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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.
Oh, how I thoroughly enjoyed this feisty, entertaining, full-on read. Working mum Alexis returns to the office after maternity leave. She’s one of only a few women agents at Platform Eight, an especially secret part of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She now has to prove she can fit motherhood around the male dominated world of being a spy. Alexis stamps her personality all over the prologue, convincingly setting the scene. She tells her own story in a fast, tongue-in-cheek, bright tone, and I immediately warmed to her. Firmly on side and by her side as she races through her first operation I smirked and chortled as I read. Asia Mackay balances the theme of working mum with spy just perfectly, and I didn’t question it once. Killing It is uniquely fabulous and full of attitude, The Nursery is next in what will hopefully continue as a series, and just can’t come soon enough.
Wealthy Canadian scholar Harvey Gotham lives in splendid isolation in France and is working on a book about Job. He loves his wife, Effie, dearly but she has taken to planting bombs in supermarkets and has joined an anarchist group. Here, Spark returns to the Book of Job, which had always fascinated her, and `the only problem' - the problem of suffering. Why does God allow it? A despairing and exhilarating read, The Only Problem is a masterwork. This is one of the 22 novels written by Muriel Spark in her lifetime. All are being published by Polygon in hardback Centenary Editions between November 2017 and September 2018.
Sunday Times #1 Bestseller New York Times #1 Bestseller The global bestseller - Origin is the latest Robert Langdon novel from the author of The Da Vinci Code. 'Fans will not be disappointed' The Times Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend the unveiling of an astonishing scientific breakthrough. The evening's host is billionaire Edmond Kirsch, a futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a controversial figure around the world. But Langdon and several hundred guests are left reeling when the meticulously orchestrated evening is suddenly blown apart. There is a real danger that Kirsch's precious discovery may be lost in the ensuing chaos. With his life under threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao, taking with him the museum's director, Ambra Vidal. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch's secret. To evade a devious enemy who is one step ahead of them at every turn, Langdon and Vidal must navigate the labyrinthine passageways of extreme religion and hidden history. On a trail marked only by enigmatic symbols and elusive modern art, Langdon and Vidal will come face-to-face with a breathtaking truth that has remained buried - until now. `Dan Brown is the master of the intellectual cliffhanger' Wall Street Journal `As engaging a hero as you could wish for' Mail on Sunday `For anyone who wants more brain-food than thrillers normally provide' Sunday Times
A gendarme snatched up his rifle from where it lay at his feet; Bruce saw him elbow his way towards the side of the truck to begin firing; he was working the slide to lever a round into the breech. 'Mwembe!' Bruce shouted the gendarme's name, but his voice could not penetrate the uproar. In two seconds the whole situation would dissolve into a pandemonium of tracer and bazooka fire. Hired to kill. Fighting to live. Captain Bruce Curry has a simple enough mission, or so he thinks: lead his mercenary soldiers to rescue a town cut off by rebel fighting in the Belgian Congo. It soon becomes clear that the town's diamond supplies are the real focus of the mission he's been sent on. Although Curry soon finds something more valuable than diamonds, and will do anything to protect it. But there's one thing Curry hadn't counted on - that his most deadly enemies may not be the ones he's facing down the barrel of a gun, but the ones who are right beside him . . . An action-packed thriller featuring a mismatched band of mercenaries, from global bestseller Wilbur Smith
‘As early as 1965, Muriel Spark had a title in mind for a new book. That title was Hothouse East River. The novel itself, however, would not appear until 1973, much changed from its original incarnation, as Spark herself would confide during a 1970 interview with the Guardian newspaper: ‘I’m so interested in the present tense that I’ve redone a book I’ve been working on for three years, “The Hot House by the East River”, and put it all in the present tense.’ … the novel she would eventually pen about New York would be one of her strangest, most jarring works, painting an unflattering portrait of the city’s wealthier denizens and their spiritually empty lives…I wonder what Spark would do with the world of 2017 and 2018; I wish she were around to answer that…The Hothouse by the East River is as strange and dislocating as anything Muriel Spark wrote, a book absolutely right for its period and setting. She saw through the Manhattan social scene and discovered an Unreal City. She had journeyed a long way from childhood Edinburgh and wartime England, but she had more travelling still to do.’ From the Introduction by Ian Rankin This is one novel in the absolutely glorious, must-have, complete collection of all 22 novels by Muriel Spark. This series is a wonderful way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark’s birth. Edited by Alan Taylor, author of Appointment In Arezzo, A Friendship with Muriel Spark, each perfectly sized and beautiful hardback book is introduced by a leading writer. Each introduction, while individually touching on thoughts and feelings, mentions the originality, the wit and humour, the cleverness of the writing. Whether an existing fan, or new to her works, this collection from one of our greatest writers, beckons, and quite simply, just asks to be read and re-read. ~ Lovereading.co.uk
When the most advanced aircraft ever designed vanishes over the South Pacific, NUMA operatives Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala are drawn into a deadly contest to locate the fallen machine. A doomed aircraft Flying over the South Pacific, the most technologically advanced spacecraft ever built vanishes into thin air. Both China and Russia would kill for the secrets it contains. An unstable cargo Kurt Austin and the NUMA team are drawn into a stealthy race to locate the wreck, before someone else does. Only the United States know that waiting in its debris is a payload. A devastating weapon Kept at absolute zero, the cargo could obliterate the face of the earth if allowed to thaw. With only seven days until its temperature rises the NUMA team have to work against the clock to stop its deadly payload from wiping out all of life on earth.
April 2018 Book of the Month In Solomon Creed we were introduced to a mysterious hero, a Jack Reacher/Superman cross with shades of Jason Bourne. This is his second adventure which, if you’ve not read the first you will certainly be compelled to do so after this. He is an unusual and involving hero who may or may not be linked to an ancient tomb some 4000 years old or the holocaust now 70 years ago. He has no memory but an inner drive to do things the reason for which he has no inkling. I love him. Here he knows he must save a boy and in doing so unearths a sinister plot with links to the German Reich and the end of the war. It opens with a gruesome murder of an old Jewish tailor and it is this man’s grandson Solomon must save. Along with the child’s mother they flee across France in search of three other Jews who survived with the old tailor. Wonderful chase scenes, near capture, many tense moments and lots of action before they do eventually find one of the other survivors. Now comes the twist as the plot is turned on its head and an extraordinary confession is revealed. Wonderful stuff. We learn lots more about Solomon. He has escaped a mental institution and is under the care of a Doctor Megellen who does seem awfully sinister! The plot thickens. Solomon has extraordinary mental abilities of memory and smell plus fighting skills and superfast reactions. There is indeed a great mystery surrounding the man which definitely draws you into wanting the next. Let’s hope it is not too long in coming. Hugely compelling and highly recommended. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
A fiery, fast-paced, bullet of a read, and the last in the Robert Finlay trilogy. Continuing on from ‘Deadly Game’, Robert Finlay and Kevin Jones find themselves in the middle of a whole heap of trouble. A Superintendent from the Complaints Investigation Branch is on the warpath, and then quite separately, a document from the past puts the two men directly in the firing line, and things turn very, very personal. Matt Johnson has the most credible and authentic voice, he blends his knowledge as a soldier and police officer into an absolutely cracking storyline. Finlay’s post traumatic stress disorder can clearly be felt in the small but biting descriptions of PTSD, it is a part of him, but not the whole of him, and he is an incredibly engaging character. A suitably dramatic end ensured I was kept on the edge of my seat. The Robert Finlay trilogy has been a thunderingly good read, and End Game is a wonderfully thrilling, gripping, and fitting conclusion.
This is a near future, post Brexit, political-cum-business thriller where Britain is seeking strong trade deals outside Europe. The protagonist, or so we initially believe, is Kate Thompson, a new, charming and good looking Tory trade minister who is sent to India just as war looks likely between India and Pakistan. She falls for (true love?) the chief of an Indian arms technology company which a UK electronic parts manufacturer is doing big business with. That company employs a lot of Muslims. Now the Indian/Pakistan problem overflows to the British factory workers who are influenced by Muslim extremists. Then a dirty American company steps in. Corruption leaks off the pages, intrigue and explosives situations abound; all is very action-packed. It is a good plot idea and a most enjoyable read. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
Twenty-year-old Jane Beacon is one of life’s mavericks - a young sea-woman who navigates her own life-course against convention, against the odds, against expectation. The setting is 1940 Dunkirk and Jane has risen from joining the Wren Cadets in 1939 to single-handedly skippering a naval cutter to rescue injured soldiers. From the opening pages Jane’s formidable spirit and wit is brought to the fore, as are the prejudices of the time: “Very largely the Navy has accepted us and they know that we Wren have done a huge amount of good work, But there is always a limit to male tolerance and if you cross it, as I have done frequently, the barriers can suddenly be very high.” Readers will no doubt be swept along by Jane’s rip-roaringly reckless exploits, her unwavering commitment to the war effort, and her disregard for doing things by the book (she’s a loveable rogue, of sorts, described by her female superintendent as having “the most lurid disciplinary record in the service…she doesn’t give a damn about authority”). Fascinating research and Jane’s intense personal coming-of-age story are interwoven into the adventure, making this a tightly-packed parcel of passion, action, humour and history.
‘It is clear that the novel was meant by Spark to be different from those she had previously written… For one thing it was considerably longer than the earlier books; for another it seemed to consist of a much more traditional relation of dialogue to exposition and description than had been the case hitherto. But, most importantly, it seemed to be what so many great English novels have been through the ages, a thinly disguised autobiography, the author (here a woman in her thirties) seeking to discover her identity as she leaves her youth behind…Two characteristic features of Spark’s fiction are central to the feel of the novel: its affinity to poetry, not only the liberal quotation of actual poetry in its pages but also the way the prose seems always to be taking off into song or dance; and the use of prolepsis, that procedure characteristic of Spark’s beloved Border Ballads, whereby something that is to happen later is signalled long before it arrives, a device that would appear at first sight likely to rob the work of any forward momentum but that in fact has the opposite effect…’ From the introduction by Gabriel Josipovici This is one novel in the absolutely glorious, must-have, complete collection of all 22 novels by Muriel Spark. This series is a wonderful way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark’s birth. Edited by Alan Taylor, author of Appointment In Arezzo, A Friendship with Muriel Spark, each perfectly sized and beautiful hardback book is introduced by a leading writer. Each introduction, while individually touching on thoughts and feelings, mentions the originality, the wit and humour, the cleverness of the writing. Whether an existing fan, or new to her works, this collection from one of our greatest writers, beckons, and quite simply, just asks to be read and re-read. ~ Lovereading.co.uk
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Ex-American publisher Joe Kanon is a much underrated master of the classic espionage tale, best known for The Good German which was filmed with George Clooney in the eponymous part, but his other novels of spies and the Cold War are all similarly gripping. Defectors, set in the late 1950s and early 1960s introduces two brothers who took different political paths, one who worked for the OSS and then the CIA and has now become a publisher and the other who defected to Russia out of personal conviction following the Spanish Civil War. When the latter, now living in Moscow with his family, writes his memoirs, his brother plans to visit him and is soon confronted by an intricate web of spying, treachery, past sins, shifting truths and regrets. Kanon's strength lies in the realism of his characters rather than the rote exposition of shenanigans and by the numbers action scenes and the results are eminently rewarding. An intelligent chess game-like thriller with a solid foundation of human experience, just the sort of book that hooks you in with stealth and then never lets go. ~ Maxim Jakubowski If you like Joseph Kanon you might also like to read books by Dan Fesperman, Martin Cruz Smith and Nelson DeMille.
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.