The Floating Egg begins with the search for an alchemist's secret, and ends with the re-imagination of a past world. Each chapter is connected to a particular corner of north-east England, and each explores the uncertain line where myth is dissolved into science, and belief gives way to knowledge.
Different episodes show how the fall of Constantinople converted the common rock of the Yorkshire cliffs into a source of extraordinary wealth and power, and how this in turn uncovered the inhabitants of a succession of past worlds; how a stone falling from the sky near this same coast changed the minds of all the natural philosophers of Europe; and how a new science was born on the top of the tower of York Minster. We learn about the cloak-and-dagger world of fossil trading in the town of Whitby; and we see the entire life-work of a forgotten scientific genius who died from consumption at the age of twenty-five, having revolutionised his science.
The stories move from documentary accounts to fictional recreations of historic events, from contemporary writing and illustrations to present-day reflection. By using different ways of describing the world of scientific endeavour, the author has produced a fascinating visually beautiful and highly entertaining book which allows us to witness the birth of a new science - the science of geology.
One of the most far-reaching events since the Second World War is the re-emergence of China as a world power, and its present government's willingness to open up the country to the rest of the world.
This comprehensive cultural history ranges from prehistoric times to the present - from the disunity of Pre-Imperial China to the renaissance of the Sung and Tang dynasties, from the Mongol conquest to Tiananmen Square and the 1989 student revolt. By placing the modern country in historical perspective this brilliant study reveals how many continuities there are within the oldest of all civilizations.
'On a dark night a person searches on the brightly-lit ground under a lamp-post. A passer-by asks - For what are you searching? The person says - For the keys to my house. The passer-by says - Is this where you lost them? The person says - No I lost them in the dark, but this is where the light is.'
A retired academic and writer lies in a New York hospital bed. He has come there from his home in London to appear as a pundit on television, only to be knocked down by a car. Formerly an anthropologist, he is now tired of looking for order and reason where he can see none. His views on human nature and war are provocative and he has begun to find himself in demand. The forced inactivity allows him to reflect on the course of his life - the work he has done, the women he has known - and the characters from it begin to gather him: his first wife Valerie, his new wife Veronica, his son Adam.
He considers his first marriage and the curious version of fidelity they evolved, his days of teaching at Oxford, and the trip to Iran that saw him return with Nadia, a young girl whom he assists in escaping to a different life in England.
Witty, philosophical, and wise, Nicholas Mosley's latest novel is a timely portrait of one man's attempt to bring order to his disordered existence.
The Barbecue Book is more than just a recipe book - it's a complete, practical guide to everything you ever need to know about barbecuing, from designing your own open-air barbecue area to how to get the most out of your barbecue cooking.
The 200 easy-to-follow recipes range from Spicy potato slices to Prawns with mint and garlic, Classic burgers to Barbecue boeuf on croute. There really is nothing that you can't cook on your barbecue, and expert Jim Marks shows you how to use it for stir-fries, roasts and even breads and desserts! All the recipes are quick and easy to prepare, and a million times more imaginative than a frozen beefburger or veggie sausage. Plus, with Jim's tried-and-trusted advice on cooking techniques, you'll never again be faced with undercooked chicken or frazzled steak.
This new and updated edition of Jim Marks's classic book, which features conversion charts for Australian and US readers, is an essential reference for novice barbecuers and seasoned campaigners alike.
In 2001, Adam Henson was chosen from 3,500 applicants to become a presenter on Countryfile. Adam's agricultural knowledge and open manner soon made him a popular figure and when the programme moved to its current Sunday evening slot in 2009, he began to present a weekly report from his own farm in the Cotswolds.
There, the ups and downs of the farming calendar, as told in Adam's straight-talking fashion, soon became one of the most popular parts of the programme as viewers watched him endure the stress of TB testing and his sadness at losing valuable cattle as well as the highs of spring lambing.
This is the first book by Adam Henson, and it is an enthralling, first-person account of the drama, emotion and sheer hard work that is life on Adam's Farm.
The Gulag Archipelago is Solzhenitsyn's masterwork, a vast canvas of camps, prisons, transit centres and secret police, of informers and spies and interrogators and also of heroism, a Stalinist anti-world at the heart of the Soviet Union where the key to survival lay not in hope but in despair.
The work is based on the testimony of some two hundred survivors, and on the recollection of Solzhenitsyn's own eleven years in labour camps and exile. It is both a thoroughly researched document and a feat of literary and imaginative power. This edition has been abridged into one volume at the author's wish and with his full co-operation.
Two people. How many lies?
Liese Campbell has an engagement for the weekend: Alexander Colquhoun, a handsome, well-mannered farmer, is paying for her to stay at his property in remote Australia. Liese, an English architect in flight from the financial crisis, has been working at her uncle's estate agency in Melbourne, where Alexander is looking for a place to buy. The luxury apartments Liese shows him become sets for a relationship that satisfies their fantasies - and helps pay her debts. It's a game. Both players understand the rules. Or so she thinks.
Across the ancient landscape they drive at dusk to his grand decaying mansion. Here Liese senses a change in Alexander, and realises a new game has begun.
Chloe Hooper's riveting and provocative new novel is a psychological thriller for the modern age, an exploration of the snares of money and love and the dark side of erotic imagination. A trap has been set, but how and why? And for whom?
How do I get my music played on the radio? Do I really need my own website - can't I just use MySpace? How do I copyright and license my songs? The DIY Music Manual has the answers to these questions ... and more.
Over the last couple of years, the face of independent music has changed completely. With the rise of websites such as MySpace and iTunes, digital radio stations, podcasts, band websites and online music stores, it has made music much easier to make, promote and distribute outside traditional channels. Whereas before it was a case of sending your band's demo tape to a record label and hoping for the best, now it's possible to cut out the middle man and make a success of your band without being signed. Clearly, concisely and with a dash of wit, The DIY Music Manual tells you exactly how to do that.
Deep within the Balou mountains lies a small rural town populated by disabled people. Blind, deaf and disfigured, the 197 citizens of the Village of Liven have until now enjoyed a peaceful, mutually supportive life out of sight and mind of the government. But when an unseasonal snowstorm wipes out that year's crops, a county official dreams up a scheme that will raise money for the district and boost his career.
He convinces the villagers to set up a travelling freak-show, to include Blind Tonghua's Acute Listening Act, Guess the Age of the Old Man, Deafman Ma's Firecrackers-on-the-Ear and One-Eye's Needle Threading. With the money, he intends to buy Lenin's embalmed corpse from an ailing Russia and install it in a splendid mausoleum in the mountains to attract tourism to this sleepy district. However, as we all know, even the best intentions can go awry.
Provocative and funny, Lenin's Kisses melds fable, history and satire into a fantastical cautionary tale about contemporary China's all-consuming desire for power and wealth.
'Had John lived, he could have been one of the greatest footballers of all time' Jimmy Greaves
When John White was killed by a bolt of lightning in 1964, the football world was rocked by the tragedy. White was just 27 years of age.
Nicknamed the 'Ghost' for the way that he could drift into space undetected, White played inside-forward for the great double-winning Tottenham Hotspur side of the early sixties. British football was entering a golden period and Bill Nicholson's free-flowing Spurs side was right at the forefront. White himself was on the cusp of greatness. Even alongside giants of the game like Dave Mackay and Danny Blanchflower, he stood out as a playmaker with incredible vision and touch.
White lifted the European Cup Winners' Cup for Spurs (the first European trophy won by any British side) and gained 22 caps for Scotland, but he was also a family man. Six months before he died, his beloved wife Sandra, gave birth to their second child, a son called Rob.
Rob White never knew his father. The man who was known by hundreds of thousands of football fans across the country, was a complete stranger to him. The Ghost of White Hart Lane is the result of interviews with his father's teammates, followers, and family members. Within these pages Rob White and Julie Welch have built up a portrait, not only of a brilliant and gifted young man, but also of a lost era.
Two small children are playing a game called 'Witch-Hunter'. They place a curse on a young woman taking lunch in a church courtyard and wait for her to die. An hour later the woman is indeed found dead inside St Bride's Church - a building that no-one else has entered.
Unfortunately Bryant & May are refused the case. Instead, there are hired by their greatest enemy to find out why his wife has suddenly started behaving strangely. She's become an embarrassment to him at government dinners, and he is convinced that someone is trying to drive her insane. She has even taken to covering the mirrors in her apartment, and believes herself to be the victim of witchcraft.
Then a society photographer is stabbed to death in a nearby park and suddenly a link emerges between the two cases. And so begins an investigation that will test the members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit to their limits, setting Arthur Bryant off on a trail that leads to Bedlam and Bletchley Park, and into the world of madness, codes and the secret of London's strangest relic.
As the members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit dig behind the city's facades to expose a world of private clubs, hidden passages and covert loyalties, they realise that the case might not just end in disaster - it might also get everyone killed.
Introducing... Odeline Milk, a strange young lady from a sleepy, buttoned-down market town.
A young lady with an obsession - you can guess what it is by the way she dresses: white collarless shirt, a waistcoat and billowing black trousers, the bowler hat.
She's on her way to London, to make her name as a great mime artist.
And typical Odeline, she's arriving prepared. With the small inheritance left her by her mother, she's bought herself a home, an old canal boat.
What she doesn't know yet is that for some the city's canals have an appeal of their own. They are below the eyeline, a sort of halfworld, a good place to hide for a community of curious outsiders, all with their own stories to tell, stories which might help a certain young lady to think differently about life.
Because there's a lot Odeline doesn't know. Not least, that her new home has a history of its own.
It's the late 1970s, and Christopher Fowler is a film freak, obsessively watching lousy films in run-down fleapit cinemas. Longing to put his dreams on the screen and become a famous screenwriter, he heads for Wardour Street, the nation's equivalent of Hollywood, with an armful of scripts.
But he's made a spectacular mistake. He arrives just as the industry falls to its knees, knocked down by the first appearance of video and the destruction of the old movie palaces. The only films being made are smutty low budget farces and TV spinoffs. He thought he'd be asked to make another 'Bullitt', but finds himself writing short films for boilers. Somehow, against the odds, he finds success - although in a very different form from the one he expected.
Ghastly, hilarious and finally moving, Film Freak is a trawl through the arse-end of the British film industry that turns into a search for friendship and happiness.
Clever Girl (eBook)
All the qualities that readers praised in The London Train are present in Clever Girl, Tessa Hadley's brilliant new novel. It follows the story of Stella, from her childhood as the daughter of a single mother in a Bristol bedsit in the 1960s into the mysterious shallows of her middle age. The story is full of drama - violent deaths, an abrupt end to Stella's schooldays, two sons by different fathers who aren't around to see the boys grow up - but as ever it is her observation of ordinary lives, of the way men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles. Yes, you think. This is how it is.
Sir Ernest Shackleton could never have imagined his name being closely associated with whisky, certainly not in the title of a book. Rarely did he consume strong drink. On his expeditions, he tolerated a 'mild spree' at times of celebration. But that was all. Drinking to excess appalled him. From an early age, growing up in a teetotal home, he was wary of alcohol. How, then, must he have felt about signing an order for twenty-five cases of whisky - 300 bottles - for his 1907-09 British Antarctic Expedition?
Shackleton's Whisky follows the story of the Rare Old Highland Whisky taken south on his Nimrod expedition. It celebrates the extraordinary achievements of men exploring an extraordinary place. It dips into the human-interest stories of polar life in the 'heroic era' of Antarctic exploration. Shackleton once wrote of his interest in documenting 'the little incidents that go to make up the sum of the day's work, the humour and the weariness, the inside view of men on an expedition'. Here is one such account, based largely on what he wrote and said about the expedition and also on what the members of his expedition wrote, for most participants kept a diary or journal.
Antarctic exploration and whisky, in their own way, are both steeped in history, maturity, endurance, character, and technology. Both have a worldwide following, millions of fans. Their pathways coincided on the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09. With the recovery 100 years later of three cases of Scotch from icy entombment under the hut at Cape Royds and the subsequent return of three bottles to Scotland for sampling, analysis and a near-magical replication, the relationship of whisky and Antarctic exploration came sharply into focus, making a unique odyssey to the end of the Earth and back.
Scarborough, 1934. John Fastolf, rakish heir to a Dukedom, has sponsored a glamorous tunny fishing contest. He has his reasons.
The young journalist Martha Gellhorn is covering the event for the London gossip papers. She has hers.
And quiet little Henny Rosefield has arrived in town with Zane Grey, bestselling author and expert mountain man of the Wild West.
The international craze for hunting giant tuna has swept the North Yorkshire coast, and huge yachts have transformed the harbour into something like Monte Carlo. Over them all towers the Dazzle, resplendent in jagged stripes of black, white and blue. She looks like a junior sort of ocean liner but she's a very adult sort of yacht.
In the harbour, damaged dilettantes will swap beds and swap lies. Far offshore, on the rips and tides of the malevolent North Sea, gallant battle will be done. All the while, something truly dangerous is lurking. But we can't see any of that. Just the Dazzle sitting on the edge of the world, shimmering as the sea glitters, her outline wavering.
Wrapped in a gripping adventure story, Robert Hudson's second novel is a deliciously witty tale of wilderness, vengeance and the death of love.