By Elmore Leonard
A vintage roller-coaster ride from 'the hottest thriller writer in the US' [Time]Father Terry Dunn thought he'd seen everything on the mean streets of Detroit, but that was before he went on a little retreat to Rwanda to evade a tax-fraud indictment. Now the whiskey-drinking, Nine Inch Nails T-shirt-wearing padre is back trying to hustle up a score to help the orphans of Rwanda. But the fund-raising gets complicated when a former tattletale cohort pops up on Terry's tail. And then there's the lovely Debbie Dewey. A freshly sprung ex-con turned stand-up comic, Debbie needs some fast cash, too, to settle an old score. Now they're in together for a bigger payoff than either could finagle alone. After all, it makes sense . . . unless Father Terry is working a con of his own.
The Painter Of Battles
By Arturo Perez-Reverte
A compelling tale of art, love and war...A man lives alone in a watchtower by the sea. On the circular walls of the tower he is painting a grand mural - the timeless landscape of a battle. He is a former war photographer, and the painting is his attempt to capture the photo he was never able to take; to encapsulate, in an instant, the meaning of war. But one day a stranger knocks on his door and announces that he has come to kill him. The man is a shadow from his past, one of the myriad faces of war, and now the consequences of his actions are brought home to him. As the novel progresses, the story of both the soldier and the artist emerge, entwined with a doomed love affair, and the progress of a painting that is infused with the history of art.Intense and turbulent this is a book about art, war, love and the human capacity for both violence and empathy. It asks very profound questions about human nature and the role of the artist, but it is also has the intensity of a psychological thriller as the painter trades stories with the man who has come to kill him - like the Knight playing chess with Death in the Seventh Seal....
By A.A. Gill
The finest TV critic of our time talks about Sport, Sitcoms, News, the Weather, Children's programmes and 'Reality Television'.A.A. Gill has been the must-read television critic in the SUNDAY TIMES 'Culture' section for more than ten years. This collection of some of the best writing from his columns is broken down into themes - Sport, Costume Drama, Detectives, Children's Television, and News. And now it's over to A.A. Gill:'Those who complain, usually from the Parnassian heights of print journalism, that TV is dumbed-down and peddles dross to the lowest common denominator, citing Big Brother or Celibate Love Island, miss the point...In barely a generation, the information from television has changed the way we see the world and everyone in it. That's no small achievement. Television really does make a difference... It can bring down walls, save lives and right wrongs. It can also tell you how to put a water feature on your patio...'
By Nigel Steel, Peter Hart
A compelling account of the battle for Passchendaele from grand strategy at the highest levels right down to the experience of the ordinary infantrymen.In the autumn of 1917, after years of stalemate at Ypres, the British and French armies launched a massive offensive to take Passchendaele Ridge. Following an intensive bombardment the Allies began their attack, but the low ground between the lines had been churned into a quagmire, and the attack was literally bogged down.All surprise had been lost, and the German defence in depth was well organised. For the first time the Germans used mustard gas, while German planes flew low to strafe the British infantry with machine guns. After two and a half months the British finally took the ridge they had been aiming for, but at the cost of over 300,000 Allied lives. German losses in the offensive were estimated at 260,000.Based on the archival holdings at the Imperial War Museum, this book gathers together a wealth of material about this horrific offensive. A history to appeal to the scholar and the general reader alike.
By Julian Fellowes
SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of SNOBS and creator and writer of the international phenomenon, DOWNTON ABBEY, returns with a thrilling new novel.Damian Baxter is very, very rich - and he's dying. He lives alone in a big house in Surrey, looked after by a chauffeur, butler, cook and housemaid. He has but one concern: who should inherit his fortune...PAST IMPERFECT is the story of a quest. Damian Barker wishes to know if he has a living heir. By the time he married in his late thirties he was sterile (the result of adult mumps), but what about before that unfortunate illness? He was not a virgin. Had he sired a child? A letter from a girlfriend from these times suggests he did. But the letter is anonymous.Damian contacts someone he knew from their days at university. He gives him a list of girls he slept with and sets him a task: find his heir...
Paths of Glory
By Anthony Clayton
Anthony Clayton is an acknowledged expert on the French military, and his book is a major contribution to the study and understanding of the First World War. He reveals why and how the French army fought as it did. He profiles its senior commanders - Joffre, Petain, Nivelle and Foch - and analyses its major campaigns both on the Western Front and in the Near East and Africa. PATHS OF GLORY also considers in detail the officers, how they kept their trenches and how men from very different areas of France fought and died together. He scrutinises the make-up and performance of France's large colonial armies, and investigates the mutinies of 1917. Ultimately, he reveals how the traumatic French experience of the 1914-18 war indelibly shaped a nation.
The Pattern On The Stone
By Daniel Hillis
Will computers become thinking machines? A scientist at the cutting-edge of current research gives his provocative analysis.The world was shocked when a computer, Deep Blue defeated Gary Kasparov, arguably the greatest human chess player ever to have lived. This remarkable victory, and other, more day-to-day innovations, beg serious questions: what are the limits of what computers can do? Can they think? Do they learn?Discussions of these questions tend to get muddled because most people have only the vaguest idea of how computers actually work. This book explains the inner workings of computers in a way that does not require a profound knowledge of mathematics nor an understanding of electrical engineering. Starting with an account of how computers are built and why they work, W. Daniel Hillis describes what they can and cannot do - at the present time - before explaining how a computer can surpass its programmer and, finally, where humanity has reached in its quest for a true Thinking Machine.
By Philip Norman
The first biography written with Paul McCartney's approval and with access to family members and friends closest to him.Superbly evoking half a century of popular music and culture, Paul McCartney is the definitive life of a long-misunderstood genius.In this masterly biography, history's most successful songwriter, a man of seemingly effortless talent, beauty and charm, is revealed as a complex, insecure workaholic who still feels as great a need to prove himself in his seventies as when he was a teenager.We learn how his boyhood was blighted by the death of his mother, Mary - later the inspiration for 'Let It Be' - but redeemed by his remarkable father, Jim, a Liverpool cotton-salesman who was his only music-teacher and whose influence has permeated his career.We understand as never before the creative symbiosis between John Lennon and himself that unlocked the extraordinary treasury of their songs for the Beatles when they were barely into their twenties, and the fierce rivalry which lasted beyond the band's break-up to the end of John's life - and still haunts and inspires Paul to this day.Here for the first time is the full story of Paul post-Beatles: his trauma after being brutally sidelined by John, George and Ringo over the appointment of their last manager, Allen Klein; his near-breakdown on his remote Scottish farm and dogged determination to build a new band, Wings, into as big a name in the 1970s as the Beatles had been in the 1960s.Here too is the first inside story of his marriage to Linda Eastman, much criticised at the outset but destined to become the longest and strongest in rock until her death from cancer. Here are the traumatic post-Linda years when his charmed life seemed temporarily to crack up: his whirlwind romance with Heather Mills ending after four years' marriage in one of the most expensive and rancorous divorces in British legal history. As richly fascinating and dramatic as its subject, Paul McCartney: The Biography is the last word on a man whose music has lit up the world.
By Adrian Goldsworthy
The Pax Romana is famous for having provided a remarkable period of peace and stability, rarely seen before or since. Yet the Romans were first and foremost conquerors, imperialists who took by force a vast empire stretching from the Euphrates in the east to the Atlantic coast in the west. Their peace meant Roman victory and was brought about by strength and dominance rather than co-existence with neighbours. The Romans were aggressive and ruthless, and during the creation of their empire millions died or were enslaved.But the Pax Romana was real, not merely the boast of emperors, and some of the regions in the Empire have never again lived for so many generations free from major wars. So what exactly was the Pax Romana and what did it mean for the people who found themselves brought under Roman rule?Acclaimed historian Adrian Goldsworthy tells the story of the creation of the Empire, revealing how and why the Romans came to control so much of the world and asking whether the favourable image of the Roman peace is a true one. He chronicles the many rebellions by the conquered, and describes why these broke out and why most failed. At the same time, he explains that hostility was only one reaction to the arrival of Rome, and from the start there was alliance, collaboration and even enthusiasm for joining the invaders, all of which increased as resistance movements faded away.A ground-breaking and comprehensive history of the Roman Peace, Pax Romana takes the reader on a journey from the bloody conquests of an aggressive Republic through the age of Caesar and Augustus to the golden age of peace and prosperity under diligent emperors like Marcus Aurelius, offering a balanced and nuanced reappraisal of life in the Roman Empire.
By Craig Nelson
On 7 December 1941, an armada of 354 Japanese warplanes supported by aircraft carriers, destroyers and midget submarines launched a surprise attack on the United States, killing 2,403 people and forcing America's entry into the Second World War. Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness follows the sailors, soldiers, pilots, diplomats, admirals, generals, emperor and president as they engineer, fight and react to this stunningly dramatic moment in world history.In vivid prose Craig Nelson maps the road to war, beginning in 1914 with a young Franklin D. Roosevelt, the man who would become president, attending the laying of the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He also traces Japan's leaders as they lurch into ultranationalist fascism, culminating in their insanely daring yet militarily brilliant scheme to terrify America with one of the boldest attacks ever waged.The result is a thrilling historical drama on the grandest scale. Nelson delivers all the terror, chaos, violence, tragedy and heroism of the attack in stunning detail, and offers surprising conclusions about the tragedy's unforeseen consequences that resonate even today.
Pelagia And The Red Rooster
By Boris Akunin
The next caper in the Sister Pelagia mystery from the bestselling author of THE WINTER QUEEN.Returning from the Synod in St Petersburg - and an official rebuke of her crime-fighting ways - Sister Pelagia finds herself aboard a steamer dodging pickpockets, zealots and a sinister man with a detachable eye.But a brutal murder in the next cabin spells the end of her sleuthing retirement, and the start of an investigation that will take her to the Holy Land and far beyond.Pelagia's journey is peppered with tales of miracles and roosters, and caves that act as portals to other worlds. But an assassin is closing in, pursuing the sister to the land of the Gospels where her criminal enquiry becomes a spiritual enquiry as she sets down her knitting needles to question the very foundations of her faith...
Pelagia And The Black Monk
By Boris Akunin
Sister Pelagia, bespectacled, freckled, woefully clumsy and possessed of a not very nunnish aptitude for solving crimes, returns in a tale of monastic intrigue, murder and adventure.Just as the dust from the case of the White Bulldog begins to settle in the small Russian town of Zavolzhsk, its sleepy rural existence is shaken up once again by the arrival of a desperately frightened monk who seeks the help of the bishop, Mitrofanii.The monks have been troubled by visions of a dark, hooded figure that appears to walk on the waters of the vast Blue Lake surrounding their monastery. Sceptical of ghost stories, Mitrofanii sends first his clever young ward, then two of his most trusted advisors, to investigate the mystery. All meet with unexpected fates.Finally Sister Pelagia takes matters into her own hands and, adopting a number of ingenious disguises, she ventures across the Blue Lake in search of answers. As she delves deeper into the layers of secrecy that cloak the islanders, and as the body count continues to rise, Pelagia begins to realise that an encounter with a ghost may be the least of her problems...
Pelagia and the White Bulldog
By Boris Akunin
Canine conspiracies, spurned lovers, murderous greed, jealousy, politics, power and knitting: Pelagia and the White Bulldog marks the beginning of an addictively entertaining new crime series from the internationally bestselling author, Boris Akunin.In the dying days of the nineteenth century, the small Russian town of Zavolzhsk is shaken out of its sleepy rural existence by the arrival from St Petersburg of a Synodical Inspector with a hidden agenda and a dangerously persuasive manner. Meanwhile, in the nearby country estate of Drozdovka, one of the prized white Bulldogs - prized because of its one brown ear, and its propensity to drool - belonging to the cantankerous lady of the house has been poisoned. The old widow has taken to her bed, sick with fear that her two remaining dogs may face a similar fate, and the many potential beneficiaries of her will wait fretfully to see whether or not she will recover.Sister Pelagia: bespectacled, freckled, woefully clumsy and astonishingly resourceful is summoned by the Bishop of Zavolzhsk to investigate the bulldog's death. But her investigation soon takes a far more sinister turn when two headless bodies are pulled out of the river on the edge of the estate.
The Perfect Distance
By Pat Butcher
The definitive, fully authorised story of the record-breaking rivalry between London Olympics organiser Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett.Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe presided over the golden era of British athletics. Between them they won three Olympic gold medals, two silvers, one bronze and broke a total of twelve middle-distance records. They were part of the landscape of the late seventies and early eighties -- both household names, their exploits were watched by millions. As far apart as possible in terms of class and upbringing -- Ovett is the art student, the long-haired son of a market-trader from Brighton, a natural athlete; Coe's formative years were spent under the rigorous training routine of Peter Coe, a self-taught trainer who referred to his son as 'my athlete' -- their rivalry burned as intense on the track as away from it. The pendulum swung between the pair of them -- each breaking the other's records, and, memorably, triumphing in each other's events in Moscow in 1980 -- for the best part of a decade, until the final showdown at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 . . .The Perfect Distance is both a detailed re-creation and a fitting celebration of the greatest era of British athletics.
A Perfect Mess
By Eric Abrahamson, David H. Freedman
How Crammed Cupboards, Cluttered Offices, and Off-the-Cuff Planning make the World a Better Place.Like the bestselling Freakonomics or Blink, here is a book that combines a professor's expertise with stories from everyday life to provide a striking new view of how our world works. Ever since Einstein's study of Brownian Motion, scientists have understood that a little disorder actually makes systems more effective. But most people still shun disorder, or suffer guilt over the mess they can't avoid. No longer! With a spectacular array of anecdotes and case studies of the useful role mess can play, here is an antidote to the accepted wisdom that tight schedules, neatness and consistency are the keys to success. Drawing on examples from business, parenting, cooking, the war on terrorism, retail and even the meteoric career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, co-authors Abrahamson and Freedman demonstrate that moderately messy systems use resources more efficiently, yield better solutions and are harder to break than neat ones. A PERFECT MESS will help readers assess what the right amount of disorder is for a given system, and how to apply these ideas on to a large scale - government or society - and on a small scale - in your attic, kitchen or office. A PERFECT MESS will forever change the way we think about those unruly heaps of paper on our desks.
The Perfect Kill
By Robert Baer
What is the definition of assassination? Robert Baer's boss at the CIA once told him, 'It's a bullet with a man's name on it.' Sometimes assassination is the senseless act of a psychotic, a bloodletting without social value. Other times, it can be the sanest and most humane way to change the course of conflict: one bullet, one death, case closed. Assassination has been dramatised by literature and politicised by infamous murders throughout history, and for Robert Baer, one of the most accomplished agents ever to work for the CIA, it's a source of endless fascination. Over several decades, Baer served as an operative, from Iraq to India and beyond. In THE PERFECT KILL, he takes us on a wildly entertaining narrative adventure through a history of political murder, interweaving his first-hand experience and his decades-long cat-and-mouse hunt for the greatest assassin of the modern age. A true maverick with an undeniably captivating personal story, Baer pulls back the curtain to give a glimpse of the underbelly of world politics, and the quiet murderers who operate on the fringe of our society.
By Antonia Fraser
The two-year revolution that totally changed how Britain is governed.Internationally bestselling historian Antonia Fraser's new book brilliantly evokes one year of pre-Victorian political and social history - the passing of the Great Reform Bill of 1832. For our inconclusive times, there is an attractive resonance with 1832, with its 'rotten boroughs' of Old Sarum and the disappearing village of Dunwich, and its lines of most resistance to reform. This book is character-driven - on the one hand, the reforming heroes are the Whig aristocrats Lord Grey, Lord Althorp and Lord John Russell, and the Irish orator Daniel O'Connell. They included members of the richest and most landed Cabinet in history, yet they were determined to bring liberty, which whittled away their own power, to the country. The all-too-conservative opposition comprised Lord Londonderry, the Duke of Wellington, the intransigent Duchess of Kent and the consort of the Tory King William IV, Queen Adelaide. Finally, there were 'revolutionaries' and reformers, like William Cobbett, the author of RURAL RIDES.This is a book that features one eventful year, much of it violent. There were riots in Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham, and wider themes of Irish and 'negro emancipation' underscore the narrative. The time-span of the book is from Wellington's intractable declaration in November 1830 that 'The beginning of reform is the beginning of revolution', to 7th June 1832, the date of the extremely reluctant royal assent by William IV to the Great Reform Bill, under the double threat of the creation of 60 new peers in the House of Lords and the threat of revolution throughout the country. These events led to a total change in the way Britain was governed, a two-year revolution that Antonia Fraser brings to vivid dramatic life.
The Periodic Kingdom
By Peter Atkins
A 'travel guide' to the periodic table, explaining the history, geography and the rules of behaviour in this imagined land.The Periodic Kingdom is a journey of imagination in which Peter Atkins treats the periodic table of elements - the 109 chemical elements in the world, from which everything is made - as a country, a periodic kingdom, each region of which corresponds to an element. Arranged much like a travel guide, the book introduces the reader to the general features of the table, the history of the elements, and the underlying arrangement of the table in terms of the structure and properties of atoms.Atkins sees elements as finely balanced living personalities, with quirks of character and certain, not always outward, dispositions, and the kingdom is thus a land of intellectual satisfaction and infinite delight.
By Katharine Graham
As seen in the new movie The Post, directed by Stephen Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep, here is the captivating, inside story of the woman who piloted the Washington Post during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of American media.Katharine Graham's father was a multi-millionaire who left private business and government service to buy and restore the down-and-out Washington Post. Her husband Phil Graham was a brilliant and charismatic man whose plunge into manic depression and eventual suicide is recounted movingly and charitably in this book. Above all, Katharine Graham tells her own story - the contradictions of her privileged yet lonely childhood; the tragic drama of her marriage - and the challenges of her new life as the head of a great newspaper company. An extraordinarily frank, honest and generous book by one of America's most famous and admired women, owner of one of its greatest newspapers, the Washington Post. This is more than the mere life story of a successful woman. It deals with power and politics at the centre, and the relationship between the White House and the press, notably over the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.
The Philosopher's Apprentice
By James Morrow
A philosopher is given the task of teaching a mysterious child, but does not foresee the consequences for his protegee...After crashing and burning during his PhD viva, Mason Ambrose is offered a large amount of money to go to a mysterious tropical island - Isla de Sangre. His employer is wealthy recluse Edwina Sabachtani whose daughter has supposedly lost her sense of right and wrong after a diving accident. Mason is to use his knowledge as a philosopher to instil a conscience, a moral compass in the child.Mason happily instructs her in schools of thought, from the stoics to the epicureans, but it is when he introduces Londa to the Beatitudes that the seeds of a rampaging sense of justice are sown. Venturing from the confines of the island, Londa sets out to create a world that is more just. But when she takes her crusade too far, kidnapping a boat full of wealthy industrialists, Mason realises he must take desperate measures...