By Andrew Caldecott, Sasha Laika
'Intricate and crisp, witty and solemn: a book with special and dangerous properties' Hilary Mantel A 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 (nothinglocal 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
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 . . .
Rise of Empires Omnibus
By James Heneage
'Fascinating historical mysteries and vivid colourful characters. One hell of a fine book' - CONN IGGULDEN This special collection brings together the three books in the Rise of Empires Chronicles: The Walls of Byzantium, The Towers of Samarcand and The Lion of Mistra. Follow hero Luke Magoris as he fights his way from the plains of Anatolia to the cities of Renaissance Italy for the treasure that will save Byzantium.The Walls of ByzantiumThis sweeping historical novel is shaped by the quest for a mysterious relic, guarded through generations, and by one man that might yet save the threatened Byzantine empire. In an age of clashing empires, dark forces from the east are endangering the first light of the western Renaissance. It is an age of ruthless rulers, divided churches, fractured dynasties and intrepid traders. It is an age of great cities like Venice and Constantinople; an age of conquerors like Tamerlane who will drown the world in blood; an age when only a hero of exceptional gifts can make a difference. Luke Magoris is that hero. Born the son of one of the Varangian guards who had sworn to keep the secret relic safe, he will find himself committed to a long journey to discover - and try to avoid - his destiny. He will travel from battle to trading fortune, from horse dealing to captivity, and to the love of three very different women and the unrelenting enmity of two remarkable men. The Towers of SamarcandA select band of soldiers led by Luke Magoris are given the mission of persuading Tamerlane to defend Constantinople. The great conqueror must turn his forces to the West to fight the Ottomans, who otherwise would destroy Constantinople and the Byzantine empire. Luke, torn away from the woman he loves and all he knows, is trained as a Mongol warrior to impress Tamerlane and his army before joining his fellow Varangian guards, descendants of the men who once brought a vital treasure out of Constantinople. It is this treasure, some say, that can still save the empire - uniting the Christian churches of the east and west in one final triumphant crusade to smite the Ottomans. No longer an innocent patriot, Luke is caught in the crossfire and begins to question if his mission is honourable - or whether those who sent him have the best interests of Byzantium at heart. The Towers of Samarcand is a powerful historical novel full of lively characters and enthralling scenes of battle, wealth, beliefs and trade in a part of the world torn by the clash of empires.The Lion of MistraRome never fell. The empire continued as Byzantium. This epic historical novel concerns one man's role in saving the empire.The Ottoman Turks are at the gates of Constantinople and Luke Magoris, descended from princes of England, has to find a fortune to build defences for his beloved Mistra, the last glorious outpost of Imperial Rome, as well as saving the Emperor. He turns to China, to the Ming Empire, for trade and to Renaissance Italy for its rapidly developing banks. Both are entirely new roles for Luke and his Varangian brotherhood and many pitfalls befall him. And yet the Varangian treasure - which only he can uncover - may hold the key to all. This is a rich tale of clashing empires, trade wars and tempestuous love. It was the age, the early fifteenth century, when the fate of the world hung on the survival of Byzantium; an age that made the modern world.
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.