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Looking for your next literary adrenaline rush? Or to live vicariously through a thrill-seeking hero/heroine? Have a look at the titles in our Action/Adventure/Spy section for the latest danger and intrigue-filled novels.
I was excited (of the jumping up and down variety) when Forever and a Day appeared in my letterbox, I am a HUGE 007 fan and can announce that this novel perfectly slots into place. The Ian Fleming Estate and Ian Fleming Publications asked Anthony Horowitz to continue the Bond series in 2015 with Trigger Mortis, after he had so successfully stepped into the world of Sherlock Holmes. Now comes Bond as the new boy on the block, Forever and A Day is the prequel to Casino Royale and original Ian Fleming material appears. This is how James Bond came into being as an agent and he does so in spectacular style. The first sentence is a humdinger, I was immediately on board and continued to read with pure enjoyment. Anthony Horowitz skilfully sets up the world of Bond, balancing the established with his own style quite beautifully. If you are a lover of the original series, I can vouch for this book, if you have only watched the films, I can vouch for this book. Forever and a Day is an exciting action-packed adventure of a read, it exceeded my (already high) expectations, earning it one of my picks of the month.
'Purnell's account of Hall's hectic, amphetamine-fuelled exploits never falters. It recalls Caroline Moorehead's wonderful book, Village of Secrets but has an added touch of Ben Macintyre's brio ... A rousing tale of derring-do' The Times Book of the Week 'Riveting ... one of the most breath-taking stories yet told of female courage behind enemy lines' Sarah Helm, author of A Life in Secrets In 1942, the Gestapo would stop at nothing to track down a mysterious 'limping lady' who was fighting for the freedom of France. The Nazi chiefs issued a simple but urgent command: 'She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.' The Gestapo's target was Virginia Hall, a glamorous American with a wooden leg who broke through the barriers against her gender and disability to be the first woman to infiltrate Vichy France for the SOE. In so doing she helped turn the course of the intelligence war. This is the epic tale of an heiress who determined that a hunting accident would not define her existence; a young woman who gambled her life to fight for the freedoms she believed in; an espionage novice who helped to light the flame of French Resistance. Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall, an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance and personal triumph over shocking adversity. 'A gripping, relevant and timely read about a remarkable woman from a talented writer' Deborah Frances-White, author of The Guilty Feminist 'A fitting and moving tribute to an amazing woman' The Economist
An incredibly raw, at times difficult to read, quite gobsmacking debut. Cherry made me flinch, both physically and mentally, at times I had to look away and think of something else, yet the words continued to call to me. The author Nico Walker, as of 2019, is still in prison in the USA, he served as an army medic in Iraq, and returning home with severe PTSD started to rob banks to pay for his drug addiction. This story centres on a narrator who serves as an army medic in Iraq, and returning home with severe PTSD starts to rob banks to pay for his drug addiction (yes the same tale as the author). Let me be clear, this is a novel, yet the voice of the author is clearly heard, this is his story and he stamps his words, his very being on every single page. Hammer hard, quick firing sentences (with some choice language attached) shoot off of the page. There were times when I really didn’t like the narator, some of his life choices are difficult to understand, yet that is the whole point. The story turns full circle from the prologue, creating what feels like a never ending loop. This book made me ache, it often physically hurt to soak up the words, yet I would read it all again tomorrow, and so Cherry has to be one of my picks of the month.
A hard-hitting fabulous continuation in a must-read series, for me the Orphan X thrillers are pure addictive escapism at its very best. Evan may be an assassin, he also has a heart, if you haven’t yet met him, I advise starting with the first in the series Orphan X. I’m quite sure you could read Out of the Dark’as a standalone, but I think the pleasure comes from getting to know Evan from the very beginning. Evan has made a decision, that he must kill the President of the United States. Jonathan Bennett is a president born of corruption, greed, and lies, a president with a history that links with Evan’s own, the top secret Orphan Program, where orphans become trained killers. Gregg Hurwitz has created a crazy high-octane read, the first action sequence is a doozy, the style of writing ensured I didn’t observe it, but I oh how I felt it! Out of the Dark didn’t just capture my attention, it blasted, hammered, and shaped it, a highly recommended read.
Married for ten years. Four children. She thought she knew her husband better than anyone. She was wrong. You get to work. Make a coffee. Turn on your computer. Your task: break into a Russian criminal's laptop and find proof that he's concealing five deep-cover agents - seemingly normal people living in plain sight. You're in. Five faces stare back at you. One of them is your husband.
This is a "throw yourself in and let yourself be carried on a rolling monster of a wave" type of read. I knew I was in completely safe hands, both in terms of credibility and storyline. It is no secret that I loved James Deegan’s debut Once A Pilgrim, it is one of my star books for 2018 so I had high expectations for The Angry Sea. The book starts with a horrific terrorist attack and John Carr vaults from relaxing on a beach into immediate action. If you haven’t yet met John Carr, do go back and start at the beginning with Once A Pilgrim, this is a series worth being in at the get-go. Carr is an unapologetically full-on action figure capable of both icy cold decision making and roaring hot reaction. The author is himself a former Sergeant Major in the SAS and was described as one of the most operationally experienced SAS men of his era. I didn’t once stop or question what I was reading, I just sank into the short snappy chapters, I breathed in, consumed, and lived in every moment. The Angry Sea is a full on gutsy, action-packed read that delivers one heck of a punch, highly recommended and one of my picks of the month. If you want to find out more about James, read Putting Authors in the Picture #5: James Deegan.
The Priest of Santa Maria is a fast-paced thriller. An entertaining read, it had me gripped to the end. In the prologue, we discover the origin of a locked box from Babylon and are introduced to a man and his daughter, the current custodians, living in Switzerland, and a woman named Angelica living in a convent in Italy. What is the connection that brings them together? And what does it have to do with a young priest named Christiano who is employed as a temporary minister at the convent? Although reluctant at first, the feeling he has towards Angelica is unlike anything he has come across. He is taken aback by the urge he has to protect her even though he may lose his vocation by doing so. This is a vivid portrayal of characters we want to engage with and an unputdownable story we don't want to end. I was pleased to discover it is part of a series and I, for one, will be looking forward to the next book from this talented storyteller. Lynn Johnson, A LoveReading Ambassador
Are you ready for a heart-pumping shooting from the hip read? Do prepare yourself as once you start you just won’t want to stop! Bounty hunter Lori Anderson has plenty of good old fashioned gumption, yet is as modern a character as you could wish to find. Lori has just 48 hours in which to snatch a male in protective custody with the FBI, if she doesn’t, her family will be killed by the Miami Mob. This is the third in the ‘Lori Anderson’ series, I really do recommend starting at the beginning with the fabulous Deep Down Dead which was Steph Broadribb’s debut. Lori thinks with viper-like speed, speaks with strength and acts from her gut. Steph Broadribb has constructed a thoroughly believable world full of substantial yet flawed characters. I quite simply love this series, I leap in with total faith and just let myself go. Deep Dirty Truth is a thrilling, assertive and energetic read, go on I dare you, grab yourself a copy.
Three lively retellings of Daniel Defoe's classic novels, plus two bonus programmes about his extraordinary life and far-reaching influence. Robinson Crusoe and his Farther Adventures An imaginative blend of the famous castaway tale and its lesser-known sequel, this thrilling drama sees Crusoe setting sail for the far north. Facing danger in the Siberian wastes, he keeps terror at bay by telling his companions campfire tales of his many adventures on his beloved island. Starring Tim McInnerney as Crusoe. Moll Flanders When Daniel Defoe meets Elizabeth Atkins in Newgate jail, she recounts her stranger-than-fiction story of a rags-to-riches life that took her from prostitution to prosperity - but culminated in destitution. Inspired, Defoe mixes fact and fiction to re-invent her as one of his most engaging characters: Moll Flanders. Starring Ben Miles as Defoe and Jessica Hynes as Elizabeth Atkins. A Journal of the Plague Year Writing a fictional journal of the Great Plague of 1665, Defoe soon comes to be haunted by the characters he is conjuring. Starring Ben Miles as Defoe. This exciting new collection of reinvented tales will also include two bonus programmes about Daniel Defoe himself:Defoe: Merchant, Writer, Convict, Spy by Philip Palmer - A biographical drama about Defoe's life, starring Ben Miles as Defoe and Niamh Cusack as his wife Mary. Defoe: The Facts and Fictions - A documentary by Mark Lawson, exploring the far-reaching influence of the pioneering author.
I do think the author is a remarkable story teller and I very much enjoyed reading the book. It was very pleasing to see how quickly the action was launched and how the novel maintained its pace. The first sentences almost had the rhythm of the horse’s feet and I loved the fact there were no wasted words. Reading and enjoying the first few paragraphs of a new novel is often key to whether the reader reads on and I loved this first chapter, which could have belonged to many genres. The novel has a clear story line full of well distinguished characters with quite distinct personalities. Obviously as it is based on actual historical events there is an interest in ondering about the accuracy and truthfulness of the portrayal. In this case that simply adds to the general intrigue. Most of the writing is extremely plausible but there were odd moments when I had doubts - for example I had to suspend belief in the scene between Goering and Margaret where they held their conversation. I found it difficult to believe Margaret was likely to pick up important information within the pattern of her life. However this did not detract in any way from my enjoyment of the book. Setting the novel during the mid part of the twentieth century gives it solidity and purpose. It is instructing the reader at the same time and giving a neat and clear explanation of what was happening during the pre-war and war years. For a reader it is always good to learn something from a novel which is separate from understanding the plot and the interaction between characters. I would highly recommend this book. Maxine Broadbent, A LoveReading Ambassador
Set 300 years before the events in A Song of Ice and Fire, FIRE AND BLOOD is the definitive history of the Targaryens in Westeros as told by Archmaester Gyldayn, and chronicles the conquest that united the Seven Kingdoms under Targaryen rule through to the Dance of the Dragons: the Targaryen civil war that nearly ended their dynasty forever. The thrilling history of the Targaryens comes to life in this masterly work by the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the inspiration for HBO's Game of Thrones. With all the fire and fury fans have come to expect from internationally bestselling author George R.R. Martin, this is the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros. Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen - the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria - took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart. What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why was it so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What were Maegor the Cruel's worst crimes? What was it like in Westeros when dragons ruled the skies? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel, and featuring more than eighty all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire and Blood is the ultimate game of thrones, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.
A rip-roaring, thrilling read set in 1915 during the First World War. As well as adventure, there is also real heart and soul waiting to be discovered between the pages. This is the fourth in the ‘Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thriller’ series, Kit is a war reporter and undercover agent, he is set the task of discovering who is planting horrific bombs in Paris. While you don’t actually need to have read the first books in the series, I recommend that you do, just for the pure enjoyment factor of reading them in order. Robert Olen Butler won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993, his novels have the ability to touch, connect, and alter thoughts and feelings. Intricate layers of high octane story and eloquent descriptions ensured the small details really set me in time and place. It didn’t surprise me to learn that Robert Olen Butler is a war veteran and news reporter. This felt real, I was on high alert and tenterhooks as I waited for the next heart-stopping moment. ‘Paris in the Dark’ is an enthralling well written, full on adventure of read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Let Bernard Cornwell sweep you back to Arthurian times, or into the heat of battle with Richard Sharpe. Sail the high seas with Patrick O'Brian. Raise your pulse-rate with Michael Crichton. Experience the adrenaline of combat with Andy McNab. Feel the clear and present danger of Tom Clancy's thrilling Jack Ryan stories... Live on the edge with Lee Child's itinerant hero Jack Reacher? Navigating your way through all the twists and turns of this roller-coaster genre can be an adventure in itself.
So, let us help you find your next fuel-injected foray into the fields of battle, espionage, danger,heroism and even history rewritten. From Dan Brown, Tom Clancy and Ken Follett to Wilbur Smith, David Gibbins and Stieg Larsson, you’ll be over the waves, under the radar, up mountains, outside the law, beyond help, dicing with danger, battling monsters, rescuing the stricken, flying through flack, laying mines, playing political parlour-games, conning Congress, kidnapping commandos clashing with conquistadors and crossing swords with Crusaders … and all from the safety of your favourite chair.