By Rob Lofthouse
Trouble at Zero Hour
By Rob Lofthouse
Written by a retired British soldier, Trouble at Zero Hour is a breathless and vivid story, dramatizing three of the key Allied operations that turned the tide of the Second World War.6 June, 1944, somewhere over the Normandy coastline: Robbie Stokes sits in a glider, his Bren resting on the floor between his outstretched legs. The nose lowers and the glider descends rapidly: ten minutes of stomach-churning twists and turns until suddenly the call goes up to 'BRACE'. The belly makes contact with the ground and the first Allied troops tumble out into occupied Europe.For new recruit Robbie Stokes it is the beginning of ten months of brutal and relentless conflict that take him from D-Day, via Operation Market Garden and the battle for Arnhem Bridge, to the Rhine Crossing and the final push for victory. Three operations that change the course of the war and test Robbie Stokes and his band of brothers to their limits. If they fail, then the Allied invasion fails. They must succeed through their longest days.
By Tom Fletcher
Can Wild Alan unite the Discard against the tyranny of the Pyramid?Wild Alan is desperate to get the cure for Idle Hands to his son Billy, but Billy's in the Pyramid and he's trapped in the barren wasteland that is the Discard. Bloody Nora, the Mapmaker, has her own reasons for agreeing to help Wild Alan: she wants to get into the Pyramid herself - she believes the secrets of Gleam's history and purpose can be found in the vaults.But there are more secrets there than either imagined - and some of the parchments and scrolls may hold the key to destroying the Pyramid's tyranny. Wild Alan cares only about Billy, but his actions are about to set off consequences that will change the fragile relationship between Pyramid and Discard for ever.
A People without a Past
By 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 a often a battlefield in itself.Translated from the Estonian by Merike Beecher
The Black Friar
By S. G. MacLean
Rebellion in the city, and a Royalist spy in his own ranks - Damian Seeker, Captain of Oliver Cromwell's guard, must eradicate both in this twisty, action-packed historical thriller for fans of CJ Sansom, Rory Clements and The Three Musketeers. 'MacLean skilfully weaves together the disparate threads of her plot to create a gripping tale of crime and sedition in an unsettled city' Sunday TimesLondon, 1655, and Cromwell's regime is under threat from all sides. Damian Seeker, Captain of Cromwell's Guard, is all too aware of the danger facing Cromwell. Parliament resents his control of the Army while the Army resents his absolute power. In the east end of London, a group of religious fanatics plots rebellion. In the midst of all this, a stonemason uncovers a perfectly preserved body dressed in the robes of a Dominican friar, bricked up in a wall in the crumbling Black Friars. Ill-informed rumours and speculation abound, but Seeker instantly recognises the dead man. What he must discover is why he met such a hideous end, and what his connection was to the children who have started to disappear from around the city. Unravelling these mysteries is challenging enough, and made still harder by the activities of dissenters at home, Royalist plotters abroad and individuals who are not what they seem...
Cry, Mother Spain
By Lydie Salvayre
Aged fifteen, as Franco's forces begin their murderous purges and cities across Spain rise up against the old order, Montse has never heard the word fascista before. In any case, the villagers say facha (the ch is a real Spanish ch, by the way, with a real spit).Montse lives in a small village, high in the hills, where few people can read or write and fewer still ever leave. If everything goes according to her mother's plan, Montse will never leave either. She will become a good, humble maid for the local landowners, muchísimas gracias, with every Sunday off to dance the jota in the church square.But Montse's world is changing. Her brother José has just returned from Lérida with a red and black scarf and a new, dangerous vocabulary and his words are beginning to open up new realms to his little sister. She might not understand half of what he says, but how can anyone become a maid in the Burgos family when their head is ringing with shouts of Revolución, Comunidad and Libertad?The war, it seems, has arrived in the nick of time.
By Tracy Rees
Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living with her grandmother on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. Part of a close-knit community, they scrape a meagre living from the difficult land. It's a hard existence but Florrie is content; she runs wild in the mysterious landscape - she has a strong connection to the natural world. She thinks her future and destiny are set in stone. But when Florrie is fourteen, her grandmother dies, revealing a never-imagined secret. Florrie is related to a wealthy and notorious London family, the Graces. Thus Florrie Buckley must become Florence Grace. Overnight, her life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth. Cut off from everyone she has ever known, she struggles to adapt while learning the rules of a strange and confusing world. And the Graces are no ordinary Victorian family: they are the conflicted and dysfunctional fragments of a once-great dynasty. Florrie's sensitive spirit battles for survival as she tries to stay true to herself.Last but not least Florrie must try to fathom and conquer her destructive pull towards the enigmatic and troubled Turlington Grace, a man with many dark secrets of his own.
By Michelle Moran
From the internationally bestselling author of Nefertiti comes a captivating novel about the infamous Mata Hari, exotic dancer, adored courtesan, and, possibly, infamous spy.Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom . . . or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the charges she's been arrested on: treason leading to the deaths of thousands of French soldiers.As Mata Hari waits for her fate to be decided, she relays the story of her life to a reporter who is allowed to visit her in prison. Beginning with her carefree childhood, Mata Hari recounts her father's cruel abandonment of her family as well her calamitous marriage to a military officer. Taken to the island of Java, Mata Hari refuses to be ruled by her abusive husband and instead learns to dance, paving the way to her stardom as Europe's most infamous exotic dancer.From lush Indian temples and glamorous Parisian theatres to stark German barracks in war-torn Europe, Moran brings to vibrant life the famed world of Mata Hari: dancer, courtesan, and possibly, spy.
By James Aitcheson
Five strangers. Five secrets. No refuge. No turning back.In the aftermath of 1066, a Norman army marches through the North of England: burning, killing and laying waste to everything in its path. The Harrowing has begun. As towns and villages fall to the invaders, five travellers fleeing the slaughter are forced to band together for survival. Refugees in their own country, they journey through the wasteland, hoping to find sanctuary with the last stand of the Saxon rebellion. But are they fleeing the Normans or their own troubles?Priest, Lady, Servant, Warrior, Minstrel: each has their own story; each their own sin. As enemies past and present close in, their prior deeds catch up with them and they discover there is no sanctuary from fate.
By Polly Clark
'Mysterious, wondrous, captivating' Louis de Bernieres 'We need the courage to choose ourselves' W. H. AudenIt's early summer when a young poet, Dora Fielding, moves to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and her hopes are first challenged. Newly married, pregnant, she's excited by the prospect of a life that combines family and creativity. She thinks she knows what being a person, a wife, a mother, means. She is soon shown that she is wrong. As the battle begins for her very sense of self, Dora comes to find the realities of small town life suffocating, and, eventually, terrifying; until she finds a way to escape reality altogether.Another poet, she discovers, lived in Helensburgh once. Wystan H. Auden, brilliant and awkward at 24, with his first book of poetry published, should be embarking on success and society in London. Instead, in 1930, fleeing a broken engagement, he takes a teaching post at Larchfield School for boys where he is mocked for his Englishness and suspected - rightly - of homosexuality. Yet in this repressed limbo Wystan will fall in love for the first time, even as he fights his deepest fears.The need for human connection compels these two vulnerable outsiders to find each other and make a reality of their own that will save them both. Echoing the depths of Possession, the elegance of The Stranger's Child and the ingenuity of Longbourn, Larchfield is a beautiful and haunting novel about heroism - the unusual bravery that allows unusual people to go on living; to transcend banality and suffering with the power of their imagination.
The Revelations of Carey Ravine
By Debra Daley
A beautiful historical mystery for fans of Sarah Waters, Amitav Ghosh's The Sea of Poppies, and Jamaica Inn.London in the 1770s is bursting with opportunity. It's a city fuelled by new ideas and new money, where everything is for sale - including entrée into the ruling class. Making their way in this buccaneering society are Carey Ravine, a spirited young woman of enigmatic background, and her husband, the charming, endlessly enterprising Oliver Nash. Carey and Nash share a historic connection to India and a desperate ambition to better themselves. But as Nash's plans draw them into a restless association of gamblers and secret societies, Carey begins to question what's really hidden behind the seedy glamour of their lives. Her unease grows with the appearance of a mysterious man whose appearance unearths a troubling secret from the past. Carey finds herself forced to investigate the truth behind the stranger's claims - and to confront her own illusions about herself.
By Antonin Varenne
"We owe you our lives, Sergeant, but you are our worst nightmare . . ."Burma, 1852. Sergeant Arthur Bowman, a sergeant in the East India Company, is sent on a secret mission during the Second Anglo-Burmese War. But the expedition is foiled - his men are captured and tortured. Throughout their ordeal, a single word becomes Bowman's mantra, a word that will stiffen their powers of endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering: "Survive". But for all that, only a handful escape with their lives.Some years later in London, battling his ghosts through a haze of alcohol and opium, Bowman discovers a mutilated corpse in a sewer. The victim appears to have been subjected to the same torments as Bowman endured in the Burmese jungle. And the word "Survive" has been daubed in blood by the body's side. Persuaded that the culprit is one of the men who shared his captivity, Bowman resolves to hunt him down.From the Burmese jungle to the slums of London to the conquest of the Wild West, Antonin Varenne takes us on a thrilling journey full of sound and unabated fury, reviving the lapsed tradition of the great writers of boundless adventure. Sergeant Bowman belongs to that breed of heroes who inhabit the imaginations of Conrad, Kipling, Stevenson . . . Lost soldiers who have plunged into the heart of darkness and will cross the globe in search of vengeance and redemption.Translated from the French by Sam Taylor
Dodger of the Revolution
By James Benmore