The Escape Artists
By Neal Bascomb
Summer, 1918: twenty-nine officers crawled into a 16 inch high, 55 metre tunnel dug only with spoons. This was the culmination of 9 months gruelling toil in oxygen-starved darkness. Of the twenty-nine escapees, just ten would make their way back to Britain.When captured Royal Flying Corps pilots Captain David Gray, Captain Caspar Kennard and 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Blain had arrived at Holzminden - or 'Hellminden' as its occupants called it - the Germans' highest-security prison complex had seemed impregnable. 'The Black Hole' was ruled by the iron fist of Camp Commandant Carl Niemayer, under whose brutal temper prisoners were known to be shot and beaten to death. Not least the breakout artists.After five unsuccessful attempts from different camps in one year, the obsessive Captain Gray was personally determined to orchestrate the building of a tunnel directly under the feet of their one hundred armed guards. With an improvised oxygen piping system, stolen disguises and astonishing courage, this handful of the Kaiser's 2.3 million prisoners would succeed in making their way to neutral Holland and eventually back to Britain - for a private audience at Windsor Palace. The most unlikely escape of the Great War, their derring-do became military legend and the inspiration for the subsequent great escapes of the Second World War.
By Mick Herron
SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA GOLD DAGGER AND IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER'The UK's new spy master' Sunday TimesLondon Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one.Cover your arse.Regent's Park's First Desk, Claude Whelan, is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's facing attack from all directions himself: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist, who's crucifying Whelan in print; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who's alert for Claude's every stumble.Meanwhile, the country's being rocked by an apparently random string of terror attacks, and someone's trying to kill Roddy Ho.Over at Slough House, the crew are struggling with personal problems: repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. But collectively, they're about to rediscover their greatest strength - that of making a bad situation much, much worse.It's a good job Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren't going to break themselves.******Praise for Mick Herron'The new spy master' Evening Standard'Herron is spy fiction's great humorist, mixing absurd situations with sparklingly funny dialogue and elegant, witty prose' The Times'Herron draws his readers so fully into the world of Slough House that the incautious might find themselves slipping between the pages and transformed from reader to spook' Irish Times
By Astrid Holleeder, Astrid Holleeder
Willem Holleeder is one of the most notorious criminals in contemporary history. Best known for his involvement in the 1983 kidnapping of Alfred Heineken, CEO and Chairman of Heineken, and his infamous 2006 trial in which he was convicted of extortion, money laundering and membership of a criminal organization, Willem Holleeder captured the attention of the world. What few knew was how Willem had terrorized, extorted and threatened his family for thirty years, just as his alcoholic father - an employee at Heineken - had dominated and mistreated the family for years. Children, sisters, women, in-laws and mother: no one escaped the despotic behaviour of father and son.But Willem's latest conviction is quickly becoming the trial of the century. Charged for his involvement in multiple assassinations, including that of his former partner and brother-in-law, Willem is finally being put on trial for murder, all due to the shocking and incriminating testimony of his own family. Having spent years as his unwilling consigliere, Willem's own sister Astrid is finally breaking her silence and going on the record. In this stunning memoir, Astrid finally reveals decades of familial manipulation and fear and her own thrilling experience working as a double cross, preserving enough trust to attain the information that would convict her brother for life.
By Michael Hughes
That was the start of it. A terrible business altogether. Oh, it was all kept off the news, for the sake of the talks and the ceasefire. But them that were around that part of the country remember every bit. Wait now till you hear the rest.Northern Ireland, 1996.After twenty-five years of conflict, the IRA and the British have agreed an uneasy ceasefire, as a first step towards lasting peace. But if decades of savage violence are leading only to smiles and handshakes, those on the ground in the border country will start to question what exactly they have been fighting for.When an IRA man's wife turns informer, he and his brother gather their old comrades for an assault on the local army base. But the squad's feared sniper suddenly refuses to fight, and the SAS are sent in to crush this rogue terror cell before it can wreck the fragile truce, and drag the whole region back to the darkest days of the Troubles. Inspired by the oldest war story of them all, this powerful new Irish novel explores the brutal glory of armed conflict, and the bitter tragedy of those on both sides who offer their lives to defend the honour of their country.
Rise and Kill First
By Ronen Bergman
'A gripping investigation of Israel's assassination policy' Sunday Times'Remarkable' Observer'Riveting' Daily Mail'Compelling' John le CarréThe Talmud says: "If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first." This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel's DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively. In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman - praised by David Remnick as "arguably [Israel's] best investigative reporter" - offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions. Built from interviews with Israeli Prime Ministers as well as high-level figures in Mossad, and the country's military and intelligence services - Rise and Kill First includes never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of previously unseen files. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel's targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world.
Conflicts of Interest
By Terry Stiastny
'A skilful prose stylist and a connoisseur of telling details' GuardianLawrence Leith has retreated from his once-successful career in TV to a small village in the south of France to mourn the end of his marriage and the loss of his job.When his old colleague Martin Elliott arrives for a summer holiday, surrounded by his lovely family and new, influential friends, he seems to have everything that Lawrence lacks. Martin is convinced that Lawrence should get back in the game, even if that involves returning to Africa, where it once nearly ended for both of them. As Martin's carefully cultivated image begins to slip, Lawrence recovers his urge to find out the real story - one which will force him to choose between his friend and his principles.Masterfully constructed and universally topical, Conflicts of Interest is a novel about personal betrayal and political double-dealing, about the realities of being in the public eye and how the truth, no matter how hidden, will always out.
By Peter Rock
'A beautiful, strange novel . . . Fascinating and moving, it tells with great tenderness how human love goes wrong' Ursula K. Le Guin'The recent novel I recommend most . . . a short, disciplined, unsettling book' Hanya YanagiharaThirteen-year-old Caroline and her father live in Forest Park, an enormous nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. Day to day, they live in an elaborate cave shelter, wash in a nearby creek, store perishables at the water's edge, tend a garden and even keep a library of sorts. Once a week they go to the city to buy groceries and otherwise merge with the civilised world. But one small mistake allows a jogger to discover them, which derails their entire existence. Inspired by a true story and told through the startlingly sincere voice of its young narrator, Caroline, My Abandonment is a gripping journey into life in the wilderness and a mesmerizing tale of survival and hope.
By Lex Coulton
By Peter Snow, Ann MacMillan
'Highly readable . . . an intimate and varied account of fascinating stories of people at war' History of WarWar Stories is a fascinating account of ordinary men and women swept up in the turbulence of war. These are the stories - many untold until now - of thirty-four individuals who have pushed the boundaries of love, bravery, suffering and terror beyond the imaginable. They span three centuries and five continents. There is the courage of Edward Seager who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade; the cunning of Krystyna Skarbek, quick-thinking spy and saboteur during the Second World War; the skullduggery of Benedict Arnold, who switched sides in the American War of Independence and the compassion of Magdalene de Lancey who tenderly nursed her dying husband at Waterloo. Told with vivid narrative flair and full of unexpected insights, War Stories moves effortlessly from tales of spies, escapes and innovation to uplifting acts of humanity, celebrating men and women whose wartime experiences are beyond compare.
Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord
By Mario Giordano
A Man Called Ove meets Inspector Montalbano, Auntie Poldi leaves no stone unturned in her quest for answers. Wine and murder - nothing is more likely to rouse Auntie Poldi's love of the chase.Still relishing the notoriety from her spectacular resolution of the Candela case, Poldi is alive to the faintest whiff of criminality.What to others might seem a series of misfortunes - the water supply cut off, a poisoned dog - is clearly, to Poldi, an escalation: the Mafia have had her in their sights ever since she solved Valentino's murder.Poldi has tasted blood. No one is above suspicion. And trouble will surely follow . . .
By Anthony DeCurtis
A GUARDIAN AND CHOICE BOOK OF THE YEAR'A walk on the wild side with the alt-rock pioneer' GQ'DeCurtis is well placed to trace Reed's five-decade career, drawing on insider knowledge but skilfully balancing it with detailed research and fascinating interviews' Mojo MagazineAs lead singer and songwriter for the Velvet Underground and a renowned solo artist, Lou Reed invented alternative rock. His music, at once the height of sanctity and perversity, transcended a genre, speaking to millions of listeners, inspiring a new generation of musicians, and forever changing the way we think of that iconic era of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Throughout his five-decade career, Reed embodied artistic self-awareness and captured the beauty, paranoia, and vivacity of his time into an array of hit songs, experimental albums, and a larger-than-life persona. With such masterpieces as 'Sweet Jane' and 'Walk on the Wild Side', Reed exerted an influence on popular music rivaled only by the likes of Bob Dylan and the Beatles and is recognized to this day as one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.Now, just a few years after Reed's death, comes the thrilling, provocative story of his complex life. An acclaimed Rolling Stone contributor, Anthony DeCurtis interviewed Reed extensively and knew him well. With unparalleled access to Reed's friends, family, and dozens of other intimate relations, DeCurtis brings Reed's story compellingly alive and deepens our understanding of his indelible music. We travel deep into the underground artist clubs, listen along in the studio as the Velvet Underground record their signature work, and revel in Reed's relationship with legendaries like Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, and David Bowie. Insightful, revelatory, and intimate, Lou Reed is a gripping tribute to a quintessential American icon.
Agent Diamond and Operation Gold
By Steve Vogel
This is What Happened
By Mick Herron
Something's happened. A lot of things have happened. If she could turn back time, she wondered how far she would go.Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice.Or just the kind of person MI5 needs to thwart an international plot that puts all of Britain at risk.Now one young woman has the chance to be a hero - if she can think quickly enough to stay alive.