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It's 1959, and Boots Adams and his wife Polly are helping to celebrate the retirement of barman Joe at their favourite Camberwell pub, when they witness with horror a sudden and vicious attack on Joe by a knife-wielding young thug.
Is this a sign of the times? Is contempt for old traditions and enthusiasm for everything new and fashionable going to threaten the Adams family and their easy-going existence?
While young Gemma is courted by one of the young men who works for her father, her twin brother James finds himself affected by his girlfriend's intriguing family secrets. And just who is the mysterious young woman who arrives from Finland to study at Gemma's college?
Lovers, colleagues, family - Tilly has always been brilliant at pushing people in and out of her life exactly as it suits her. Then along comes Geoffrey, gentle, compassionate, generous to a fault, with his miserable little children and his manipulative ex-wife.
Tilly's own expertise in the arts of deception and avoidance should be enough to make sure she's always one step ahead of Geoffrey's disastrous, crumbling family. But time and again she finds herself staying, brought down by their cowardly backsliding and their barefaced lies.
How has she managed to stay so long in a relationship she knows perfectly well has to be doomed? More importantly, how can Tilly plan her permanent escape?
Anne Fine's sixth novel is a coruscating comedy written with her trademark wit, insight and grimly dark humour about the ties that bind more savagely than any other - those of families.
Bridging the gap between 'Game of Thrones' and Bernard Cornwell comes the second chapter in James Wilde's epic adventure of betrayal, battle and bloodshed set during the darkest of times - a time when civilisation itself was foundering, when Britain was facing a Dark Age and in desperate need of a hero...
It is AD 367, and Roman Britain has fallen to the vast barbarian horde which has invaded from the north. Towns burn, the land is ravaged and the few survivors flee. The army of Rome - once the most effective fighting force in the world - has been broken, its spirit lost and its remaining troops shattered.
Yet for all the darkness, there is hope. And it rests with one man. His name is Lucanus who they call the Wolf. He is a warrior, and he wears the ancient crown of the great war leader, Pendragon, and he wields a sword bestowed upon him by the druids. With a small band of trusted followers, Lucanus ventures south to Londinium where he hopes to bring together an army and make a defiant stand against the invader.
But within the walls of that great city there are others waiting on his arrival - hidden enemies who want more than anything to possess the great secret that has been entrusted to his care. To seize it would give them power beyond imagining. To protect it will require bravery and sacrifice beyond measure. And to lose it would mean the end of everything worth fighting for.
Before Camelot. Before Excalibur. Before all you know of King Arthur. Here is the beginning of that legend . . .
Life as a data entry temp is great. Your job satisfaction is through the roof. What could be better than entering data for an hourly wage? If you time it right, you even get paid for going to the toilet. Result! The only cloud on your horizon is the blood gathering under your chair. You are shocked to discover that the company you work for is using your blood to power a portal to another world - they are literally bleeding you dry. There's no other option, you must set out on your own adventure and ultimately face The Regional Accounts Director of Firetop Mountain!
The Fighting Fantasy series of books captured the minds of a generation. These second-person adventure books were driven the choices the reader made - fabulous adversaries like orcs and wizards were to be fought by the reader as they chose their route through the book. Sadly, all of these young adventurers have grown up to find that the real word is a rather a dull place to be. The only dragons they face now are their uppity line managers and they curse their fellow commuters rather than forest-dwelling crones. But help is at hand, however, as The Regional Accounts Director of Firetop Mountain, a hilarious parody of the fantasy adventure genre, opens an office door back into the mystical world of our imaginations.
On one hand a skillful comic account of the drudgery of modern life, and on the other a thrilling adventure populated by creatures of myth and legend, this book is the perfect present for the masses of twenty- and thirtysomethings who look back on the world of choose your own adventure with such affection.
Published: 12 Sep 2008
Beowulf meets The Lord of the Rings meets Bernard Cornwell in an epic novel of vengeance, faith and the power of myth.
To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcnéas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind—the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.
Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that’s changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.
Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.
But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning—the Old Ways versus the New—and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away?
Published: 15 Jul 2013
In the brave new Japan of the 1870s, Taka and Nobu meet as children and fall in love; but their relationship will test the limits of society.
Unified after a bitter civil war, Japan is rapidly turning into a modern country with rickshaws, railways and schools for girls. Commoners can marry their children into any class, and the old hatred between north and south is over - or so it seems.
Taka is from the powerful southern Satsuma clan which now dominates the country, and her father, General Kitaoka, is a leader of the new government. Nobu, however, is from the northern Aizu clan, massacred by the Satsuma in the civil war. Defeated and reduced to poverty, his family has sworn revenge on the Satsuma.
Taka and Nobu's love is unacceptable to both their families and must be kept secret, but what they cannot foresee is how quickly the tables will turn. Many southern samurai become disillusioned with the new regime, which has deprived them of their swords, status and honour. Taka's father abruptly leaves Tokyo and returns to the southern island of Kyushu, where trouble is brewing.
When he and his clansmen rise in rebellion, the government sends its newly-created army to put them down. Nobu and his brothers have joined this army, and his brothers now see their chance of revenge on the Satsuma. But Nobu will have to fight and maybe kill Taka's father and brother, while Taka now has to make a terrible choice - between her family and the man she loves ...
Published: 7 Jun 2012
Times move on for the Adams family in east London, and as business prospers, there are new worries to deal with. A young woman arrives who is intent on ruining Sammy Adam's winter fashion show, and Sammy must deal with her unwelcome attention. Boots has to find a solution when one of his female employees tells him about a sinister visitor, and he also does some match-making. But he doesn't realize that his family are being observed, as out of the shadows come dark and mysterious figures from the past who intrude on Boots, Polly and the twins, and his adopted daughter Rosie. Meanwhile Rosie has her hands full as her daughter Emily continues to rebel against everything around her.
How will the Adams family cope, as trouble seems to lurk around every corner?
It seems that renowned zombie expert Dr Stanley Blum kept a detailed record of the vital work that he and his crack medical team conducted in their desperate bid to find a cure for the epidemic that is devastating the world. This is his notebook and it doesn't make comfortable reading.
Here he documents the unique biology of zombie organisms for the first time, Notes taken during his dissection of immobilized but still functioning zombies include graphic depictions of the internal workings of these once-humans, and reveal in grim detail the zombie anatomy and offer shocking insights into how these creatures function. This is not a book for the fainthearted. And what soon becomes tragically clear is that Blum and his staff were caught up in a race against time...for they too start to succumb to the zombie plague.
We can only guess at the fate of Dr. Blum. But now that his notebook has been made available to the UN, the WHO and the wider world, we can only pray that Blum's scientific discoveries offer some hope for humankind on earth against the plague of the living dead...
2041, and for all the advances science and technology have brought, our world is under attack from rampant climate change, uncontrollable mass migration, cyber-terrorism, fragmenting societies and insidious governmental secrecy and paranoia. And then the unthinkable happens - the Earth, our planet, seems to be turning against itself - it would appear that the magnetic field, which protects life on Earth from deadly radiation from space, is failing . . .
Fearful of the mass hysteria that would follow if the truth were to become known, world governments have concealed this rapidly emerging Armageddon. But a young Iranian computer genius stumbles across what is really going on, the secret is out, and it's a race against time to put in place an outrageous, desperate last ditch plan to save the world: to reactivate the earth's core using beams of dark matter. As a small team of brave and brilliant scientists - each a maverick in his or her own way - battle to find a way of transforming the theory into practice, they face a fanatical group intent on pursuing their own endgame agenda: for they believe mankind to be a plague upon this earth and will do anything, commit any crime, to ensure that the project fails - and so bring about humanity's end...
Set in a brilliantly-imagined near future world of dazzling technologies, AIs and augmented realities, eminent scientist and broadcaster Professor Jim Al-Khalili's thrilling debut novel draws on cutting edge science to tell a nail-biting story of what might be . . .
1081. And so the bloody battle for the crown of the Holy Roman Empire begins.
Within the city of Constantinople itself, three venal factions will go to any lengths - will, it seems, kill any who might stand in their way - to seize the throne.
And outside the city's walls, twin powers threaten a siege that will crush the once-mighty empire forever.
To the west, the voracious forces of the most feared Norman warlord are gathering. While in the east, the Turkish hordes are massing - theirs is a lust for slaughter.
And in the midst of this maelstrom of brutality and betrayal, Hereward and his English spear-brothers prepare to make what could be their final stand . . .
The fourth prequel to R. D. Wingfield's A TOUCH OF FROST, for anyone who loved watching David Jason as Jack Frost, and readers of sharply plotted detective crime novels.
August, 1983. Denton is preparing for a wedding. Detective Sergeant Waters should be on top of the world with less than a week to go until he marries Kim Myles. But the Sunday before the big day, instead of a run-through with his best man, the church is sealed off. The body of a young woman has been found in the churchyard, and their idyllic wedding venue has become a crime scene.
Detective Inspector Jack Frost has been homeless for the past three months, ever since his wife’s family sold the matrimonial house. He’s been staying with Detective Constable Sue Clarke but with a baby to take care of and the imminent arrival of her mother, she’s given him his marching orders.
But as best man to Waters, he’s got a responsibility to solve the mystery of the dead girl in the churchyard. Can he put his own troubles aside and be the detective they need him to be? All in all, August looks set to be a wicked month in Denton…
'James Holland is a master' BBC History
It was to be the battle to end the air war once and for all . . .
In the autumn of 1943, the campaign against Germany had reached crisis point. Despite the fact that more bombs were falling on the Reich than ever before, plummeting morale and appalling winter weather were hampering the Allies’ raids. Both the US Eighth Air Force and RAF Bomber Command were suffering catastrophic losses and many began to question whether the bomber campaign was worth the terrible sacrifice.
Something had to be done, and fast.
Big Week tells the story of the moment the air war turned. By the start of 1944, new commanders, new tactics and, crucially, new aircraft were all in place. The result, in the third week of February, was the largest aerial battle of the war.
Following the fortunes of both sides, from commanders to air crews and civilians, Big Week casts fresh light on that week-long battle and reasserts its vital importance in the final outcome of the war. Drawing on little-known material, including long-ignored archival sources, this book provides a new perspective on the German defence of the Reich and a thrilling look at one of the most brutal, violent and dramatic air battles of the Second World War.
Deep within a cave system at Parchin, an Iranian military complex 30 kilometres south-east of Tehran, and hidden from the prying eyes of Western surveillance satellites, scientists are hard at work on a secret device. They are acting on the orders of a renegade group within the hardline Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, dismayed at their government’s recent overtures to the West. Their work contravenes the international nuclear pact, and aims to propel Iran into the elite club of nuclear-armed nations, provoking chaos in the Middle East and threatening the West’s oil supplies.
Britain’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service know something is up – they have an agent in deep cover inside the programme. But to hand over his information face-to-face he needs to get out of Iran by crossing the border into Armenia. And so Luke Carlton, now a fully-fledged SIS officer, heads to a remote Armenian monastery to debrief him. But the mission goes bloodily wrong. Luke has to be extracted, leaving two dead bodies behind him. Then an opportunity to recruit someone with close personal access to the leader of the IRGC hardliners arises – and Luke, eager to redeem himself, is chosen to bring her in. Going into Iran undercover is dangerous enough, but the nightmare begins when a senior British government minister on an official visit is kidnapped, his close protection officer killed and Britain presented with a terrifying ultimatum. It seems the Iranian hardliners have the upper-hand, unless Luke Carlton - on the ground, on his own and unsure who he can trust - can turn the tables. And he's got less than 48 hours in which to do it...
From the mountains of Armenia, to the deserts of Iran, from MI6 operations rooms to the salons of Abu Dhabi, the crowded cafes of Tehran and finally the underwater world of a Royal Navy submarine in the Strait of Hormuz, Luke Carlton is embroiled in a pulse-pounding race against time in Frank Gardner's explosive and frighteningly realistic new thriller.
To Las Vegas . . . and beyond!
Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is on a major rescue mission! Hollywood was full of surprises, and now she's on a road trip to Las Vegas to help her friends and family.
She's determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has mysteriously disappeared, help her best friend Suze and even bond with long-time enemy Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe...).
As Becky discovers just how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with her biggest, boldest, most brilliant plan yet! So can she save the day just when they need her most?
Becky is setting out to make things right in this laugh-out-loud, feel-good conclusion to her American adventure that began with SHOPAHOLIC TO THE STARS.
Here is the beginning of a legend. Long before Camelot rose, a hundred years before the myth of King Arthur was half-formed, at the start of the Red Century, the world was slipping into a Dark Age…
It is AD 367. In a frozen forest beyond Hadrian’s Wall, six scouts of the Roman army are found murdered. For Lucanus, known as the Wolf and leader of elite unit called the Arcani, this chilling ritual killing is a sign of a greater threat.
But to the Wolf the far north is a foreign land, a place where daemons and witches and the old gods live on. Only when the child of a friend is snatched will he venture alone into this treacherous world - a territory ruled over by a barbarian horde - in order to bring the boy back home. What he finds there beyond the wall will echo down the years.
A secret game with hidden factions is unfolding in the shadows: cabals from the edge of Empire to the eternal city of Rome itself, from the great pagan monument of Stonehenge to the warrior kingdoms of Gaul will go to any length to find and possess what is believed to be a source of great power, signified by the mark of the Dragon.
A soldier and a thief, a cut-throat, courtesan and a druid, even the Emperor Valentinian himself - each of these has a part to play in the beginnings of this legend…the rise of the House of Pendragon.
Moll thought she could keep her family safe . . .
Eighteen-year-old Moll Chambers works her fingers to the bone doing all she can to support her family. With an ailing father and a wayward mother, Moll is the only one who can look after her siblings, Bo and Sissy.
But Manchester is an increasingly dangerous place to live, overrun with a ferocious rivalry between gangs of so-called ‘scuttlers’: young men and women bent on a life of violence and crime. And they have her brother in their sights. Soon even Moll can’t protect Bo from the lure of the criminal underworld.
Then the scuttlers looked her way.
When she herself falls for the leader of a rival gang, Moll’s choices place her and Bo firmly on opposite sides of the city’s turf war.
With her loyalties now torn in two, and tragedy lurking round every corner, will Moll be able to rise above the conflict and protect those she loves the most? Or will stepping out with a scuttler spell ruin for them all . . . ?
MANCHESTER MOLL is an absorbing saga that will tug at your heartstrings, perfect for fans of Dilly Court, Rosie Goodwin and Maggie Hope.
When Lucy’s parents are killed in a train crash, her kindly uncle steps in to look after the little girl – to the initial apprehension of his wife and her son. However, Lucy’s sweet, spirited charm slowly wins over her new family, and as she overcomes the trauma of her childhood, she grows up inspired to become a doctor, just like her father.
But studying medicine in London takes Lucy far from her home in Hull and the people she loves, and she has to battle to be accepted in a man’s world.
With the dark clouds of the First World War gathering on the horizon, an even greater challenge approaches. Can a woman find her place on the front line of battle? Will Lucy be able to follow her dreams – and find love – in a world shattered by war?
After having travelled west for weeks, the party of pioneers comes to a crossroads. It is time for their leader, George Donner, to make a choice. They face two diverging paths which lead to the same destination. One is well-documented – the other untested, but rumoured to be shorter.
Donner’s decision will shape the lives of everyone travelling with him. The searing heat of the desert gives way to biting winds and a bitter cold that freezes the cattle where they stand. Driven to the brink of madness, the ill-fated group struggles to survive and minor disagreements turn into violent confrontations. Then the children begin to disappear. As the survivors turn against each other, a few begin to realise that the threat they face reaches beyond the fury of the natural elements, to something more primal and far more deadly.
Based on the true story of The Donner Party, The Hunger is an eerie, shiver-inducing exploration of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.