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Nicholas Shakespeare is the author of The Vision of Elena Silves (1989), winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, The High Flyer, for which he was nominated for the Grants list in 1993 and The Dancer Upstairs which was chosen by the American Libraries Association as the best novel of 1997. In 1999 his biography, Bruce Chatwin was published to great critical acclaim.
.This is the astonishing true story of a young woman's adventures, and misadventures, in the dangerous world of Nazi-occupied France. A most strange and compelling book driven by the writer's unsparing search for truth: now an optimistic hunt for a family heroine, now a study in female wiles of survival, now a portrait of one very ordinary person's frailty in the face of terrible odds. (John le Carre). When Nicholas Shakespeare stumbled across a box of documents belonging to his late aunt he was completely unaware of where this discovery would take him. The Priscilla he remembered was very different from the glamorous, morally ambiguous young woman who emerged from the many love letters and journals, surrounded by suitors and living the dangerous existence of a British woman in a country controlled by the enemy. He had heard rumours that Priscilla had fought in the Resistance, but the truth turned out to be far more complicated. As he investigated his aunt's life, dark secrets emerged. Nicholas discovered the answer to the questions he'd been puzzling over: What caused the breakdown of Priscilla's marriage to a French aristocrat? Why had she been interned in a prisoner-of-war camp and how had she escaped? And who was the 'Otto' she was having a relationship with as Paris was liberated? Priscilla's story shows us the precariousness of life in occupied France, when loyalties were compromised and life could change in an instant. It gives us an intimate insight into women's lives in times of conflict and asks us to consider what we might do to survive in similar circumstances.
A brilliant account of 200 years of Tasmanian history and an acclaimed writer's discovery of his secret connection with that island and its past.In Tasmania on holiday, novelist and Chatwin biographer Nicholas Shakespeare discovered a house on a 9-mile beach and instantly decided this was where he wanted to live. He didn't know then that his ancestor was the corrupt and colourful Anthony Fenn Kemp, now known as 'the Father of Tasmania', or that he would find relatives living on the island. Shakespeare interweaves his personal journey into a new-found paradise with a brilliant account of the two turbulent centuries of Tasmania's history in this fascinating and timely book. 'A delightful book. Nicholas Shakespeare is a fine story teller and here he unveils for us a compendium of fascinating Tasmanian characters past and present, from bankrupt squires to convict cannibals, from love struck romantics to the captivating monstrous Anthony Fenn Kemp, the Flashman of early colonial Australia. From all these lives Shakespeare builds up a rich and powerful portrait of this intriguing land, his adopted home.' - Matthew Kneale
'A remarkable contemporary thriller... A triumph' WILLIAM BOYD A journalist becomes embroiled in a world of secrets and paranoia when a nuclear scientist goes missing. When John Dyer returns to Oxford from Brazil with his young son, Leandro, he expects a quiet life. His time living on the edge as a foreign correspondent is over. But these rainy streets turn out to be just as treacherous as those he used to walk in Rio. Leandro's schoolmates are the children of powerful people, and a chance conversation with another father, Iranian scientist Rustum Marvar, sets Dyer onto a truly dangerous path. Then Marvar disappears. Soon, sinister factions are circling, and become acutely interested in what Dyer knows about Marvar's world-changing discovery... 'An absorbing thriller with shades of John le Carre' Evening Standard 'Exciting... A page-turner' Daily Telegraph
From the acclaimed author of The Sandpit, an exhilarating literary thriller about the hunt for a missing terrorist in South America. This novel explores one of the most astonishing stories in the whole history of twentieth century terrorism. Colonel Rejas was the policeman charged with the task of capturing the Peruvian guerrilla leader Ezequiel, but having been dismissed he finds the burden of silence and secrecy too heavy. On meeting Dyer, a foreign correspondent, he is moved to relate the tortuous progress of the manhunt for the first time. The Dancer Upstairs is a story reminiscent of Graham Greene and John le Carre - tense, intricate and heartbreaking.
Random House presents the audiobook edition of Six Minutes in May by Nicholas Shakespeare, read by Peter Noble.London, May 1940. Britain is under threat of invasion and Neville Chamberlain's government is about to fall. It is hard for us to imagine the Second World War without Winston Churchill taking the helm, but in Six Minutes in May Nicholas Shakespeare shows how easily events could have gone in a different direction.It took just six minutes for MPs to cast the votes that brought down Chamberlain. Shakespeare moves from Britain's disastrous battle in Norway, for which many blamed Churchill, on to the dramatic developments in Westminster that led to Churchill becoming Prime Minister. Uncovering fascinating new research and delving into the key players' backgrounds, Shakespeare gives us a new perspective on this critical moment in our history.*** Selected as a 2017 Book of the Year in the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Observer and The Economist ***'A gripping story of Churchill's unlikely rise to power' Observer'Totally captivating. It will stand as the best account of those extraordinary few days for very many years' Andrew Roberts
A fascinating and dramatic investigation into the events that led to Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister against the odds. 'A gripping story of Churchill's unlikely rise to power' Observer London, May 1940. Britain is under threat of invasion and Neville Chamberlain's government is about to fall. It is hard for us to imagine the Second World War without Winston Churchill taking the helm, but in Six Minutes in May Nicholas Shakespeare shows how easily events could have gone in a different direction. It took just six minutes for MPs to cast the votes that brought down Chamberlain. Shakespeare moves from Britain's disastrous battle in Norway, for which many blamed Churchill, on to the dramatic developments in Westminster that led to Churchill becoming Prime Minister. Uncovering fascinating new research and delving into the key players' backgrounds, Shakespeare gives us a new perspective on this critical moment in our history. 'Totally captivating. It will stand as the best account of those extraordinary few days for very many years' Andrew Roberts 'Superbly written... Shakespeare has a novelist's flair for depicting the characters and motives of men' The Times 'Utterly wonderful... It reads like a thriller' Peter Frankopan SHORTLISTED FOR THE HWA NON-FICTION CROWN 2018 *** Selected as a 2017 Book of the Year in the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Observer and The Economist ***
Nicholas Shakespeare's collected stories take us around the globe and into the intimate lives of his characters and the dilemmas and temptations they face. The opening novella, 'Oddfellows', tells the little-known history of the only enemy attack on Australian soil during the Great War, when, in January 1915, the outback town of Broken Hill was rocked by horrifying events. From this dramatic First World War encounter, we are taken to the faded glamour of 1960s Bombay, to a Bolivian mining town in 1908 where civic folly is running amok, and to an Argentinian farm presided over by a former air stewardess and her husband. Across ocean and continents, these are stories of connection and disconnection, misunderstanding and missed opportunities, identity and displacement.
On 1 January 1915, ramifications from the First World War, raging half a world away, were felt in Broken Hill, Australia, when in a guerrilla-style military operation, four citizens were killed and seven wounded.It was the annual picnic day in Broken Hill and a thousand citizens were dressed for fun when the only enemy attack to occur on Australian soil during World War I, took them by surprise. Nicholas Shakespeare has turned this little known piece of Australian history into a story for our time.
In the Amazon city of Belen, in the heart of the Peruvian jungle, three old men sit on a bench. They sit in the square every day under the hot sun, remembering the women they loved and the world when it was a better place. One day a woman hurries past their bench whom all have reason to remember - Elena Silves, the girl with eyes as blue as the sky who once saw a vision and has been incarcerated by the Church authorities in a convent high in the Andes ever since. But the old men remember something else. They remember that Elena had been in love at the time with Gabriel, a student revolutionary who became the most wanted man in Belen.
What would you do if you suddenly and unexpectedly inherited GBP17million? This is what happens to Andy Larkham, recently jilted lover, and resentfully underpaid publishing minion. Arriving late to the funeral of his favourite schoolteacher, he ends up in the wrong chapel with one other mourner, too embarrassed to leave. Pressured to sign the register, little does he realise what effect that signature will have upon his life. The extraordinary story that follows tells of one man's failed love, the temptations of unanticipated wealth, the secrets of damaged families and the price of being true to oneself. It is a romance for our times.
Following the death of his parents in a car crash, eleven-year-old Alex Dove is torn from his life on a remote farm in Tasmania and sent to school in England. When he returns to Australia twelve years later, the timeless beauty of the land and his encounter with a young woman whose own life has been marked by tragedy, persuade him to stay. They marry, and he finds himself drawn into the eccentric, often hilarious dynamics of island life. Longing for children, the couple open their home to a disquieting guest, a teenage castaway, whose presence in their home begins to unravel their tenuously forged happiness.
Nicholas Shakespeare, a very fine writer indeed, who partly lives in Tasmania, has produced an extraordinary work on the history, culture, folklore and personal appreciation of the country. Full of anecdotes, marvellous set pieces and highly absorbing prose, it’s a lovely read.
Thomas Wavery is the new Consul General at Abyla on the tip of North Africa. A career diplomat, Wavery was once a high flyer, but an affair with a younger woman has dashed his dreams of ambassadorship. He arrives in Abyla with his wife suing for divorce, his passport stolen by a Gibraltarian ape and precious little enthusiasm for the task ahead. His one hope of redemption is a visit from his new love.
Bruce Chatwin's death in 1989 brought a meteoric career to an abrupt end, since he burst onto the literary scene in 1977 with his first book, In Patagonia. Chatwin himself was different things to different people: a journalist, a photographer, an art collector, a restless traveller and a bestselling author; he was also a married man, an active homosexual, a socialite who loved to mix with the rich and famous, and a single-minded loner who explored the limits of extreme solitude. From unrestricted access to Chatwin's private notebooks, diaries and letters, Nicholas Shakespeare has compiled the definitive biography of one of the most charismatic and elusive literary figures of our time. 'A magnificent work of empathy and detection' Colin Thubron, Sunday Times 'Utterly compelling' Philip Marsden, Mail on Sunday 'A fascinating account of the man behind the myth' Ian Thomson, Guardian