Close But No Cigar
By Stephen Purvis
For over a decade Stephen Purvis had been a pillar of Havana's expat community, one of many foreign businessmen investing in Cuba's crawl from Cold War communism towards modernity. But for reasons unknown to him he was also under State Security's microscope. One morning during the height of President Raúl Castro's purges in 2012, while his family slept the unmarked Ladas of State Security arrived at his home and he was taken away into the absurd and brutal world of Cuban justice.In this engrossing memoir, Purvis recounts his fifteen-month ordeal. Accused at first of selling state secrets, he is taken to the notorious interrogation centre Villa Marista, where he endures brutal conditions designed by the KGB and Stasi to break the bodies and minds of spies and political prisoners, and resists the paranoia and incompetence of his jailers. Later, held in a maximum-security prison, he finds himself surrounded by a motley crew of convicts: people-smugglers and drug-runners together with a handful of confused businessmen also awaiting formal charges.From his arrest to his farcical secret trial and sudden release, Purvis exposes the madness of modern Cuba with wit, grit and a sharp eye for character. As tourists flock to Havana to marvel at a city frozen in time, he shows that despite reforms and international reconciliation the Castro regime remains a corrupt, dictatorial relic. CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR is part thriller, part comedy and part morality tale, but most of all a true story that takes the reader into a dark side of a sunny place that remains an enigma.
By Lindy Woodhead
War Paint is the story of two extraordinary women, Miss Elizabeth Arden and Madame Helena Rubinstein, and the legacy they left: a story of feminine vanity and marketing genius. Behind the gloss and glamour lay obsession with business and rivalry with each other. Despite working for over six decades in the same business, these two geniuses never met face to face - until now. 'The definitive biography of women and their relationships to their faces in the twentieth century' Linda Grant, Guardian'I have seldom enjoyed a book so much . . . the research is staggering . . . a wonderful read' Lulu Guinness
Trenchard: Father of the Royal Air Force
By Russell Miller
Hugh 'Boom' Trenchard was embarrassed by being described as 'The Father of the Royal Air Force' - he thought others were more deserving. But the reality was that no man did more to establish the world's first independent air force and ensure its survival in the teeth of fierce opposition from both the Admiralty and the War Office. Born in Taunton in 1873, Trenchard struggled at school, not helped by the shame of his solicitor father's bankruptcy when he was sixteen. He failed entrance examinations to both the Royal Navy and the Army several times, eventually obtaining a commission through the 'back door' of the militia. After service in India, South Africa - where he was seriously wounded - and Nigeria, he found his destiny when he joined the fledgling Royal Flying Corps in 1912, where he was soon known as 'Boom' thanks to his stentorian voice. Quick to recognise the huge potential aircraft offered in future conflicts, he rose rapidly to command the RFC in France during the First World War despite handicaps that would have blighted conventional military careers: he was obstinate, tactless, inarticulate and chronically unable to remember names - yet he was able to inspire unflagging loyalty among all ranks. Despite his conspicuous distrust of politicians, he served as a successful Chief of the Air Staff for a decade after the war and then, at the personal request of the King, took over as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, which he reorganised and reformed. He never wavered in his belief that mastery of the air could only be achieved by relentless offensive action, or in his determined advocacy of strategic bombing. His most enduring legacy was the creation of the finest air force in the world, engendered with the spirit that won the Battle of Britain.
A World Without Mind
By Franklin Foer
The Little Ghost Girl
By Maggie Hartley
Ruth was a ghost of a girl when she arrived into foster mother Maggie Hartley's care. Pale, frail and withdrawn, it was clear to Maggie that Ruth had seen and experienced things that no 11-year-old should have to, that she's been conditioned to 'see no evil, speak no evil'. Ruth is in desperate need of help, but can Maggie get through to her and unlock the harrowing secret she carries? Through love, reassurance and patience, Maggie starts to unravel Ruth's painful past - a past defined by cruelty and abuse by the very people who should have protected her. Raised by a cruel stepmother and her father after her own mum abandoned her, Ruth was abused, underfed and ignored, while her half-siblings lived a life of luxury. It's up to Maggie to help Ruth find her voice; to be a ghost no more, and bring those who've harmed her to justice.
A Family For Christmas
By Maggie Hartley
When foster carer Maggie Hartley meets Sean and Sheila, they're facing every parent's worst nightmare. A split-second decision to leave toddler Edward alone for a few short minutes results in a tragic accident, and Edward is left fighting for his life. He survives, but is tragically left severely brain damaged.Wracked with guilt, destroyed by blame and struggling to accept that their perfect toddler has gone, Sean and Sheila go to pieces. Maggie steps in to foster Edward while his parents battle with the unspoken fear that he may have to be adopted permanently if they cannot cope with their son's needs. Will Maggie be able to help this family grieve for the son they've lost and learn to love the little boy he is now? And will Edward have a family to go home to at Christmas?
By Ronnie O'Sullivan
Frankie James is a young man with a lot on his shoulders. His mother disappeared when he was sixteen; his father's in jail for armed robbery; and he owes rent on his Soho snooker club to one of London's toughest gangsters. Things, you'd think, can only get better. Actually, they're about to get a whole lot worse.He always swore to his mum he'd keep his younger, wilder brother out of trouble, but when Jack turns up at the club, covered in someone else's blood, and with the cops hard on his heels, Frankie has no choice but to enter the sordid world of bent coppers, ruthless mobsters and twisted killers he's tried all his life to avoid.But in the dog-eat-dog underworld of 1990s Soho - as a vicious gang war rages between London's two foremost crime families - will Frankie be tough enough, and smart enough to come out on top?
A Monstrous Commotion
By Gareth Williams
The Loch Ness Monster: a creature that should have died out with the dinosaurs, or a legend built on hoaxes and wishful thinking?Sir Peter Scott, internationally renowned naturalist and president of the World Wildlife Fund, was convinced that the Monster existed. So were senior scientists at London's Natural History Museum and Chicago University; they lost their jobs because they refused to renounce their belief in the creature. For decades, the scientific establishment was determined to quash attempts to investigate Loch Ness - until Nature, the world's greatest research journal, published an article by Peter Scott featuring underwater photographs of the Monster. Drawing extensively on new material, Gareth Williams takes a wholly original look at what really happened in Loch Ness. A Monstrous Commotion tells the story as never before: a gripping saga populated by colourful characters who do extraordinary things in pursuit of one of evolution's wildest cards.Meticulously researched and dazzlingly written, this book will appeal to anyone fascinated by nature and its mysteries - and to everyone who enjoys a beautifully crafted detective story with a strong cast of heroes and villains, plenty of twists and an unexpected ending.
By Maggie Hartley
Evie and Elliot are scrawny, filthy and wide-eyed with fear when they turn up on foster carer Maggie Hartley's doorstep. Aged just two and three years old, this brother and sister have hardly set foot outside their own home. They have been prisoners, locked in a terrifying world of abuse, violence and neglect. Maggie soon realises that Evie and Elliot are lacking the basic life skills we all take for granted. The outside world terrifies them; the sound of the doorbell sends them into a panic that takes hours to abate. Gradually unlocking the truth of their heart-breaking upbringing, Maggie tells their shocking true story.From emotionally scarred and damaged little children, we see how - with warmth and dedication - Maggie transforms their lives. As this moving story unfolds, we share Maggie's joy when these children finally smile again, when they realise they do have a future after all.
By Anastasia Catris
'Winners aren't losers!'Can you spot the Donald?In an array of crowded scenes, from building a wall around Mexico to carving his face into Mount Rushmore, at a Trump wrestling match, a golf course in Scotland and having fun at a Tea Party rally, search for Donald J. Trump amongst the masses. With tons of in-jokes and bonus material to find (including Obama's birth certificate and his trademark toupee), plus cameo appearances from Sarah Palin and other high-flying pals, this book provides hours of fun for the haters (and lovers) of the all-American phenomenon that is TRUMP.A classic and fun gift book, tracking Trump around the world will be endless amusement for all the family.
By David Render, Stuart Tootal
A gripping account of World War Two, from the perspective of a young tank commander.In 1944 the average life expectancy of a newly commissioned tank troop officer in Normandy was estimated as being less than two weeks. David Render was a nineteen-year-old second lieutenant fresh from Sandhurst when he was sent to France to join a veteran armoured unit that had already spent years fighting with the Desert Rats in North Africa. Joining the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry five days after the D-Day landings, the combat-hardened men he was sent to command did not expect him to last long. However, in the following weeks of ferocious fighting in Normandy, in which more than 90 per cent of his fellow tank commanders became casualties, his ability to emerge unscathed from countless combat engagements defied expectations and earned him his squadron's nickname of the 'Inevitable Mr Render'.In Tank Action David Render tells his remarkable story, spanning every major episode of the last year of the Second World War in Western Europe, from the invasion of Normandy to the fall of Germany. Ultimately it is a story of survival, comradeship and the ability to stand up and be counted as a leader in combat.
By Gordon Corera
The computer was born to spy, and now computers are transforming espionage. But who are the spies and who is being spied on in today's interconnected world? This is the exhilarating secret history of the melding of technology and espionage. Gordon Corera's compelling narrative, rich with historical details and characters, takes us from the Second World War to the internet age, revealing the astonishing extent of cyberespionage carried out today. Drawing on unique access to intelligence agencies, heads of state, hackers and spies of all stripes, INTERCEPT is a ground-breaking exploration of the new space in which the worlds of espionage, geopolitics, diplomacy, international business, science and technology collide. Together, computers and spies are shaping the future. What was once the preserve of a few intelligence agencies now matters for us all.