J.R.R. Tolkien looked up from pile of student exam papers he was marking, gazed out the window and then after a time wrote down the first line of the book that would bring him fame: "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." Read The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
Read the opening extract of the brand new Conn Iggulden book before its publication on 25/09/2014
Heavier than Heaven Charles R Cross
This is heaven; the best rock literature you're likely to get your hands on. Whether your a hard core fan or not it is a must read as it captures his moods, his lyrics, his passions, his successes and failures,... Format: Paperback - Released: 20/06/2002
What I Loved Siri Hustvedt
A book you will either love or hate, find long and tedious or be captivated and charmed. It is the story of two families involved in New York’s artistic life and reflected upon by a half-blind, elderly Jewish professor who... Format: Paperback - Released: 04/08/2003
White Lightning Justin Cartwright
A tragic, deeply moving tale narrated by a failed film director who develops a relationship with a baboon. Beautifully written and multi-layered, you’ve just got to read this and all his books. He is a wonderful author.Comparison: Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
McCarthy's Bar Pete Mccarthy
A journey round Ireland to visit every bar that bears the author’s name. What a wonderful idea and what a journey, made unique by its guide. This is not a travelogue but a delightful, highly humorous, warm look at different... Format: Paperback - Released: 15/03/2001
Barcelona Plates Alexei Sayle
A stunning, bitter and darkly comic collection of short stories; rather like looking at life through ‘fairground mirrors’ seemingly ordinary situations take on an absurd, hilarious or tragic turn with the smallest of movements. Thoroughly enjoyable but don’t expect any... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
The Soldier's Return Melvyn Bragg
The beginning of this trilogy deals with the sadness of returning home after the terrible effects of war and finding a totally different world, to adjusting to a son you don’t know, a wife greatly changed and a life difficult... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
Peter Cook : A Biography Harry Thompson
A tremendous biography that really captures the humour of its much loved subject – some parts are laugh-aloud gems … and then comes the sadness – the slow decline. It is a sympathetic portrait with little criticism and lots of... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
Le Testament Francais Andrei Makine
I first came across this author with Confessions of a Lapsed Standard-Bearer and wondered why I had not come across him before. His language is exquisite; beautiful, lyrical and powerful as he contrasts simple lives with the horrors of... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
Restoration Rose Tremain
A magnificent historical novel depicting the Restoration of England under Charles II and the restoration of our delightful central character, Robert Merival. From medical student to the king’s vet, from fool to dignified man, through the court to Bedlam and... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon writes beautifully and the Mysteries of Pittsburgh, written when he was only 23, is a witty and captivating novel about youth. Set in Pittsburgh, Art Bechstein has just finished college and has the whole summer stretching... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
Augustus Allan Massie
The first of the Roman Emperors and one of a series of books by the author on important Romans. Written in the first person by the man himself, it illustrates his extraordinary ambition, his incredible rise to power and the... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
Schindler's Ark Thomas Keneally
Filmed as Schindler’s List starring Liam Neeson, this is the story of a German businessman who lived an ostentatious life driven by wealth. A Nazi party member, he opened a factory in Poland producing supplies for the German army during... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
Docherty William Mcilvanney
Docherty is an intense and sometimes painful novel about a working class community in Scotland in the early 1900’s where there is immense hardship and little possibility of escape in the grim lives of the impoverished miners. But there is... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
The Long Firm Jake Arnott
60’s low life – gangsters, sex, drugs, glamour, violence, wonderful characters and terrific pace. Told by four people who each have a different slant on the gay gangland boss, Harry Starks, and topped and tailed by the man himself, this... Format: Paperback - Released: 17/02/2000
Fred and Edie Jill Dawson
In 1922 Edith Waters and Freddy Bywaters were found guilty of murdering Edith’s husband and were executed. This is the story from Edith’s point of view, told largely through her letters to Freddy. In my mind it is not Jill’s... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
Ingenious Pain Andrew Miller
From small-town England to the Russian court of the 17th century in the company of a man who can feel no pain. From an object of curiosity to a great surgeon himself we learn much of the science and the... Format: Paperback (b Format) - Released: 02/08/2012
Carter Beats the Devil Glen David Gold
The jazz age of the early 1900s brought vividly to life in one the best historical novels I have read in a long time. It follows the life of a magician, the death of a president and the ensuing investigation.... Format: Paperback - Released: 16/05/2002
Nathaniel's Nutmeg Giles Milton
History brought to life through a fascinating tale of adventure, survival, determination and pure grit, for the acquiring of spices, which could be engendering great wealth, was fraught with danger. Pirates, war, treachery, disease, murder and heroism are all here... Format: Paperback (b Format) - Released: 11/12/1999
Ghostwritten David Mitchell
‘A novel in 9 parts’ and ten sections in different voices and different locations giving a feeling of short stories, building in their links but never really coming together. It’s a stunning work, challenging, rewarding and very intelligent leaving you... Format: Paperback (b Format) - Released: 20/04/2000
Cold Mountain Charles Frazier
This arrived on our shores in 1998 as a large, expensive paperback and proceeded to sell through word-of-mouth. Then the publishers made a bold decision … they brought out a hardback turning the traditional publishing route of hardback, paperback upside... Format: Paperback - Released: 28/12/2006
Colour Victoria Finlay
Travels around the world discovering the origins of the pigments that make dyes and paint – totally fascinating. Spotted with historical fact, anecdotes, vivid descriptions and a deep appreciation of art, this is a wonderful book. Format: Paperback - Released: 26/05/2003
Sceptre is the literary imprint of Hodder & Stoughton, dedicated to publishing the best contemporary fiction and non-fiction from around the world - books distinguished by the quality of their authors’ writing and that are not only entertaining but also thought-provoking, enlightening and stimulating.
The books they choose to publish are the ones they can envisage urging all our friends to read. Their belief is that if our small team of book lovers feels that way about a book, there is a good chance all you readers out there will share our enthusiasm for it. But they don’t just take on a book – they take on authors. They pride themselves on finding new talent and nurturing a writer’s career.
Sceptre began 21 years ago as Hodder & Stoughton’s literary paperback imprint, publishing fiction and non-fiction alongside Coronet and NEL, the company’s mass-market imprints, and drawing on hardbacks published by both Hodder and other houses. In its first eight years, fiction publications included Thomas Keneally’s Schindler’s Ark, Melvyn Bragg’s The Maid of Buttermere, Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Rose Tremain’s Restoration, Siri Hustvedt’s first novel The Blindfold, and Fay Weldon’s Life and Loves of a She-Devil. Non-fiction ranged from John Colville’s The Fringes of Power to James Hamilton-Paterson’s Playing With Water.
In 1994, Sceptre started publishing its own fiction in hardback as well as paperback, and in recent years has begun publishing non-fiction in hardback too. Alongside long-standing authors, many new novelists have been introduced – David Mitchell, Andrei Makine, Jill Dawson, Alexei Sayle, Jake Arnott, Andrew Miller and Charles Frazier to name but a few. In non-fiction, highlights include Giles Milton’s Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, Victoria Findlay’s Colour, Charles Cross’s biography of Kurt Cobain Heavier Than Heaven, Pete McCarthy’s McCarthy’s Bar, the 2006 bestsellers Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew by Bernard Hare, and Nabeel’s Song by Jo Tatchell, shortlisted for the 2006 Costa Biography of the Year Award.
Since Sceptre’s inception, its authors have won or been shortlisted for every major literary prize (apart from the Nobel) from the Booker to the Goncourt. They deserve their accolades! ______
To celebrate the 21st anniversary, Sceptre, commissioned 21 contemporary artists and illustrators to come up with original covers for a range of our classic titles.
They chose artists whose work would bring a fresh interpretation to these 21 classic books.
The artists include Andrew Bannecker, Petra Borner, Paul Bower, Catalina Estrada, Lizzie Finn, Gregory Gilbert-Lodge, Paul Jackson, Joel Lardner, McFaul, Parra, Ulla Puggaard, Bernie Reid, Chris Rubino, Si Scott, Zakee Shariff, Sanna Annukka Smith, Jim Stoten and Alice Tait.
They have worked in a variety of media including embroidery, biro, paper cut-out, graffiti and felt tip pen. The results are a wonderfully eclectic series which both re-imagines and re-invigorates best-selling books.