MASTER OF WAR: VIPER’S BLOOD by David Gilman published in paperback today!

004 MASTER OF WAR - VIPER'S BLOOD - GILMAN David - UK Head of Zeus final ppbk cover.jpg

Viper’s Blood by David Gilman, the thrilling 4th book in the MASTER OF WAR series is released today in paperback, published by Head of Zeus. This much-praised series – described as ‘gripping’, ‘sharper than a bodkin arrow’, ‘better than Bernard Cornwell’ and of ‘bone-crunching intensity’ – is also taking translation markets by storm.

Provoked by the Dauphin's refusal to honour the terms of his father's surrender, Edward III has invaded France with the greatest army England has ever assembled. But the English lion's attempts to claw the French crown from its master are futile. After defeats at Crecy and Poitiers, the Dauphin will no longer meet the English in the field.

Mired down in costly sieges and facing a stalemate, Edward's great army is forced to agree a treaty. But peace comes at a price. The French request that Blackstone escort their King's daughter to Italy to see her married to one of the two brothers who rule Milan – the same brothers who killed Blackstone's family to revenge the defeats they suffered at his hand.

Blackstone, the French are certain, will never leave Milan alive...

Robert Fabbri, bestselling author of the Vespasian series, has described the MASTER OF WAR series as a “gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty”. The series is sold in translation in Brazil, Czech, Spain, Hungary and Germany, where MASTER OF WAR recently went straight into the Top 50 Bestseller charts at No. 23. David Gilman is currently completing the fifth book in this series, SCOURGE OF WOLVES which will be released in ebook in December 2017 and in hardback in February 2018.

Earlier this year, David’s "gripping... smart and subtle" standalone THE LAST HORSEMAN, was shortlisted for Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on 7 September,  

Praise for David Gilman’s MASTER OF WAR series

‘A thrilling, fast-moving, engaging tale, with unexpected twists, beautiful prose, excellent characterisation and dialogue, human sentiment and motivation, and graphic descriptions of war… Move over Bernard Cornwell. … Historical fiction at its best’. – Historical Novel Society

‘Adjectives like action-packed, exciting and wonderfully researched are a given. Yet only the qualities of the work stay the same; the story is as fresh and shock-filled as each of its predecessors.... Do please treat yourself if you haven't read MASTER OF WAR by David Gilman or any of the series that came afterwards.’ – Ani Johnson, The Bookbag

‘Book Four in the MASTER OF WAR series and the bone-crunching intensity of this series shows no signs of abating. ... A truly excellent book and part of an excellent series.’ – Parmenion Books

 'The fourth novel in David Gilman’s powerful and uncompromising chronicle of the Hundred Years War … VIPER’S BLOOD is an exciting, bloody and well-written tale of Europe at a time of terrible crisis. ... A fine addition to a series that continues to bring these cruel years to life in such rich and meticulous detail.' – For Winter Nights

About David Gilman

David Gilman has had many careers, including firefighter, soldier and photographer, before turning to writing full time. He is an award-winning author and screenwriter.

Find out more about David Gilman on Blake Friedmann’s website or David’s own website.

Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.


The prestigious shortlist for the 2017 Nielsen Bookseller’s Choice Award was revealed on the 25th of July with Deon Meyer racking up another nomination for his latest novel, the critically-acclaimed FEVER (Afrikaans: KOORS). Meyer has been nominated twice before: in 2016 for his novel ICARUS, and in 2012 for the ground-breaking SEVEN DAYS, which won.

The Nielsen Bookseller’s Choice Award works with writers, publishers and booksellers to reward outstanding contributions to the South African literary landscape. ‘It is awarded to the book that booksellers across South Africa have most enjoyed reading, selling or promoting over the past year’. The other six books on the 2017 shortlist are: Trevor Noah’s BORN A CRIME; EMILY HOBHOUSE: GELIEFDE VERRAAIER by Elsabe Brits; MY OWN LIBERATOR by Dikgang Moseneke; JAN A BREATH OF FRENCH AIR by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen and KOOK SAAM KAAPS by Koelsoem Kamalie and Flori Schrikker. Previous winners include Frank Chikane, Tim Noakes and Blake Friedmann client Sally Andrew, for her novel RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER.

FEVER has received international acclaim and was hailed by Stephen King as reminiscent of THE STAND and THE PASSAGE. It will be published in the US in September 2017 by Grove Atlantic.
Deon was the second highest best-selling author in South Africa in 2016. His work has won the Deutsche Krimi Preis 2009 for BLOOD SAFARI, Le Grand Prix de Littérature Policière 2003 for DEAD BEFORE DYING and Le Prix Mystère de la Critique 2004 for DEAD AT DAYBREAK, which was adapted for an Afrikaans M-Net TV series (SA). THIRTEEN HOURS was the winner of the Barry Award in the Best Thriller category 2011 and was shortlisted for the Macavity Best Mystery Novel Award. He has been shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger three times. Rights in his titles are sold in 30 territories and 28 languages and many of his books have been optioned for film. DEAD BEFORE DYING was filmed for a 6-part TV series, titled CAPE TOWN, featuring his character Mat Joubert.

Visit Deon’s website at and follow him on Twitter @MeyerDeon

Praise for FEVER:

'UK readers, you have a nice surprise coming. No, not Brexit, FEVER, by Deon Meyer. Reminiscent of THE STAND and THE PASSAGE. Great stuff'— Stephen King
‘Wonderful writing... It is a crime thriller, but it's far more... absorbing, emotional and atmospheric... There are shades of Cormac McCarthy’s superb THE ROAD, but FEVER grips even more.’ – Marcel Berlins, The Times Book of the Month

‘This is less a mystery than a thought-provoking, post-apocalyptic examination of the human condition …With its stunning final revelation, this is a remarkable literary achievement.’ – Booklist Starred Review

‘Compelling, action-packed and fraught with emotion. At its heart it is a powerful exploration of humanity at its best and worst and bears favourable comparison with landmarks of the genre such as Stephen King's The Stand and Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Simply stunning.’ Daily Express

‘FEVER bears comparison with landmarks in the genre such as THE STAND ...The novel explores humanity at its best and worst; the crushing loss of civilisation with everything that means for the structure of society...This great book asks us to reflect on our own hidden natures - how would we react if the world we knew came to an end tomorrow?’ — Vaseem Khan, author of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

‘FEVER is one of the best books of the year. Deon Meyer is a masterful writer and has created a stunning epic that brims with emotion. The mystery, thrills, and action kept me riveted to every page. Highly recommended.’ — Adam Hamdy, author of Pendulum

Praise for Deon Meyer:
‘Deon Meyer is not just South Africa’s greatest crime writer, he’s up there with the best in the world.’ — Marcel Berlins, The Times
‘A master on vintage form… He is a defining novelist of modern South Africa.’ – Barry Forshaw, Books of the Year 2012, Independent

‘Deon Meyer is one of the best crime writers on the planet.’ – Mail on Sunday

‘I’ve been reading a new book by Deon Meyer, a South African, writer of crime fiction,
‘Deon Meyer's name on the cover is a guarantee of crime writing at its best.’ — Tess Gerritsen

‘Deon Meyer is a top notch plotter and has created one of the best ensemble (and multi-racial) casts of any modern police procedural series.’ — Shots magazine

‘Crime fiction with real texture and intelligence.’ — Independent



Helen Garnons-Williams, Publishing Director at 4th Estate, has acquired at auction UK & Commonwealth rights in Michael Donkor's debut novel, HOLD - from Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedmann.

Set in Ghana and London, HOLD is the story of bright and sensible Belinda, a housegirl sent from Ghana to London, and the wayward Amma, born to Ghanaian parents in Brixton - and of Belinda's young friend Mary, left behind in Kumasi.

Beautifully exploring themes of home and identity, rejection and belonging, HOLD is about two young women navigating their way uncertainly into adulthood, and all the passion, despair and excitement that inspires. It is a rich, evocative coming-of-age story, marking the arrival of a powerful new British literary voice.

Michael Donkor was born in London, to Ghanaian parents, and teaches English Literature to A-level students in West London. Many of the issues in this novel are close to his heart, and his writing won him a place on the Writers’ Centre Inspires Scheme in 2014, where he received a year’s mentoring from Daniel Hahn.

Garnons-Williams says: 'HOLD is a rare and special novel, whose characters spring off the page. It is poignant, funny and fresh - and incredibly emotionally compelling. Michael is a hugely accomplished and empathetic storyteller and we couldn't be happier to welcome him to 4th Estate.'

Donkor says: 'I am so thrilled that HOLD is being published. I have carried Amma, Belinda and Mary around with me for an inordinately long time and the prospect of sharing them with others is hugely exciting. When writing the novel, one of my principal hopes was that this story would generate conversations among readers - about suffering, about the nature of friendship, about the challenges and rewards of negotiating multiple cultural identities - and I am so looking forward to contributing to and learning from these discussions.

For the novel to have found a home at 4th Estate is wonderful. They are an ambitious and distinctive house and their list of authors is luminous. Adichie and Lessing’s novels and short stories have been especially important in shaping my sense of what it means to be a writer and in underscoring my belief in the transformative power of storytelling.'

HOLD will be published in July 2018. 


SHELTER, the first novel from author Sarah Franklin, is published today by Bonnier. Described by the Irish Times as “this year’s most eagerly anticipated debut” in their selection of 25 books ‘to entertain and enlighten’, this beautiful hardback is already hooking reviews, bloggers and fellow authors around the country, and is the Bedtime Bookclub pick for The Pool.  Adele Parks called it ‘Beautiful’ and Shelley Harris, after saying how much she loved this book, commented that ‘[the main male character] Seppe is one of the most refreshing portrayals of masculinity I have ever read’.

Early spring 1944. Connie Granger has escaped her bombed-out city home, finding refuge in the Women's Timber Corps. For her, this remote community must now serve a secret purpose. Seppe, an Italian prisoner of war, is haunted by his memories. In the forest camp, he finds a strange kind of freedom. Their meeting signals new beginnings. But as they are drawn together, the world outside their forest haven is being torn apart. Old certainties are crumbling, and both must now make a life-defining choice. What price will they pay for freedom? What will they fight to protect?

Woman & Home called the novel ‘fascinating and assured’ while Good Housekeeping refer to it as ‘an atmospheric debut and a fascinating glimpse into a forgotten aspect of WWII’. The novel also counts among its fans Adele Parks, Lissa Evans, Shelley Harris and Carys Bray, among others – see further praise below. Follow the hashtag #GiveMeShelter  on Instagram  to discover the SHELTER #bookstagram tour hosted by Bonnier Zaffre!

The audiobook will be published shortly by Isis Publishing.

About the author:

Sarah lectures in publishing at Oxford Brookes, is the host of Short Stories Aloud and a judge for the Costa Short Story Award. She has written for the Guardian, Psychologies magazine, The Pool, the Sunday Express and the Seattle Times.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahEFranklin

Praise for SHELTER:

‘A wonderful, affecting debut novel about the redemptive power of nature.’ -  Sarra Manning, Red Online

‘Sarah Franklin’s compelling debut shows how outsiders in a time of war seek to rebuild their lives again. Powerful and moving.’ – Essie Fox, author of THE SOMNAMBULIST

 ‘Life affirming and compelling; SHELTER is a must-read, and Sarah Franklin a breath of fresh air’ – Claire Mackintosh, author of I LET YOU GO

'One of 3 Books to Pop in Your Suitcase' – Prima

SO HAPPY IT HURTS by Anneliese Mackintosh published today by Jonathan Cape

SO HAPPY IT HURTS, the debut novel from acclaimed writer Anneliese Mackintosh, is published today by Jonathan Cape, and in audiobook by Audible.

'I want to be a good person. And I want to be happy. So happy it hurts. I need you to help me with that.’

Ottila McGregor is thirty years old and has decided it’s time to sort her life out. She’s going to quit drinking, stop cheating and finally find true happiness. Easy, right?

Of course not.

For a start, there’s Grace, her best friend, who believes self-improvement is for people in their forties. Next there’s Mina, her sister, who is mentally ill, and it might be Ottila’s fault. And then there’s Thales, the Greek guy who works in the hospital cafeteria. He's probably the best, most dangerous person Ottila’s ever met.

To make sense of it all, Ottila keeps a scrapbook of everything: emails, receipts, tickets, letters, her therapy transcripts, a boyfriend's note rescued from the bin... The result is an infectious one-off of a novel that makes you wince and laugh in equal measure, and which asks the question: what does it take to be so happy it hurts?

Anneliese gave us a treat with an engrossing interview on Bristol247, followed by a beautiful live reading of SO HAPPY IT HURTS on the The Janice Forsyth Show.

Her debut short story collection, ANY OTHER MOUTH, was published by Freight Books in June 2014. It has received incredible reviews including “Mackintosh is a real talent and Any Other Mouth is a remarkable debut” from The Independent, and “beautifully crafted snapshots… one of the UK’s most exciting new voices” from The List. It won the Green Carnation Prize, was shortlisted for the Saltire Society’s First Book Award, in the Best Short Story Collection category for the 2015 Saboteur Awards and Edge Hill Short Story Prize, and longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.

Rights have sold in France, Germany and Holland.


‘Impressive and challenging…this debut novel is every bit as assured, honest and innovative as its predecessor. For a start the structure is highly original. Like Mackintosh’s previous work, SO HAPPY IT HURTS is something out of a high wire act, laugh-out-loud funny at times but also so emotionally honest that it sometimes feels like a punch to the guts. Thrilling, edgy without ever seeming gimmicky, making this as sharp a novella about 21st century living as you’ll find anywhere.’ –  Doug Johnstone, The Big Issue

‘The novel balances irony and earnestness perfectly, offering both a heartbreakingly sincere quest for happiness and an acerbic intolerance of hollow quick-fixes. Told through a scrapbook of letters, emails, Snapchats, therapy transcripts and text messages, Mackintosh builds a novel out of the language we actually use day to day. More than anything though, her characters bring it to life. Maybe it’s the intimacy of revealing them through their private messages, maybe it’s just how powerfully Mackintosh draws them and what they mean to Ottila, but the effect is so strong and the threat of some new catastrophe so tangible that each page turn feels like a horrible gamble with these people’s lives. When it hurts, it really fucking hurts. But when it’s happy, Anneliese Mackintosh’s latest work is positively radiant.’ – The Skinny

‘Inventive and wise and very affecting. There’s a deep human experience in it.’ – Jason Donald, author of CHOKE CHAIN