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Busy mum of twins Liv is looking forward to a week at the Beach Hut in Devon, even if she feels that something's not right between her and Matt. She’s sure he’s just too busy at work to join them on their summer holiday, not that he wants time alone…
Baz loves having his family to stay by the sea, but when an unexpected guest arrives, he finds himself torn between the past and the future…
Still reeling from a break-up, all Sofia wants is a quiet summer – until she meets Baz and her plans are turned upside down. She knows she’s rushing into things, but could this week at the Beach Hut be the start of something new?
And back home, Matt might be missing Liv and the children, but when an old friend appears he finds himself distracted... What does she know about his family’s past that she’s not letting on?
As tensions rise over seven days in summer, the lives of the holidaymakers begin to take an unexpected turn…
Praise for Marcia Willett:
'A beautifully woven tale of families and their secrets...' Liz Fenwick, bestselling author of THE CORNISH HOUSE
'A genuine voice of our times' The Times
'Riveting, moving and utterly feel-good' Daily Mail
'Sweeping powers of description transport her readers to another time and place' Rosanna Ley, bestselling author of THE VILLA
Summer, 1572 and England is vulnerable.
Fear of plague and insurrection taint the air, and heresy, fanaticism and religious unrest seethe beneath the surface of society. Rumour and mistrust lead to imprisonment, torture and sometimes murder. To the young lawyer Christopher Radcliff and his patron and employer, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the prospects for peace are poor.
As Leicester's chief intelligencer, Radcliff is charged with investigating both rumours of rebellion at home and invasion from abroad. That the queen's own cousin, the Duke of Norfolk, is found guilty of treason is a sign of just how deep the dissent goes. Supporters of the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots foment revolt, but the papist threat doesn't just come from within. Across the channel, France is being swept up in a frenzy of brutal and bloody religious persecution while England's other enemy of old, Spain, makes preparations to invade. Christopher's own life is far from orderly. His relationship with the widow Katherine Allington is somewhat turbulent and he knows full well that the cut-throat world of court politics leaves no room for indiscretions.
So England is a powder-keg, waiting for a spark to ignite it. And then a whisper of a plot that could provide that spark reaches Christopher. All he has to go on is a single word - 'incendium'.
But what does it mean and who lies behind it? He must find the answers before it is too late . . .
Published: 23 Feb 2017
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.
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
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
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 . . .
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.
'A real race-through read. Bolton's writing is pacy, and features a brilliant twist I wish I'd written.' Clare Mackintosh, bestselling author of I See You (in Shortlist)
'For once, the description "impossible to put down" is fully merited, for this is an absolute page-turner' Daily Mail
'With Dead Woman Walking, Sharon Bolton exceeds her own high standards of excellence. It grips from the start . . . The plot merges skilfully, with many splendid twists along the way' The Times
Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.
She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.
Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . .
'Bolton is a gripping storyteller with fine, haunted characters' Peter James
'Crepuscular, uncanny mystery' Guardian
'Bolton establishes a forbidding atmosphere . . . A slippery, devious narrative in which things are not always what they seem' Crime Scene
Return to Ragley for Jack Sheffield's delightful eleventh novel - a nostalgic and humorous story set in the early 1950s.
It’s 1952 and Lily Briggs has just arrived in Ragley, ready to begin her first school year as a teacher at the village school. There to welcome her is John Pruett who, after his years in the war, has settled into the role of headmaster. Tom Feather, the local bobby, is also on hand to make her feel at home up north. But Lily has a secret lurking in her past that threatens the new life she’s trying to build. Can she move forward and begin to love again? Only time will tell.
In his eleventh novel, Jack Sheffield invites you to travel back in time. Back to the days when owning a television made you the envy of the neighbours, Woolworth’s still had pride of place on the high street and the village panto was the height of entertainment... A beautifully crafted novel, filled with characters that will feel familiar to anyone who has spent time in an English village.
Readers love Jack Sheffield:
'Wry observation and heartwarming humour in equal measure' Alan Titchmarsh
'Overflowing with amusing anecdotes' Daily Express
'Amusing adventures at the North Yorkshire village school' Choice
'Jack Sheffield's in a class of his own' York Press
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 . . .
'A character destined for television' Daily Mail
'Dhand is a fearless writer' Sunday Times
It is an ordinary Yorkshire morning, cold and miserable.
The streets are not yet busy. Police cars hurriedly pull up in the centre of town, but none of their lights are flashing and the sirens are silent.
A body has been found, elaborately and painstakingly positioned to send a message. But what message? And to who?
It’s DCI Harry Virdee’s job to find out. But Harry doesn’t know that the killer is watching him, that the killer is coming for him.
Because this is personal.
A DI Harry Virdee Thriller
AD 80 Gaius Valerius Verrens is back where he belongs, at the head of a legion. But this is no ordinary legion. His command is the ‘unlucky’ Ninth, tainted by four decades of ill fortune and poor leadership. A unit regarded as expendable by Valerius’s superior, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, governor of Britannia.
Yet all that can be swept aside by a single moment of glory, and the long heralded invasion of the north of the province provides the perfect opportunity. Valerius leads his men to a devastating victory against the recalcitrant Brigantes, infuriating Agricola in the process. Soon, even greater honours beckon with the death of Emperor Vespasian and the succession of Valerius’s friend, Titus.
But, back in Rome, the new emperor faces his own challenges, not least from his own brother, Domitian, a man with an insatiable ambition for power and a deadly hatred of Valerius.
All Valerius can do is forget the great prizes on offer, concentrate on defeating the savage tribes who lie in the path of the Ninth, and ignore Agricola’s intrigues.
But watching his every move is the most formidable enemy he has ever faced: mighty Calgacus, war chief of the Northern alliance.
It is a hundred millennia after Iron Gods. The Spin is at the end of its life and its diminished inhabitants are divided between those who live unknowingly in the relative paradise of one of hundreds of Virtual Realities - 'vrealities' - and those who scrape a living in what remains of the real world. But running the increasingly huge servers needed to maintain the vrealities is draining the last resources of the Spin, leading to conflict between those who tend the servers and those who believe they should simply be switched off, and so killing millions. There is one individual who divides his time between the real and the vrealities, finds himself caught up in this escalating and seemingly futile war.
Meanwhile, in a remote star system, an ancient insectoid called Skarbo the Horologist observes The Spin. He has been doing so for several lifetimes. But now he notes the accelerating signs of decline in what he unfashionably considers to be a giant complex clock. And Skarbo too is about to die for the very last time. He had resigned himself to never visiting the object of his studies, but decides to make a last journey - travelling across a war-torn galaxy to what will be his final destination: the Spin. There he will learn of the artificial system's past - and its future - while there is one who will discover the real nature of the vrealities - and the part he has to play in their future . . .
Returning to the extraordinarily-envisioned artificial planetary cluster called the Spin - Stone Clock is the third thrilling work of space opera from the acclaimed author of Creation Machine.
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'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?
Returning readers to the turbulent early history of what would become the Malazan Empire, the second chapter in Ian C. Esslemont's thrilling new epic fantasy sequence . . .
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To do so they join forces with a small band of Napans who have fled a civil war on their own home island. The plan, however, soon goes awry as Kellanved develops a strange and dangerous fascination for a mysterious ancient structure found on the island.
The chaos in the region extends to the metaphysical planes also as a young priest of D'rek starts to question the rot at the heart of the worship of the god of decay. And back in Li Heng, Dassem, now the proclaimed Sword of Hood, finds himself being blamed for a plague which leads him to a crisis of faith - and searching for answers.
During all this, war with the neighbouring island of Nap threatens, recruited allies wonder at Kellanved’s sanity, and powerful entities take more of an interest in the little mage from Dal Hon. Dancer faces a hard choice: should he give up on his partnership? Especially when the fellow’s obsession with shadows and ancient artefacts brings the both of them alarmingly close to death and destruction.
After all, who in his right mind would actually wish to enter an Elder mystery known to everyone as the 'Deadhouse'?