The Mercy Seat
By Elizabeth H. Winthrop
As the sun begins to set over Louisiana one October day in 1943, a young black man faces the final hours of his life: at midnight, eighteen-year-old Willie Jones will be executed by electric chair for raping a white girl - a crime some believe he did not commit. In a tale taut with tension, events unfold hour by hour from the perspectives of nine people involved. They include Willie himself, who knows what really happened, and his father, desperately trying to reach the town jail to see his son one last time; the prosecuting lawyer, haunted by being forced to seek the death penalty against his convictions, and his wife, who believes Willie to be innocent; the priest who has become a friend to Willie; and a mother whose only son is fighting in the Pacific, bent on befriending her black neighbours in defiance of her husband. In this exceptionally powerful novel, Elizabeth Winthrop explores matters of justice, racism and the death penalty in a fresh, subtle and profoundly affecting way. Her kaleidoscopic narrative allows us to inhabit the lives of her characters and see them for what they are - complex individuals, making fateful choices we might not condone, but can understand.'It takes a brave writer to compose a novel about the execution of an African-American man in the Deep South when the topic has previously been brought to life by authors like Harper Lee and Ernest Gaines. There are multiple possibilities for failure: preachiness, melodrama and bias, to name a few. But Elizabeth H. Winthrop avoids these hazards by writing well, demonstrating once again that while the subject matter is the body of the narrative, the prose itself is the soul and the thing that makes a topic new. . . [The novel] gathers great power as it rolls on propelled by its many voices.' Tim Gautreaux, New York Times
Madness is Better than Defeat
By Ned Beauman
In 1938, two rival expeditions set off for a lost Mayan temple in the jungles of Honduras, one intending to shoot a screwball comedy on location there, the other intending to disassemble it and ship it back to New York. A seemingly endless stalemate ensues, and twenty years later, when a rogue CIA agent learns that both expeditions are still out in the wilderness, he embarks on a mission to exploit the temple as a geopolitical pawn. But the mission hurtles towards disaster when he discovers that the temple is the locus of grander conspiracies than anyone could have guessed.
By Margot Livesey
A Kirkus Reviews 'Best Fiction of 2016' selectionA Bookpage 'Best Books of 2016' selectionA Barnes and Noble 'Best Books of 2016' selectionA Seattle Times 'Best Books of 2016' selection'Mercury is as luminous, unforgettable, and perfectly rendered as only Margot Livesey can accomplish.' Dennis Lehane An optometrist in suburban Boston, Donald is sure that he and his wife, Viv, are both devoted to their two children and each other. Then Mercury - a gorgeous young thoroughbred with a murky past - arrives at Viv's stables, and as she begins to ride him, dreams she had harboured and relinquished for the sake of her family are rekindled; dreams that soon morph into consuming desire. As her infatuation with the thoroughbred escalates to obsession, it seems there is nothing - and no one - she will allow to stop her this time around. Though Donald may have 20/20 vision, he is slow to notice how profoundly Viv has changed, and how much these changes threaten their quiet, secure world. But by the time he does, it is too late to stop the catastrophic collision of Viv's determined ambitions ...'Margot Livesey is a searingly intelligent writer at the height of her powers.' Jennifer Egan
Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was
Winner of the Icelandic Literary Prize'An extraordinary and original writer' A.S. Byatt on Sjón Reykjavik, 1918. The eruptions of the Katla volcano darken the sky night and day. Yet despite the natural disaster, the shortage of coal and the Great War still raging in the outside world, life in the small capital goes on as always. Sixteen-year-old Máni Steinn lives for the movies. Awake, he lives on the fringes of society. Asleep, he dreams in pictures, the threads of his own life weaving through the tapestry of the films he loves. When the Spanish flu epidemic comes ashore, killing hundreds of townspeople and forcing thousands to their sick beds, the shadows that linger at the edges of existence grow darker and Máni is forced to re-evaluate both the society around him and his role in it. Evoking the moment when Iceland's saga culture met the new narrative form of the cinema and when the isolated island became swept up in global events, this is the story of a misfit transformed by his experiences in a world where life and death, reality and imagination, secrets and revelations jostle for dominance.
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises
By Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove
By Fredrik Backman
The million-copy bestselling phenomenon, Fredrik Backman's heartwarming debut is a funny, moving, uplifting tale of love and community that will leave you with a spring in your step. Perfect for fans of Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project and David Nicholl's US.New York Times bestseller'Warm, funny, and almost unbearably moving' Daily Mail'Rescued all those men who constantly mean to read novels but never get round to it' Spectator Books of the YearAt first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots - neighbours who can't reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d'etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents' Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.But isn't it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible...
A Most Wanted Man
By John Le Carré
A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse round his neck. He is a devout Muslim. Or is he? He says his name is Issa. Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, determines to save Issa from deportation. Soon her client's survival becomes more important to her than her own career. In pursuit of Issa's mysterious past, she confronts the incongruous Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old scion of Brue Frères, a failing British bank based in Hamburg. A triangle of impossible loves is born. Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the so-called War on Terror, the spies of three nations converge upon the innocents. Poignant, compassionate, peopled with characters the reader never wants to let go, A MOST WANTED MAN is alive with humour, yet prickles with tension until the last heart-stopping page. It is also a work of deep humanity, and uncommon relevance to our times.
The Maid's Version
By Daniel Woodrell
In 1929, an explosion in a Missouri dance hall killed forty-two people. Who was to blame? Mobsters from St Louis? Embittered gypsies? The preacher who cursed the waltzing couples for their sins? Or could it just have been a colossal accident?Alma Dunahew, whose scandalous younger sister was among the dead, believes the answer lies in a dangerous love affair, but no one will listen to a maid from the wrong side of the tracks. It is only decades later that her grandson hears her version of events - and must decide if it is the right one.
Mafia Republic: Italy's Criminal Curse. Cosa Nostra, 'Ndrangheta and Camorra from 1946 to the Present
By John Dickie
In MAFIA REPUBLIC, John Dickie, Professor of Italian Studies at University College, London and author of the international bestsellers COSA NOSTRA and MAFIA BROTHERHOODS, shows how the Italian mafias have grown in power and become more and more interconnected, with terrifying consequences. In 1946, Italy became a democratic Republic, thereby entering the family of modern western nations. But deep within Italy there lurked a forgotten curse: three major criminal brotherhoods, whose methods had been honed over a century of experience. As Italy grew, so did the mafias. Sicily's Cosa Nostra, the camorra from Naples, and the mysterious 'ndrangheta from Calabria stood ready to enter the wealthiest and bloodiest period of their long history.Italy made itself rich by making scooters, cars and handbags. The mafias carved out their own route to wealth through tobacco smuggling, construction, kidnapping and narcotics. And as criminal business grew exponentially, the mafias grew not just more powerful, but became more interconnected.By the 1980s, Southern Italy was on the edge of becoming a narco-state. The scene was set for a titanic confrontation between heroic representatives of the law, and mafiosi who could no longer tolerate any obstacle to their ambitions. This was a war for Italy's future as a civilized country. At its peak in 1992-93, the 'ndrangheta was beheading people in the street, and the Sicilian mafia murdered its greatest enemies, investigating magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, before embarking on a major terrorist bombing campaign on the Italian mainland.Today, the long shadow of mafia history still hangs over a nation wracked by debt, political paralysis, and widespread corruption. While police put their lives on the line every day, one of Silvio Berlusconi's ministers said that Italy had to 'learn to live with the mafia'; suspicions of mafia involvement still surround some of the country's most powerful media moguls and politicians. The latest investigations show that its reach is astonishing: it controls much of Europe's wholesale cocaine trade, and representatives from as far away as Germany, Canada and Australia come to Calabria to seek authorisation for their affairs. Just when it thought it had finally contained the mafia threat, Italy is now discovering that it harbours the most global criminal network of them all.The Financial Times described John Dickie's MAFIA BROTHERHOODS as 'Powered by the sort of muscular prose that one associates with great detective fiction' and in MAFIA REPUBLIC John Dickie again marries outstanding scholarship with compelling storytelling.
The Marlowe Papers
By Ros Barber
*WINNER OF THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE 2013*On May 30th, 1593, a celebrated young playwright was killed in a tavern brawl in London. That, at least, was the official version. Now Christopher Marlowe reveals the truth: that his 'death' was an elaborate ruse to avoid being convicted of heresy; that he was spirited across the Channel to live on in lonely exile; that he continued to write plays and poetry, hiding behind the name of a colourless man from Stratford - one William Shakespeare. With the grip of a thriller and the emotional force of a sonnet, this remarkable novel in verse gives voice to a man who was brilliant, passionate and mercurial. A cobbler's son who counted nobles among his friends, a spy in the Queen's service, a fickle lover and a declared religious sceptic, he was always courting trouble. Memoir, love letter, confession, settling of accounts and a cry for recognition as the creator of some of the most sublime works in the English language, The Marlowe Papers brings Christopher Marlowe and his era to vivid life. Written by a poet and scholar, it is a work of exceptional art, erudition and imagination.
The Maid of Buttermere
By Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg's highly acclaimed and bestselling historical novel, the story behind one of the 19th century's greatest scandals.Set in the Lake District in the early 19th century, the riveting story of an imposter, bigamist and fortune hunter who came to grief by falling helplessly in love with the famed 'Maid of Buttermere'.
By Stephen Thompson
Joe, Dilys and their son Sean are all outsiders in the small English town where they live. Joe because of insidious racism, Dilys because she suffers the remaining stigma of her alcoholic mother and mentally ill father, and Sean because he seems slow. As Dilys and Sean become increasingly and unhealthily co-dependent, Joe is pushed to periphery of their lives. So much so that when he vanishes, Dilys is neither surprised nor concerned. Then Joe's identical twin brother Neville arrives from Jamaica. Despite what Dilys tells him, he refuses to believe that Joe simply walked out on his family. And so he begins a painstaking investigation into Joe's disappearance. What he discovers changes him forever.
Mafia Brotherhoods: Camorra, mafia, 'ndrangheta: the rise of the Honoured Societies
By John Dickie
MAFIA BROTHERHOODS (previously published as BLOOD BROTHERHOODS) is the enthralling new history of Italian organised crime by the author of the international bestseller COSA NOSTRA. The Sicilian mafia, or Cosa Nostra, is far from being Italy's only dangerous criminal fraternity. The south of the country hosts two other major mafias: the camorra, from Naples and its hinterland; and the 'ndrangheta, the mafia from the poor and isolated region of Calabria that has now risen to become the most powerful mob of all.Each of these brotherhoods has its own methods, its own dark rituals, its own style of ferocity and corruption. Their early history is little known; indeed some of it has been entirely shrouded in myth and silence until now. MAFIA BROTHERHOODS is a book of breathtaking ambition, charting the birth and rise of all three of Italy's mafias. It blends ground-breaking archival research, passionate narrative, and shrewd historical analysis to bring Italy's unique 'criminal ecosystem', and the three terrifying criminal brotherhoods that evolved within it, to life on the page.Previously published as BLOOD BROTHERHOODS.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
By John Berendt
Published for the first time in flipback - the new, portable, stylish format that's taken Europe by storm.Genteel society ladies who compare notes on their husbands' suicides. A hilariously foul-mouthed black drag queen. A voodoo priestess who works her roots in the graveyard at midnight. A morose inventor who owns a bottle of poison powerful enough to kill everyone in town. A prominent antiques dealer who hangs a Nazi flag from his window to disrupt the shooting of a movie. And a redneck gigolo whose conquests describe him as a 'walking streak of sex'.These are some of the real residents of Savannah, Georgia, a city whose eccentric mores are unerringly observed - and whose dirty linen is gleefully aired - in this utterly irresistible book. At once a true-crime murder story and a hugely entertaining and deliciously perverse travelogue, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is as bracing and intoxicating as half-a-dozen mint juleps.
Mr Rosenblum's List: or Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman
By Natasha Solomons
List item 2: Never speak German on the upper decks of London buses. Jack Rosenblum is five foot three and a half inches of sheer tenacity. He's writing a list so he can become a Very English Gentleman. List item 41: An Englishman buys his marmalade from Fortnum and Mason.It's 1952, and despite his best efforts, his bid to blend in is fraught with unexpected hurdles - including his wife. Sadie doesn't want to forget where they came from or the family they've lost. And she shows no interest in getting a purple rinse. List item 112: An Englishman keeps his head in a crisis, even when he's risking everything.Jack leads a reluctant Sadie deep into the English countryside in pursuit of a dream. Here, in a land of woolly pigs, bluebells and jitterbug cider, they embark on an impossible task...
The Man Who Disappeared
By Clare Morrall
What would you do if, out of the blue, your husband disappeared and you found out he was a suspected criminal?When reliable, respectable Felix Kendall vanishes, his wife Kate is left reeling. As she and their children cope with the shocking impact on their comfortable lives, Kate realises that, if Felix is guilty, she never truly knew the man she loved. But as she faces the possibility that he might not return, she also discovers strengths she never knew she had.
By Tim Gautreaux
Louisiana is the setting for this riveting tale of a kidnapped child and the man on her trail - Sam Simoneaux, who feels honour-bound to help find her. Leaving his stalwart wife behind, he works his passage on a pleasure steamer up the Mississippi, entering a wild world of jazz, moonshine and lawlessness. It is a journey that will lead Sam to confront not only violent criminals but his own past, and to make some hard decisions about the value of vengeance.
By Alexei Sayle
Above a small village in Spain, an English costume designer sees a bright shining star lurch abruptly across the sky.On Christmas Day a strong, silent man with blank eyes enters Bar Noche Azul. Only a thirteen year old boy could have guessed that there was any connection between the two.Wonderfully inventive, darkly funny and thoughtful, MISTER ROBERTS is both an original coming-of-age story and an unusual take on the corrupting influence of power.
The Mission Song
By John Le Carré
Bruno Salvador has worked on clandestine missions before. A highly skilled interpreter, he is no stranger to the Official Secrets Act. But this is the first time he has been asked to change his identity - and, worse still, his clothes - in service of his country.Whisked to a remote island to interpret a top-secret conference between no-name financiers and Congolese warlords, Salvo's excitement is only heightened by memories of the night before he left London, and his life-changing encounter with a beautiful nurse named Hannah. Exit suddenly, the unassuming, happily married man Salvo believed himself to be. Enter in his place, the pseudonymous Brian Sinclar: spy, lover - and perhaps, even, hero.
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
By Michael Chabon
Art Bechstein steps out of the library into the summer of his graduation year. Not yet ready for respectability, he falls in with the exotic, charming Arthur Lecomte, and ricochets between a homosexual relationship and an intense affair with a strange and beautiful girl called Phlox. Before long, the world of his new friends and the underworld of his father must collide, with consequences that Art cannot control.