The Visit of the Royal Physician
By Per Olov Enquist
Adultery, insanity, back-stabbing and blue blood in 18th century Denmark . . . The winner of THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE, Sweden's AUGUST PRIZE and France's Best Foreign Book AwardIt is the 1760s, the height of the Enlightenment, a time of great promise and transformation across Europe, but in the state of Denmark something is rotten. The young king, Christian VII, is a half-wit. His queen, the English princess Caroline Mathilde, has fallen in love his most trusted advisor, the court physician, Struensee, who is engaged in a bitter ideological battle with the head of the diplomatic corps, Guldberg. Gulberg, a cold-blooded religious fanatic, is determined too annihilate the Enlightenment ideals - which threaten to improve the lot of the peasantry and to support freedom of the press - that Struensee is introducing to Denmark. Whoever prevails will not only control the king but the nation state. The victor will impress his legacy on the kingdom: either Struensee's free-thinking principles or the repressive proscriptions of Guldberg.Enquist's masterpiece, acclaimed throughout Europe, is a superb examination of the clash between the raptures of love and the certainties of dogma, the torments of the flesh and the enticements of power. It is an unforgettable introduction to a fascinating period in European history.
By Murray Bail
Frank Delage, a middle-aged Australian, arrives in Vienna with the most daring of propositions. He has invented a revolutionary piano and means to market it to the grand old world of classical music. A chance meeting with one Amalia von Schalla brings new possibilities - a soirée, an introduction to her daughter Elisabeth, dinner with an avant-garde composer. But when the sheer audacity of his campaign dawns on him, he takes a slow boat home to the southern hemisphere. As it meanders through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, he is afforded ample time to reflect on tensions between the old world and the new. And, for all his travails, he is not going home empty-handed...
Venus Laid Bare
By CC Gibbs
How many young ladies have the will and inclination to resist the advances of the infamous Marquis of Redvers?Only one, it seems! Venus Duras may be the only beauty left in London that hasn't succumbed to Jack Fitz-James' legendary prowess. In fact, she's turned him down directly, something that quickly became the talk of the town. Jack won't be giving up so easily though, he's determined to make Venus his greatest conquest. But as Venus continues to tease him and tantalize him, without ever giving in, it seems that the Marquis may have finally met his match!
By Matt Rubenstein
In the crypt of an old church, a translator and linguist uncovers a vellum-bound, illuminated manuscript. Written in an unknown alphabet, Jack's not sure if his discovery is a hoax, a code, or even the only written record of a long-forgotten language, but he's determined to unlock the manuscript's secrets.Scribbled marginalia reveal he's not the first to try - his predecessors are shadowy figures, monks from furtive religious orders, cryptographers and alchemists. Seduced by the lure of the unknown, Jack is drawn ever deeper into the manuscript's labyrinthine past - to the crusades, to the great Library of Alexandria and perhaps even further back. But is each new turn in the labyrinth only taking him further from the truth?Intoxicated by his quest, Jack is lead into ever-darker territory. Nearing the heart of the mystery, he can feel sinister forces gathering and his life disintegrating. To save his life and his mind, he has no choice but to break the cipher and reveal the manuscript's ultimate truth.
The Vintage and the Gleaning
By Jeremy Chambers
By Rosa Mundi