New and forthcoming

Cobra 405

Damien Lewis

1976, war-torn Beirut. Under the cover of a massive firefight, an unknown band of armed men blast their way into the Imperial Bank of Beirut. Over the next 48 hours they load up three trucks with gold bullion, and the raiders and the loot disappear forever.

Two weeks earlier, a young SAS Major newly arrived in The Regiment had tasked his men with scoping out just such a Beirut bank robbery - strictly as an exercise only. But when SAS veteran Luke Kilbride presented his plan for the heist, the Major tore it apart as being a, 'useless piece of crap'. Kilbride didn't appreciate this jumped-up officer telling him he was a fool. Neither did the men in his unit. Together, they decided to prove the Major wrong and rob the bank anyway, as a freelance operation.

But whilst the heist went like clockwork, that was just the start of things going badly wrong for Kilbride and his men. Eventually, they are forced to hide the loot and make their getaway. Thirty years later, Kilbride and his team are planning their return. The only problem is that a powerful and ruthless enemy is hell bent on finding the gold before them. Kilbride dreams up a cunning and audacious decoy mission to lead them away from the loot - and so begins a race against time to get to the gold before the deadly Black Assassins group can catch up with them.

Ports Of Call

Amin Maalouf

A graceful story of love across an insuperable gulf and a powerful allegory for the conflict that has beset the Middle East for the last half century.

To call your son Ossyane is like calling him Rebellion. For Ossyane’s father it is a gesture of protest by an excited Ottoman prince, for Ossyane himself it is a burdensome responsibility. At eighteen he leaves Beirut to study in Montpellier, far away from his father’s revolutionary aspirations for him. But it is 1938, and when war breaks out in Europe, Ossyane is drawn into the Resistance. His return to Beirut is a rebel hero’s welcome after all, and a joyful reunion with Clara, whom he first met in France. But if one war has brought the Jewish-Muslim couple together, another, much closer to home, is destined to separate Ossyane from the people and the world that he loves.

All Quiet on the Western Front

Erich Maria Remarque (and others)

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY SEBASTIAN FAULKS

'We are no longer young men. We've lost any desire to conquer the world. We are refugees. We are fleeing from ourselves. From our lives. We were eighteen and had begun to love the world and to love being in it; but we had to shoot at it. The first shell to land went straight for our hearts. We've been cut of from real action, from getting on, from progress. We don't believe in those things any more; we believe in the war.'

Written in memory of a generation of young men who arrived at the front fresh from the schoolroom, a generation utterly devasted by war, because the few that survived were left unfit for peace; at once tender and brutal, immediate and profound - All Quiet on the Western Front is a testament to the pity, horror and waste of the First World War, and a passionate plea to prevent its repetition.

Hunger

Elise Blackwell

When German troops surround Leningrad and cut off food supplies in the autumn of 1941, no one imagines that the siege will last almost three years and take hundreds of thousands of lives. As the first 'hungry winter' sets in, the city's residents strip the bark off trees, boil and eat moss-covered stones, and trade priceless antiques for half a loaf of bread - and sex for a chunk of sugar.

But the scientists at the Institute of Plant Industry pledge to protect their collection of rare seeds, painstakingly gathered from all over the world, no matter what the human cost. But as the siege continues, the group divides into those who would preserve their principles at the price of starvation, and others who turn to deception - and more sinister measures - to survive.

A powerful, stunningly precise and beautifully written novel about human nature under life's harshest pressures. Reminiscent of Rachel Seiffert's The Dark Room and Bernhard Schlink's The Reader in its brevity, spareness and power, it is a quite remarkable debut.

Very Long Engagement

Sebastien Japrisot

During the First World War five French soldiers, accused of a cowardly attempt to evade duty, are bundled into no man's land and certain death. Five bodies are later recovered; the families are notified that the men died in the line of duty...

After the war Mathilde, the fiancée of one of the men, receives a letter which hints at what might have happened, and she sets off to discover the fate of her beloved amid the carnage of battlefield. Her quest becomes an unusual and engrossing thriller as she discovers an increasing number of people trying to put her off the scent.

A Very Long Engagement is a suspenseful thriller and one which transforms a personal tragedy into the epitome of all wartime atrocities. The dénouement, when it finally happens, is moving and horribly convincing.

The Opposing Shore

Julien Gracq

The great maritime state of Orsenna has long been lulled by settled peace and prosperity. It is three hundred years since it was actively at war with its traditional enemy two days' sail across the water, the savage land of Farghestan - a slumbering but by no means extinct volcano. The narrator of this story, Aldo, a world-weary young aristocrat, is posted to the coast of Syrtes, where the Admiralty keeps the seas constantly patrolled to defend the demarcation between the two powers still officially at war. His duties are to be the eyes and ears of the Signory, to report back any rumours of interest to the State. Goaded, however, by his mistress, Vanessa Aldobrandi, he takes a patrol boat across the boundary to within cannon-shot of the Farghestani coastal batteries. The age-old undeclared truce is no more than a boil ripe to be lanced.

Refusal

Soazig Aaron (and others)

When Klara appears in Paris, two months after the end of the war and years after her disappearance into Auschwitz, her best friend and sister-in-law, Angélika, is elated, if apprehensive. Initially, her fears seem well founded - Klara won't eat, nor will she acknowledge the daughter she has left behind. Gradually, Klara reveals with cold anger and pitiless lucidity, the full extent of what she experienced in Auschwitz as she struggles to readapt to normal life.


Not since Sophie's Choice has a novelist succeeded in conveying - with truth, dignity, power and intelligence - the inhumanity of the death camps and the scars suffered by those who survived them. Refusal is a compelling, elegant and often heart-breaking glimpse into life beyond the horror.

Articles Of War

Nick Arvin

George Tilson is an eighteen-year-old farm boy from Iowa. Enlisted in the army during WWII and arriving in Normandy just after D-Day, he is nicknamed Heck for his reluctance to swear. From summers of farm labour Heck is already strong. He knows how to except orders and how to work uncomplainingly. But in combat Heck witnesses a kind of brutality unlike anything he could have imagined. Fear consumes his every thought and Heck soon realises a terrible thing about himself: He is a coward. Possessed of this dark knowledge, Heck is then faced with an impossible task.

Nick Arvin draws the reader into the unimaginable fear, violence and chaos of the war zone. Like the very best war fiction - Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy, Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong - he shows how ordinary lives are transformed by extraordinary events.

The Sleeping Voice

Dulce Chacon (and others)

Dulce Chacón's book has had an immense success in Spain, no doubt because the novelist speaks with a just and powerful voice, and because she has allowed women - the most anonymous, the most suppressed, the most silenced - to speak out" Le Monde

It is 1939. In the Ventas prison in Madrid a group of women have been incarcerated. Their crime is to have supported or fought on the Republican side in Spain's cruel and devastating Civil War. Chief among them are Hortensia, who fought with the militia and is pregnant by her husband Felipe - a man still at large and fighting against Franco's dictatorship - and who lives with the knowledge that she will be shot after she gives birth; sixteen-year-old Elvira, who tried to leave Spain with her mother, but was arrested by the Falangists while she was boarding their ship; Tomasa, whose husband, four sons and daughter-in-law were thrown off a bridge; and Pepita, Hortensia's sister, who from outside the prison acts as messenger between her and her husband.

Dulce Chacón's deeply moving novel is based on the actual testimonies of a number of women who survived the Spanish Civil War, and suffered imprisonment under the France regime, as well as on accounts of others who died fighting for freedom. A bestseller in Spain, where it was voted 'Book of the year', The Sleeping Voice is remarkable for its combination of dramatic intensity and historical authenticity.

The Vengeance Of Rome

Michael Moorcock

The fourth and final volume of the legendary Pyat Quartet.

Born in Ukraine on the first day of the century, a Jewish anti-Semite, Pyat careered through three decades like a runaway train. Bisexual, cocaine-loving engineer/inventor/spy, he enthusiastically embraces Fascism. Hero-worshipping Mussolini, he enters the dictator's circle, enjoys a close friendship with Mussolini's wife and is sent by the Duce on a secret mission to Munich, becoming intimate with Ernst Röhm, the homosexual stormtrooper leader. His crucial role in the Nazi Party's struggle for power has him performing perverted sex acts with 'Alf', as the Fuhrer's friends call him.

Pyat's extraordinary luck leaves him after he witnesses Hitler's massacre of Röhm and the SA. At last he is swallowed up in Dachau concentration camp. Thirty years later, having survived the Spanish civil war, he is living in Portobello Road and telling his tale to a writer called Moorcock.

A Winter In China

Douglas Galbraith

Just down from Cambridge in the summer of 1937, Sally Marsden contemplates her future without enthusiasm. So many have assumed she will marry Hugh Jerrold it is, practically, an engagement. When Hugh returns from his diplomatic posting to China they will be married. But before submitting to the strictures of upper-middle-class life, Sally embarks on one last adventure - travelling to China herself, where she will spend the winter.

The Sino-Japanese war begins shortly after Sally's arrival and a disastrous miscalculation separates her from Hugh and leaves her trapped in Nanking, one of two dozen Europeans and Americans to witness the capture and sack of the city by the Japanese Imperial Army. The experience is shared with Peter Moss, an American photo-journalist and friend of Hugh. Bystanders in a racial war, Sally and Peter emerge physically unscathed but utterly changed, and all their attempts to carry on as before quickly founder.

Lovely Green Eyes

Arnost Lustig

Fifteen-year-old Hanka Kaudersová has ginger hair and clear, green eyes. When her family is deported to Auschwitz, her mother, father and younger brother are sent to the gas chamber. By a twist of fate, Hanka is faced with a simple alternative: follow her family, or work in an SS brothel behind the eastern front. She chooses to live, her Aryan looks allowing her to disguise the fact that she is Jewish. As the German army retreats from the Russian front, Hanka battles cold, hunger, fear and shame, sustained by her hatred for the men she entertains, her friendship with the mysterious Estelle, and her fierce, burning desire for life.

Lovely Green Eyes explores the compromises and sacrifices that an individual may make in order to survive, the way a woman can retain her identity in the face of appalling trauma, and the value of human life itself. This is a remarkable novel, which soars beyond nightmare, leaving the reader with a transcendent sense of hope.