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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.
Something of a departure for erstwhile James Patterson collaborator Andrew Gross, and a powerful, breathless thriller with a difference. It's 1944 and the American nuclear programme is stalling and the presence of a brilliant scientist imprisoned in Auschwitz sees Nathan Blume, a Polish exile in America most reluctantly agreeing to return to his place of birth and infiltrate the concentration camp to extricate the man. Add to this that his own family was exterminated by the Nazis and he makes a surprise, unsettling encounter once smuggled into Auschwitz and doesn't even know if the scientist he is seeking is even still alive and the task appears impossible, not counting on a Nazi investigator who gets a whiff of the plan. Harrowing camp scenes handled with care, an edge of the seat plot with a bittersweet ending, all in all a thriller with a courageous difference that will not leave the reader indifferent. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Still set against Furst's familiar background of the dark years of WW2, this new offering full of treachery and intrigue for once eschews the tropes of espionage and restricts itself to a sober chronicle of the early years of the German occupation of Paris. It's 1941 and a man known as Mathieu works for the fledgling resistance and is instrumental in assisting downed British airmen to flee the clutches of the Nazis and return to England to continue the war effort. His helpers include shopkeepers, nightclub owners, lovers, students and barmen working in the shadows and dodging retribution with every perilous step. Furst, as ever, meticulously brings the grey years of the shadow war to life and his attention to details is worthy of the best of historical writing. Everyday heroism and patriotism is evoked with delegant and spare prose and the sum of the pieces feels altogether more epic than the individual incidents: the true mark of a writer in full control of his craft.
Somewhere in the North African desert, a man with no memory tries to evade his armed pursuers. Who are they? What do they want from him? If he could just recall his own identity he might have a chance of working it out. Elsewhere, four westerners are murdered in a hippy commune and a suitcase full of worthless currency goes missing. Enter a pair of very unenthusiastic detectives, a paranoid spy whose sanity has baked away in the sun, and a beautiful blonde American with a talent for being underestimated. Sand is a gripping thriller - part Pynchon, part Le Carre, part Coen brothers - an unsettling, caustically funny tale of pursuit and madness. A gripping and brilliantly funny thriller Focus His was an extraordinary mind Guardian A great writer. A smiling, friendly, sympathetic nihilism shines through his prose Frankfurter Rundschau Enigmatic and moving Die Zeit
The most influential and least-known man in history - who deals in governments, trades in empires and holds the key to world power - has been taken hostage...The kidnapper forces multi-national companies and presidents into an auction, within which they must bid for the captive's release - before markets collapse and nations fall. Ending the bidding is Pete Chamberlain's job. His assignment is to find the captive - and soon. Only the ruthless kidnappers, the Russians and the CIA stand in his way.
The year is 1911. Chief Investigator Isaac Bell of the Van Dorn Detective Agency has had many extraordinary cases before. But none quite like this. Hired to find a young woman named Anna Pape who ran away from home to become an actress, Bell gets a shock when her murdered body turns up instead. Vowing to bring the killer to justice, he begins a manhunt which leads him into increasingly more alarming territory. Anna Pape was not alone in her fate - petite young blonde women like Anna are being murdered in cities across America. And the pattern goes beyond the physical resemblance of the victims - there are disturbing familiarities about the killings themselves that send a chill through even a man as experienced with evil as Bell. If he is right about his fears, then he is on the trail of one of the greatest monsters of his time.
Saffron grows up on a sprawling Kenyan estate, under the watchful eye of her father, prominent businessman and distinguished war veteran Leon Courtney. Her childhood is idyllic, until a family tragedy forces her to grow up much faster than necessary. As she grows into a spirited teenager, her thirst for knowledge and adventure leads her to England, where she finds herself inevitably drawn into the heart of the gathering storm in the lead up to World War II. Gerhard von Meerbach is the privileged and idealistic younger brother of Konrad von Meerbach, heir to an industrial fortune, and vocal supporter of the Nazi Party. Gerhard struggles to stay true to his principles in an increasingly cruel world. His friendship with a Jewish man places him in danger, and forces him to take a stand against the forces of evil that have overtaken his country and his family. But, unknown to him, he is caught in a trap that could cost him everything he holds dear. As the Second World War looms over them all, Saffron and Gerhard's worlds will collide - but will there be more to unite them than tear them apart?
In the aftermath of 1066, a Norman army marches through the North of England: burning, killing and laying waste to everything in its path. The Harrowing has begun. As towns and villages fall to the invaders, five travellers fleeing the slaughter are forced to band together for survival. Refugees in their own country, they journey through the wasteland, hoping to find sanctuary with the last stand of the Saxon rebellion. But are they fleeing the Normans or their own troubles?
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | An enthralling and credible police thriller, this is the second in the ‘Robert Finlay’ series, and another humdinger of a read. Finlay is on a new team investigating the sex-slave industry, a series of events link together in a chain-mail coil of aggressive hostility and danger. The author’s background history ensured I was in reliable hands and from the intriguing prologue my interest was piqued and then narrowed into unflinching focus as I was consumed by the plot. If you've not yet read the first in the series, 'Deadly Game' can be read as a standalone novel as there is an excellent introduction, however you'll be missing out if you don't go back and start from the beginning with ‘Wicked Game'. Matt Johnson has the ability to give a lot of information, including army and police ‘speak’ in a easy to understand, readable format without losing the power of the story. ‘Deadly Game’, vibrating with dramatic intensity, allows access to a treacherous world; this series is fast becoming a favourite and long may it continue. ~ Liz Robinson A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher... 'Matt Johnson’s Wicked Game was an extraordinary debut thriller – both raw and emotional and, of course, an unputdownable page-turner. I wondered what he would deliver next and if he could match it! Not only did he match it, but we were absolutely blown away by Deadly Game, which sees the return of protagonist Robert Finlay, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, like Matt himself. Not only has he tackled the emotive and deeply troubling subject of sex-trafficking, humanising the victims in an unforgettable way, but he has written an exceptional, high-octane, incredible roller-coaster-ride of a thriller that sees Finlay fighting to protect his family and a colleague from unseen enemies. What I love most about Matt’s books are their rich authenticity … their utter believability. The dialogue, the banter, the descriptions of police procedure, the strategies and operations are spot on, and the spine-tingling detail he includes draws us straight into the heart of his plots. Matt has raised the bar even higher with Deadly Game, with a complex, skilfully orchestrated plot, some simply beautiful writing, and a character who we are thrilled to meet again. I honestly cannot wait to see what he does next.' ~ Karen Sullivan, Publisher, Orenda Books Click here to read a Q&A with the author about his new book, Deadly Game.
In part inspired by a desire to redress how Nero “has suffered badly at the hands of popular culture,” as the author notes in the novel’s afterword, this epic, expansive tome about Nero’s transformation from little boy to ruthless ruler is a seamless weave of exceptional research and eloquent storytelling. Nero is but a child when the novel opens and he recalls his earliest memories; wistful recollections of his life with elegant Aunt Butterfly (Lepida) who told him tales of his ancestors, back when he dreamed of driving a chariot, as his father and grandfather had done before him. But Nero’s youthful innocence and inquisitiveness are cut short when Agrippina, the mother he knew nothing of, comes for him. In her charge, young Nero’s life is immediately transformed, and at risk, with cruelty and treachery slithering at every turn, from his uncle Caligula’s attempt to drown him, to his mother’s ruthless desire for power. Enthrallingly told in the young leader’s voice, this novel epitomises the illuminating scope of historical fiction. While fans of this genre, and readers interested in Roman and Greek history, will undoubtedly adore it, I’d also recommend it more widely. It serves up a rich feast of universally resonant themes - power, struggle, survival – and George’s style is as appealingly lucid as it is lyrical. ~ Joanne Owen
Burma, 1852. Arthur Bowman, a sergeant in the East India Company, is sent on a secret mission during the Second Anglo-Burmese War. But the expedition is foiled - his men are captured and tortured. Throughout their ordeal, a single word becomes Bowman's mantra, a word that will stiffen their powers of endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering: Survival . But for all that, only a handful escape with their lives. Some years later in London, battling his ghosts through a haze of alcohol and opium, Bowman discovers a mutilated corpse in a sewer. The victim appears to have been subjected to the same torments as Bowman endured in the Burmese jungle. And the word Survival has been daubed in blood by the body's side. Persuaded that the culprit is one of the men who shared his captivity, Bowman resolves to hunt him down.
This brain-twisting, heart-flipping, wryly funny time-travel debut about the shifting sands of personal identity seems set to become one of those zeitgeisty novels that captures readers in the way Matt Haig’s The Humans has done. Tom Barren is one of life’s drifters, and an underachieving disappointment to his pioneering scientist dad. He lives in a utopian future in which all material needs are met (and avocadoes never go mushy). It’s also a world in which his dad has invented the Chrono-Spatial Transport Apparatus (a time machine, no less) and, in an effort to give his floundering son something to do, he employs Tom to understudy Penelope, who's in training to be the first human to travel in the time machine. Tom falls for his leading lady, but an unfortunate succession of events sees him transported back to 2016, which he regards as a primitive dystopia. There Tom encounters alternate versions of his parents, and his soul-mate, Penelope, and he’s faced with an excruciating decision: does he try to go back to his old utopian life, or does he stay and embrace the 2016 versions of his loved ones? And so he embarks on an emotional trans-continental journey in order to figure out what to do, and who he is. Funny, thought-provoking and endlessly inventive - I loved it. ~ Joanne Owen March 2017 Debut of the Month.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. An assured cold war thriller set in the 1950s in paranoiac Washington D.C. at the height of the McCarthy hearings. The CIA suspects they have a mole, known as Protocol in their ranks, leaking secrets to the Soviets and George Mueller, recovering from a broken marriage, is given the task of investigating. However, his own past in the Great Game of espionage is equally murky and ambiguous and he soon comes under suspicion himself as the connections come to light. Past and present crisscross effectively in a tale of treason, mixed loyalties in a tale worthy of Robert Littell, Charles McCarry and with shades of early Le Carre which won't fail to impress spy thriller aficionados who will happily add Vidich to their shelf and look out for the imminent sequel. Most satisfying. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
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.