New and forthcoming

Art, Passion & Power

Michael Hall (and others)

The Royal Collection is the last great collection formed by the European monarchies to have survived into the twenty-first century. Containing over a million artworks and objects, it covers all aspects of the fine and decorative arts, from paintings by Rembrandt and Michelangelo to grand sculpture, Fabergé eggs and some of the most exquisite furniture ever made. The Royal Collection also offers a revealing insight into the history of the British monarchy from William the Conqueror to Queen Elizabeth II, recording the tastes and obsessions of kings and queens over the past 500 years.

With unprecedented access to the royal residences of St James' Palace, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, A Royal Collection traces the history of this national institution from the Middle Ages to the present day, exploring how royalty used the arts to strengthen their position as rulers by divine right and celebrating treasures from the Crown Jewels to the "Abraham" tapestries in Hampton Court Palace. Author Michael Hall examines the monarchy's response to changing attitudes to the arts and sciences during the Enlightenment and celebrates the British monarchy's role in the democratisation of art in the modern world. Packed with glimpses of rarely seen artworks, A Royal Collection is a visual treat for all art enthusiasts.

Accompanying the upcoming BBC television series and a major exhibition at the Royal Academy, A Royal Collection is the definitive statement on the British monarchy's treasures of the art world.

The Full Montezuma

Peter Moore

Intrepid travel writer Peter Moore recently invited the new love of his life, a.k.a. the girl next door, to join him on a romantic sojourn through Central America. The trip would take them into an area of the world emerging from decades of civil war, an area racked with poverty, disease and natural disasters. Naturally, she jumped at the chance.

Over the next six months they battled hurricanes, mosquitoes, uncooperative border officials and over-sexed Mexican commuters, and along the way they learnt rather more about each other than they really wanted to... From Zapatista rebel heartlands in Mexico to a quiet game of cricket in Jamaica, from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Mitch in Honduras to breathtaking ancient Mayan sites and perfect golden Caribbean beaches, The Full Montezuma chronicles the highs and lows of one couple's journey into the unknown. Written with Moore's wicked sense of humour and his eye for the bizarre, and punctuated by a roll call of annoying habits - map-hogging, over packing, bite-scratching and over-zealous haggling - The Full Montezuma is hilarious, incisive and acutely observed, a cautionary tale for anyone planning to cross a continent with their significant other.

Are We There Yet?

David Smiedt

In 2003, David Smiedt began a journey of discovery around South Africa. As a child his parents had taken him on endless car journeys to teach him the history of their country and tell him about his relatives and the places they had inhabited. 30 years later, he sets out to retrace those journeys but it soon turns into a love letter to his native country.

This is a beautifully written travel book, with the most fantastic sense of smell, sight and sound. David also provides a real insight into the countries people describing how they have been shaped over the years by politics and migrants.

Scraps of Wool

Bill Colegrave

For more than forty years I have collected and read travel books... I marked passages that enthused me and so gathered a library that was annotated by triangular corner-folds and barely decipherable jottings. This was my own inadvertent wool-gathering...

Scraps of Wool is a celebration of travel writing, bringing together in a single volume passages that have enthralled generations of readers, encouraged them to dream of exploration and set off on journeys of their own.
Compiled by Bill Colegrave, its excerpts have been selected by today’s travel writers and journalists, who have revealed the books that influenced them: Dervla Murphy, Tony Wheeler, Rory MacLean, Pico Iyer, Jan Morris, Colin Thubron, Artemis Cooper, Sara Wheeler, Alexander Frater and many more.

Each of these scraps is a document of the writer’s passion for place – thick equatorial jungle, the soft ergs of the Sahara, Patagonian steppe – and each story, each memory will transport you to a different corner of the globe, and maybe even inspire you to plan your own great adventure.

Icebreaker

Horatio Clare

'We are celebrating a hundred years since independence this year: how would you like to travel on a government icebreaker?'

A message from the Finnish embassy launches Horatio Clare on a voyage around an extraordinary country and an unearthly place, the frozen Bay of Bothnia, just short of the Arctic circle. Travelling with the crew of Icebreaker Otso, Horatio, whose last adventure saw him embedded on Maersk container vessels for the bestseller Down to the Sea in Ships, discovers stories of Finland, of her mariners and of ice.

Finland is an enigmatic place, famous for its educational miracle, healthcare and gender equality – as well as Nokia, Angry Birds, saunas, questionable cuisine and deep taciturnity. Aboard Otso Horatio gets to know the men who make up her crew, and explores Finland’s history and character. Surrounded by the extraordinary colours and conditions of a frozen sea, he also comes to understand something of the complexity and fragile beauty of ice, a near-miraculous substance which cools the planet, gives the stars their twinkle and which may hold all our futures in its crystals.

Winter

Karl Ove Knausgaard (and others)

The second volume in his autobiographical quartet based on the seasons, Winter is an achingly beautiful collection of daily meditations and letters addressed directly to Knaugsaard's unborn daughter

It is strange that you exist, but you don’t know anything about what the world looks like. It’s strange that there is a first time to see the sky, a first time to see the sun, a first time to feel the air against one’s skin. It’s strange that there is a first time to see a face, a tree, a lamp, pyjamas, a shoe. In my life that almost never happens anymore. But soon it will. In just a few months, I will see you for the first time.

In Winter, we rejoin the great Karl Ove Knausgaard as the birth of his daughter draws near. In preparation for her arrival, he takes stock of the world, seeing it anew. While new life is on the horizon, the earth is also in hibernation, waiting for the warmer weather to return. In his inimitably sensitive style, he writes about everything from the moon, winter boots and messiness, to owls and birthdays. Taking nothing for granted, he fills these everyday familiar objects and ideas with new meaning.

Startling, compassionate, and exquisitely beautiful, Knausgaard's writing is like nothing else. Somehow, he shows the world as it really is, at once mundane and sublime.

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