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?
Elizabeth Jane Howard
By Artemis Cooper
Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923-2014) wrote brilliant novels about what love can do to people, but in her own life the lasting relationship she sought so ardently always eluded her. She grew up yearning to be an actress; but when that ambition was thwarted by marriage and the war, she turned to fiction. Her first novel, The Beautiful Visit, won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize - she went on to write fourteen more, of which the best-loved were the five volumes of The Cazalet Chronicle. Following her divorce from her first husband, the celebrated naturalist Peter Scott, Jane embarked on a string of high-profile affairs with Cecil Day-Lewis, Arthur Koestler and Laurie Lee, which turned her into a literary femme fatale. Yet the image of a sophisticated woman hid a romantic innocence which clouded her emotional judgement. She was nearing the end of a disastrous second marriage when she met Kingsley Amis, and for a few years they were a brilliant and glamorous couple - until that marriage too disintegrated. She settled in Suffolk where she wrote and entertained friends, but her turbulent love life was not over yet. In her early seventies Jane fell for a conman. His unmasking was the final disillusion, and inspired one of her most powerful novels, Falling.Artemis Cooper interviewed Jane several times in Suffolk. She also talked extensively to her family, friends and contemporaries, and had access to all her papers. Her biography explores a woman trying to make sense of her life through her writing, as well as illuminating the literary world in which she lived.
An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It
By Jessie Greengrass
WINNER OF THE EDGE HILL SHORT STORY PRIZE 2016SHORTLISTED FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES/PFD YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD 2016'Greengrass is undoubtedly that rare thing, a genuinely new and assured voice in prose. Her work is precise, properly moving, quirky and heartfelt' A. L. KennedyThe twelve stories in this startling collection range over centuries and across the world.There are stories about those who are lonely, or estranged, or out of time. There are hauntings, both literal and metaphorical; and acts of cruelty and neglect but also of penance.Some stories concern themselves with the present, and the mundane circumstances in which people find themselves: a woman who feels stuck in her life imagines herself in different jobs - as a lighthouse keeper in Wales, or as a guard against polar bears in a research station in the Arctic.Some stories concern themselves with the past: a sixteenth-century alchemist and doctor, whose arrogance blinds him to people's dissatisfaction with their lives until he experiences it himself.Finally, in the title story, a sailor gives his account - violent, occasionally funny and certainly tragic - of the decline of the Great Auk.
The Good Guy
By Susan Beale
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD 2016'I fell into The Good Guy hook, line and sinker . . . utterly captivating' Last Word ReviewA summer of love and deceit in 1960s New England.Abigail has everything she's meant to want: a handsome, successful husband, a beautiful baby daughter, and a house in the suburbs. Inside, however, she's in turmoil: awkward with her neighbors, exhausted by the demands of motherhood, a failure at domesticity. Her husband, Ted, doesn't feel the same pressure. His professional life is on the up when a chance encounter with single-girl Penny offers a glimpse of the life he might have had, had he not blindly followed convention. Captivated, he tells a lie and then another. Lie by lie, he constructs a double life, convinced he can keep his two worlds separate, but can he?Brilliantly observed and deeply moving, The Good Guy proves that the worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves.'A sparkling debut, with a lifelike depiction of a time and place, and piercing insights into the fabled, and often tarnished, American dream' Lady'Extremely well-written, intelligent and perceptive, this also happens to be a novel that slips down like ice-cream on a hot day. I absolutely loved it' Shiny New Books'A delicious, slightly gossipy summer read with a Mad Men feel to it. I'd especially recommend this to readers who enjoyed The Longest Night by Andria Williams and Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann' Bookbag
The Cyber Effect
By Mary Aiken
Dr Mary Aiken is the world's leading expert in forensic cyberpsychology - a discipline that combines psychology, criminology and technology to investigate the intersection between technology and human behaviour. In this, her first book, Aiken has created a starting point for all future conversations about how the Internet is shaping our perception of the world, development and behaviour, societal norms and values, children, safety and security.Covering everything from the impact of screens on the developing child to the explosion of teen sexting, and the acceleration of compulsive and addictive online behaviours (gaming, shopping, pornography), The Cyber Effect also examines the escalation in cyberchondria (self-diagnosis online), cyberstalking and organized crime in the Deep Web. Cyberspace is an environment full of surveillance, but who is looking out for us? Full of surprising statistics and incredible-but-true case studies of the hidden trends that are shaping our culture, this book raises troubling questions about where the digital revolution is taking us.Upending your assumptions about your online life and forever changing the way you think about the technology that you, your friends and your family use, The Cyber Effect offers a fascinating and chilling look at a future we can still do something about.
Love from Boy
By Donald Sturrock
'Dear Mama, I am having a lovely time here. We play football every day here. The beds have no springs . . .'So begins the first letter that a nine-year-old Roald Dahl penned to his mother, Sofie Magdalene, under the watchful eye of his boarding-school headmaster. For most of his life, Roald Dahl would continue to write weekly letters to his mother, chronicling his adventures, frustrations and opinions, from the delights of childhood to the excitements of flying as a World War II fighter pilot and the thrill of meeting top politicians and movie stars during his time as a diplomat and spy in Washington. And, unbeknown to Roald, his mother lovingly kept every single one of them.Sofie was, in many ways, Roald's first reader. It was she who encouraged him to tell stories and nourished his desire to fabricate, exaggerate and entertain. Reading these letters, you can see Roald practicing his craft, developing the dark sense of humour and fantastical imagination that would later produce such timeless tales as The BFG, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches.The letters in Love from Boy are littered with jokes and madcap observations; sometimes serious, sometimes tender, and often outrageous. To eavesdrop on a son's letters to his mother is to witness Roald Dahl turning from a boy to a man, and finally becoming a writer.
By Rebecca Rideal
1666 was a watershed year for England. The outbreak of the Great Plague, the eruption of the second Dutch War and the Great Fire of London all struck the country in rapid succession and with devastating repercussions.Shedding light on these dramatic events, historian Rebecca Rideal reveals an unprecedented period of terror and triumph. Based on original archival research and drawing on little-known sources, 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire takes readers on a thrilling journey through a crucial turning point in English history, as seen through the eyes of an extraordinary cast of historical characters. While the central events of this significant year were ones of devastation and defeat, 1666 also offers a glimpse of the incredible scientific and artistic progress being made at that time, from Isaac Newton's discovery of gravity to Robert Hooke's microscopic wonders. It was in this year that John Milton completed Paradise Lost, Frances Stewart posed for the now-iconic image of Britannia, and a young architect named Christopher Wren proposed a plan for a new London - a stone phoenix to rise from the charred ashes of the old city.With flair and style, 1666 shows a city and a country on the cusp of modernity, and a series of events that forever altered the course of history.
Dinosaurs on Other Planets
By Danielle McLaughlin
'An exquisite collection from an exciting new voice in short fiction' LadyA woman battles bluebottles as she plots an ill-judged encounter with a stranger; a young husband commutes a treacherous route to his job in the city, fearful for the wife and small daughter he has left behind; a mother struggles to understand her nine-year-old son's obsession with dead birds and the apocalypse.In Danielle McLaughlin's stories, the world is both beautiful and alien. Men and women negotiate their surroundings as a tourist might navigate a distant country: watchfully, with a mixture of wonder and apprehension. Here are characters living lives in translation, ever at the mercy of distortions and misunderstandings, striving to make sense both of the spaces they inhabit and of the people they share them with.
Street of Eternal Happiness
By Rob Schmitz
'Enjoyable and illuminating . . . Rob Schmitz writes with great affection' GuardianShanghai: a global city in the midst of a renaissance, where dreamers arrive each day to partake in a mad torrent of capital, ideas and opportunity. Rob Schmitz is one of them. He immerses himself in his neighbourhood, forging relationships with ordinary people who see a brighter future in the city's sleek skyline. There's Zhao, whose path from factory floor to shopkeeper is sidetracked by her desperate measures to ensure a better future for her sons. Down the street lives Auntie Fu, a fervent capitalist forever trying to improve herself while keeping her sceptical husband at bay. Up a flight of stairs, CK sets up shop to attract young dreamers like himself, but learns he's searching for something more. As Schmitz becomes increasingly involved in their lives, he makes surprising discoveries which untangle the complexities of modern China: a mysterious box of letters that serve as a portal to a family's - and country's - dark past, and an abandoned neighbourhood where fates have been violently altered by unchecked power and greed. A tale of twenty-first-century China, Street of Eternal Happiness profiles China's distinct generations through multifaceted characters who illuminate an enlightening, humorous and, at times, heartrending journey along the winding road to the Chinese dream. Each story adds another layer of humanity to modern China, a tapestry also woven with Schmitz's insight as a foreign correspondent. The result is an intimate and surprising portrait that dispenses with the tired stereotypes of a country we think we know, immersing us instead in the vivid stories of the people who make up one of the world's most captivating cities.
By Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier
New and expanded edition.An International Bestseller - Over One Million Copies Sold!Shortlisted for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.Since Aristotle, we have fought to understand the causes behind everything. But this ideology is fading. In the age of big data, we can crunch an incomprehensible amount of information, providing us with invaluable insights about the what rather than the why.We're just starting to reap the benefits: tracking vital signs to foresee deadly infections, predicting building fires, anticipating the best moment to buy a plane ticket, seeing inflation in real time and monitoring social media in order to identify trends. But there is a dark side to big data. Will it be machines, rather than people, that make the decisions? How do you regulate an algorithm? What will happen to privacy? Will individuals be punished for acts they have yet to commit? In this groundbreaking and fascinating book, two of the world's most-respected data experts reveal the reality of a big data world and outline clear and actionable steps that will equip the reader with the tools needed for this next phase of human evolution.
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 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. 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. And some of them - like JK Coe - will have cause to regret his reappearance.Bettany might have thought he'd left it all behind when he first skipped town, but nobody ever really walks away.
By Mick Herron
'Masterful . . . superior entertainment that makes most other novels of suspense appear dull and slow-witted by comparison' Publishers WeeklyWhen an operational catastrophe puts a gun in the hands of a young man, who then 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, Bad Sam Chapman - head of the intelligence service's internal security force, the Dogs - battles the clock to find out what Jaime is after. But 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.
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.