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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.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 1 April 2010. A writer who had more titles on the BBC’s Big Read Top 100 than any other living author, only Charles Dickens matched him. At the start Pratchett was categorised comic fantasy for he sets his Discworld books in an alternative universe and peoples them with witches, wizards and the like. It is a stage upon which he places his players in situations that enables him to mirror our world and therefore pinpoint its faults, idiosyncratic traits, ludicrous bureaucracy or just plain prejudices, injustices, stupidity and the like, i.e. he has developed into one of the most important satirists writing today. This astute masterpiece tears into the postal service. Truth did the same for the newspaper industry. Monstrous Regiment is one of the best books on war and gender you are likely to come across. He is a man who needs reading. His next Discworld, Thud, comes into hardback at the same time.Comparison: Jasper Fforde, Douglas Adams, Robert Rankin.Similar this month: None but try Haruki Murakami or Stephen Donaldson.
When the film broke in America at the end of last year, several books appeared but this is the one that rose above the rest. Interestingly narrated in the voice of Alexander himself, it brings to life the passions and ambitions of this driven, complex man in full-blooded battle cry. Terrific stuff.Comparison: Manda Scott, Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow.Similar this month: Valerio Massimo Manfredi, Neal Stephenson.
Tweed and Co up to their necks in problems again. Itâ€™s actually his 29th thriller! You get used to them but youâ€™ve still got to have them.Comparison: Jack Higgins, Gerald Seymour, Frederick Forsyth.Similar this month: None but try James Patterson and William Landay.
The third in this magnificent adventure series sees the crack in Caesar and Brutus’ friendship appearing and some of the possible reasons why former friends and colleagues turned. It’s history brought to life. Thrilling stuff, he’s a brilliant storyteller.Comparison: Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow, Steven Pressfield.Similar this month: None but I think you’ll enjoy William Landay too. The Emperor Series: 1. The Gates of Rome 2. The Death of Kings 3. The Field of Swords 4. The Gods of War
Shortlisted for the inaugural Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction 2010. Rome 63 BC, power struggles, political machinations, physical intimidation, bribery, assassination and more in an exceptional historical thriller, superbly written. There is no hint of comparison between then and now but you can’t help feeling it. Highly recommended. Comparison: Lindsay Clarke, Simon Scarrow, Valerio Massimo Manfredi.
Following the first adventure with scientists this neat little book is a perfect gem. It stands alone, but does follow the characters from the first book, an inept Pirate Captain and his motley crew, as they encounter the famous Ahab and his white whale. Like the first, this book is fanciful, carefree, witty and charming. Irreverent with history and highly improbable, it is of the best of comedy. And it fits in your pocket!Comparison: Walter Moers, Jasper Fforde, Harvard Lampoon Series.Similar this month: None but try Sue Townsend for humour or Frank Delaney for historical.
A real-life thriller told with dramatic intensity and pace, a tale of an obsession, of courage, deep-sea dangers and death. Itâ€™s the story of two men and their six year quest to find a German u-boat wreck off the coast of America (New Jersey). A sea/adventure yarn which is somehow made more exciting because itâ€™s true.
An officially sanctioned history of the SAS in World War II that reads like a novel as it takes first-hand accounts from the veterans.
Subtitled â€œThe Immortal of St Helenaâ€ this, of course, is the end of the quartet which has been such an enormous hit in France. It slants towards the military side.Comparison: Bernard Cornwell (Sharpe), Valerio Massimo Manfredi, Allan MallinsonSimilar this month: None.
The second in an exceptional series which, although stands on its own, I do urge you to read the first, Idlewild, first; itâ€™s stunning. Itâ€™s about a group of people rebuilding civilization after a dreadful plague. Itâ€™s brimming with ideas, itâ€™s hugely exciting with very real characters, itâ€™s edgy and fast and quite wonderful. Thriller readers will enjoy it too.Comparison: Richard Morgan, Neil Stephenson, William Gibson.Similar this month: Jon Courtenay Grimwood, also Daniel Priceâ€™s Slick because itâ€™s so clever.
I liked the developing relationship between an American doctor and the Irish policeman here in this strong, drug-related thriller with lots of pace. Itâ€™s got something a little bit different.Comparison: Lee Child, John Grisham, Michael Palmer.Similar this month: Gordon Kent, Andy McNab.
Those seeking an absorbing thriller after The Da Vinci Code will not go far wrong with this. It hasn’t got quite the same controversial premise but there is plenty of history to absorb here, all laced around underwater exploration and deciphering ancient hieroglyphics. It is fascinating and gripping. Comparison: Clive Cussler, Dan Brown, Valerio Massimo Manfredi. Similar this month: None, but try Dan Fesperman or Paul Carson
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.