By Paula Gooder
Sometime around 56 AD, the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome. His letter was arguably his theological masterpiece, and has continued to shape Christian faith ever since. He entrusted this letter to Phoebe, the deacon of the church at Cenchreae; in writing to the church that almost surely met in her home, Paul refers to her both as a deacon and as a helper or patron of many. But who was this remarkable woman? In this, her first work of fiction, Biblical scholar and popular author and speaker Paula Gooder tells Phoebe's story - who she was, the life she lived and her first-century faith - and in doing so opens up Paul's theology, giving a sense of the cultural and historical pressures that shaped Paul's thinking, and the faith of the early church. Written in the gripping style of Gerd Theissen's The Shadow of the Galilean, and similarly rigorously researched, this is a book for everyone and anyone who wants to engage more deeply and imaginatively with Paul's theology - from one of the UK's foremost New Testament scholars.
By Lindsey Davis
'Lindsey Davis has seen off all her competitors to become the unassailable market leader in the 'crime in Ancient Rome' genre . . . Davis's squalid, vibrant Rome is as pleasurable as ever' - Guardian'For fans of crime fiction set in the ancient world, this one is not to be missed' - BooklistPrivate investigator Flavia Albia is always drawn to an intriguing puzzle - even if it is put to her by her new husband's hostile ex-wife.On the Quirinal Hill, a young girl named Clodia has died, apparently poisoned with a love potion. Only one person could have supplied such a thing: a local witch who goes by the name of Pandora, whose trade in herbal beauty products is hiding something far more sinister.The supposedly sweet air of the Quirinal is masking the stench of loose morality, casual betrayal and even gangland conflict and, when a friend of her own is murdered, Albia determines to expose as much of this local sickness as she can - beginning with the truth about Clodia's death.****************Praise for Lindsey Davis and the Flavia Albia series'Davis's prose is a lively joy, and Flavia's Rome is sinister and gloriously real'The Times on Sunday'Davis's books crackle with wit and knowledge . . . She has the happy knack of making the reader feel entirely immersed in Rome'
The Prince and the Whitechapel Murders
By Saul David
'An entertaining tale takes us deep into the seamy side of Victorian London' The TimesLondon 1888: George 'Zulu' Hart is the mixed-race illegitimate son of a Dublin actress and (he suspects) the Duke of Cambridge, commander-in-chief of the army. George has fought his way through wars in Africa and Afghanistan, won the VC and married his sweetheart, but he's also a gambler, short of money and in no position to turn down the job of 'minder' to Prince Albert Victor, second in line to the throne. George is to befriend the charming young cavalry officer and keep him out of trouble - no easy task, given that the Prince is a known target for Irish nationalist assassins, while his secret sexual orientation leaves him open to blackmail and scandal. To make matters worse, the Prince is also in the habit of heading out late at night to sample the dubious pleasures of the East End. Both outsiders in their different ways, perhaps the two men have more in common than they know, but when a series of horrible murders begins in Whitechapel, on just the nights the Prince has been there, George is drawn into an investigation which forces him to confront the unthinkable...A brilliant standalone adventure based on detailed research, this is a thrilling novel of suspense and a fascinating new twist on the Jack the Ripper story.
By Julian Stockwin
'PERSEPHONE is another shining milepost for Captain Thomas Kydd and his creator, Julian Stockwin' - QuarterdeckNovember 1807. Captain Sir Thomas Kydd must sail to Lisbon to aid the Portuguese Royal Family's evacuation in the face of Napoleon's ruthless advance through Iberia. In the chaos of the threatened city an old passion is reawakened when he meets Persephone Lockwood, a beautiful and determined admiral's daughter from his past. But the Royal Family's destination is Brazil, Perspehone's England, and it seems Kydd's chance has gone again. Only later he discovers Persephone has another suitor - and that, if he wants to win her hand, he must enter the highest echelons of London society.Mixing with aristocracy and royalty brings other responsibilities. The Prince of Wales asks him to take temporary command of the Royal Yacht. Sailing to Yarmouth, Kydd realises they are being stalked by French privateers. The terrible threat of a prince of the blood being captured sees Kydd call on daring seamanship of the highest order.***************What readers are saying about PERSEPHONE'Very much recommended, for this is an absolutely astonishing naval story by this author, and that's why I like to say: "Sail On, Thomas Kydd"!' - 5 stars'A masterly piece of writing!' - 5 stars'End one and start another - they're addictive' - 5 stars'Read it - that's all I'll say' - 5 stars'Still excellent, still gripping' - 5 stars
The Penny Heart
By Martine Bailey
By Andrew Miller
REISSUED AS A SCEPTRE 30TH CLASSICWINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD (2011)A year of bones, of grave-dirt, relentless work. Of mummified corpses and chanting priests.A year of rape, suicide, sudden death. Of friendship too. Of desire. Of love...A year unlike any other he has lived.Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it.At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.
By Joe R. Lansdale
Meet Nat Love. Born a slave in Texas, he escapes a lynching and finds a mentor who trains him in shooting, riding, reading, writing and gardening. But the enemies of his youth pursue him, and soon he is on the run again...In the course of a tumultuous life, he becomes in turn a Buffalo Soldier, a bouncer, a ratcatcher, a sharpshooter, a dime-novel star, a friend to Wild Bill Hickock and a US Marshall. From Texas to Deadwood and back down south, he both dodges and courts violence, hoping one day to get his revenge.Featuring cowboys, Apaches, buffalo and much, much more, this is a mostly true tale of how the West was won from one of America's most original writers.
A Place in England
By Melvyn Bragg, Malcolm Sinclair
Joseph Tallantire has hope and ambition - like his father before him he is determined to make something of himself and improve his lot. But life is not easy for an uneducated young man in Cumberland before and during World War II, and Joseph's struggle against the odds is the subject of this moving and evocative novel. Suffering hardship and humiliation but eventually achieving a position of some independence, Joseph serves as a tribute to the many like him who lived through one of Britain's periods of greatest social change.(P) 2015 Hodder & Stoughton
The Prince's Gambit
By Michael Arnold
'Fans of Bernard Cornwell will love Captain Innocent Stryker' Ben KaneMarch 1644, and a Parliamentarian victory at the battle of Nantwich is quickly followed by news that the Scots have invaded, placing the King's northern territories in jeopardy. Royalist officer Major Innocent Stryker is dispatched to hunt a dangerous spy, the link between power brokers in Westminster and Edinburgh. But after running his prey to ground near the Royalist stronghold of Newark, disaster befalls the mission. A large Parliamentarian army is massing before Newark's walls and the garrison is out-gunned and outnumbered: its fall would spell ruin for the King's cause in the Midlands. But Stryker knows that the monarch's formidable nephew, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, is gathering his own force to march to the rescue. A contest of arms is inevitable, and Stryker, still pursuing his own quarry, finds himself embroiled in one of the most remarkable episodes of the English Civil War. Amid the clash of steel and the stink of powder smoke, he will need all his courage and ingenuity to prevail.
By S D Sykes
Book 1 in the gripping Oswald de Lacy series, which can be read as a standalone, from 'the medieval CJ Sansom' (Jeffery Deaver)England, 1350: the Black Death has changed the country forever, taking master and servant alike. Young Oswald de Lacey was never meant to be Lord of Somershill Manor, but when his father and older brothers die of the Plague, he must return home from the monastery and assume responsibility for an estate ravaged by pestilence. Almost immediately Oswald is confronted with the vicious murder of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The village priest claims it is the work of demonic dog-headed men, a theory Oswald rejects as nonsense. But proving this - by finding the real killer - only leads Oswald deeper into a maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife. And then the body of another girl is found...'Sykes has really reset the bar for medieval mysteries' Medievalists
By Julian Stockwin
'Paints a vivid picture of life aboard the mighty ship-of-the-line' - Daily ExpressAn Admiralty summons to England cuts short Thomas Kydd's service in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. While the crew of L'Aurore can look forward to liberty and prize money, a shadow hangs over their captain: the impending court martial of his one-time commander, Commodore Popham, who led a doomed attack on South America.Following Nelson's death two years earlier, England is in desperate need of heroes and Kydd's Caribbean exploits are the talk of London. Feted by the king and a grateful country, Kydd is soon on detachment in a new and dangerous sphere of interest: the Dardanelles, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea and providing a route to India. The French have long coveted this route, knowing that it could be the key to toppling the British Empire in India. When they successfully whip up such strong anti-English sentiment that the British ambassador to Constantinople has to flee to L'Aurore, a deadly stand-off ensues.Meanwhile Kydd's closest friend, Nicholas Renzi, has assumed a new role that he can never make public. Sent under alias on a mission to Constantinople, Renzi must engineer a coup that will turn the tables on the French. But when he's taken prisoner, only Kydd's superb seamanship and sheer bravado can save the day.*****************What readers are saying about PASHA'The best Kydd yet' - 5 stars'This is Stockwin's best' - 5 stars'A seafaring tale at its very best' - 5 stars'A wonderful yarn!' - 5 stars'Another brilliant book in the Thomas Kydd series' - 5 stars
By Alexander Cordell
Jim Driscoll, adopted Welshman, one of the greatest boxers who ever lived. Robust, hot-headed, a born fighter - and a legend in his own lifetime. Moving between South Wales, London and America in the early years of thetwentieth century, this is the dramatic story of a true-life sporting hero - a story of fierce pride and burning ambition, but also of human weakness and a lovethat survives against all odds.
By Edward Rutherfurd
City of love. City of splendour. City of terror. City of dreams.Inspired by the haunting, passionate story of the city of lights, this epic novel weaves a gripping tale of four families across the centuries: from the lies that spawn the noble line of de Cygne to the revolutionary Le Sourds who seek their destruction; from the Blanchards whose bourgeois respectability offers scant protection against scandal to the hard-working Gascons and their soaring ambitions. Over hundreds of years, these four families are bound by forbidden loves and marriages of convenience; dogged by vengeance and murderous secrets; torn apart by the irreconcilable differences of birth and faith, and brought together by the tumultuous history of their city. Paris bursts to life in the intrigue, corruption and glory of its people. Beloved author of Sarum, London and New York, Edward Rutherfurd illuminates Paris as only he can: capturing the romance and everyday drama of the men and women who, in two thousand years, transformed a humble trading post on the muddy banks of the Seine into the most celebrated city in the world.
By Rory Clements
*****FANS OF THE EXPLOSIVE BBC TV SERIES 'GUNPOWDER' STARRING KIT HARRINGTON will love the bestselling John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers from Rory Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award*****'[Clements] does for Elizabeth's reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII's' Sunday Times**********Spring 1593. England is a powder keg of rumour and fear. Plague rages, famine is rife, the ageing Queen's couriers scheme: Elizabeth's Golden Age is truly tarnished. Meanwhile Spain watches and waits - and plots.Into this turmoil a small cart clatters through the streets of London, carrying a deadly load. It is the first in a wave of horrific bombing attacks on the Dutch immigrant community that will change John Shakespeare's life for ever.Driven on by cold rage, Shakespeare's investigations will take him from magnificent royal horseraces to the opulent chambers of Black Luce's brothel, from the theatrical underworld of Marlowe and Kyd to the pain-wracked torture cells of priest-hunter Richard Topcliffe, and from the elegant offices of master tactician Robert Cecil to the splintering timbers of an explosive encounter at sea.As Shakespeare delves ever deeper, he uncovers intricate layers of mystery and deception that threaten the heart not only of the realm, but of all that he holds dear.
The Paris Vendetta
By Steve Berry
Steve Berry offers his twistiest thriller yet, in a new adventure starring Cotton Malone and a secret conspiracy dating back to Napoleon.12.40 a.m. Copenhagen. Cotton Malone wakes up to find a stranger in his house, bearing bad news: Malone's closest and most dangerous friend, Henrik Thorvaldsen, is in serious trouble - and the men who want to kill him are on Malone's doorstep.Thorvaldsen has been tracking a shadowy group called the Paris Club. Not only does he believe that they are about to trigger a global financial meltdown, but also that one of the club's members murdered his son, Cai, two years ago. Thorvaldsen won't rest until he has avenged his boy's death.Dragged into his friend's schemes and secretly under pressure from the US government to stop both Thorvaldsen and the Paris Club, Malone soon discovers that the key to defeating the conspiracy and saving his friend's life - and his own - lies in the past, and an astounding treasure that Napoleon took to his grave.
The People's Train
By Thomas Keneally
After a long, dangerous escape from Tsarist Russia, Artem Samsurov might have reached sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia, but that doesn't stop him trying to create a socialist paradise with his fellow emigres and workmates. And despite getting entangled with an attractive female lawyer, then charged with the murder of an informer, he never loses hope that one day the revolution will come. But when he returns to Russia in 1917 to fight alongside his comrades, he cannot know whether it will succeed, or at what cost.In this enthralling novel, Thomas Keneally brings to life a seismic episode in world history from an unusual, intimate perspective. Basing his story on a real figure, he captures what it was like moment by dramatic moment for the men and women caught up in the maelstrom, and explores the passions, ideals and terrible compromises that fuelled it.
By James Jackson
1212. The forces of Christendom are on the march again. There is much to avenge. Twenty-five years ago, the Christian army lay slaughtered on the desolate plain of the Horns of Hattin. Mighty Saladin, ruler of the Moslem world, went on to capture Jerusalem, crush the Crusaders and push back the remnants of the Latin empire to a thin line of threatened coastal forts. The Holy Land seemed lost. But now the Pope has called for crusade. Many take the cross for pilgrimage and battle. Among them is Otto, a young noble heading for the Holy Land in search of his vanished Hospitaller Knight father, and Brother Luke, a mysterious Franciscan on a mission of his own. And then there are the children, tens of thousands of them, pledged to recapture Jerusalem and find the True Cross, the holiest of relics lost to the forces of Islam. But what begins as a religious quest will turn into a harrowing nightmare of hardship and danger. For dangers press in and the way ahead is perilous. Some will not survive. What they seek is Truth. What they find is Hell.
A Pennyworth of Sunshine
By Anna Jacobs
Bestselling saga author Anna Jacobs' novel of life in nineteenth century Lancashire and Australia.'Catherine Cookson fans will cheer.' - Peterborough Evening Telegraph Keara Michaels doesn't want to leave her family in Ireland, but fate sends her first to Lancashire, then across the sea to Australia, pregnant and penniless. And Theo Mullane, the man who loves her, is married, with an ailing baby son, so cannot follow her as he longs to.Mark Gibson leaves Lancashire to avoid marriage. But gold prospecting is a dangerous pursuit, and when his gentle young wife dies in childbirth, his father-in-law kidnaps the baby. So Mark runs away again, this time to Western Australia, where he employs Keara in his country inn.But danger threatens them all, even in the bush, as Keara searches for her lost sisters, Theo comes looking for the woman he loves, and Mark at last confronts his past.
By Meg Hutchinson
'Throw it to the dogs! Do as I say or by Christ I'll do it myself and throw you in after it!'Tyler Cadell's cruel order spells heartbreak for his wife Garnet and their new-born baby. She flees to save herself, but cannot save her child and the memory of that tragic loss haunts her days.Taken in by a band of Black Country Romanies, Garnet is touched by the warmth and generosity of the gypsy people, even if not all of them offer her an equally charitable welcome. Although loved by their leader, Judah Kane, Garnet moves on once she has regained her strength and determines to take revenge on her husband. Meanwhile Tyler has assumed the role of grieving widower in order to ally his fortune with that of Lady Olivia Denton: the reappearance of his legal wife would be a major inconvenience. Indulging his voracious sexual appetite with the sensual gypsy girl, Marisa, Tyler learns of Garnet's whereabouts and determines to be rid of her once and for all.
The Piper's Tune
By Jessica Stirling
Jessica Stirling's Glasgow comes to scintillating life in the story of love and fortune set in Edwardian Scotland, the first in a trilogy.Lindsay Franklin's life is an adventure she has just begin to enjoy. At eighteen, Arthur Franklin's cosseted daughter has left her Glasgow school and finds her role as a marriageable young lady with a widowed father more than agreeable. But Lindsay's life takes an unexpected turn when her ambitious, charming Irish cousin Forbes comes to Glasgow to join the family business. And then Lindsay's grandfather, the founder and dictator of the business, decides to retire and hand over his shipyard to the new generation. Unexpectedly, a share in the business will be Lindsay's - and equally unexpectedly, she decides that she must master that business as carefully as her male cousins. What is not surprising is that several eligible men decide that it is time to master Lindsay...As the mysteries of shipbuilding open to her, and the puzzle of male behaviour becomes both more fascinating and more dangerous, Lindsay will have to make some fateful decisions. Decisions that will make or mar her whole future.