By Michael Hughes
'Reading this book is like sitting in the pub listening to a good friend tell you stories. It does what only the best retellings can and makes you see the myth anew' Daisy JohnsonThat 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.
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.
The Countenance Divine
By Michael Hughes
'Michael Hughes writes like a brilliant cross between David Mitchell and Hilary Mantel' Toby LittIn 1999 a programmer is trying to fix the millennium bug, but can't shake the sense he's been chosen for something.In 1888 five women are brutally murdered in the East End by a troubled young man in thrall to a mysterious master.In 1777 an apprentice engraver called William Blake has a defining spiritual experience; thirteen years later this vision returns.And in 1666 poet and revolutionary John Milton completes the epic for which he will be remembered centuries later.But where does the feeling come from that the world is about to end?
A Calendar of Love
By George Mackay Brown
The author's beloved Orkney is brought vividly to life in this classic collection, peopled with crofters, fishermen, ferrymen and tinkers. History plays a part too, for Norse and Scottish legend are revived in tales of witch trials, priest hunts and Viking raids, all endowed with the stark beauty of George Mackay Brown's masterful storytelling.
By Stephen Kiernan
For readers of Justin Cronin's The Passage, S J Watson's Before I go to Sleep and Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife, The Curiosity is a haunting love story in which a man frozen for 100 years wakes up in today's America to be hounded by tabloids, condemned by religious conservatives, and hunted by a presidential candidate while he strives to come to terms with his unique second life, one in which he falls in love with a beautiful scientist from a century after him. Maverick scientific genius Erastus Carthage has developed a technique to bring frozen simple-celled animals back to life. But when his Arctic research vessel discovers a body encased in an iceberg, he seizes the chance to apply his pioneering process to a human being. The man Carthage's lad awakens from death is Jeremiah Rice, a Massachusetts judge, who was born in 1868 and fell overboard in 1906. Jeremiah is an instant celebrity - chased by paparazzi, vilified by the religious right, and overwhelmed by a society he sees as brilliant and diverse but also vulgar and violent. As his only ally biologist Kate Philo attempts to protect him from financial and political exploitation, the two fall in love. Meanwhile, Jeremiah's time on earth is slipping away. 'Poignant, luminescent, and absolutely perfect' Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of Midwives and The Double Bind
By Compton Mackenzie
Jenny Pearl, a dancer, falls in love with Maurice Avery, a young dilettante who leaves her when she refuses to become his mistress. Despairingly, she falls into a loveless marriage with Trewhella, a Cornish farmer who becomes insanely jealous when Avery reappears on the scene...Vivid, moving and ultimately tragic, CARNIVAL was first published in 1912 to wide critical acclaim, helping to establish Mackenzie as one of the foremost British novelists of his generation. It has since been filmed three times and adapted for the stage and as an opera.
Cashel Byron`s Profession
By George Bernard Shaw
After poleaxing his mathematics master with a perfect right, Cashel Byron, the unloved son of a successful actress, runs away to Australia. He returns to England and becomes the most famous prizefighter of his age, only to be floored himself by the lovely and impossible Lydia Carew. Can Lydia, with her reputation for vast learning and exquisite culture, be wooed by the ruffian Cashel? Can Cashel successfully hide his illegal professional? And so follows, with Shaw's inimitable wit and sparkle, a tale of miscommunication, drawing-room comedy and love.
The Crock of Gold
By James Stephens
'In the centre of the pine wood called Coilla Doraca there lived not long ago two Philosophers. They were wiser than anything else in the world except the Salmon who lies in the pool of Glyn Cagny into which the nuts of knowledge fall from the hazel bush on its bank. He, of course, is the most profound of living creatures, but the two Philosophers are next to him in wisdom . . . 'The Crock of Gold is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest novels in the Irish comic tradition. Fantasy, satire and delicious humour propel the magical narrative through a world peopled by policemen, philosophers, tinkers and leprechauns. Yet, the intent of it all is serious. Or is it?Delve into this mystical fairytale world and rediscover a classic by a great author of the past.
The Captain's Wife
By Kirsten Mckenzie
1762. Mary is desperate to escape her embittered mother. So when her marriage to a prosperous sea captain is arranged, she embraces the damp salt air, cramped conditions and bad food. She sets sail on the Isabella, away from the land of her childhood towards unseen places and an unknown future.But being the captain's wife is going to be harder than she thought. Her husband is still grieving for his first wife, and Mary can't ignore her feelings towards another man onboard. Through him, she has a taste of the kind of love she might have known, and even begins to think that escape is possible. With ruthless pirates patrolling British waters and ports full of outcasts with unspoken pasts, Mary learns quickly that loyalties are always shifting and people are rarely as they first seem. The Captain's Wife is a richly realised story of adventure about a strong young woman determined to survive her fate by a wonderful storyteller.
The Circle of Reason
By Amitav Ghosh
A saga of flight and pursuit, this novel chronicles the adventures of Alu, a young weaver who is wrongly suspected of being a terrorist. Chased from Bengal to Bombay and on through the Persian Gulf to North Africa by a bird-watching police inspector, Alu encounters along the way a cast of characters as various and as colourful as the epithets with which the author adorns them. The reader is drawn into their lives by incidents tender and outrageous and all compellingly told. Ghosh is as natural a weaver of words as Alu is of cloth, deftly interlacing humour and wisdom to produce a narrative tapestry of surpassing beauty.
The Calcutta Chromosome
By Amitav Ghosh
In this extraordinary novel, Amitav Ghosh navigates through time and genres to present a unique tale. Beginning at an unspecified time in the future and ranging back to the late nineteenth century, the reader follows the adventures of the enigmatic L. Murugan. An authority on the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir Ronald Ross, who solved the malaria puzzle in Calcutta in 1898, Murugan is in search of the elusive 'Calcutta Chromosome'.With its astonishing range of characters, advanced computer science, religious cults and wonderful portraits of Victorian and contemporary India, The Calcutta Chromosome expands the scope of the novel as we know it, as Amitav Ghosh takes on the avatar of a science thriller writer.
The Chapel at the Edge of the World
By Kirsten Mckenzie
Emilio and Rosa are childhood sweethearts, engaged to be married. But it is 1942 and the war has taken Emilio far from Italy, to a tiny Orkney island where he is a POW. Rosa must wait for him to return and help her mother run the family hotel on the shores of Lake Como, in Italy.Feeling increasingly frustrated with his situation, Emilio is inspired by the idea of building a chapel on the barren island. The prisoners band together to create an extraordinary building out of little more than salvaged odds and ends and homemade paints. Whilst Emilio's chapel will remain long after the POW camp has been left to the sheep, will his love for Rosa survive the hardships of war and separation? For Rosa is no longer the girl that he left behind. She is being drawn further into the Italian resistance movement and closer to danger, as friendships and allegiances are ever complicated by the war.Human perseverance and resilience are at the heart of this strong debut and the small Italian chapel remains, as it does in reality on the island of Lamb's Holm, as a symbol of these qualities.
The Creator's Map
By Emilio Calderón
Rome, October 1952. The architect Jose Maria Hurtado and his wife Montserrat open their newspaper to find that their friend Prince Junio Vivarini, Fascist and Nazi-sympathizer, has been found dead, decapitated in the Swiss Alps. In the event of his death, they had been told they would receive a mysterious package containing secrets he could not reveal while living.Who was the Prince? And why were Hurtado and his wife chosen as the repository of these documents? The answers lie in Rome, in the past, during the tumultuous period of the 1930s and 1940s from the beginning of the Spanish Civil War to the end of the Second World War. For there an exiled Spanish architect, a passionate and beautiful young aristocratic librarian and an elegant and influential Fascist prince became enmeshed in a web of political intrigue, love and deceit involving a fateful map with the power to destroy them all.Part love story, part espionage novel and part mystery, The Creator's Map brilliantly recreates the dark intrigue, romantic entanglements and divided loyalties of war-torn Europe.
Cage of Stars
By Jacquelyn Mitchard
A beautiful late autumn day, an innocent game of hide-and-seek . . . but when twelve-year-old Ronnie Swan emerges from her hiding-place, she finds the brutally murdered bodies of her two little sisters. Nearby, a complete stranger covered in blood, sits sobbing on the family picnic table. The killer, Scott Early, is schizophrenic. And although her parents somehow find the strength to forgive him, Ronnie cannot. Over the years, calmly, systematically, she plans her revenge. But as she closes in on Early, Ronnie will discover the true meaning of sin and compassion - and her decision will change her and her family's lives for ever.