Last of the Giants
By Mick Wall
Many millions of words have already been written about Guns N' Roses, the old line-up, the new line-up. But none of them have ever really gotten to the truth. Which is this: Guns N' Roses has always been a band out of time, the Last of the Giants. They are what every rock band since the Rolling Stones has tried and nearly always failed to be: dangerous. At a time when smiling, MTV-friendly, safe-sex, just-say-no Bon Jovi was the biggest band in the world, here was a band that seemed to have leapt straight out of the coke-smothered pages of the original, golden-age, late-sixties rock scene.'Live like a suicide', the band used to say when they all lived together in the Hell House, their notorious LA home. And this is where Mick Wall first met them, and became part of their inner circle, before famously being denounced by name by Axl Rose in the song 'Get in the Ring'.But this book isn't about settling old scores. Written with the clear head that 25 years later brings you, this is a celebration of Guns N' Roses the band, and of Axl Rose the frontman who really is that thing we so desperately want him to be: the last of the truly extraordinary, all-time great, no apologies, no explanations, no giving-a-shit rock stars. The last of his kind.
The Last Days of Leda Grey
By Essie Fox
'Leda Grey's world is utterly beguiling' THE TIMES Book of the WeekA bewitching novel about an enigmatic silent film actress, and the volatile love affair that left her a recluse for over half a century - for fans of Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier.During the oppressive heat wave of 1976 a young journalist, Ed Peters, finds an Edwardian photograph in a junk shop in the seaside town of Brightland. It shows an alluring, dark-haired girl, an actress whose name was Leda Grey.Enchanted by the image, Ed learns Leda Grey is still living - now a recluse in a decaying cliff-top house she once shared with a man named Charles Beauvois, a director of early silent film. As Beauvois's muse and lover, Leda often starred in scenes where stage magic and trick photography were used to astonishing effect. But, while playing a cursed Egyptian queen, the fantasies captured on celluloid were echoed in reality, leaving Leda abandoned and alone for more than half a century - until the secrets of her past result in a shocking climax, more haunting than any to be in found in the silent films of Charles Beauvois.'A richly evocative story, brimming with intrigue and suspense' M.L. Stedman, author of THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS
By Ray Connolly
What was it like to be Elvis Presley? What did it feel like when impossible fame made him its prisoner? As the world's first rock star there was no one to tell him what to expect, no one with whom he could share the burden of being himself - of being Elvis.On the outside he was all charm, sex appeal, outrageously confident on stage and stunningly gifted in the recording studio. To his fans he seemed to have it all. He was Elvis. With his voice and style influencing succeeding generations of musicians, he should have been free to sing any song he liked, to star in any film he was offered, and to tour in any country he chose. But he wasn't free. The circumstances of his poor beginnings in the American South, which, as he blended gospel music with black rhythm and blues and white country songs, helped him create rock and roll, had left him with a lifelong vulnerability. Made rich and famous beyond his wildest imaginings when he mortgaged his talent to the machinations of his manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker, there would be an inevitable price to pay. Though he daydreamed of becoming a serious film actor, instead he grew to despise his own movies and many of the songs he had to sing in them. He could have rebelled. But he didn't. Why? In the Seventies, as the hits rolled in again, and millions of fans saw him in a second career as he sang his way across America, he talked of wanting to tour the world. But he never did. What was stopping him?BEING ELVIS takes a clear-eyed look at the most-loved entertainer ever, and finds an unusual boy with a dazzling talent who grew up to change popular culture; a man who sold a billion records and had more hits than any other singer, but who became trapped by his own frailties in the loneliness of fame.
The Painter of Souls
By Philip Kazan
Beauty can be a gift...or a wicked temptation...So it is for Filippo Lippi, growing up in Renaissance Florence. He has a talent - not only can he see the beauty in everything, he can capture it, paint it. But while beauty can seduce you, and art can transport you - it cannot always feed you or protect you. To survive, Pippo Lippi, orphan, street urchin, budding rogue, must first become Fra Filippo Lippi: Carmelite friar, man of God. His life will take him down two paths at once. He will become a gambler, a forger, a seducer of nuns; and at the same time he will be the greatest painter of his time, the teacher of Botticelli and the confidante of the Medicis.So who is he really - lover, believer, father, teacher, artist? Which man? Which life? Is anything true except the paintings? An extraordinary journey of passion, art and intrigue, The Painter of Souls takes us to a time and place in Italy's history where desire reigns and salvation is found in the strangest of places.
A Life in Parts
By Bryan Cranston
A poignant, intimate, funny, inspiring memoir - both a coming-of-age story and a meditation on creativity, devotion, and craft - from Bryan Cranston, beloved and acclaimed star of one of history's most successful TV shows, Breaking Bad. Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father cast him in a United Way commercial. Acting was clearly the boy's destiny, until one day his father disappeared. Destiny suddenly took a backseat to survival. Now, in his riveting memoir, Cranston maps his zigzag journey from abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he's played in real life - paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father. Cranston also chronicles his evolution on camera, from soap opera player trying to master the rules of show business to legendary character actor turning in classic performances as Seinfeld dentist Tim Whatley, "a sadist with newer magazines," and Malcolm in the Middle dad Hal Wilkerson, a lovable bumbler in tighty-whities. He also gives an inspiring account of how he prepared, physically and mentally, for the challenging role of President Lyndon Johnson, a tour de force that won him a Tony to go along with his four Emmys. Of course, Cranston dives deep into the grittiest details of his greatest role, explaining how he searched inward for the personal darkness that would help him create one of the most memorable performances ever captured on screen: Walter White, chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin. Discussing his life as few men do, describing his art as few actors can, Cranston has much to say about creativity, devotion, and craft, as well as innate talent and its challenges and benefits and proper maintenance. But ultimately A Life in Parts is a story about the joy, the necessity, and the transformative power of simple hard work.
Rage of Ares
By Christian Cameron
Arimnestos of Plataea was one of the heroes of the Battle of Marathon, in which the heroic Greeks halted the invading Persians in their tracks, and fought in the equally celebrated naval battle at Salamis. But even these stunning victories only served to buy the Greeks time, as the Persians gathered a new army, returning with overwhelming force to strike the final killing blow. For the Greeks, divided and outnumbered, there was only one possible strategy: attack. And so, in the blazing summer of 479 BC, Arimnestos took up his spear one final time at the Battle of Plataea.
The Last Debutante
By Lesley Lokko
A captivating family drama about sisters and long-held secrets spanning from the 1930s to the present day, perfect for fans of Downton Abbey. 1936, Chalfont Hall, Dorset, and as the dressmaker puts the last pins in her dress, thirteen-year-old Kit is wondering why she has to go through the charade of seeing her sister Lily presented at Court. With her waves of auburn hair and her piercing green eyes, Kit knows that her sister's place on the social scene is guaranteed regardless of her dress, and as the door to a life of parties and eligible young men opens for Lily, Kit must make do with tiptoeing around the gallery of Chalfont, eavesdropping on the conversations of the grown-ups. But the arrival one evening of a distinctly German visitor soon sets in motion a chain of events that none of the family could have anticipated. Years later, the aftershock of events will be felt by a new generation . . .
By Mick Wall
Prince was an icon. A man who defined an era of music and changed the shape of popular culture forever. There is no doubt that he was one of the most talented and influential artists of all time, and also one of the most mysterious. On 21st April 2016 the world lost its Prince; it was the day the music died.This book will open a door to Prince's world like never before - from his traumatic childhood and demonic pursuit of music as a means of escape, to his rise to superstardom, professional rivalries and marriages shrouded in tragedy, internationally bestselling music writer Mick Wall explores the historical, cultural and personal backdrop that gave rise to an artist the likes of which the world has never seen - and never will again.Mick, a lifelong Prince fan, was one of the first UK journalists to ever write about this enigmatic star, and it was his story that put Prince on the cover of Kerrang magazine in 1984 and inspired the biggest mailbag of letters the magazine has ever had. As Prince sang in '7', 'no one in the whole universe will ever compare', and this book is a shining tribute to the forever incomparable Prince.
By Julia Gregson
Oxfordshire, 1947. Exhausted by the war and nursing a tragic secret, Kit Smallwood flees to Wickam Farm to recuperate. There she throws herself into helping Daisy set up a charity sending midwives to India. Daisy's plan is fraught with danger. With newly-acquired Independence, many of India's people furiously resent the English for withdrawing so quickly, blaming them for the riots that left millions dead. When Kit meets Anto, a handsome, complicated but charming trainee doctor nearing the end of his English education, she falls utterly in love. Anto makes her laugh and marriage should be the easiest thing in the world. But when he informs his family that he is shortly to return home with an English bride, his parents are appalled. Despite being Anglo-Indian herself, Kit's own mother is equally horrified. She has spent most of her life trying to erase a painful past and losing her daughter to an Indian man is her worst fear realized. As they journey to a new life in India, Kit begins to realize the seriousness of what she has undertaken. Thrown into the heart of a traditional Indian family in a rapidly changing world, Kit has much to learn about the nature of home and the depth of her love for Anto.
By Mick Wall
In 'The Ace of Spades', Motörhead's most famous song, Lemmy, the born-to-lose, live-to-win frontman of the band sang, 'I don't want to live forever'. Yet as he told his friend of 35 years, former PR and biographer Mick Wall, 'Actually, I want to go the day before forever. To avoid the rush...'. This is his strange but true story. Brutally frank, painfully funny, wincingly sad, and always beautifully told, LEMMY: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY is the story of the only rock'n'roller never to sell his soul for silver and gold, while keeping the devil, as he put it, 'very close to my side'. From school days growing up in North Wales, to first finding fame in the mid-60s with the Rockin' Vicars ('We were very big up north, I had a Zephyr 6'); from being Jimi Hendrix's personal roadie ('I would score acid for him'), to leading Hawkwind to the top of the charts in 1972 with 'Silver Machine' ('I was fired for taking the wrong drugs'); from forming Motörhead ('I wanted to call the band Bastard but my manager wouldn't let me'), whose iconoclastic album NO SLEEP 'TIL HAMMERSMITH entered the UK charts at No. 1 - and its title into the lexicon of hip-speak.Based on Mick's original interviews with Lemmy conducted over numerous years, along with the insights of those who knew him best - former band mates, friends, managers, fellow artists and record business insiders - this is an unputdownable story of one of Britain's greatest characters. As Lemmy once said of Wall, 'Mick Wall is one of the few rock writers in the world who can actually write and seems to know anything about rock music. I can and do talk to him for hours - poor bastard.' With the hard part of his journey now over, Lemmy is set to become a legend. LEMMY: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY explains exactly how that came to be.
By Peter Guralnick
Rock 'n' roll was born in rural Alabama, 1923, in the form of Sam Phillips, the youngest son of a large family living in a remote colony called the Lovelace Community. His father had a gift for farming, which was brought to an end by the Depression. His mother picked guitar and showed the kind of forbearance that allowed her to name her son after the doctor who delivered him drunk and then had to be put to bed himself. And yet from these unprepossessing origins, in 1951 Phillips made what is widely considered to be the first rock 'n' roll record, Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston's 'Rocket 88'. Just two years later a shy eighteen-year-old kid with sideburns, fresh out of high school, wandered into his recording studio to make a record 'for his mother', secretly hoping that it might somehow get him noticed. His name was Elvis Presley. Elvis's success, and the subsequent triumph of rock 'n' roll, was initially propelled to an almost astonishing degree by a limited number of releases by Carl 'Blue Suede Shoes' Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis - all from this tiny, one-man label. An engaging mix of biography and anecdote, Peter Guralnick's book brilliantly recreates one shining moment in the history of popular culture. And Sam Phillips was the man who brought it all about.
Call the Midlife
By Chris Evans
During his run into turning fifty, Chris Evans is on a mission. To take stock of where he is and where he's at in order to figure out how best to get the most out of what he believes are the best years yet to come.His typically positive and upbeat journey involves one hundred days of contemplation, research, focus, frustration and decision making, while secretly:*Training for the London MARATHON*Bringing back his cult Nineties TV show TFI FRIDAY*And the small matter of suddenly being asked to take over TOP GEAR.HEALTH, LOVE, MARRIAGE, SEX, DEATH and even RELIGION all come under his witty microscope as he poses the conundrum - MIDLIFE: CRISIS vs OPPORTUNITY ?There can only be one winner.
Master of Shadows
By Neil Oliver
In fifteenth-century Constantinople, Prince Constantine saves the life of a broken-hearted girl. But the price of his valour is high.John Grant is a young man on the edge of the world. His unique abilities carry him from his home in Scotland to the heart of the Byzantine Empire in search of a girl and the chance to fulfil a death-bed promise.Lena has remained hidden from the men who have been searching for her for many years. When she's hunted down, at last she knows what she must do.With an army amassing beyond the city's ancient walls, the fates of these three will intertwine. As the Siege of Constantinople reaches its climax, each must make a choice between head and heart, duty and destiny.