John Murray - fiction, non-fiction, gift & humour books

  • John Murray books

    Absorbing. Provocative. Exciting.

    Exciting fiction, absorbing memoirs, authoritative history, provocative current affairs and unique gift and humour books.
    • Read the John Murray Story

      About John Murray

      Find contact, copyright and submissions information
      John Murray's heritage is a fascinating story in itself. For nearly a quarter of a millennium, John Murray has been unashamedly populist, publishing the absorbing, provocative, commercial and exciting. Seven generations of John Murrays fostered genius and found readers in vast numbers, until in 2002 the firm became a division of Hachette, under the umbrella of Hodder & Stoughton.
    • Beautiful new covers

      L P Hartley reissues

      John Murray have just published these beautiful new reissues of L.P Hartley's THE BOAT and A PERFECT WOMAN.
    • Award shortlistings for

      Patrick Leigh Fermor

      Artemis Cooper's biography of Patrick Leigh Fermor has garnered oustanding reviews, and it has also been shortlisted for a number of awards. These include the Waterstones Book of the Year, the National Book Awards, and the Costa Biography Award.
    Missives from John Murray publishers

    The Beagle

    Discover 'The Beagle', the blog for John Murray (publishers). It's a backstage look at modern publishing, a conversation room for our writers and a place to find out a bit more about John Murray too.
    For all our latest news

    John Murray on Facebook

    Visit John Murray's official Facebook page.

    Follow John Murray on Twitter

    The official Twitter feed for John Murray publishers. Follow to receive updates on your favourite authors, release dates for books, and information about competitions.
    Spring 2015

    John Murray Press Catalogue

    Download the John Murray Press Spring 2015 catalogue to find out about the exciting books publishing this year.

    John Murray Books' YouTube channel

    Watch exclusive book trailers and author interviews on John Murray Books' Youtube channel.
    John Murray

    What we believe

    John Murray

    Flood of Fire

    By Amitav Ghosh

    The thrilling climax to the Ibis trilogy that began with the phenomenal Booker-shortlisted Sea of Poppies.

    It is 1839 and tension has been rapidly mounting between China and British India following the crackdown on opium smuggling by Beijing. With no resolution in sight, the colonial government declares war.

    One of the vessels requisitioned for the attack, the Hind, travels eastwards from Bengal to China, sailing into the midst of the First Opium War. The turbulent voyage brings together a diverse group of travellers, each with their own agenda to pursue. Among them is Kesri Singh, a sepoy in the East India Company who leads a company of Indian sepoys; Zachary Reid, an impoverished young sailor searching for his lost love, and Shireen Modi, a determined widow en route to China to reclaim her opium-trader husband's wealth and reputation. Flood of Fire follows a varied cast of characters from India to China, through the outbreak of the First Opium War and China's devastating defeat, to Britain's seizure of Hong Kong.

    Flood of Fire is a thrillingly realised and richly populated novel, imbued with a wealth of historical detail, suffused with the magic of place and plotted with verve. It is a beautiful novel in its own right, and a compelling conclusion to an epic and sweeping story - it is nothing short of a masterpiece.

    A masterpiece . . . Flood of Fire is not just a work of literary imagination but also an exercise in deep and original historical reflectionFor the past weeks, [Amitav Ghosh] has been holed up in his Goa home, putting the finishing touches to Flood of Fire, the third part of his epic Ibis trilogy. The project has taken a decade. The three novels, starting with Sea of Poppies . . . have cemented his reputationTotally absorbingAs ever for Mr Ghosh, language is a great tumasher, and it is not surprising that he is on the shortlist for the biennial Man Booker International Prize . . . He swims with relish in a lexicon he has made his own, a rich brew of English, Bangla, Hindi, Parsi, Malay, Cantonese and pidgin at a time when free trade and imperialism were recombining Asian cultures and tongues . . . Mr Ghosh's genius is to paint this world from its teeming heart, rather than from the perspective of metropolitan centres of power in London, or, for that matter, PekingIt is a testimony to Ghosh's great skills that he can both teach us history and create believable fictional characters . . . What makes Ghosh's characters come alive all the more is the use of language . . . Ghosh, occasionally, translates, but often does not, yet pulls off this presentation of the medley of tongues his characters use with great aplombThe final instalment of an extraordinary trilogy . . . Ghosh's story roars along, constantly flipping between high seriousness and low humour. It is simultaneously wrong-footing and delightful, riveting and diverting . . . His expansive trilogy has, in fact, advanced his story by only a few years; but the ground it has covered is almost immeasurableGhosh's scrupulous depiction of army life is just one part of this tour de force of historical description. Together, the novels are a weighty and precious chronicle of those times, a compendium of lost habits, languages and attitudes . . . Flood of Fire has all the romance, subterfuge and ingenious plotting to keep Ghosh's audience firmly lagowed. But it is the integrity of his historical vision that will ensure his books outlast other literary dumbpokesThe best bits of the trilogy, however, do not merely satirize the greed and hypocrisy of the foreign traders; but allow crosscurrents of sympathy . . . full of unforgettable vignettesA huge, sprawling, rumbustious novel . . . rich and engrossing . . . a splendid adventure story, full of rich and varied characters and romantic entanglements . . . In the last chapters Amitav Ghosh pulls the strings of his enthralling trilogy together. It's a remarkable achievement: an adventure novel full of feeling, but one which also invites - even compels - you to think about the assumptions which men act uponThe star of the proceedings is the historical detail that really brings it all alive. Anyone who knows me knows my love of historical factoids and Amitav provides enough for us to luxuriate in them. The difference between the treatment of British and Indian soldiers, the colonial structure, the importance of China and the opium fields, not to mention the rituals surrounding taking opium - it's all here with much more besides, simultaneously entertaining and educating. I will definitely be going back to the beginning of the trilogy and look forward to catching upAmply justifying the hype and expectation, this is a thrillingly realised and richly populated novel, imbued with a wealth of historical detail, suffused with the magic of place and plotted with great verve: Flood of Fire is a beautiful novel in its own right, and a compelling conclusion to an epic and sweeping story, one of the greatest literary works of our time. For Amitav Ghosh, the glittering literary prizes beckonGraphic and grippingA terrific read. I wish Amitav Ghosh could live forever, like Ganesh, the Hindu patron god of writers and complete what he once planned. Flood of Fire, alas, will have to doIf you fancy a rip-roaring story with history, an erudite critique of colonialism, funny and full of contemporary parallels, you could try Amitav Ghosh's third in his Ibis trilogy, Flood of FireFlood of Fire sweeps Amitav Ghosh majestically to the pinnacle of historical fiction writers and fittingly completes his Ibis trilogy . . . Ghosh has long set a standard for the kind of fine historical fiction writing that paints perfect pictures of what life was like for ordinary people as the world changed around them at breakneck pace. What sets him apart from other writers in this genre is his knowledge of the subject and his detailed descriptions and minute detailUnexpectedly comicGhosh's ebullient fluency in the colorful argot of the contentious worlds he brings forth distinguishes this passionately researched series as much as his wily and zealous exposure of entrenched discrimination pertaining to race, religion, gender, caste, and class. Once again Ghosh proves himself to be a virtuoso scene-setter and action writer . . . This feverishly detailed, vividly panoramic, tumultuous, funny, and heartbreaking tale offers a vigorous conclusion to Ghosh's astutely complex and profoundly resonant geopolitical sagaA rip roaring story rich with history, an erudite critique of colonialism, funny and full of contemporary parallelsThe final book in the bestselling Ibis trilogy from the author of Booker-shortlisted Sea of Poppies.Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956. He grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford and published the first of eight novels, The Circle of Reason in 1986. He currently divides his time between Calcutta, Goa and Brooklyn. The first novel in the Ibis trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize.The long-awaited final book in the epic Ibis trilogyThe first book in the trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and went on to be a major bestseller. Flood of Fire has the same prize-winning potentialThe perfect reading group book: a fascinating historical window into the opium wars, a wonderful page-turner with an exotic setting, universal themes and unusual talking pointsAmitav Ghosh is writing at the height of his powers - Flood of Fire is full of wonderfully detailed descriptions, a captivating cast and enriched with a wealth of historical detail'A tremendous novel, and if Amitav Ghosh can sustain its brilliance in the two remaining parts, his Ibis trilogy will surely come to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of twenty-first-century fiction' Literary Review on Sea of Poppies
    John Murray

    Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories

    By Thomas Grant


    'Throughout a long career, [Jeremy Hutchinson's] brilliant and stylish advocacy achieved success in cases that looked unwinnable' Helena Kennedy

    'Jeremy was not just a good lawyer; he was fearless in standing up to judges. He was the most formidable advocate of the 1960s and '70s and he had a marvellous sense of mischief' Geoffrey Robertson

    Born in 1915 into the fringes of the Bloomsbury Group, Jeremy Hutchinson went on to become the greatest criminal barrister of the 1960s, '70s and '80s. The cases of that period changed society for ever and Hutchinson's role in them was second to none. In Case Histories, Jeremy Hutchinson's most remarkable trials are examined, each one providing a fascinating look into Britain's post-war social, political and cultural history.

    Accessibly and entertainingly written, Case Histories provides a definitive account of Jeremy Hutchinson's life and work. From the sex and spying scandals which contributed to Harold Macmillan's resignation in 1963 and the subsequent fall of the Conservative government, to the fight against literary censorship through his defence of Lady Chatterley's Lover and Fanny Hill, Hutchinson was involved in many of the great trials of the period. He defended George Blake, Christine Keeler, Great Train robber Charlie Wilson, Kempton Bunton (the only man successfully to 'steal' a picture from the National Gallery), art 'faker' Tom Keating, and Howard Marks who, in a sensational defence, was acquitted of charges relating to the largest importation of cannabis in British history. He also prevented the suppression of Bernardo Bertolucci's notorious film Last Tango in Paris and did battle with Mary Whitehouse when she prosecuted the director of the play Romans in Britain.

    Above all else, Jeremy Hutchinson's career, both at the bar and later as a member of the House of Lords, has been one devoted to the preservation of individual liberty and to resisting the incursions of an overbearing state. Case Histories provides entertaining, vivid and revealing insights into what was really going on in those celebrated courtroom dramas that defined an age, as well as painting a picture of a remarkable life.

    To listen to Jeremy Hutchinson being interviewed by Helena Kennedy on BBC Radio 4's A Law Unto Themselves, please follow the link:

    You can also listen to him on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young:

    A fascinating look at Britain's post-war social, political and cultural history[Jeremy Hutchinson] is my hero because of what he stands for today, as he continues to speak out against what he fears to be the loss of independent representation of those not merely down on their luck but down in the gutter. He is the living symbol of all that independent criminal advocacy means for justice and the rule of lawJeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories . . . makes a compelling read, and is a real contribution to the history of 20th-century English mentalities. It is also a first-rate lesson in simple humanity . . . The pungency, intelligence and humour of [Thomas] Grant and his subject make this the most enlivening of case-books . . . [Jeremy Hutchinson] is abundant in the qualities of empathy, consideration and humour. He manages to be both charming and shatteringly truthfulA fascinating episodic cultural history of postwar Britiain, that chronicles the end of the age of deference and secrecy, and the advent of a more permissive society . . . an impassioned defence of the criminal Bar itself . . . Grant brings out the essence of each case, and Hutchinson's role, with clarity and wit . . . a reminder of how many of the defining stories of modern times have been fought out through our courts, and changed by themGiven my automatic animus, you can imagine how confusing it was to be charmed into surrender by Thomas Grant's traversal of Hutchinson's long career as a QCJeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories reminds us of the celebrated, and infamous, cases in which Hutchinson appeared, the skills he deployed, and the importance of the criminal defence advocate to the rule of law. Reheated recollections of old cases rarely make for a tasty dish. But the ingredients of Hutchinson's casebook are exceptionally delicious, and Grant's recipe and presentation are irresistible . . . One of the merits of this entertaining collection of Jeremy Hutchinson's greatest hits is that the authentic sound of the great advocate can be heard again, loud and clear . . . Thomas Grant ensures that we understand Lord Hutchinson's achievements and the importance of the principles of criminal defence advocacy to a free societyAuthor and QC Thomas Grant does a fine job . . . Hutchinson's priceless advocacy is every bit as powerful on the page and Grant brilliantly recaptures the tensions and drama of some of the most seminal Old Bailey criminal trials of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties . . . It is hard to imagine a more interesting time for a criminal advocate to be working and this wonderful book is a celebration not just of the man but of the profession itselfAll these cases make thoroughly good reading, while vividly illuminating the morals and mores of that now distant period just a generation ago. But the sting in the tail of the book comes in the postscript by the centenarian Hutchinson himself . . . a powerful indictment of the wanton destruction by ignorant politicians of the whole edifice of British justice as he knew itAn attractive picture of a life honourably and enjoyably lived. Naturally, it supports the argument that we are a more civilised society today because of the battles which people like Hutchinson fought and won . . . So a happy century to Jeremy Hutchinson, who represented decency even when he defended indecencyHis life reads like a history of the 20th century . . . A resounding postscript written by Jeremy Hutchinson himself shows that at the age of 100, he has lost none of his extraordinary power and authorityHutchinson provides the memories and Grant puts pen to paper. The result is a multifaceted object: a celebration of a brilliant career, an explanation of the legal process and a social and cultural history of the second half of the 20th century . . . Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories is, above all, a romanceA fine reminder of the great democratic values enshrined in our legal system . . . Grant has cleverly produced what amounts to a cultural history of Britain in the rapidly changing post-war years . . . a greatly entertaining read which celebrates a barrister who stood up and argued with clarity and passion for various freedoms that we now take for grantedFascinatingOne of the most enjoyable books this summer is Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories, a biography by Thomas Grant of an extraordinary manSo began a career that would see Hutchinson, son of a renowned barrister, member of the artistic Bloomsbury set, prosecute and defend in some of the biggest criminal cases of the era, reshaping censorship and secrecy along the way, his life an extraordinary window into the 20th centuryAn excellent book charting some of Jeremy's more remarkable trials and his very eclectic clients, many of whom he cared for deeplyA compelling portrait of the time when freedom of speech and the need to throw off censorship came to the fore, told through its great trials, from Lady Chatterley's Lover to Howard Marks.

    Thomas Grant QC is a practising barrister and author. He lives in Sussex and London.

    Jeremy Hutchinson was born in London in 1915 - this year he turns 100 years old. He read PPE at Magdalen College, Oxford, before studying law. His breakthrough case came in 1960 when Penguin Books was prosecuted under the recently enacted Obscene Publications Act 1959 for publishing Lady Chatterley's Lover. Jeremy's skill as a cross-examiner soon became legendary; it is said that he provided a partial inspiration for John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey. He retired from the bar in 1984.

    To listen to Jeremy Hutchinson being interviewed by Helena Kennedy on BBC Radio 4's A Law Unto Themselves, please follow the link:

    You can also listen to him on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young:

    A compelling portrait of Britain's post-war social, political and cultural history told through its great trials including that of Lady Chatterley's Lover, Fanny Hill, Charlie Wilson of the Great Train Robbery, Howard Marks and many moreCase Histories does full justice to the significance and complexity of these trials but their stories are told in an entertaining and accessible wayJeremy Hutchinson came prominently into the public eye as a result of a moving broadcast on Desert Island Discs in October 2013, which created a Twitter sensationJeremy Hutchinson is 100 years old in March 2015; we publish around this timeJohn Mortimor used Jeremy Hutchinson as part inspiration for the character of Horace Rumpole in Rumpole of the Bailey
    John Murray

    The Moth Snowstorm

    By Michael McCarthy

    A great, rhapsodic, urgent book full of joy, grief, rage and love . . . A must-read' Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk

    Nature has many gifts for us, but perhaps the greatest of them all is joy; the intense delight we can take in the natural world, in its beauty, in the wonder it can offer us, in the peace it can provide - feelings stemming ultimately from our own unbreakable links to nature, which mean that we cannot be fully human if we are separate from it.

    In The Moth Snowstorm Michael McCarthy, one of Britain's leading writers on the environment, proposes this joy as a defence of a natural world which is ever more threatened, and which, he argues, is inadequately served by the two defences put forward hitherto: sustainable development and the recognition of ecosystem services.

    Drawing on a wealth of memorable experiences from a lifetime of watching and thinking about wildlife and natural landscapes, The Moth Snowstorm not only presents a new way of looking at the world around us, but effortlessly blends with it a remarkable and moving memoir of childhood trauma from which love of the natural world emerged. It is a powerful, timely, and wholly original book which comes at a time when nature has never needed it more.

    A great, rhapsodic, urgent book full of joy, grief, rage and love. The Moth Snowstorm is at once a deeply affecting memoir and a heartbreaking account of ecological impoverishment. It fights against indifference, shines with the deep magic and beauty of the non-human lives around us, and shows how their loss lessens us all. A must-readAn important book about an important subject - the loss of biodiversity locally, nationally and internationally, what this means for humanity and how it could possibly be avoided . . . The main argument is that we all have in us the capacity to experience joy and wonder from nature . . . Michael McCarthy is a professional journalist and an accomplished and experienced writer who handles his themes skilfullyImpassioned, polemical and personal . . . In the autobiographical passages nature is a marvel and a solace. [McCarthy's] descriptions of the night-time clouds of moths - the moth snowstorms of the title - that we saw in the days before farming ruined so much natural habitat are unforgettable, and his recollections of boyhood bird-watching on the River Dee Bay a delight . . . At its heart, this is a book aiming to persuade those who are broadly sympathetic to think in a different way, and in that it is surely a success - and a joyA fascinating and very readable book . . . full of joy and wonder and luminous moments . . . McCarthy is a man who remembers not only the Observer's Book of Birds but the set of Brooke Bond tea cards featuring Charles Tunnicliffe's beautiful bird pictures. But you don't have to be of a similar vintage to enjoy this expansive celebration of a subject too often overlooked in the ongoing discourse about man and nature - sheer joyMcCarthy has for years been the doyen of environmental correspondents . . . he is conversant with the hard facts, the political realities and the moral complexities of the conservation world. But he writes also as a man inspired by the beauty, diversity and abundance of the natural world that we are destroying. This combination of worldly wisdom and deeply felt personal experience makes this a highly original and refreshing account of our current predicamentDeserves to be widely readEnvironmental correspondent Michael McCarthy makes an impassioned plea on behalf of the natural world in this inspiring bookThe natural world, whether birdsong, butterflies or wild flowers, can give us joy. It can bring us peace. The ability of nature to do this, through a sense of awe, is articulated beautifully in a book by Michael McCarthy, The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy. His quest to track down every British butterfly as a tribute to his dead mother brought me to tearsA deeply troubling book by one of Britain's foremost journalists on the politics of nature. The case he lays bare in the opening chapters is compelling stuff. Essentially he argues that the world of wild creatures, plants, trees and whole habitats - you name it - is going to Hell in a handcart . . . powerful, heartfelt and compellingAs much as joy, it's a beautiful book about love, damage, and the possibility of redemptionA new defence of a mortally threatened natural world.Michael McCarthy has won a string of awards for his writing on the environment and the natural world, first as Environment Correspondent of The Times, and later as Environment Editor of the Independent. These have included Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards, the Medal of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for 'outstanding services to conservation', the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology, and the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London. In 2008 McCarthy wrote Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo, a study of Britain's declining summer migrant birds, which was widely praised.An ambitious and lyrical account of the myriad ways in which nature exerts its appeal and how we can defend it through celebration and joyThe author is a leading and respected nature writer writing about a subject of critical importance
    John Murray

    Death is a Welcome Guest

    By Louise Welsh

    The second instalment in the thrilling new Plague Times trilogy from the author of A Lovely Way to Burn.

    Magnus McFall was a comic on the brink of his big break when the world came to an end. Now, he is a man on the run and there is nothing to laugh about.

    Thrown into unwilling partnership with an escaped convict, Magnus flees the desolation of London to make the long journey north, clinging to his hope that the sickness has not reached his family on their remote Scottish island.

    He finds himself in a landscape fraught with danger, fighting for his place in a world ruled by men, like his fellow traveller Jeb - practical men who do not let pain or emotions interfere with getting the job done.

    This is a world with its own justice, and new rules.

    Where people, guns and food are currency.

    Where survival is everything.

    Death is a Welcome Guest defies you to put it down, and leaves you with questions that linger in the mind long after you read the last page.

    Magnus and Job ride out of the city and deep in the countryside discover a murder has occurred - straight from the pages of Agatha Christie, for the setting is an isolated group in a manor house . . . The plot gallops along while the writing crackles with the sights and smells of a sharply imagined world . . . this book, the second in [Welsh's] Plague Trilogy, left me hungry for volume threeWelsh is a leading figure in a group of female novelists who've written recently about the end of days. What unites them is that they haven't presented a world blasted by bombs and radiation. Their literary vision is of a more gradual, and far more terrifying, devastationIt is the sheer plausibility of this vision of a hellishly distorted world that makes this book so enthralling and scary . . . utterly contagiousI wasn't sure what to expect from the ending given the fast pace of the last few chapters, but I absolutely loved it and now can't wait for the final instalment in the trilogyThought provoking and engaging . . . an intelligently crafted book that plays with the mind . . . What gripped me more than anything were the little touches found throughout the book. With owners falling prey to the sweats who's left to feed their pets? The pets become wild and will attack for food. It's all very Stephen King! . . . A wonderful and very quick read, Death is a Welcome Guest is certainly welcome on my bookshelf. It will leave you with questions long after you turn the final pagesA cracking good story[Louise Welsh] is indeed a canny writer and knows when a theme or story line is about to outstay its welcome in our imaginations. Before that happens the tale shifts a gear and the excitement builds to a higher pitch . . . As for the Sweats, well, we are about to enter a drug resistant era and the last Black Death episode in the UK was only in 1900. Food for thought while we await Book 3 with anticipation, fear and gleeful forebodingWelsh brilliantly summons up a tough world of terror, desperation and dog-eat-dog survivalThe second of Louise Welsh's Plague Times trilogy, set in a dystopian England ravaged by the Sweats pandemic, is as grippingly intelligent and atmospheric as the first, which is saying a great deal . . . But the novel is far more than a modern-day plague-ridden whodunnit. The theme of justice and belief amid chaos is accompanied by superb dialogue and an overpowering mood of moral and medical decayA cracking story and with the way that the author brings it over to the reader, quickly draws them into the world. The dialogue works wonderfully well but, for me, the best part was the principle character; I loved the way that he was accessible for readers . . . hard to put downBy turns social satire, prison-break tale, road novel and study of a disintegrating cult, [an] adventurous, shape-shifting bookDeath is a Welcome Guest expands the canvas of its predecessor, but employs even more muted and melancholy tones . . . Welsh's quest narrative echoes everything from Arthurian romance to Sarah Perry's wonderfully uncanny After Me Comes the Flood. In both novels, slippery questions of identity rub sticks with religion and sexuality. For Welsh, the resulting sparks illuminate uneasy ideas of justice, morality and sacrifice. I have no idea where part three is heading, but I cannot wait to find outA gripping page turner . . . The story may be fictional but the threat, the fear, the horror is very real . . . Welsh has a natural ability for characterisation and story-telling. Welsh is a genre-defining writer to take an interest in; she smashes through the boundaries and creates her own rules . . . The raw emotion as society crumbles and restlessness takes over is palpable on every page. It's very easy to lose yourself in this book and it almost makes you believe you're reading a true account. You'll definitely be keeping a close eye on the person sitting next to you on the bus when they sneezeThe second instalment in the thrilling new Plague Times trilogy from the author of A Lovely Way to Burn.

    Louise Welsh is the author of five highly acclaimed novels including The Cutting Room and, most recently, A Lovely Way to Burn. She has been the recipient of several awards. Death is a Welcome Guest is the second novel in the Plague Times trilogy.

    Visit Louise's website for more information:

    The second book in an exciting new trilogy from an established and well-respected crime authorA fast-paced and explosive plot, combined with Welsh's usual literary touchCompellingly realistic setting (London and Scotland) that draws readers in from the first pageA Lovely Way to Burn has been getting great reviews and is doing well. We are hoping that the paperback will really launch this trilogy just in time for the second instalment
    John Murray


    By Tim Glencross

    'A dazzling debut' The Times

    It is 2008, late capitalism is in crisis, and the great and the good are gathered at an Islington house party. Hosting proceedings are waspish Sherard Howe, scion of a publishing dynasty and owner of a left-wing magazine, and his wife, Daphne Depree, whose feminist work The Third Sex is seen - to her increasing discomfort - as an intellectual cornerstone of the Blair era. The guests include cabinet ministers, celebrated artists and peers of the realm; but somehow it's doubtful that any number of grandees would overshadow Afua, the Howes' beautiful and supremely ambitious adopted daughter, already a rising star of the Labour Party.

    Into this world arrives twenty-four-year-old Elizabeth "Buzzy" Price, an aspiring poet only too aware of her suburban background. Moral support is at hand from shy but devoted Henry, the Howes' biological son - though perhaps Buzzy is most grateful for her friend's connection to her own unrequited love, Afua's boyfriend, the worldly Marcel.

    As the years pass and a coalition government takes office, Buzzy's fortunes rise and the elder Howes' lives threaten to unravel. But do the civilising possibilities of art involve enlarging Buzzy's romantic ambitions, or revealing their moral complacency? And could meek and gentle Henry, having angered his family by going to work for the political enemy, turn out to be steelier than anyone thought - as steely, even, as his formidable adopted sister?

    Barbarians is a debut of extraordinary scope and confidence; a fresh, contemporary novel about love, art and politics, told with a 19th century sensibility.

    A very funny, clever and keenly observed political (and social) satireAn engaging debutIt's refreshing . . . Glencross is an astute, immaculately funny writer with a strong ear for the present moment. Elegantly witty sentences flow from his pen like wine from a bottle. He is particularly good at skewering the often gaping chasm between people's public and private selvesTim Glencross has set his sights high in this debut. Replete with references to Middlemarch, Can You Forgive Her? and other all-embracing novels of Victorian society, Barbarians aims to take the temperature of the times, using a group of Oxbridge graduates clustered around Labour's Islington set as its gauge. Along the way there are references to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, namechecks for Melvyn Bragg and Ian McEwan, visits to Brixton, a Soho club and a north London luvvie party, off-the-page reports from Private Eye and the Daily Telegraph, and a walk-on part for Tony Blair . . . Far from being mere ciphers, Afua and her friends are given sufficient spark to make them live on the page . . . The satire, meanwhile, is subtle enough to be compelling, and the references glancing enough not to grate . . . An engaging and often impressive debut . . . Glencross feels like a writer to watchEntertaining, with a rich array of snobs and halfwitsThis is a clever, amusing and well written debut novel by someone who has great fun at the expense of the so-called elite classesGlencross's first novel is a lively and easy readA dazzling debutHurrah for the novel as entertainment . . . A diverting examination of twentysomething Cambridge graduates finding their feet among London's political and cultural elite . . . Sincere and well put together: it's an enjoyably old-fashioned novel that grasps something real about the way we live nowGlencross is a ripping writer, perfectly weaving his discrete storylines one into the other, creating believable ambitions and outcomes, and pacing events with aplomb. We'll definitely be looking out for his next effortA droll survey of the past few years of British political lifeA bold and confident debut novel about politics, money, and art in contemporary Britain.Tim Glencross studied modern languages at Cambridge University. He worked as a Shadow Minister's researcher and speechwriter before qualifying as a lawyer. He lives in London.After a successful hardback publication in 2014, and glowing reviews, Barbarians will be a lead John Murray paperback for 2015.Barbarians is a contemporary social-realist novel of extraordinary scope and ambitionAntecedents include Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty, Jonathan Coe's What a Carve Up! and Armando Iannucci's The Thick of ItTim Glencross knows whereof he speaks; he trained as a lawyer, was an MP's researcher and speechwriter, and now works for an EU consultancy
    John Murray

    Operation Sealion

    By Leo McKinstry

    'Superbly written and gripping' Daily Express

    The thrilling true account of Hitler's first defeat.

    In the summer of 1940, the Nazi war machine was at its zenith. France, Denmark, Norway and the Low Countries were all under occupation after a series of lightning military campaigns. Only Britain stood in the way of the complete triumph of Nazi tyranny. But for the first time in the war, Hitler did not prevail.

    The traditional narrative of 1940 holds that Britain was only saved from German conquest by the pluck of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. The image of Dad's Army recruits training with broomsticks is a classic symbol of the nation's supposed desperation in the face of the threat from Operation Sealion, as the German plan for invasion was code-named.

    Yet as Leo McKinstry details, the British were far more ruthless and proficient than is usually recognised. The brilliance of the RAF was not an exception but part of a pattern of magnificent organisation. In almost every sphere of action, such as the destruction of the French naval fleet or the capture of German spies, Britain's approach reflected an uncompromising spirit of purpose and resolution. Using a wealth of primary materials from both British and German archives, Leo McKinstry provides a ground-breaking new assessment of the six fateful months in mid-1940, beginning with Winston Churchill's accession to power in May and culminating in Germany's abandonment of Operation Sealion.

    In his immaculately researched and gripping work Leo McKinstry paints a vivid picture . . . [He] strikes a balance through reinforcing what the average reader is likely to be aware of and coming up with revelatory nuggets . . . stirring and passionateIf we had lost the Battle of Britain, all that stood between us and a fascist future was the Home Guard, a Dad's Army of oldsters armed with broomsticks. Leo McKinstry's engrossing, forensic review of the evidence challenges that idea and exposes some myths along the way . . . McKinstry's admirable book sets the record straightAn enthralling story which confirms, should anyone still doubt it, that this really was our 'Finest Hour'A pacey, readable history of Britain's resistance to the bogeyman across the ChannelFans of Leo McKinstry will know what to expect from his superbly written and gripping historical books and the unashamedly patriotic and unputdownable Operation Sealion . . . one of his best yet[A] fascinating, original studyOne of Britain's most remarkable victories of the Second World War.Leo McKinstry is a first-class historian of the Second World War and author of bestselling Spitfire and Hurricane. He writes regularly for the Daily Mail, Sunday Telegraph and Spectator. Born in Belfast he was educated in Ireland and at Cambridge University.Leo McKinstry is a first-class historian of the Second World War and author of bestselling Spitfire and HurricaneThe definitive account of Operation Sealion and how close Britain came to being invaded by GermanyUses a wealth of primary sources such as diaries, press releases, private papers and official correspondence
    John Murray

    How Google Works

    By Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg

    Both Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg came to Google as seasoned Silicon Valley business executives, but over the course of a decade they came to see the wisdom in Coach John Wooden's observation that 'it's what you learn after you know it all that counts'. As they helped grow Google from a young start-up to a global icon, they relearned everything they knew about management. How Google Works is the sum of those experiences distilled into a fun, easy-to-read primer on corporate culture, strategy, talent, decision-making, communication, innovation, and dealing with disruption.

    The authors explain how the confluence of three seismic changes - the internet, mobile, and cloud computing - has shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers. The companies that will thrive in this ever-changing landscape will be the ones that create superior products and attract a new breed of multifaceted employees whom the authors dub 'smart creatives'. The management maxims ('Consensus requires dissension', 'Exile knaves but fight for divas', 'Think 10X, not 10%') are illustrated with previously unreported anecdotes from Google's corporate history.

    'Back in 2010, Eric and I created an internal class for Google managers,' says Rosenberg. 'The class slides all read 'Google confidential' until an employee suggested we uphold the spirit of openness and share them with the world. This book codifies the recipe for our secret sauce: how Google innovates and how it empowers employees to succeed.'

    A blink view of what it is to work at one of the world's most successful companies. For that voyeuristic reason alone, it is worth readingSchmidt and Rosenberg put much of their emphasis on people - how to hire, train, motivate, organise, reward the talent needed to run a company like GooglePlenty of tips on managing 'smart creatives'An informative and creatively multilayered Google guidebookThis very popular read see the pair give an entertaining run-down of what working at Google teaches you, and how technology has changed the power balance between firm and consumer . . . food for thoughtHow to hire, manage, motivate, strategize and grow a business in today's disruptive world from Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, and Jonathan Rosenberg, advisor to Google CEO Larry Page.

    Jonathan Rosenberg joined Google in 2002 and managed the design and development of the company's consumer, advertiser, and partner products, including Search, Ads, Gmail, Android, Apps, and Chrome. He is currently an advisor to Google CEO Larry Page.

    Eric Schmidt served as Google's CEO from 2001 to 2011. During that time he shepherded the company's growth from a Silicon Valley start-up to a global technology leader that today has over $55 billion in annual revenues and offices in more than 40 countries. Eric is now Google's executive chairman.

    Revolutionary look at business in the 21st century - the Tom Peters of our timesGoogle has proved that disruption, not conformity, will define the next business decades - and the secrets are hereFrom CEOs to lower managers, this is an essential primer
    Keep Books on the High Street

    Find Your Local Bookshop

    Our books are available through most booksellers. Follow the link to find your local chain and independent bookshops - for browsing the good, old-fashioned way.
    John Murray

    How to Ruin a Queen

    By Jonathan Beckman

    'A hell of a tale and Jonathan Beckman gives it all the verve and swagger it deserves . . . I read it with fascination, delight and frequent snorts of incredulity' The Spectator

    On 5 September 1785, a trial began in Paris that would divide the country, captivate Europe and send the French monarchy tumbling down the slope towards the Revolution. Cardinal Louis de Rohan, scion of one of the most ancient and distinguished families in France, stood accused of forging Marie Antoinette's signature to fraudulently obtain the most expensive piece of jewellery in Europe - a 2,400-carat necklace worth 1.6 million francs.

    Where were the diamonds now? Was Rohan entirely innocent? Was, for that matter, the queen? What was the role of the charismatic magus, the comte de Cagliostro, who was rumoured to be two-thousand-years old and capable of transforming metal into gold?

    This is a tale of political machinations and extravagance on an enormous scale; of kidnappings, prison breaks and assassination attempts; of hapless French police disguised as colliers, reams of lesbian pornography and a duel fought with poisoned pigs. It is a detective story, a courtroom drama, a tragicomic farce, and a study of credulity and self-deception in the Age of Enlightenment.

    Glittering and gloriously goofy . . . This is a terrific tale, told with assurance and gustoJonathan Beckman has an eye for a good story. His account of the affair is full of human drama, including illicit sex, assassination attempts and prison escapes . . . a superb piece of research that separates myth from realityA really fascinating historyStranger than fiction and told with a verve that suggests the author relishes his dodgy taleJonathan Beckman has tunnelled into the warren of misinformation . . . and has come out with what must be as near to the truth as we'll getJonathan Beckman tells his complicated tale with gustoA wonderfully enjoyable account of one of the most audacious cons ever perpetratedJonathan Beckman dazzlingly rehabilitates Marie Antoinette in an atmospheric and evocative account of diamonds, fraud, intrigue and a 1785 case that stoked antiroyalist feeling in FranceA richly enjoyable account of one of the most audacious scams ever perpetratedBeckman's tale of the Diamond Necklace Affair is full of character and tawdry details, and glistens with wit and insightBeckman has waded through masses of evidence from the trial to retell this fascinating and complicated storyGripped me like a whodunnit . . . That's not surprising. It relates the story of the greatest crime caper of the 18th CenturyBeckman has waded through masses of evidence from the trial to retell this fascinating and complicated storyBeckman's diligent detective work uncovers the murky truth behind this cause celebreStranger than fiction but just as gripping, How to Ruin a Queen is a masterly exploration of the 'diamond necklace' affairA work of scholarship and imagination, that focusses new light on the famous and extraordinary affair of Marie Antoinette and the stolen diamonds. The narrative is like an ingenious chess game showing us the complex moves of bishops, knights and pawns round the king and queen. Jonathan Beckman is the new Wilkie Collins of biographical historyHow to Ruin a Queen is a fascinating and impeccably researched account of one of the great scandals of the 18th century. Beckman is a master-storyteller whose consummate skills are evident on every pageA murky story of the Ancien Regime including diamonds and sex, brilliantly toldNecklace to neckless! This is the murky tale of the diamond heist that led to Marie Antoinette's demiseA rollicking whodunitA hell of a tale and Jonathan Beckman gives it all the verve and swagger it deserves . . . I read it with fascination, delight and frequent snorts of incredulity - and I strongly suspect you will tooFascinating . . . a gripping detective story and a witty revelation of a scandal that shocked ParisIn his intriguing history, Jonathan Beckman has spun out of this dirty tangle of source material a clear and compelling narrative line . . . with its exuberant use of language and subtly ironic storytelling, it is almost as colourful as the scandal it exploresGripped me like a whodunit . . . Beckman tells this scarcely believable story with flairJonathan Beckman skilfully unfolds the intricacies and absurdities of this extraordinary episode . . . Beckman provides us with an engaging and finely researched study of an affair that, despite having the plot of a frothy operetta, was of genuine historical significanceAs gripping as a heist movieA gem . . . glistening with wit and insightFast-paced, colourful and richVivid and compellingA tale of greed, lust, deceit, theft on an extraordinary scale, charlatanry, kidnapping, assassination and escape from prison.Jonathan Beckman is senior editor of Literary Review. He has degrees in English from the University of Cambridge and Intellectual and Cultural History from Queen Mary, University of London. In 2010, he won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction.How to Ruin a Queen is pacy, intelligent narrative non-fiction, with an extraordinary story and cast of characters, about one of the key events leading up to the French revolutionDespite its importance, the story is almost unknown in the English-speaking world; this is the first book written in English on the affair in over fifty years, and the first to make to make use of the extensive archival materialJonathan Beckman is well-connected in the literary world: he is Senior Editor of the Literary Review, and in charge of non-fiction thereHe has already received both a Royal Society of Literature/Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction, and a Society of Authors grant, for this book
    John Murray

    The Lost Art of Having Fun

    By Gyles Brandreth, Saethryd Brandreth

    One good thing about a recession is that we need to go back to making our own fun. Games are in the Brandreths' blood, they have spent thousands of weekends and rainy holidays playing them and now Gyles, Saethryd and seven-year-old Rory want to share the very best with you. THE LOST ART OF HAVING FUN picks out over 250 games, guaranteed to make even the grumpiest child or adult laugh, and then with all kinds of interesting stories and lovely illustrations, it shows you clearly (and very entertainingly) how to play them. There are classic parlour games alongside all kinds of interesting ones you might not have come across yet.

    Nine chapters cover pretty much every eventuality: Rainy Day Games, Car Journey, Analogue Fun in a Digital World, Music and Drama, Word Games and Brainteasers, Racing Games, Party Games (split between children's birthday parties and dinner parties), Country House Weekend and last but not least Seasonal Games: Christmas, New Year and Easter. Forget consoles and board games, this beautiful book is all you need. And Queen Victoria (whose favourite games are here too) would be amused. Very amused.

    Just the thing with Christmas on the wayWelcome to the ultimate rainy-day book: three generations of the Brandreth family teach you every game you'll ever need to banish boredom from Wink Murder to Sardines and from Consequences to Squeak Piggy Squeak.Gyles Brandreth is the UK expert on all indoor games. In fact, he says modestly, he knows more about games than anyone else on the planet. He was conceived as a result of his father buying the first game of Monopoly sold in Britain, he later became European Monopoly champion, he founded the National Scrabble Championship, he has been on the word and numbers TV game COUNTDOWN since it started thirty years ago, and he features regularly on radio panel games like JUST A MINUTE and WORDAHOLICS . Gyles has written nearly 100 books covering card games, mazes, word puzzles, family games and children's games. His great-great-grandfather published a book of games in 1865 and games have played a big part in the Brandreth family life ever since, as his daughter Saethryd and grandson Rory can attest.Like the best kind of panto, this book, written by three generations of the Brandreth family will entertain everyone of all agesThe family that plays together stays together. Forget consoles and board games, this book is all you needLoads of publicity and events guaranteed, including a parlour-game playing tour of the literary festivals of BritainA beautifully illustrated and designed colour book -- the perfect gift
    John Murray


    By John Julius Norwich

    'Sicily is the key to everything' Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    The author of the classic book on Venice turns his sights to Sicily in this beautiful book full of maps and colour photographs.

    'I discovered Sicily almost by mistake . . . We drove as far as Naples, then put the car on the night ferry to Palermo. There was a degree of excitement in the early hours when we passed Stromboli, emitting a rich glow every half-minute or so like an ogre puffing on an immense cigar; and a few hours later, in the early morning sunshine, we sailed into the Conca d'Oro, the Golden Shell, in which the city lies. Apart from the beauty of the setting, I remember being instantly struck by a change in atmosphere. The Strait of Messina is only a couple of miles across and the island is politically part of Italy; yet somehow one feels that one has entered a different world . . . This book is, among other things, an attempt to analyse why this should be.'

    The stepping stone between Europe and Africa, the gateway between the East and the West, at once a stronghold, clearing-house and observation post, Sicily has been invaded and fought over by Phoenicians and Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, Goths and Byzantines, Arabs and Normans, Germans, Spaniards and the French for thousands of years. It has belonged to them all - and yet has properly been part of none.

    John Julius Norwich was inspired to become a writer by his first visit in 1961 and this book is the result of a fascination that has lasted over half a century. In tracing its dark story, he attempts to explain the enigma that lies at the heart of the Mediterranean's largest island.

    This vivid short history covers everything from erupting volcanoes to the assassination of Byzantine emperors, from Nelson's affair with Emma Hamilton to Garibaldi and the rise of the Mafia. Taking in the key buildings and towns, and packed with fascinating stories and unforgettable characters, Sicily is the book he was born to write.

    The most amiable and freewheeling of guides, Norwich will always find room for the amusing anecdote . . . Written Sicilian history dates back 2,500 years, so compressing it into one book means a swift and exhilarating gallop . . . Norwich renders it entertaining on every pageNorwich tells the long, sad but fascinating story with sympathy and brioNorwich is an authoritative historian, but his writing is charmingly personal . . . Sicily's political history is full of some much turbulence it's sometimes hard to keep track of the battles, murders and successions, but Norwich sketches personalities vividly . . . Norwich calls this book his 'valediction' to Sicily: he does the island and the reader a generous service in providing such an amiable introductionA colourful and lavishly illustrated history (fifty years in the making) of the Mediterranean's largest and most turbulent island from much-loved historian John Julius Norwich

    John Julius Norwich was born in 1929. After National Service, he took a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. In 1952 he joined the Foreign Service, serving at the embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and with the British Delegation to the Disarmament Conference at Geneva.

    His publications include The Normans in Sicily; Mount Athos (with Reresby Sitwell); Sahara; The Architecture of Southern England; Glyndebourne; and A History of Venice. He is also the author of a three-volume history of the Byzantine Empire. He has written and presented some thirty historical documentaries for television, and is a regular lecturer on Venice and numerous other subjects.

    Lord Norwich is former chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, co-chairman of the World Monuments Fund and a former member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Geographical Society and the Society of Antiquaries, and a Commendatore of the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. He was made a CVO in 1993.

    Norwich's Venice has been a perennial seller for over 30 years. Ideally this book would be in the suitcase of everyone going to Sicily from now on.Norwich has an enthusiastic following: his last two histories The Popes (TCM: 19k) and The Middle Sea (29k). This is the book he has always wanted to write.A very promotable and well-connected author (just turned 85) keen to do all kinds of events and tour of Britain's festivals (starting with Hay).This will be a beautiful and desirable book with maps and colour platesGoethe said 'Sicily is the key to everything' : this book shows you why