the Open University and has since completed an MSt in Creative Writing at Oxford University. He won the AM Heath prize in 2010 for best work of fiction by a writer graduating from Kellogg College. His short stories have been published in various anthologies. He lives in London.Longlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker Prize
      Heron Books

      The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being

      By Alice Roberts

      'From your brain to your fingertips, you emerge from her book entertained and with a deeper understanding of yourself' Richard Dawkins

      'A masterful account of why our bodies are the way they are . . . this book really shines . . . Roberts's lightness of touch is joyous, and celebratory' Observer

      'Witty, personal and above all informed by passion and deep knowledge, this is the story of you, not just from conception onwards but from the millions of years of evolution that have shaped the way we are today' Adam Rutherford

      ***SHORTLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE***

      Alice Roberts takes you on the most incredible journey, revealing your path from a single cell to a complex embryo to a living, breathing, thinking person. It's a story that connects us with our distant ancestors and an extraordinary, unlikely chain of events that shaped human development and left a mark on all of us. Alice Roberts uses the latest research to uncover the evolutionary history hidden in all of us, from the secrets found only in our embryos and genes - including why as embroyos we have what look like gills - to those visible in your anatomy. This is a tale of discovery, exploring why and how we have developed as we have. This is your story, told as never before.

      Alice Roberts tells us about the most amazing story on the planet - the creation of the human animal. Nothing is more extraordinary and her guided tour of the human body takes us on a fascinating journey of self-discoveryA masterful account of why our bodies are the way they are ... Roberts skilfully and knowledgeably weaves embryology, genetics, anatomy, evolution and zoology to tell the incredible story of the human body ... It is in comparative anatomy that this book really shines ... Roberts's anatomical expertise is seductive ... Roberts's lightness of touch is joyous, and celebratoryRoberts's engagingly personal style connects you to your ancestors, to your own personal beginnings as a single cell and, in a most attractive way, to herself as an author of great charm. From your brain to your fingertips, you emerge from her book entertained and with a deeper understanding of yourselfA brilliant account of how a single cell transforms itself into a living, breathing, thinking person. The book exudes physicality, it is like having an intellectual massage of every muscle in your body - afterwards you are keenly aware of your body and feel like a different personThe biggest gap in biology is that between DNA . . . and living creatures . . . Alice Roberts has set out to find it. With wit and enthusiasm, she succeeds'Witty, personal and above all informed by passion and deep knowledge' Adam Rutherford.'Her guided tour of the human body takes us on a fascinating journey of self-discovery' Desmond Morris.'Alice Roberts's engagingly personal style connects you to your ancestors, to your own beginnings as a single cell ... You emerge from her book entertained and with a deeper understanding of yourself' Richard Dawkins.The presenter of the BBC's The Incredible Human Journey gives us a new and highly accessible look at our own bodies and into the past to uncover the evolutionary secrets hidden in all of us. Alice Roberts is an anatomist, osteoarchaeologist, anthropologist, television presenter, author and professor at the University of Birmingham. She has presented The Incredible Human Journey and Coast on BBC 2 and Inside Science on Radio 4. She lives in Bristol with her husband and two children.Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2015BBC 2 TV series under negotiation.The Incredible Human Journey sold 15,000 copies through the UK TCM.Alice Roberts has 80,000 twitter followers and is often compared to Brian Cox.Appearances at Hay, Cheltenham, Glastonbury, Birmingham Science Festival and Chalke Valley History Festival
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      The Road to Rangoon

      Lucy Cruickshanks talks to Solent News about her novel The Road to Rangoon

      Dodger's London

      Dodger's London

      Dodger's London