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
By Jaan Kross
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 . . .
Red Rag Blues
By Derek Robinson
It's 1953, and Luis Cabrillo has burned through the small fortune he earned from both British and German Intelligence in WW2. Now he has only his wits, his confidence, and his dazzling skills at lying and cheating to rely on.Teaming up with Julie Conroy (a corker of a New Yorker), he follows his wartime instincts and goes where arrogance breeds wealth: to Washington D.C. and Senator Joe McCarthy, high priest of America's holy war on Red treachery. Joe's problem is a sudden shortage of treachery. Luis can help him out, but for dollars. Big dollars. And when the C.I.A. gets into the act, followed by the K.G.B., F.B.I., M.I.6. and the Mafia, it makes for an explosive mixture ripe for a spark. In Red Rag Blues Derek Robinson lends his signature wit to the hysteria and paranoia of the McCarthy years, toying with the notion that the world's most powerful nation is occasionally its most stupid.