Jaan Kross - The Ropewalker - Quercus

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    • ISBN:9780857054579
    • Publication date:28 Jul 2016
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    • ISBN:9781784299781
    • Publication date:08 Mar 2018

The Ropewalker

Between Three Plagues Volume I

By Jaan Kross

  • Hardback
  • £20.00

The story of a man who rose from peasant stock to become Estonia's most famous medieval chronicler - The first novel in a historical trilogy by Estonia's most famous writer

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 . . .

Biographical Notes

Jaan Kross is Estonia's best-known and most widely translated author. He was born in Tallinn in 1920 and lived much of his life under either Soviet or German occupation. He won countless awards for his writing, including The National Cultural Award, The Amnesty International Golden Flame and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger. He died in 2007.

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  • ISBN: 9780857056948
  • Publication date: 28 Jul 2016
  • Page count: 544
  • Imprint: MacLehose Press
He's a marvellous novelist - his scope and depth make him a world writer - and they should just hurry up and give him the Nobel — Doris Lessing.
He deserved a Nobel prize and would probably have got it had he written in any other language but Estonian — Neil Taylor, Guardian.
He's almost alone in writing in the older European tradition of the large-scale historical novel. I'd argue that Kross is heir to the 'great' Russo-European 19th century novelists; his fiction has Tolstoyan sweep. On reading him, moreover, we rediscover that Estonia was always resolutely in Europe and not some obscure outpost this side of the Urals — Fiona Sampson.
No stranger to oppression himself, Kross writes about it with a poignancy devoid of anger — Adam Zamoyski.
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Dark Water

Elizabeth Lowry
Authors:
Elizabeth Lowry

Boston, 1833Aboard the USS Orbis as it embarks from Boston and surges south to round Cape Horn, Hiram Carver takes up his first position as ship's doctor. Callow and anxious among the seasoned sailors, he struggles in this brutal floating world until he meets William Borden.Borden. The Hero of the Providence. A legend among sailors, his presence hypnotizes Carver, even before he hears the man's story. Years before, Borden saved several men from mutiny and led them in a dinghy across the Pacific to safety.Every ship faces terror from the deep. What happens on the Orbis binds Carver and Borden together forever. When Carver recovers, and takes up a role at Boston's Asylum for the Insane, he will meet Borden again - broken, starving, overwhelmed by the madness that has shadowed him ever since he sailed on the Providence.Carver devotes himself to Borden's cure, sure it depends on drawing out the truth about that terrible voyage. But though he raises up monsters, they will not rest. So Carver must return once more to the edge of the sea and confront the man - and the myth - that lie in dark water.Elizabeth Lowry's gothic masterpiece gives the genre of Heart of Darkness and Moby-Dick a new, beating heart. In Carver and Borden, she realizes the dichotomy of savagery and reason, of man and monster, of life and sacrifice, in a tale rich with adventure and glorious imagination.

Jo Fletcher Books

Wyntertide

Andrew Caldecott
Authors:
Andrew Caldecott

'Intricate and crisp, witty and solemn: a book with special and dangerous properties' - Hilary Mantel on RotherweirdThe town of Rotherweird, made independent from the rest of England by Queen Elizabeth I, has resumed its abnormal normality after a happy ending to the travails of summer.But is it really all over?Disturbing omens multiply: a funeral delivers a cryptic warning; an ancient portrait speaks; the Herald disappears - and democracy threatens the covenant between town and countryside. An intricate plot, centuries in the making, is on the move.Everything is pointing to one objective: the resurrection of Rotherweird's dark Elizabethan past, and to one date: the Winter Equinox.In Rotherweird, nothing and nobody are quite what they seem.Wyntertide is a twisted, arcane mystery with shades of Deborah Harkness, Kate Mosse, Hope Mirrlees, Ben Aaronovitch, Mervyn Peake and Edward Gorey at their disturbing best.

Jo Fletcher Books

The Crow Garden

Alison Littlewood
Authors:
Alison Littlewood

Susan Hill meets Wilkie Collins in Alison Littlewood's latest chiller. Mad-doctor Nathaniel is obsessed with the beautiful Mrs Harleston - but is she truly delusional? Or is she hiding secrets that should never be uncovered . . . ?Haunted by his father's suicide, Nathaniel Kerner walks away from the highly prestigious life of a consultant to become a mad-doctor. He takes up a position at Crakethorne Asylum, but the proprietor is more interested in phrenology and his growing collection of skulls than the patients' minds. Nathaniel's only interesting case is Mrs Victoria Adelina - Vita - Harleston: her husband accuses her of hysteria and delusions - but she accuses him of hiding secrets far more terrible.Nathaniel is increasingly obsessed with Vita, but when he has her mesmerised, there are unexpected results. Vita starts hearing voices, the way she used to - her grandmother always claimed they came from beyond the grave - but it also unleashes her own powers of mesmerism . . . and a desperate need to escape.Increasingly besotted, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a world of séances and stage mesmerism in his bid to find Vita and save her.But constantly hanging over him is this warning: that doctors are apt to catch the diseases with which they are surrounded - whether of the body or the mind . . .'[An] enjoyable excursion . . . gripping' The Sunday Times

MacLehose Press

A People without a Past

Jaan Kross
Authors:
Jaan Kross

The second part in an epic historical trilogy - The Estonian answer to Wolf Hall - by the nation's greatest modern writer The year is 1563, and by any account Balthasar Russow can be said to have risen in the world. Fresh from his studies in the German town of Stetten, he has assumed the role as pastor of Tallinn's Holy Ghost Church. Moreover, he is betrothed to a maiden of the town - much to the chagrin of her father, who has no wish to welcome peasant stock to the family when there is no shortage of upstanding young German men - and is poised to begin the chronicle that will ensure his everlasting fame.But tribulations still await the now not-quite-young Pastor - Livonia is still plagued by foreign powers, with Tallinn braced to withstand a prolonged Muscovite siege. And he will discover that marriage is often a battlefield in itself.Translated from the Estonian by Merike Beecher

Jo Fletcher Books

Rotherweird

Andrew Caldecott, Sasha Laika
Contributors:
Andrew Caldecott, Sasha Laika

'Intricate and crisp, witty and solemn: a book with special and dangerous properties' Hilary MantelA twisted, arcane murder-mystery with shades of Hope Mirrlees, Ben Aaronovitch, Mervyn Peake and Edward Gorey at their disturbing best.The town of Rotherweird stands alone - there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird's independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused.But secrets have a way of leaking out.Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town's long-derelict Manor House.Slickstone and Oblong, though driven by conflicting motives, both strive to connect past and present, until they and their allies are drawn into a race against time - and each other. The consequences will be lethal and apocalyptic.Welcome to Rotherweird!'Baroque, Byzantine and beautiful - not to mention bold' M.R. Carey'Compelling . . . the love child of Gormenghast and Hogwarts' Guardian

Jo Fletcher Books

The Gods Look Down

Trevor Hoyle
Authors:
Trevor Hoyle

When an ancient religious text reveals that nuclear physics capable of creating a new species of man existed in Biblical times, the mystified scientists of Earth IVn realise that something - or somebody - has been tampering with history . . .It's up to Christian Queghan to use his extraordinary powers as a Myth Technologist to unravel this baffling enigma, for only he can cross the barriers of time and space to uncover the malevolent force linking the distant past to the mythical future. Queghan is working with another scientist, decoding the ancient texts from ancient history - until he realises that his own colleague is seeking to alter history using the results of the research.Queghan must draw upon his ability to pass into alternate realities in an attempt to stop him, however dangerous it is for him.Q: The Gods Look Down is Book Three of the Q Series, an epic science fiction adventure through parallel worlds.

Jo Fletcher Books

Seeking the Mythical Future

Trevor Hoyle
Authors:
Trevor Hoyle
riverrun

Romanno Bridge

Andrew Greig
Authors:
Andrew Greig

The hunt for the crowning stone of the Dalriadic kings, the Stone of Scone, has begun.'You could easily make a case that Andrew Greig has the greatest range of any living Scottish writer' - ScotsmanA motorcyclist with a stolen ring walks into Rothiemurchus Forest and finds a quiet place to die. A woman with an eventful past has signed the Official Secrets Act and gone to Dumfries to forget a man and keep out of trouble. In comfortable Crieff, a retired historian publishes an obscure article on the survival of the Stone of Destiny then has his throat cut. A man with a long blade in a tan holster under his suit, a fondness for bird-watching, and memories of his short-lived Punk band Anger Management, has taken a commission to retrieve an object so valuable and mythic it might not exist. A rugby-playing half-Maori named Leo Nagotoa stands in the sleet by Romanno Bridge in the Scottish Borders, trying to thumb a lift when his Destiny slithers up alongside him. Some of the cast of The Return of John Macnab are back, but the times and the mood have changed. Romanno Bridge is a wintry thriller, an entertainment, a quest and an exploration of contemporary themes of fakes, frauds, copies, and a struggle to find the Real Thing, wherever and whatever it might be.

Euan Cameron

Euan Cameron's translations include works by Julien Green, Simone de Beauvoir and Paul Morand, and biographies of Marcel Proust and Irène Némirovsky.

Guillermo Orsi

Guillermo Orsi was born in Buenos Aires, where he still lives and works as a journalist. His previous novel Sueños de perro won the Semana Negra Umbriel Award in 2004.Nick Caistor's many translations from the Spanish include The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vázquez Montalban and the works of Juan Marsé and Alan Pauls.

Hilary Boyd

Hilary Boyd trained as a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital, then as a marriage guidance counselor. After a degree in English Literature at London University in her thirties, she moved into health journalism, writing a Mind, Body, Spirit column for the Daily Express. She published six non-fiction books on health-related subjects before turning to fiction and writing a string of bestsellers, starting with Thursdays in the Park. Hilary is married to film director/producer Don Boyd and lives near Chichester, West Sussex.

Ida Simons

Ida Simons (1911-1960) was a writer and a pianist, whose successful career came to an end with the German invasion. She was deported to Westerbork and Theresienstadt, along with her family. After the war, she gave more concerts, and then began to write. A Foolish Virgin was first published in 1959, and was highly regarded at the time. Unfortunately, her work sank into oblivion after her untimely death, but since its rediscovery in 2014 it has been translated into twenty-two languages and published widely.

Jaimy Gordon

Jaimy Gordon was born in Baltimore. In addition to two novels, she has published poetry, plays, short stories and essays. Lord of Misrule was awarded the National Award for Fiction 2010.

Jo Spain

Jo Spain has worked as a party advisor on the economy in the Irish parliament. Her first novel, With Our Blessing, was one of seven books shortlisted in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and went on to be a top-ten bestseller in Ireland. Joanne lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children.

Joan Sales

Joan Sales (1912-1983) was a Catalan writer, translator and publisher. He obtained a Law degree in 1932 and was a member of regional anarchist and communist groups. In the Civil War he fought on the Madrid and Aragonese fronts before going into exile in France in 1939. He moved to Mexico in 1942, returning to Catalonia in 1948, after which he began working as a publisher. Uncertain Glory, his crucial testament, was first published in 1956, though a combination of censorship and Sales' tendency towards revision meant that a definitive edition was not available until many years later.

Jordan Stump

Jordan Stump has translated many authors from the French including Marie Redonnet, Eric Chevillard, and Honoré de Balzac. His translation of Jardin des Plantes by Claude Simon won the 2001 French-American Foundation translation prize, and he was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Artes et des Lettres in 2006.

Julian Evans

JULIAN EVANS wrote and presented the BBC Radio 3 series on the European novel, The Romantic Road, and has won the Prix du Rayonnement de la Langue Française. His most recent book is Semi-Invisible Man: the life of Norman Lewis.

Jussi Adler-Olsen

Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's number one crime writer and a New York Times bestseller. His books routinely top the bestseller lists in Europe and have sold more than sixteen million copies around the world. His many prestigious Nordic crime-writing awards include the Glass Key Award, also won by Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø and Stieg Larsson.

Kathryn Flett

Kathryn Flett is a journalist who has written for numerous international publications and makes regular TV and radio appearances as a critic and pundit. She was the TV critic for the Observer for ten years and currently writes a restaurant review column, Table for Two, for the Sunday Telegraph. Outstanding is her second novel. She lives (with her two sons, Jackson and Rider, her partner, the photographer Julian Anderson, two cats and a whippet called Slim), in St-Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex.

Kim Sherwood

Kim Sherwood was born in Camden in 1989. She studied on the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, going on to teach creative writing at UEA and the University of Sussex. Kim's stories and articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Mslexia, Lighthouse, and Going Down Swinging. The manuscript of her debut novel, Testament, won the 2016 Bath Novel Award.Kim began writing Testament in 2011 after her grandfather, the actor George Baker, passed away. In the same year, Kim's grandmother began to talk about her experiences as a Holocaust Survivor for the first time. These events provided seeds for a story that grew as Kim undertook research into the events of the Holocaust in Hungary, and as extremism rose again across Europe. Kim lives in Bath. She is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of the West of England. Testament is her first novel.