New and forthcoming

Cruickshank’s London: A Portrait of a City in 20 Walks

Dan Cruickshank

Cobbled medieval alleyways and ornate Georgian boulevards. Decadent marble mansions and sprawling Victorian slums. Heaths, churches, squares and railways that, between them, hold two thousand years of secrets: London’s history is written into the very fabric of its streets.

In Cruickshank’s London, one of Britain’s best-loved historians vividly describes twenty historic walks that span North, East, South and West London. As he tours the city, Dan Cruickshank uncovers the forgotten stories that shaped the districts we all thought we knew: from the mysterious Celtic origins of Hampstead Heath, via the West Ham churches inscribed with the occult symbols of the Knights Templar, to the features of Tower Bridge that were included to appease Queen Victoria’s infamous temper. Throughout, Cruickshank peppers the book with colourful photos and easy-to-follow maps that make his wanderings immediately useful for anyone who wants to follow his footsteps through the capital.

Passionately written and deeply researched, Cruickshank’s London is not just a walking guide: it is a love letter to a city whose history immerses and inspires anyone who passes through.

The Prime Minister of Paradise

John Jeremiah Sullivan

As a student working in the dusty archives of the Sewanee Review, John Jeremiah Sullivan came across an article entitled ‘Lost Utopia of the American Frontier’ and was immediately hooked on the dramatic story of a lost book, an alternative history of the South, a white Indian. It was a story he’d chase for the next two decades.

In 1735, a charismatic German lawyer and accused atheist named Christian Gottlieb Priber fled Germany under threat of arrest, bound for colonial South Carolina. In the Cherokee village of Grand Tellico, he created a Utopian society that he named Paradise.

For six years, Paradise was governed by a set of revolutionary ideas that included racial equality, sexual freedom, and a lack of private property, ideas which he chronicled in a mysterious manuscript he called Paradise.

Priber’s ideas were so subversive that he was hunted for half a decade and eventually captured by the British – making headlines across the world – and imprisoned until his death. The only copy of Paradise was apparently destroyed.

Now, in a rare combination of ground-breaking research and stunning narrative skill, award-winning writer John Jeremiah Sullivan brings that lost history vividly to life.

The Lost Pianos of Siberia

Sophy Roberts

In the late 1700s Catherine the Great embraced the craze for pianos that had swept western Europe since the 1500s, but had barely made an impact in Russia. Her influence on musical culture was significant and production of pianos moved eastwards from London, Paris and Vienna to Moscow and St Petersburg, where thousands of exquisite grands were manufactured. These pianos made their way throughout the Russian Empire, ending up in far-flung, exotic and unexpected locations, including Siberia. Covering a ninth of the world’s landmass, Siberia has long held meaning for travellers – a hostile, snow covered landscape beneath which lies prehistoric animals preserved in permafrost; a juncture between east and west where armies set up forts to secure the huge swathes of land; a land still inhabited by wild tigers, bears and leopards, connected to the rest of Russia by the Trans-Siberian Railway.

And peppered throughout this much-maligned expanse are pianos.

Sophy Roberts weaves together the story of these forgotten and lost instruments – languishing in the vast landscape – with the history of an extraordinary place, its people and its musical legacy. Fusing nature writing, travelogue and memoir, The Lost Pianos of Siberia is an original, lyrical exploration of the mysterious allure of Siberia.

Where the Wild Cooks Go

Cerys Matthews

BBC broadcaster and musician Cerys Matthews tours the world from her kitchen, mixing up recipes with the music, poetry and cultures that have inspired her over a lifetime of cooking and travelling

A kitchen these days is a wonderful place. You can cook your way right round the world without spending a fortune and without even leaving your home. This is exactly what Cerys Matthews, food enthusiast, finds herself doing, with tried-and-tested recipes from all over the globe. Shall we go Spanish? Japanese? Scottish? Shall I cook inside? Light a fire?? Here, low-meat, vegan and vegetarian options, as well as cocktail recipes, offer up the world as your oyster. Accompanied by stories and folklore from each country, with a wonderful list of tracks to inspire while you cook and eat, this is a failsafe way to keep things interesting in the kitchen. With a recipe base and song list built over years of touring and discovering new places, Cerys has found that a simple list of ingredients and a great playlist on the go means there's always a ticket to ride.

Erebus: The Story of a Ship

Michael Palin

In September 2014 the wreck of a sailing vessel was discovered at the bottom of the sea in the frozen wastes of the Canadian arctic. It was broken at the stern and covered in a woolly coat of underwater vegetation. Its whereabouts had been a mystery for over a century and a half. Its name was HMS Erebus.

Now Michael Palin – former Monty Python stalwart and much-loved television globetrotter – brings this extraordinary ship back to life, following it from its launch in 1826 to the epic voyages of discovery that led to glory in the Antarctic and to ultimate catastrophe in the Arctic. He explores the intertwined careers of the men who shared its journeys: the dashing James Clark Ross who charted much of the ‘Great Southern Barrier’ and oversaw some of the earliest scientific experiments to be conducted there; and the troubled John Franklin, who at the age of sixty and after a chequered career, commanded the ship on its final, disastrous expedition. And he vividly recounts the experiences of the men who first stepped ashore on Antarctica’s Victoria Land, and those who, just a few years later, froze to death one by one in the Arctic ice, as rescue missions desperately tried to reach them.

The result is a wonderfully evocative account of one of the most extraordinary adventures of the nineteenth century, as reimagined by a master explorer and storyteller.

Red Thread

Charlotte Higgins

The tale of how the hero Theseus killed the Minotaur, finding his way out of the labyrinth using Ariadne’s ball of red thread, is one of the most intriguing, suggestive and persistent of all myths, and the labyrinth – the beautiful, confounding and terrifying building created for the half-man, half-bull monster – is one of the foundational symbols of human ingenuity and artistry.

Charlotte Higgins, author of the Baillie Gifford-shortlisted Under Another Sky, tracks the origins of the story of the labyrinth in the poems of Homer, Catullus, Virgil and Ovid, and with them builds an ingenious edifice of her own. She follows the idea of the labyrinth through the Cretan excavations of Sir Arthur Evans, the mysterious turf labyrinths of Northern Europe, the church labyrinths of medieval French cathedrals and the hedge mazes of Renaissance gardens. Along the way, she traces the labyrinthine ideas of writers from Dante and Borges to George Eliot and Conan Doyle, and of artists from Titian and Velázquez to Picasso and Eva Hesse.

Her intricately constructed narrative asks what it is to be lost, what it is to find one’s way, and what it is to travel the confusing and circuitous path of a lived life. Red Thread is, above all, a winding and unpredictable route through the byways of the author’s imagination – one that leads the reader on a strange and intriguing journey, full of unexpected connections and surprising pleasures.

Around the World in 80 Days

Mark Beaumont

The inspiring story of one man's record-breaking cycle around the world.

On Monday 18th September 2017, Mark Beaumont pedalled through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes earlier he set off from the same point, beginning his attempt to circumnavigate the world in record time. Covering more than 18,000 miles and cycling through some of the harshest conditions one man and his bicycle can endure, Mark made history. He smashed two Guinness World Records and beat the previous record by an astonishing 45 days.

Around the World in 80 Days is the story of Mark’s amazing achievement - one which redefines the limits of human endurance. It is also an insight into the mind of an elite athlete and the physical limits of the human body, as well as a kaleidoscopic tour of the world from a very unique perspective; inspired by Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel, Mark begins his journey in Paris and cycles through Europe, Russia, Mongolia and China. He then crosses Australia, rides up through New Zealand and across North America before the final 'sprint finish' thorough Portugal, Spain and France, all at over 200 miles a day. This is the story of a quite remarkable adventure, by a quite remarkable man.

Another Kyoto

Alex Kerr (and others)

Another Kyoto is an insider's meditation on the hidden wonders of Japan's most enigmatic city. Drawing on decades living in Kyoto, and on lore gleaned from artists, Zen monks and Shinto priests, Alex Kerr illuminates the simplest things - a temple gate, a wall, a sliding door - in a new way.

'A rich book of intimate proportions ... In Kyoto, facts and meaning are often hidden in plain sight. Kerr's gift is to make us stop and cast our eyes upward to a temple plaque, or to squint into the gloom of an abbot's chamber' Japan Times

'Kerr and Sokol have performed a minor miracle by presenting that which is present in Kyoto as that which we have yet to see. I know that I will never pass a wall, or tread a floor, or sit on tatami the same way again' Kyoto Journal

Alone Time

Stephanie Rosenbloom

Travelling with friends and family is usually thought of as a privilege. In theory, anyway. In practice, it's more often about debating which sights to see, panicking over diminishing phone batteries and bickering over what to eat. Not much joy in that. But alone you can do as you please. You can wander markets, relish silence, go to a park. Go to Paris. Why not?

In Alone Time, New York Times travel columnist Stephanie Rosenbloom travels alone in four seasons to four remarkable cities - Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York - exploring the sensory experience of solitude. Along the way she illuminates the psychological arguments for alone time, revealing that whether you recognize it or not, it's good to be alone now and then.

This is a book about the pleasures and benefits of savouring the moment, examining things closely, using all your senses to take in your surroundings, whether travelling to faraway places or walking the streets of your own city. Through on-the-ground observations and anecdotes, and drawing on the thinking of artists, writers and innovators who have cherished solitude, Alone Time lays bare the magic of going solo.

The Man Who Climbs Trees

James Aldred (and others)


'A book of heart-stopping bravery and endurance' -- Helen Macdonald
'A great read – incredible adventures and a dramatic new perspective' -- Chris Packham
'[A] delightful, endlessly fascinating book' -- Daily Mail BOOK OF THE WEEK

This is the story of a professional British tree climber, cameraman and adventurer, who has made a career out of travelling the world, filming wildlife for the BBC and climbing trees with people like David Attenborough, Chris Packham and Helen Macdonald.

James's climbs take him to breathtaking locations as he scales the most incredible and majestic trees on the planet. On the way he meets native tribes, gets attacked by African bees, climbs alongside gorillas, chased by elephants, and spends his nights in a hammock pitched high in the branches with only the stars above him.

This book blends incredible stories of scrapes and bruises in the branches with a new way of looking at life high above the daily grind, up into the canopy of the forest.

Trans-Europe Express

Owen Hatherley

'A scathing, lively and timely look at the "European city", from one of our most provocative voices on culture and architecture today' Owen Jones

A searching, timely account of the condition of contemporary Europe, told through the landscapes of its cities

Over the past twenty years European cities have become the envy of the world: a Kraftwerk Utopia of historic centres, supermodernist concert halls, imaginative public spaces and futuristic egalitarian housing estates which, interconnected by high-speed trains traversing open borders, have a combination of order and pleasure which is exceptionally unusual elsewhere.

In Trans-Europe Express, Owen Hatherley sets out to explore the European city across the entire continent, to see what exactly makes it so different to the Anglo-Saxon norm - the unplanned, car-centred, developer-oriented spaces common to the US, Ireland, UK and Australia. Attempting to define the European city, Hatherley finds a continent divided both within the EU and outside it.

'The latest heir to Ruskin.' - Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'Hatherley is the most informed, opinionated and acerbic guide you could wish for.' - Hugh Pearman, Sunday Times

'Can one talk yet of vintage Hatherley? Yes, one can. Here are all the properties that have made him one of the most distinctive writers in England - not just 'architectural writers', but writers full stop: acuity, contrariness, observational rigour, frankness and beautifully wrought prose.' - Jonathan Meades

The Stopping Places

Damian Le Bas

*BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week*

'I needed to get to the stopping places, so I needed to get on the road. It was the road where I might at last find out where I belonged.'

Damian Le Bas grew up surrounded by Gypsy history. His great-grandmother would tell him stories of her childhood in the ancient Romani language; the places her family stopped and worked, the ways they lived, the superstitions and lores of their people. But his own experience of life on the road was limited to Ford Transit journeys from West Sussex to Hampshire to sell flowers.

In a bid to better understand his Gypsy heritage, the history of the Britain's Romanies and the rhythms of their life today, Damian sets out on a journey to discover the atchin tans, or stopping places – the old encampment sites known only to Travellers. Through winter frosts and summer dawns, from horse fairs to Gypsy churches, neon-lit lay-bys to fern-covered banks, Damian lives on the road, somewhere between the romanticised Gypsies of old, and their much-maligned descendants of today.

In this powerful and soulful debut, Damian le Bas brings the places, characters and stories of his to bold and vigorous life.