The President's Gardens
By Muhsin Al-Ramli
One Hundred Years of Solitude meets The Kite-Runner in Saddam Hussein's Iraq"A contemporary tragedy of epic proportions. No author is better placed than Muhsin Al-Ramli, already a star in the Arabic literary scene, to tell this story. I read it in one sitting"Hassan Blasim, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Iraqi ChristOn the third day of Ramadan, the village wakes to find the severed heads of nine of its sons stacked in banana crates by the bus stop.One of them belonged to one of the most wanted men in Iraq, known to his friends as Ibrahim the Fated.How did this good and humble man earn the enmity of so many? What did he do to deserve such a death?The answer lies in his lifelong friendship with Abdullah Kafka and Tariq the Befuddled, who each have their own remarkable stories to tell.It lies on the scarred, irradiated battlefields of the Gulf War and in the ashes of a revolution strangled in its cradle.It lies in the steadfast love of his wife and the festering scorn of his daughter.And, above all, it lies behind the locked gates of The President's Gardens, buried alongside the countless victims of a pitiless reign of terror.
By Philip Kerr
The twelfth book in the Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling series, perfect for fans of John le Carre and Robert Harris. 'One of the greatest anti-heroes ever written' Lee ChildFrance, 1956. Bernie Gunther is on the run. If there's one thing he's learned, it's never to refuse a job from a high-ranking secret policeman. But this is exactly what he's just done. Now he's a marked man, with the East German Stasi on his tail.Fleeing across Europe, he remembers the last time he worked with his pursuer: in 1939, to solve a murder at the Berghof, Hitler's summer hideaway in the Bavarian Alps. Hitler is long dead, the Berghof now a ruined shell, and the bizarre time Bernie spent there should be no more than a distant memory.But as he pushes on to Berlin and safety, Bernie will find that no matter how far he thinks he has put Nazi Germany behind him, for him it will always be unfinished business. The Berghof is not done with Bernie yet.
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 often a battlefield in itself.Translated from the Estonian by Merike Beecher
A Perfect Husband
By Hilary Boyd
What would it take for you to give up on the man you love, the man you thought was the perfect husband - until you discovered just how much he was hiding from you? Lily and Freddy have a wonderful relationship: passionate and fun. Freddy taught her to love again after the death of her father. But then Freddy becomes tense, snappy and distracted. Is he having an affair? The truth turns out to be much worse...Freddy is addicted to gambling. He owes hundreds of thousands of pounds to loan companies; he's been helping himself to money from his own company, which has now gone bust; and worst of all, his wife's money - given to him to invest - is gone. Devastated, Lily leaves him, and moves to stay with her sister in Oxford. There, among the dreaming spires, she will clear her head of Freddy and try to figure out how to move on.But being away from Freddy is far harder than she'd thought. He promises to get help, but can he really ever be cured of his addiction? How can Lily trust him again - surely, after the heartache he's caused her, she would be far better off walking away and starting again? The truth is, she is as addicted to Freddy as he is to gambling - and she's not sure she even wants to be free.
The Particle Zoo
By Gavin Hesketh
What is everything really made of? If we split matter down into smaller and infinitesimally smaller pieces, where do we arrive? At the Particle Zoo - the extraordinary subatomic world of antimatter, ghostly neutrinos, strange-flavoured quarks and time-travelling electrons, gravitons and glueballs, mindboggling eleven-dimensional strings and the elusive Higgs boson itself.Be guided around this strangest of zoos by Gavin Hesketh, experimental particle physicist at humanity's greatest experiment, the Large Hadron Collider. Concisely and with a rare clarity, he demystifies how we are uncovering the inner workings of the universe and heading towards the next scientific revolution.Why are atoms so small? How did the Higgs boson save the universe? And is there a Theory of Everything? The Particle Zoo answers these and many other profound questions, and explains the big ideas of Quantum Physics, String Theory, The Big Bang and Dark Matter... and, ultimately, what we know about the true, fundamental nature of reality.
The Parable Book
By Per Olov Enquist
"The love that dare not speak its name . . ." Sweden, 1949. A boy of 15, cutting across a garden, chances upon a woman of 51. What ensues is cataclysmic, life-altering. All the more because it cannot be spoken of. Can it never be spoken of?Looking back in late old age at an encounter that transformed him suddenly yet utterly, P.O. Enquist, a titan of Swedish letters, has decided to "come out" - but in ways entirely novel and unexpected. He has written the book that smoldered unwritten within him his entire life. The book he had always seen as the one he could not write.This poignant memoir of love as a religious experience - as a modern form of the Resurrection - is also a deeply felt reflection on the transitoriness of friendship, the fraught nature of family relationships, and the importance of giving voice to what cannot be forgotten. A parable as hauntingly intense as any Bergman film.
The Prodigal Daughter
By Prue Leith
It is 1968. Angelica Angelotti has grown up in the Italian food business started by her English mother and Italian father. Now she is using her cooking talent to strike out on her own, moving to Paris to go to culinary school. There, among the excitement and wild emotion of the student barricades, she falls in love with her charismatic but unreliable cousin Mario - a manic depressive ten years older than her whom her mother had sacked from their restaurant.Navigating a blossoming career, from the Savoy hotel pastry kitchen to the world of food writing and presenting, alongside an increasingly toxic relationship, eventually proves impossible. Angelica has to leave Mario, and makes the decision to move back to the family home in Gloucestershire to help her other cousin Silvano with a new branch of the family business - reopening the local pub, the Frampton Arms, as a restaurant. As they get to know each other better, Angelica realises her mistake: she chose the wrong brother.But when Mario reappears, determined to win her back, and as other jealous relatives plot the downfall of the Frampton Arms, will Angelica be able to hold on to her business and the man she's come to love?
The People We Were Before
By Annabelle Thorpe
If war is madness, how can love survive?Yugoslavia, summer 1979. A new village. A new life. But eight-year-old Miro knows the real reason why his family moved from the inland city of Knin to the sunkissed village of Ljeta on the Dalmatian Coast, a tragedy he tries desperately to forget. The Ljeta years are happy ones, though, and when he marries his childhood sweetheart, and they have a baby daughter, it seems as though life is perfect. However, storm clouds are gathering above Yugoslavia.War breaks out, and one split-second decision destroys the life Miro has managed to build. Driven by anger and grief, he flees to Dubrovnik, plunging himself into the hard-bitten world of international war reporters.There begins a journey that will take him ever deeper into danger: from Dubrovnik, to Sarajevo, to the worst atrocities of war-torn Bosnia, Miro realises that even if he survives, there can be no way back to his earlier life. The war will change him, and everyone he loves, forever.
By Patrick Modiano
"It's a book less on what I did than on what others, mainly my parents, did to me"Taking in a vast gallery of extraordinary characters from Paris' post-war years, Pedigree is an autobiographical portrait of Post-War Paris and a tumultuous childhood - a childhood replete with insecurity and sorrow that informed the oeuvre of France's Nobel Laureate.With his sometime-actress mother and shady businessman father barely functioning in any parental role, the young Modiano spent his childhood being packed off to the care of others, or held at a safe distance in a grimy boarding school - which he ran away from several times. His impecunious mother had "a heart of stone"; his womanising father once called the police when his son asked him for money, and later ceased all contact with him.But for all his parents' indifference, it is the death of his younger brother when Modiano is eleven that cuts deepest, leaving a wound that can never be healed.
By Peter Terrin
Emiel Steegman, an unknown writer with a handful of novels to his name, is seeking a way to escape a dinner with Estonian colleagues. Although things are plodding along quite happily, he cancels at the last moment "due to a rather difficult time for the family".A nasty feeling immediately comes over him: is he inviting trouble for his family in doing so? And what if a biographer stumbled on this? Would he not then suspect that something significant had happened in his life? The thought gives him a great idea for a new novel about a successful author, T, who becomes famous with an existential crime novel and increasingly worries about what his future biographer will write about him, so he withdraws entirely from public life.But Steegman's initial misgivings prove well founded. Because fate does strike. One afternoon, his daughter Renée falls asleep and it is impossible to wake her . . .
Path of Gods
By Snorri Kristjansson
The epic conclusion to The Valhalla Saga, perfect for fans of Vikings and The Last Kingdom.Reunited, Audun and Ulfar have a new sense of purpose: to ensure that the North remains in the hands of those who hold with the old gods. To do this, they must defeat the people who seek to destroy all they have ever known with the new White Christ. But these are powerful enemies and if they have any chance of victory, they must find equally powerful allies. In Trondheim, King Olav, self-appointed champion of the White Christ, finds that keeping the peace is a much harder test of his faith than winning the war. With his garrison halved and local chieftains at his table who wish him nothing but ill, the king must decide how and where to spread the word of his god. And in the North, touched by the trickster god, something old, malevolent and very, very angry stirs . . .'Fans of David Gemmell's work should feel right at home with this one' Starburst Magazine
By Anders Roslund, Börge Hellström
THE FIRST IN THE MILLION-SELLING DCI EWERT GRENS SERIES, WINNER OF THE GLASS KEY 2005 FOR BEST SCANDINAVIAN CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR, AND AS HARD-HITTING A CRIME NOVEL AS YOU WILL EVER READ.'A must read' ObserverBernt Lund harbours a sickness. He is a monster: in the mind of society, in the mind of his nine-year-old victims' parents, and in the mind of his fellow inmates.Lennart Oscarsson has a situation. The worst scenario imaginable for Aspsås prison's Department for Sexual Crimes.These two men's actions are about to hand DCI Ewert Grens the most profoundly sickening and impossibly sensitive case of his career, and in Stockholm's history.Pen 33 is both an unforgiving collision between a time-hardened policeman and a truly heinous crime, and an unflinching exploration of what people - whether criminals or victims - are capable of when they choose to relinquish self-control.Loved Pen 33 and hungry for another DCI Ewert Grens thriller? If so, choose the next novel in the series, Box 21 . . .
By Julie Peakman
Of picking, washing and cleaning my pretty little toes, which he took great delight in, and in which pleasurable, innocent, and inoffensive pastime he as often spent hours; twas the greatest gratification to him on earth, nor did he (said she) indulge in any other in all the time we spent together, he never was even rude enough to give me a kiss.So emerged the first expose of foot fetishism in the eighteenth-century. Revelations and racy anecdotes about the lives of the rich and famous of Dublin and London abound within Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore.From a violent domestic background, Peg blitzed her way through balls and masquerades creating scandals and gossip wherever she went, leaving dukes, barristers and lieutenants stranded in her wake. She was the first madame ever to write her memoirs, thereby setting the template for the whore's memoir. She wrote not merely to reveal herself but to expose the shoddy behaviour of others and her account of her life. In Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore, Julie Peakman brings her subject and the world through which she moved to glorious, bawdy life.
Periodic Table in Minutes
By Dan Green
An icon of science, the Periodic Table defines the fundamental chemistry of everything in the universe. In this compact yet comprehensive guide, Dan Green outlines the history, development and workings of the table, shows how its design reflects and illuminates the organisation of all matter, and even explains what it has to tell us about the chemistry of distant stars and of our own bodies. Contents include an individual entry for every known element - detailing properties, uses and key data - and sections on the patterns and groups of the famous table, as well as explanations of basic chemistry concepts such as elements and compounds, atomic structure, chemical bonds, reactions and radioactivity, amongst many others.
The Preacher's Son
By Elizabeth Gill
His duty was to God, but his heart was with her. A tale of love and sacrifice from the bestselling author of Miss Appleby's Academy. Perfect for fans of Maggie Hope and Diane Allen.Born into a family of Methodist preachers in County Durham, Joshua Castle knows that he too will become a minister. Though his faith is strong, his young heart is broken when he goes to Bristol to learn his trade, leaving behind Emma Meikle, the beautiful daughter of the pub landlord. In Bristol, Joshua meets the wealthy Matthews family, and though his upbringing is at odds with their lavish lifestyle, he is attracted to their daughter Patience. But can Joshua ever forget the girl he left at home?
A Place of Refuge
By Tobias Jones
Why is it that the more advanced our society becomes, the unhappier we are?Seeking an answer from the only honest perspective, Tobias Jones and his wife opened up their family home and ten acre woodland to those going through crises in their lives, or suffering from depression, addiction and loneliness.They will encounter extraordinary people: from 'Roadkill Kev' to 'Mary Poppins'; build a chapel, raise pigs and encounter both violent antagonism and astounding generosity. At the same time, they will open themselves, their children and their ideals up to the most demanding of judgements and transformations.Five years on, they think they are on to something. To sit down to eat together, to work on the land, to have no tolerance for drugs but a lot of tolerance for change â?" it takes time and many mistakes, but they have found a way to help people.This is the story of how.
The Pale Criminal
By Philip Kerr
'One of the greatest anti-heroes ever written' LEE CHILDA series of horrific ritual murders leads Bernie Gunther to an occult conspiracy at the very heart of the Nazi Party - hard-boiled noir thriller for fans of Raymond Chandler and John le CarréFive German schoolgirls are missing. Four have been found dead. But unlike the undesirables who make up the majority of dead and missing people in Hitler's Berlin, these girls were blonde and blue-eyed - the Aryan flower of German maidenhood - and their gruesome deaths recall ritual killings.Busy with a blackmail case, Bernie is reluctant when he is asked to rejoin the Berlin police in order to track down the murderer. But when the person doing the asking is none other than head of the SD, Reinhard Heydrich, it's not exactly a request he can turn down. As Bernie gets closer to the truth, he realises that at the heart of this case is much more than one lone madman - in fact, there is a conspiracy at work more chilling than he could ever have imagined.
By Elizabeth Gill
From the bestselling author of Miss Appleby's Academy and Far From My Father's House comes a tale of love and destiny perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Anna Jacobs and Ellie Dean.When Thomas Grant - one of the most eligible young men in London - proposes to Annabel Seaton, she can't say she's surprised, but she is delighted. He's been her best friend since she was a child, and she can't imagine life without him. What shocks her, however, is the reaction of her mother and father. Annabel knows that her parents disapprove of her forthright opinions, but their displeasure is both unexpected and unaccountable. As they permit the engagement, however, she decides to put it out of her mind. But before she can be married, tragedy strikes, and only then does Annabel learn of the shocking secret that her parents have kept from her. Determined to learn more, she travels to Durham on a personal search that will change everything.
Politics in Minutes
By Marcus Weeks
Quick, accessible, compact guide to understanding key political concepts. Contents include: Liberty, Justice, Equality, Human rights, Social contract, Democracy, Monarchy, Anarchism, Capitalism, Socialism, Nationalism and Globalisation.
By Philippe Claudel
From the sizzling sharpness of freshly cut garlic to the cool tang of a father's aftershave; the heady intoxication of a fumbled first kiss to the anodyne void of disinfectant and death, this is a decadently original olfactory memoir.In sixty-three elusive episodes we roam freely across the countryside of Lorraine, North-East France, from kitchen to farm to a lover's bed. Recognising the bittersweet nostalgia of a scent that slips away on the summer breeze, Claudel demonstrates again his impeccable grasp of the personal and the universal, interweaved with a rare, self-deprecating charm.This is an evocative patchwork at once earthy and ethereal, erotic and heart-breaking. Claudel permits us a glimpse of moments that have driven him to delight or despair, creating through the fading aromas of the past fragments of humour, insight and quite intangible beauty.