Stiff Upper Lip
By Alex Renton
'A brave and necessary book' GUARDIAN'Shocking, gripping and sobering' SUNDAY TELEGRAPHThis is the story of generations of parents, Britain's richest and grandest, who believed that being miserable at school was necessary to make a good and successful citizen. Childish suffering was a price they accepted for the preservation of their class, and their entitlement. The children who were moulded by this misery and abuse went on - as they still do - to run Britain's public institutions and private companies.Confronting the truth of his own schooldays and the crimes he witnessed, Alex Renton has revealed a much bigger story. It is of a profound malaise in the British elite, shown up by tolerance of the abuse of its own children that amounts to collusion. This culture and its traditions, and the hypocrisy, cronyism and conspiracy that underpin them, are key to any explanation of the scandals over sexual abuse, violence and cover-up in child care institutions that are now shocking the nation.As Renton shows, complicity in this is the bleak secret at the heart of today's British elite.
By Francesca Jakobi
'Brilliantly paced, moving, thoughtful and sharp. Loved it.' Renée Knight, author of Disclaimer 'Bitter, yes, but also sweet - and moving, and searching, and quietly devastating: a novel to detonate the heart' A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window'Gloriously sinister and yet heartbreaking. Brilliant' Nicci Cloke, author of Close Your EyesIt's 1969, and while the summer of love lingers in London, Gilda is consumed by the mistakes of her past. She walked out on her beloved son Reuben when he was just a boy and fears he'll never forgive her. When Reuben marries a petite blonde gentile, Gilda takes it as the ultimate rejection. Her cold, distant son seems transformed by love - a love she's craved his entire adult life. What does his new wife have that she doesn't? And how far will she go to find out? It's an obsession that will bring shocking truths about the past to light . . .Bitter is a beautiful and devastating novel about the decisions that define our lives, the fragility of love and the bond between mother and son.
The Deadly Trade
By Iain Ballantyne
The Deadly Trade is a fascinating and comprehensive account of how an initially ineffectual craft evolved into the most powerful and terrifying vessel ever invented.At the heart of this thrilling narrative lurks danger and power as acclaimed naval writer Iain Ballantyne reveals some of warfare's murkiest secrets. The cast of colourful characters includes an American who devised plunging boats to attack the British, then switched sides and tried to help the Royal Navy defeat Napoleon; a former monk who created submersible boats to assist the cause of Irish liberation; and a spy who, during the American Civil War, hid Confederate submarine secrets in her bonnet.The reader is plunged into the epic convoy battles of the twentieth century's world wars, when hopes of victory were placed on the shoulders of daring young submarine captains, many of whom perished along with the men they commanded.We learn of efforts by the British to seize Enigma material from U-boats, how Germany's so-called Grey Wolves were not always brave or invincible, and the role of American submarines in bringing Japan to its knees.Also covered are attacks by Royal Navy X-craft on Tirpitz, Nazi plans to bombard New York with primitive cruise missiles, and episodes when the Cold War era turned hot, not least the sinking of the Belgrano. The story concludes with a look at the resurgence of submarines as political and military tools and the threat of nuclear annihilation they pose.
By Leonie Frieda
'A captivating biography ... This rollicking story is packed with anecdotes' The TimesFrancis I was inconstant, amorous, hot-headed and flawed. Yet he was also arguably the most significant king that France ever had. This is his story. A contemporary of Henry VIII of England, Francis saw himself as the first Renaissance king, a man who was the exemplar of courtly and civilised behaviour throughout Europe. A courageous and heroic warrior, he was also a keen aesthete, an accomplished diplomat and an energetic ruler who turned his country into a force to be reckoned with. Yet he was also capricious, vain and arrogant, taking hugely unnecessary risks, at least one of which nearly resulted in the end of his kingdom. His great feud with his nemesis Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, defined European diplomacy and sovereignty, but his notorious alliance with the great Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Magnificent threatened to destroy everything. With access to never-before-seen private archives, Leonie Frieda's comprehensive and sympathetic account explores the life of the most human of all Renaissance monarchs - and the most enigmatic.
By Laura Barnett
'Barnett has that rare talent, like Curtis Sittenfeld or Kate Atkinson, of building up the mundane aspects of everyday life until they acquire meaning' THE TIMES'Barnett excels herself in this mesmerising ballad of a book...Greatest Hits is not just about music, it's about people: their ambitions, friendships and flaws. An absolute must read' STYLISTIf you could choose just sixteen moments to define your entire life, what would they be?Cass Wheeler has seen it all - from the searing heights of success, to earth-shattering moments of despair. She has known passion, envy, pride, fear, and love. She has been a daughter, a mother, a singer, a lover. A musician born in 1950, Cass is now taking one day to select the sixteen songs in her repertoire that have meant the most to her. And behind each song lies a story - from the day her mother abandoned her, to her passionate first love, to the moment she lost everything. The dreams, the failures, the second chances. But what made her disappear so suddenly from her public life and, most importantly, can she find her way back?
Don't Let Go
By Michel Bussi
'Michel Bussi is one of France's most ingenious crime writers... has plenty of twists and turns in store in this fast-moving novel about a long-planned act of revenge' Joan Smith, SUNDAY TIMES'Takes the reader on a thrilling ride across the remote isle in the Indian Ocean with plenty of twists and turns to keep them gripped until an epic, unexpected conclusion' Jon Coates, DAILY EXPRESSPicture the scene - an idyllic resort on the island of Réunion. Martial and Liane Bellion are enjoying the perfect moment with their six-year-old daughter. Turquoise skies, clear water, palm trees, a warm breeze...Then Liane Bellion disappears. She went up to her hotel room between 3 and 4pm and never came back. When the room is opened, it is empty, but there is blood everywhere. An employee of the hotel claims to have seen Martial in the corridor during that crucial hour.Then Martial also disappears, along with his daughter. An all-out manhunt is declared across the island. But is Martial really his wife's killer? And if he isn't, why does he appear to be so guilty?'Some writers try carefully calibrated alternations on a winning formula from book to book, but offer few surprises. That can't be said of the French author Michel Bussi... That refusal to repeat himself is evident in Don't Let Go, which is just as accomplished as its predecessors - GUARDIAN'As it draws towards its heart-pounding final pages, it's hard to concentrate on anything other than the outcome of the desperate manhunt - and the startling revelation of the truth. Inventive, original and incredibly entertaining' SUNDAY MIRROR
By Wendy Moore
Medicine, in the early 1800s, was a brutal business. Operations were performed without anaesthesia while conventional treatment relied on leeches, cupping and toxic potions. The most surgeons could offer by way of pain relief was a large swig of brandy. Onto this scene came John Elliotson, the dazzling new hope of the medical world. Charismatic and ambitious, Elliotson was determined to transform medicine from a hodge-podge of archaic remedies into a practice informed by the latest science. In this aim he was backed by Thomas Wakley, founder of the new magazine, theLancet, and a campaigner against corruption and malpractice.Then, in the summer of 1837, a French visitor - the self-styled Baron Jules Denis Dupotet - arrived in London to promote an exotic new idea: mesmerism. The mesmerism mania would take the nation by storm but would ultimately split the two friends, and the medical world, asunder - throwing into focus fundamental questions about the fine line between medicine and quackery, between science and superstition.
Down the River Unto the Sea
By Walter Mosley
Joe King Oliver was one of the NYPD's finest investigators until, dispatched to arrest a well-heeled car thief, he is framed for assault, a charge that lands him in the notorious Rikers Island prison.A decade later, King is a private detective, running his agency with the help of his teenage daughter, Aja-Denise. When he receives a card in the mail from the woman who admits she was paid by someone in the NYPD to frame him all those years ago, King realises that he has no choice but to take his own case: figuring out who on the force wanted him disposed of - and why.At the same time, King must investigate the case of black radical journalist Leonard Compton, aka A Free Man, accused of killing two on-duty police offices who had been abusing their badges to traffic drugs and women into the city's poorest neighbourhoods.In pursuit of justice, our hero must beat dirty cops and even dirtier bankers. All the while, two lives hang in the balance: Compton's, and King's own.
I Must Belong Somewhere
By Jonathan Dean
'An extraordinary family tale of survival' Sunday TimesJonathan Dean's great-grandfather, David Schapira, fled the Russian threat in Ukraine for Vienna in 1914. Blinded in the First World War, he survived to find love and start a family, only to be sent to a concentration camp during the next war. David's son, Heinz, was also a refugee. In 1939, aged 16, he embarked on a nail-biting journey to London, to escape his fate as an Austrian Jew. Drawing on David's memoir and Heinz's wartime diaries, Dean visits the places that changed the course of his family tree - Vienna, Cologne, Ukraine - where he finds history repeating itself and meets a new wave of people leaving loved ones for an uncertain future.I Must Belong Somewhere is an unforgettable family tale of exile and survival, and a powerful meditation on what it means to be a refugee today.
Dolce Vita Confidential
By Shawn Levy
SUNDAY TIMES FILM BOOK OF THE YEAR'Uproariously readable ... Levy is a master of the group biography' Sunday Times'Teeming with satisfying gossipy details' Guardian'Exalts the intoxicating, beguiling dreaminess of Rome in its celluloid heyday' TLS1950s Rome. From the ashes of war, the Eternal City is reborn as the epicentre of film, style, boldfaced libertinism and titillating journalism. It's the heyday of fashion icons such as Pucci and Brioni, and the height of 'Hollywood on the Tiber', when a dizzying array of stars flock to Cinecittà, the huge movie studio on the outskirts of Rome. At the bars on Via Veneto the likes of Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor mix with blue bloods and bohemians, while behind them trail street photographers in pursuit of the most unflattering and dramatic portraits of fame.In a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic narrative, Shawn Levy shows how all roads lead to Federico Fellini's world-conquering movie La Dolce Vita, starring Marcello Mastroianni and the Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg. He recreates Rome's stunning ascent with vivid and compelling tales of its glitterati and artists, down to every last outrageous detail of the city's magnificent transformation.
History of Wolves
By Emily Fridlund
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 MAN BOOKER PRIZE'A writer with a great future ahead of her...her prose isexquisite' LOUISE DOUGHTY, author of APPLE TREE YARDHow far would you go to belong? Fourteen-year-old Lindalives with her parents in an ex-commune beside a lake in the beautiful, austerebackwoods of northern Minnesota. The other girls at school call Linda 'Freak',or 'Commie'. Her parents mostly leave her to her own devices, whilst the otherinhabitants have grown up and moved on. So when the perfect family - mother, father and their littleboy, Paul - move into the cabin across the lake, Linda insinuates her way intotheir orbit. She begins to babysit Paul and feels welcome, that she finally hasa place to belong. Yet something isn't right. Drawn into secrets she doesn'tunderstand, Linda must make a choice. But how can a girl with no real knowledgeof the world understand what the consequences will be?'One of the most intelligent and poetic novels of the year'New Statesman
Making a Noise
By John Tusa
In almost sixty years of professional life, John Tusa has fought for and sometimes against the major arts and political institutions in the country. A distinguished journalist, broadcaster and leader of arts organisations, he has stood up publicly for the independence of the BBC, the need for public funding of the arts and for the integrity of universities. He has made enemies in the process. From the battles to create the ground-breaking Newsnight in 1979, to six years of defending the BBC World Service from political interference, Tusa's account is etched with candour. His account of two years of internecine warfare at the top of the BBC under the Chairman, 'Dukey' Hussey will go down as a major contribution to BBC history. His recollections of a hilarious and petty-minded few months as head of a Cambridge college will be read as a case study of the absurdities of academic life; while running the rejected and maligned Barbican Centre, Tusa led its recovery into the major cultural centre that it is today.Often based on personal diaries, Making a Noise is a fearless and entertaining memoir of life at the top of the arts and broadcasting.
The Reading Cure
By Laura Freeman
At the age of fourteen, Laura Freeman was diagnosed with anorexia. She had seized the one aspect of her life that she seemed able to control, and struck different foods from her diet one by one until she was starving. But even at her lowest point, the one appetite she never lost was her love of reading.As Laura battled her anorexia, she gradually re-discovered how to enjoy food - and life more broadly - through literature. Plum puddings and pottles of fruit in Dickens gave her courage to try new dishes; the wounded Robert Graves' appreciation of a pair of greengages changed the way she thought about plenty and choice; Virginia Woolf's painterly descriptions of bread, blackberries and biscuits were infinitely tempting. Book by book, meal by meal, Laura developed an appetite and discovered an entire library of reasons to live.The Reading Cure is a beautiful, inspiring account of hunger and happiness, about addiction, obsession and recovery, and about the way literature and food can restore appetite and renew hope.