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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.
A most unexpected, if gripping thriller from the author of the much-admired Last Policeman trilogy. The book takes place in an America where the Civil War came to a different conclusion and agreements were fudged to divide the country into two zones, in one of which slavery is still tolerated, while in the North a compromised state of affairs reigns in which a black slave catcher becomes the involuntary hero of the proceedings where he has to smuggle himself behind southern lines to investigate a fiendish plot which could well involve his employers and the so-called liberal North. Intricate, at times breath-stopping, this is a hell of a thriller and one which although set in a dystopian imagined world remains so believable. Will Victor prevail or is he being manipulated and what secrets are kept behind the borderline and the omnous plantations and factories? Answers are provided and they are anything but reassuring. A thriller that dares to ask questions. ~ Maxim Jakubowski Sarah Broadhurst's view... The premise is that four southern states in America did not abolish slavery and formed a republic within the USA. Tightly controlled borders exist and escaped slaves are ruthlessly hunted down. Our protagonist is an escaped slave who tracks down his own in exchange for his “liberty”. He is very good at what he does and goes under many different names. This exciting story centres on a hunt to find Jackdaw, only our hero realises something is slightly off kilter. A relationship develops between him and a white girl with a mixed-race son and so some nice ambiguities are introduced. There is some heavy secret hanging over our hero and as the tale progresses we are never sure if he is good or not. A lot of deal making and double crossing occurs between a group helping slaves, “the underground airlines”, and the marshals, leaving us uncertain as to whom the goodies and baddies are. Then there is an extra twist. Brilliant. A good story on all levels. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
Simply fabulous. ‘A Divided Spy’ slices through theatrics and pierces the essential heart of a spy thriller. This is the third in the ‘Thomas Kell’ series, yet my first, and I found it could be read perfectly as a standalone novel. I will definitely nab a copy of the first two, as I forgot I was in reviewing mode and just disappeared into Thomas Kell’s world. The former MI6 officer is seeking revenge, his chance comes when he attempts to recruit a Russian agent, however the small matter of a potential terrorist attack interrupts his personal vendetta. Charles Cumming has won a number of prestigious awards, his writing is subtly powerful, and so very very readable. The terror plot made my mind flinch as it bit with daunting intensity, it felt honest and substantially real. Superbly crafted, ‘A Divided Spy’ weaves a powerful and thrilling web of political intrigue and game playing, and I highly recommend it.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Maxim Jakubowski June 2017 Book of the Month. Following on from Martin Edwards' splendid, award-winning Golden Age of Murder, about Christie and the heyday of the British cozy school of crime writing, Ripley's exploration of popular literature's history moves on in time and closely examines the boom in British thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed, a period and genre that had hitherto mostly been glossed over by both academia and critics. Witty and meticulously researched, Ripley's exploration of a much-maligned category demonstrates how British values and the shadow of the Empire coloured the works of so many authors, many of whom so deserve to be revived, following their initial heyday, like Desmond Bagley, Alastair MacLean, Alan Williams, Hammond Innes, Ted Allbeury, Lionel Davidson and scores of others alongside better-known names like Le Carre, Deighton, Jack Higgins, etc... Many of the books and authors evoked were a reflection of their time and Ripley cleverly argues for their posterity in an impeccable exercise in scholarship and entertainment that makes you want to scour the second-hand shelves or EBay every few pages, or hark back to memories of your reading youth should you be of a certain age. Indispensable and destined for awards. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
EGYPT IS UNDER ATTACK. Pharaoh Tamose lies mortally wounded. The ancient city of Luxor is surrounded, All seems lost. Taita prepares for the enemy's final, fatal push. The ex-slave, now general of Tamose's armies, is never more ingenious than when all hope is dashed. And this is Egypt's most desperate hour. With the timely arrival of an old ally, the tide is turned and the Egyptian army feasts upon its retreating foe. But upon his victorious return to Luxor, Taita is seized and branded a traitor. Tamose is dead and a poisonous new era has begun. The new Pharaoh has risen. Pharaoh Utteric is young, weak and cruel, and threatened by Taita's influence within the palace - especially his friendship with Utteric's younger and worthier brother, Ramases. With Taita's imprisonment, Ramases is forced to make a choice: help Taita escape and forsake his brother, or remain silent and condone Utteric's tyranny. To a good man like Ramases, there is no choice. Taita must be set free, Utteric must be stopped and Egypt must be reclaimed.
In a Nutshell: School life, suspense, and stepping from the shadows of grief and guilt An emotionally-charged, edge-of-your-seat thriller in which a young woman experiences a rollercoaster ride of guilt, grief and complex friendships. Twin sisters Harper and Jenna had always wanted to go to boarding school like the St Clare’s twins, and Harper gets to do just that when her dad wins big on a work lottery syndicate. But, far from fulfilling a lifelong dream, Harper wants to go to Duncraggan Academy to escape the guilt she feels for her sister’s anorexia-related death. While secretly grappling with this, she makes great friends, and then new girl Kirsty is invited into their peer group. She and Harper bond when Kirsty confides that she’s also lost a sister, but things get way out of control when Kirsty becomes Harper-obsessed and claustrophobically clingy. Tension builds to a jaw-dropping crescendo as truths are revealed, loyalties are tested, and a whole lot of understanding is needed. Gripping and gratifyingly multi-layered, fans of thrillers with emotional depth will find much to love here. ~ Joanne Owen
Fresh from fighting death in Ghost Flight, Will Jaeger - The Hunter - returns for his second high-octane adventure.1942, and SS Lieutenant Herman Wirth uncovers an ancient body in a Greenland glacier. But, considering its monstrous state, Wirth concludes that it’s as if her body “had been at war with itself; as if it had rejected its own innards”. She’s the archetypal ice maiden “ancestor goddess” turned “devil woman”, and Wirth wonders what the hell killed her. Meanwhile, skip forward to the present day, and our hero Will is en route to a remote tropical island off the Cuban mainland, set on rescuing a kidnapped member of his expedition team, and soon a fresh feast of thrills unfurls at pulse-quickening speed.Alongside the exhilarating intertwining of four journeys, an extraordinary variety of landscapes are vividly evoked, from the jungle island with its “shoulder-high elephant grass”, to the spider-infested, crystal-stippled Burning Angel cave in Africa. Inspired by the “true life exploits” of Bear's Grandpa Ted, AKA Brigadier William Edward Harvey Grylls OBE, this is peak action-adventure, a real a read-in-one sitting romp. ~ Joanne Owen
May 2017 Debut of the Month. Sharp, clever Australian crime thriller constructed around the compelling set-up of Detective Ted Conkaffey being accused - but not convicted - of the abduction, rape and strangulation of a thirteen year-old girl. Now estranged from his family, Ted has moved to Crimson Lake, hoping to escape the constant harassment that comes with being tried for such a crime, but very aware that he could be rearrested at any moment. Ted lives a hermit’s life until he meets straight-talking, effervescent Amanda Pharrell. Being a convicted murderer who’s now working as a private investigator, she also knows a thing or two about being a pariah. She and Ted spark up a joshing, bickering, brilliantly evoked sibling-like relationship as they investigate the disappearance of a local bestselling author, Jake Scully. While forensic evidence confirms that Jake was eaten by a crocodile, how and why this happened is as clear as Crimson Lake’s murky waters. The intense investigation uncovers a veritable viper's nest of secrets and, along the way, both Ted and Amanda discover some revelatory truths about each other’s cases, and the very final twist is a stroke of gasp-inducing genius. Menacing, absorbing and edgily entertaining, it’s no wonder Candice Fox is being celebrated as a new star of crime fiction. ~ Joanne Owen
From the day it was stolen from me I had dreamed of recapturing Bebbanburg. The great fort was built on a rock that was almost an island, it was massive, it could only be approached on land by a single narrow track - and it was mine. Britain is in a state of uneasy peace. Northumbria's Viking ruler, Sigtryggr, and Mercia's Saxon Queen Aethelflaed have agreed a truce. And so England's greatest warrior, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, at last has the chance to take back the home his traitorous uncle stole from him so many years ago - and which his scheming cousin still occupies. But fate is inexorable and the enemies Uhtred has made and the oaths he has sworn combine to distract him from his dream of recapturing Bebbanburg. New enemies enter into the fight for England's kingdoms: the redoubtable Constantin of Scotland seizes an opportunity for conquest and leads his armies south.
SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER. Unputdownable. (Guardian). Gripping. (Sunday Times). The Pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world's most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.
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
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.