By Tony Park
Alex Tremain is a pirate who needs to up his game. He's facing a mounting tide of debts and his crew of ex-military cutthroats are getting restless. A chance raid on a wildlife smugglers' ship promises both bounty and excitement. Unfortunately it also sets the Chinese triads after him. As a pleasing distraction corporate lawyer Jane Humphries lands, literally, in his lap. But once again his luck doesn't last - it turns out her lover is a ruthless shipping magnate backed up by a bunch of deadly contract killers.What Alex needs is one last, big heist. When the South African government makes a controversial decision to reinstate the culling of elephants in its national parks, Alex thinks his luck has finally changed. He couldn't be more wrong . . .
The Italian Teacher
By Tom Rachman
'Wickedly funny, deeply touching . . . I confess this was the first of Rachman's novels I'd read but I was so swept away by it that I raced out to buy the other three' PATRICK GALE'Relentlessly entertaining' Daily MailRome, 1955The artists are gathering together for a photograph. In one of Rome's historic villas, a party glitters with socialites and patrons. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast, masculine, meaty canvases, is their god. He is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot.From the side of the room watches little Pinch - their son. At five years old he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch will still worship him, while Natalie faces her own wars with the art world. Trying to live up to his father's name - one of the twentieth century's fiercest and most controversial painters - Pinch never quite succeeds. Yet by the end of a career of twists and compromises, he enacts an unexpected rebellion that will leave forever his mark upon the Bear Bavinsky legacy.What makes an artist? In The Italian Teacher, Tom Rachman displays a nuanced understanding of art and its demons. Moreover, in Pinch he achieves a portrait of vulnerability and frustrated talent that - with his signature humour and humanity - challenges the very idea of greatness.
It's All About Treo
By Damien Lewis, Damien Lewis, Dave Heyhoe
This is the incredible true story of the unbreakable bond forged between Treo, the world's most highly decorated dog, and his handler Sgt. Dave HeyhoeWhen Dave Heyhoe was sent to Afghanistan to help detect the Taliban's murderous roadside bombs, he knew he'd need a special dog by his side. Luckily for him, his closest pal Treo, a staggeringly brave ball of energy and mischief was with him every step of the way. The two friends had a miraculous understanding that helped them save countless lives but, as they embarked on a roller-coaster emotional ride, Dave realized he needed Treo more than he could ever have imagined. Tear-jerkingly sad one moment, laugh-out-loud hilarious the next, It's All About Treo is a moving and uplifting story that will melt the hearts of animal lovers everywhere.
It Can't Go On
By Joseph Connolly
The moment he spots Maria's long legs at a party, Jeremy knows he's done for. The moment she sees that look in his eyes, Maria knows she's in for a free ride. The moment she twigs Jeremy's sneaking around, his wife Anne thinks she knows he's having an affair with Nan - their nanny. And chucks him out. Like dropping a grenade into a pond, this sets off a ricochet of concentric calamity that changes Jeremy's life; and those of Anne, Maria, Nan, Max, Hugo and everyone else they know; leaving them in disarray, washed up or exactly where they were before. In razor-sharp comic style, Joseph Connolly sets up his characters like pawns in a devilish chess game, prodding them towards war, conquest, or merely in evermaddening circles. Lust, manipulation and fear of being alone propel Jeremy in the most inextricable of purgatorial repetitons, until he seems to embody society's cruellest absurdities about the pointlessness of it all - forever going on.
Istanbul, Rome and Jerusalem
By Simon Sebag Montefiore
Simon Sebag Montefiore, one of our most popular historians, and also presenter of BBC television series on Istanbul, Rome and Jerusalem, selects the essential cast of dramatic characters who built, destroyed or changed the three great Holy Cities. The creators of Istanbul: from the murderous visionary Constantine the Great to the ultimate power couple, Justinian and his burlesque-dancer-turned-empress Theodora, to Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxelana, all the way to Ataturk. In Jerusalem: from Herod the Great, who killed his beloved wife and three sons, to the great Crusader queen Melisende and the Arab conqueror Saladin. In Rome, from psychotic Caligula and the philosopher Marcus Aurelius to the megalomanical seductress Marozia, the Borgias and Mussolini. These are stories and characters that everyone should know and no one should forget.
Isms and Ologies
By Arthur Goldwag
What's the difference between an anarchist and an anarcho-syndicalist, a Platonist and a Neo-Platonist? And how modern can Modernism really be if all the famous modernists are dead? To those who've been humiliated by a knowing reference to Wahhabism at a dinner party, caught short by a casual allusion to Orphism at a private view, or flummoxed by a smug mention of post-structuralism by a fellow member of a suburban book group, Isms and Ologies offers hope and enlightenment. Crackpot convictions, perplexing philosophies, tricky tenets, and wacky Weltanschauungs - Isms and Ologies lists them all, and explains their salient features clearly and accessibly. So, if you're genuinely curious to know the crucial characteristics of phenomenology or just want to lend a veneer of intellectual rigour to your small talk, Isms and Ologies could be just the book you are looking for.
Isle of the Dead
By Alex Connor
By Halldor Gudmundsson
Island of Wings
By Karin Altenberg
Longlisted for the Orange Prize 2012. 1830. Neil and Lizzie MacKenzie, a newly married young couple, arrive at the remotest part of the British Isles: St Kilda. He is a minister determined to save the souls of the pagan inhabitants; his pregnant wife speaks no Gaelic and, when her husband is away, has only the waves and the cry of gulls for company. As both find themselves tested to the limit in this harsh new environment, Lizzie soon discovers that marriage is as treacherous a country as the land that surrounds her.
Is There Life On Mars?
By Stuart Clark
By Matt Fitzgerald
Longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2012. On October 14, 1989, driven by one of the most intense and lasting two-man rivalries in any sport, a pair of generational talents at the height of their powers ran a race that redefined human limits. The battle between Dave Scott and Mark Allen at the 13th Hawaii Ironman stands as one of the most dramatic stories in the history of athletics. The two greatest athletes of triathlon's pioneering generation raced side by side, literally, for eight straight hours at breakneck speed before Allen finally tore away from his longtime nemesis with less than two miles left in the 140.6-mile event. His margin of victory was a scant 58 seconds. So intense was the drama, the race came to be known as 'Iron War' - the single most awe-inspiring sporting event ever witnessed. More than a compelling story, Iron War is a fascinating exploration of how Scott and Allen pushed themselves and each other - and what it takes for anyone to break through perceived limits. Much as Christopher McDougall added depth to Born to Run by tying in new research on the evolutionary origins of humans as runners, Iron War shows how new discoveries in neuroscience explain how some elite athletes are able to literally will their bodies to do things that should be beyond their capacities. The book weaves an examination of the anatomy of mental toughness into a gripping tale of athletic adventure. With its emotional and intellectual depth, Iron War is a captivating and thought-provoking portrait of the human will..
By Aidan Harte
'Irenicon is completely fascinating' - Thinking About BooksThe river Irenicon is a feat of Concordian engineering. Blasted through the middle of Rasenna in 1347 using Wave technology, it divided the only city strong enough to defeat the Concordian Empire. But no one could have predicted it would become sentient, and hostile. Sofia Scaligeri, the soon-to-be Contessa of Rasenna, is inheriting a city tearing itself apart from the inside. She can see no way of stopping Rasenna's culture of vendetta . . . until a Concordian engineer arrives to build a bridge over the Irenicon. He shows her that the feuding factions of Rasenna can continue to fight each other, or they can unite against Concord. And they will need to stand together - for Concord is about to unleash the Wave again . . .Set in a darkly original alternative Renaissance Italy, Irenicon is a gripping adventure, a tragic love story and a very modern tale of redemption.