No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
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.
‘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.
What a great start to a thriller that just gets better and better for the book opens with what appears to be an attempted assassination of the US President in Trafalgar Square during a ceremony to respect the dead of both countries. It is here we are introduced to a professional killer, Joshua, whose role is to protect the ‘real’ killer, McGale, so we get both men shooting, killing or fleeing. It is all captured on TV by an American reporter and her experienced cameraman. Through fast action, clever double-crossing and a high body count, we shift to Ireland. Here, naturally, past terrorism problems cloud the scene and the plot thickens. This is the sort of tale you really cannot say too much about so I will finish with saying it is riveting with a good Irish and political plot, plenty of twists and turns, some love interest and well-drawn characters reminiscent of Le Carré’s Smiley novels, and that is praise indeed. Surprisingly it is a first novel but the author has excellent credentials, he is a criminal barrister and an ex-heavyweight boxer! It begins a series I’m glad to say. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
February 2018 Debut of the Month. Simply superb, this is a dark, gritty and stormingly fast read with real attitude. Formerly of the SAS, John Carr is now working in private security for a Russian, however the past is stalking him, ready to take his legs, and his life. If I tell you that the author James Deegan spent 17 years in the SAS and was described by his commanding officer as one of the most operationally experienced SAS men of his era, it should tell you all you need to know about the validity of his voice. The book begins with the CV of John Carr, it really sets the tone, gives you an understanding of his background, allowing the story to explode from the get-go. James Deegan delivers short punchy sentences, simply told, yet the words took hold of me, dumped me in the middle of the action, made my breath stop and my heart race. Once A Pilgrim bristles with energy and authenticity, it is an addictive, absolute whammy of read and I loved it - highly recommended.
An entirely captivating and thrilling read set within the heart of the Roman Empire in AD323. This is the fifth ‘Twilight of Empire’ novel and a must read for historical adventure seekers. I will admit to this being my first foray into the series, yet immediately felt at home and I feel this could easily read as a standalone. Honourable military commander Aurelius Castus finds himself in the middle of a power play between the emperor and his son. Ian Ross sets the scene beautifully, in fact the first sentence screamed with impact, snaring my attention, and the pages didn’t let me go until I had turned the very last one. I was by the side of Castus as he balanced on a knife edge between two of the most powerful men in his world, and I fought by his side in the bloodiest of battles, both large and small. The author’s note explains the history behind this tale, and the blend of fact and fiction has created an absolutely cracking read. ‘Imperial Vengeance’ is a swiftly moving adventure into the past, one that feels so authentically real it takes you there… now do excuse me while I nip out to get the first four in the series. ~ Liz Robinson
In Europe, Master Sergeant Joe Fitzpatrick and Team Ghost return from a mission deep into enemy territory only to find that the Variant army has grown stronger. And, they are advancing toward the EUF's final stronghold in Paris. Back in the United States, President Ringgold and Dr. Kate Lovato are on the run. The Safe Zone Territories continue to rally behind the ROT flag, leaving Ringgold more enemies than allies. But there are still those who will stand and fight for America. Commander Rachel Davis and Captain Reed Beckham will risk everything to defeat ROT and save the country from collapsing into Civil War.
An authoritative yet easy to read, absolute romp of a novel set during the turbulence of the French Revolution. This is the first adventure in ‘The Chronicles of Thomas Pryce’, a vicar who studied at Oxford and is trained in the use of the sword and pistol. On hearing that the safety of his wife’s family is compromised, Thomas makes his way to Paris to rescue them. Seamlessly weaving fact and fiction Mark Stibbe and G. P. Taylor have created a world of political intrigue, cunning spies, and perilous endeavours. Historical figures such as William Pitt and Lady Hester Stanhope populate the pages ensuring the period wrapped itself around me, and set me firmly in place. The more I read, the more I wanted to read and I found myself fully immersed in the story. The Fate of Kings is an excellent start to what promises to be a thoroughly entertaining series, long may it reign! ~ Liz Robinson
'The Predator Cities' quartet is a stunning blend of past and future technologies where the world of the traction era and mobile cities fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic future. The release of Mortal Engines, the first in the quartet launched Philip Reeve's brilliantly-imagined creation, sets the scene for a stunning quartet of action-packed stories set in a richly inventive world. Big cities gobble up smaller ones and London rules above them all. Tom Natsworthy, a third class apprentice in the Guild of Historians, has the adventure of his life after he sets out to try to find out what has happened to his parents. With a cast of inventive characters including Shrike, Anna Fang and Stalker, a deadly robot killer with a human brain, and cities whose imaginary and multi-layered architecture dazzles, this is a creation on a vast and imaginary scale.
The spellbinding new Robert Langdon novel from the author of The Da Vinci Code. On a trail marked only by enigmatic symbols and elusive modern art, Langdon and Vidal uncover the clues that will bring them face-to-face with a world-shaking truth that has remained buried - until now.
I am an enormous fan of William Boyd although some of his novels are a little disappointing. Not this one. I must admit I was surprised to discover that it is actually just a spy story … but what a story. It begins in 1976 when Ruth discovers her mother is not the cantankerous English lady she was always known, but one Eve Delectorskaya, spy and wartime heroine. Eve’s wartime story then unfolds alongside the present and more surprises. This is terrific stuff, beautifully written, suspenseful, compulsive, emotional and historically fascinating. It’s one hell of a tale. I loved it. ~ Sarah Broadhurst Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2006. Judges' comment: "Beautifully crafted. Boyd gives us a page-turner, despite the story's complex wartime intrigue. Restless is packed with riveting detail: it is a novel reeking of authenticity." The Bloomsbury Modern Classic Series Restless by William Boyd Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale The Little Friend by Donna Tartt.
February 2011 Guest Editor Carmen Reid on Michael Ondaatje... The English Patient is a dream of a romantic novel. It follows two love stories, one between a soldier and a nurse which unfolds as the book progresses and the other in the past, being slowly re-told. There is the handsome, mysterious foreigner, a war-torn background, the uptight English marriage about to be blown apart by a passionate affair and ensuing volcanic eruption of emotions. The wife tries to break it off, then the half-crazed husband attempts to kill three of them in a plane-crash. The hero cannot return to rescue the heroine. It might all have become completely melodramatic if it wasn’t so perfectly and beautifully well-written. The Lovereading view... A modern classic, this story of four damaged people is beautiful, harrowing and moving. As the lives of these people interconnect a poetically told tale unravels the stories of each individual. A haunting and satisfying read. The Bloomsbury Modern Classic Series Restless by William Boyd Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
September 1938 Hitler is determined to start a war. Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace. The issue is to be decided in a city that will forever afterwards be notorious for what takes place there. Munich. As Chamberlain's plane judders over the Channel and the Fuhrer's train steams relentlessly south from Berlin, two young men travel with secrets of their own. Hugh Legat is one of Chamberlain's private secretaries; Paul Hartmann a German diplomat and member of the anti-Hitler resistance. Great friends at Oxford before Hitler came to power, they haven't seen one another since they were last in Munich six years earlier. Now, as the future of Europe hangs in the balance, their paths are destined to cross again. When the stakes are this high, who are you willing to betray? Your friends, your family, your country or your conscience?
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.