How Britain Really Works
By Stig Abell
'Absorbing . . . an intelligent and clear-eyed account of much that goes on in our country' Sunday Times'Wry and readable' GuardianGetting to grips with Great Britain is harder than ever. We are a nation that chose Brexit, rejects immigration but is dependent on it, is getting older but less healthy, is more demanding of public services but less willing to pay for them, is tired of intervention abroad but wants to remain a global authority. We have an over-stretched, free health service (an idea from the 1940s that may not survive the 2020s), overcrowded prisons, a military without an evident purpose, an education system the envy of none of the Western world. How did we get here and where are we going?How Britain Really Works is a guide to Britain and its institutions (the economy, the military, schools, hospitals, the media, and more), which explains just how we got to wherever it is we are. It will not tell you what opinions to have, but will give you the information to help you reach your own. By the end, you will know how Britain works - or doesn't.'Stig Abell is an urbane, and often jaunty guide to modern Britain, in the mould of Bill Bryson' Irish Times
A History of Running Away
By Paula McGrath
Book of the Year in the Irish Times'A wonderful storyteller' Joseph O'ConnorOn the quays of Dublin, Jasmine is running, training for a fight she can't compete in. It's 1982 and boxing is illegal for girls.For Jasmine boxing is everything: after running away from home, and narrowly escaping a risky situation in London, it is all she has to claim as her own. But with a legal fight impossible, and a ghost from her past on her trail, where can it end? A History of Running Away is a brilliantly written novel about growing up, starting over and learning to fight for yourself.
By Brett Westwood, Stephen Moss
A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER'Vibrant, fascinating, poetic - a year in living things: all the things we love, all the things we wish we could, all the little things we step over and never know - the best of British wildlife from two superb naturalists and writers' CHRIS PACKHAMFrom blackbirds, beavers and beetles to tawny owls, natterjack toads and lemon slugs. Every day of the year, winter or summer, in every corner of the British Isles, there's plenty to see if you know where - and how - to look. From encounters with the curious black redstart, which winters on our rocky coasts, to the tiny green snowdrop shoots that are the first sign that spring might be round the corner. And from the blossom-time and dawn choruses of April and May into the abundant noisiness of summer, where days start with hawker dragonflies and drowsy bumblebees and end with glow-worms and ghost moths; to autumn when in the early morning mist of London's Richmond Park male red deer lock horns in competition for a mate.Nature is always full of surprises - whether it's the strange behaviour of clothes moths or the gruesome larder of the strike. Distilling two lifetimes' knowledge, expert insight and enthusiasm, award-winning authors and passionate naturalists Brett Westwood and Stephen Moss take us through the year, day by day, sharing the unexpected delights that we can experience in our skies, beaches, rivers, fields, forests and back gardens. There are all kinds of adventures waiting on your doorstep, any day of the year, all you need is Wonderland.
By Mick Herron
'A first-rate modern thriller' Daily MailShortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger AwardTom Bettany is working at a meat processing plant in France when he gets a voicemail from an Englishwoman he doesn't know telling him that his estranged 26-year-old son is dead - Liam Bettany fell from his London balcony, where he was smoking pot.Now for the first time since he cut all ties years ago, Bettany returns home to London to find out the truth about his son's death. Maybe it's the guilt he feels about losing touch with Liam that's gnawing at him, or maybe he's actually put his finger on a labyrinthine plot, but either way he'll get to the bottom of the tragedy, no matter whose feathers he has to ruffle. But more than a few people are interested to hear Bettany is back in town, from incarcerated mob bosses to those in the highest echelons of MI5. He might have thought he'd left it all behind when he first skipped town, but nobody ever really walks away.
Down Cemetery Road
By Mick Herron
'Good characterisation, dialogue and a well-paced narrative make this confident first novel frighteningly plausible' Daily TelegraphWhen a house explodes in a quiet Oxford suburb and a young girl disappears in the aftermath, Sarah Tucker - a young married woman, bored and unhappy with domestic life - becomes obsessed with finding her. Accustomed to dull chores in a childless household and hosting her husband's wearisome business clients for dinner, Sarah suddenly finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew, as her investigation reveals that people long believed dead are still among the living, while the living are fast joining the dead. What begins in a peaceful neighbourhood reaches its climax on a remote, unwelcoming Scottish island as the search puts Sarah in league with a man who finds himself being hunted down by murderous official forces.
By Mick Herron
'Masterful . . . superior entertainment that makes most other novels of suspense appear dull and slow-witted by comparison' Publishers WeeklyWhen a gunman breaks into South Oxford Nursery School and takes a group of hostages, teacher Louise Kennedy fears the worst. But Jaime Segura isn't there on a homicidal mission, and he's just as scared as those whose lives he holds as collateral. As an armed police presence builds outside the school's gates, the only person Jaime will talk to is Ben Whistler, an MI6 accountant who worked with Jaime's lover, Miro. Miro's gone missing, along with a quarter of a billion pounds allotted for reconstruction work in Iraq. Jaime refuses to believe that Miro is a thief - though he's always had his secrets. But then, so does Louise, so do the other hostages - and so do some people on the outside, who'd much rather Jaime was silenced.
Smoke and Whispers
By Mick Herron
'This is one of these novels where you read it, not just to see what happens at the end, but to see what happens on the very next page' BooklistWhen a body is hauled from the River Tyne, Sarah Tucker heads to Newcastle for a closer look. She identifies the dead woman as private detective Zoë Boehm, but putting a name to the corpse only raises further questions. Did Zoë kill herself, or did one of her old cases come back to haunt her? Why was she wearing the jacket a murderer had stolen years before? And what's brought Sarah's former sparring partner Gerard Inchon to the same broken-down hotel where she's staying? Coincidence is an excuse that soon appears pretty unconvincing. Sarah can't leave until she's found the answers to her questions, however dangerous they might turn out to be.
Why We Die
By Mick Herron
'Herron is a stylish writer with a mordant sensibility and a deadly wit. He s also a tricky plotter' New York Times Book ReviewWhen Zoë Boehm agrees to track down the gang who knocked over Sweeney's jewellery shop, she's just hoping to break even in time for tax season. She certainly doesn't expect to wind up in a coffin. But she's about to become entangled with a strange collection of characters, starting with suicidal Tim Whitby, who's dedicating what's left of his life to protecting the pretty, battered Katrina Blake from her late husband's sociopathic brothers, Arkle and Trent.Unfortunately for Zoë, Arkle has a crossbow, Tim has nothing left to lose, and even Katrina has her secrets. And death, like taxes, can't be avoided forever.
The Last Voice You Hear
By Mick Herron
'Unexpected and satisfying . . . The engaging heroine never loses her cool, from the melancholy opening to the whirlwind finale, a marvellously extended set-piece' Kirkus ReviewsZoë Boehm has harbored a distinct aversion to death ever since she shot the man intent on killing her. So when Caroline Daniels takes a deadly fall in front of a train and her lover fails to turn up at the funeral, Zoë wants nothing to do with the case. But Caroline's boss is persistent, and as Zoë attempts to unlock the secrets of a woman she's never met while in search of a man who could be anywhere, she starts to wonder if he's found her first. And if he has, will that make her the next victim, or prove to be her salvation from a paralyzing fear?
By John Julius Norwich
I can still feel, as if it were yesterday, the excitement of my first Channel crossing (as a child of nearly 7) in September 1936; the regiment of porters, smelling asphyxiatingly of garlic in their blue-green blousons; the raucous sound all around me of spoken French; the immense fields of Normandy strangely devoid of hedges; then the Gare du Nord at twilight, the policemen with their képis and their little snow-white batons; and my first sight of the Eiffel Tower...This book is written in the belief that the average English-speaking man or woman has remarkably little knowledge of French history. We may know a bit about Napoleon or Joan of Arc or Louis XIV, but for most of us that's about it. In my own three schools we were taught only about the battles we won: Crécy and Poitiers, Agincourt and Waterloo. The rest was silence. So here is my attempt to fill in the blanks...John Julius Norwich (at 88) has finally written the book he always wanted to write, the extremely colourful story of the country he loves best. From frowning Roman generals and belligerent Gallic chieftains, to Charlemagne (hated by generations of French children taught that he invented schools) through Marie Antoinette and the storming of the Bastille to Vichy, the Resistance and beyond, FRANCE is packed with heroes and villains, adventures and battles, romance and revolution. Full of memorable stories and racy anecdotes, this is the perfect introduction to the country that has inspired the rest of the world to live, dress, eat -- and love better.
By Garry Kasparov
By Josh Ireland
'An epic tale of love, dishonour, bravery, cowardice, betrayal and high-treason. Beautifully written. A stunning debut' Damien LewisPlayboy. Fascist. Strongman. Thief.Traitors.John Amery is a drunk and a fanatic, an exiled playboy whose frail body is riven by contradictions. Harold Cole is a cynical, murderous conman who desperately wants to be seen as an officer and a gentleman. Eric Pleasants is an iron-willed former wrestler; he is also a pacifist, and will not be forced into fighting other men's battles. William Joyce can weave spells when he talks, but his true gifts are for rage and hate. By the end of the Second World War, they will all have betrayed their country. The Traitors is the story of how they came to do so. Drawing on declassified MI5 files, it is a book about chaotic lives in turbulent times; idealism twisted out of shape; of torn consciences and abandoned loyalties; and the tragic consequences that treachery brings in its wake.
Speak No Evil
By Uzodinma Iweala
'Elegant and elegiac' Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Guardian 'A writer of spectacular talent' ObserverOn the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, DC, he's a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer - an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except his best friend, Meredith - the one person who seems not to judge him. When his father accidentally finds out, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding towards a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed. Speak No Evil is a novel about the power of words and self-identification, about who gets to speak and who has the power to speak for other people.