Bestseller Peter James’ Backlist Coming to Audio for the First Time from Orion Audio!

Peter James Dec 2017 pic credit Mark Dixon.jpg

Orion Audio have acquired world audio rights from Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann for 10 of Peter James’ chilling suspense novels and will be bringing the titles to an audio audience for the first time. Peter has secured 12 consecutive Sunday Times No.1s, and his novels have won numerous awards, most recently the coveted 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence.

THE TRUTH is the first of the classic backlist titles to be released on audio, read by Matt Addis, with a new introduction recorded by Peter James himself. Released this December for listeners, the audio edition will be followed in February 2018 by a 20th Anniversary Edition paperback. THE TRUTH kicks off a series of 10 releases over three years to bring the whole of Peter’s classic backlist into audio unabridged, including SWEETHEART, FAITH, HOST, TWILIGHT, DREAMER, ALCHEMIST, POSSESSION, DENIAL and PROPHECY.

Paul Stark, Senior Audio Manager at Orion, said thatPeter’s such a big bestseller in audio, it’s long been an ambition of mine to work with him. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to release these titles in audio for the first time.’

Peter James said: ‘There is something magical about listening to an audio book: it takes you back to the very roots of storytelling – the oral tradition – long before the printed word existed.  Listening to the spoken words can sometimes give us an even stronger connection to the author than reading them.  I’m thrilled at Orion’s initiative in making these ten backlist titles available in this medium for the very first time.  And I loved reading and recording the new introduction to THE TRUTH!’

About Peter James: Peter James is an international bestselling thriller writer. He is a New York Times bestseller, as well achieving multiple Sunday Times No 1s, and his work is published in 37 languages. His DS Roy Grace crime novels have sold 19 million copies worldwide. In 1994 Penguin published his novel, HOST, on two floppy discs as the world's first electronic novel. He has won numerous awards, most recently the coveted 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence, and he was publicly voted by WH Smith – Britain's biggest book selling chain – The Best Crime Author of All Time.

BFLA Authors in Best of 2017 Lists!

2017 is almost over, and as the year draws to a close, everyone is sharing their reading highlights in ‘Best of’ lists. At Blake Friedmann we are immensely proud that our authors have been featured in many of them. To celebrate their fantastic achievements we have compiled a summary of the great lists they were included with and the praise that accompanied their selection:

THE HUSBAND HUNTERS by Anne de Courcy

HUSBAND HUNTERS The - DE COURCY Anne - UK pbk.jpeg

Jane Ridley, The Spectator, More Books of the Year 2017

‘Anne de Courcy’s THE HUSBAND HUNTERS reveals how the ruthlessly ambitious wives of American parvenus stormed the social heights of New York and London in the gilded age. A tale of buccaneering matriarchs marrying their American princess daughters to the dim-witted, cash-strapped sons of British peers, and using their new-found social cachet to force admittance into the exclusive New York elite. Cleverly researched, sparkling with diamonds and wickedly funny.’

The Mainstreet Trading Company, General Non-Fiction, Books of the Year 2017

DIKELEDI - DANGOR Achmat - SA PanMac.jpg

 

DIKELEDI by Achmat Dangor

Books Live, Our guide to the best holiday reads

A family saga set in a time of forced removals and the creation of bantustans.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHELTER - final HDBK.JPG

 

SHELTER by Sarah Franklin

Steph’s Book Blog, My Top Ten Books for 2017

‘The author does an incredible job of showing the way WW2 was fought in a different way. Yes, cities and soldiers do feature but only briefly. This is all about the foresters and how important and unnoticed their role was.’

What Cathy Read Next, Ten Favourite Books of 2017

‘An outstanding debut. SHELTER has an authentic period atmosphere with wonderful characters who take you on an intense but heart-warming journey.’

 

OUTSIDERS final cover Little Brown.jpg

OUTSIDERS by Lyndall Gordon

Joseph O’Connor, Irish Times, The Best Books of 2017

‘I love how Lyndall Gordon thinks and I love the clarity and reach of her writing, combining imaginative audacity with scholarly scruple. Her OUTSIDERS, a collection of portraits of George Eliot, Emily Brontë, Virginia Woolf, Olive Schreiner and Mary Shelley, builds into a lucid meditation on how certain writers become lighthouses for each other.’

Joan Bakewell, New Statesman, Books of the Year 2017

‘As the role of women undergoes yet another convulsion, it’s good to read, in Lyndall Gordon’s OUTSIDERS, of the robust intelligence of five women who made a powerful contribution. The work and lives of Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Mary Shelley, Olive Schreiner and Virginia Woolf are well known. Gordon’s thesis sets out just how original and brave they were – and at what cost. We owe them much.’

Books Live, Our guide to the best holiday reads

‘A profound investigation into the lives and works of Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner and Virginia Woolf.’

 

THE OTHER TWIN final cover.jpg

THE OTHER TWIN by L V Hay

Chapterinmylife, Top Reads 2017

‘I found myself immersed in this novel right from the very first page. Delightfully disorientating, chilling in its deception, THE OTHER TWIN burrowed its way into my brain’

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LAST PILOT Picador ppbk cover.jpg

THE LAST PILOT by Benjamin Johncock

Jenny Rohn, The Guardian, Favourite read of 2017 – as chosen by scientists

‘In Benjamin Johncock’s THE LAST PILOT, we fast-forward to a group of aviator engineers vying to break the sound barrier in the Mojave Desert. Every perilous flight might be a man’s last and family relationships suffer. Worse, their jobs become redundant when the first astronauts start going into space: if the pilots can’t beat them, should they join?’ 

 

 

 

So Happy it Hurts_front.jpg

SO HAPPY IT HURTS by Annelise Mackintosh

Ross McIndoe, The Skinny, Wreath All About It: Books Gift Guide

‘SO HAPPY IT HURTS feels like the natural evolution of Mackintosh’s style and skill… Written partially in answer to insipid self-help literature, SO HAPPY IT HURTS refuses neat solutions or easy platitudes. It is a book that can make you feel better, but not because everything will always be okay or because the world isn’t full of terrors. Happiness is something you have to fight tooth and nail for – SO HAPPY IT HURTS is a bruised and muscular battle cry.’

 

 

FEVER Hodder final cover.jpg

FEVER by Deon Meyer

Jon Coates, The Express, The Crime Time Best of the Year 2017

Barry Forshaw, Financial Times, Best Crime of 2017

‘An epic-length novel and a change of pace for Meyer, far from his customary state-of-the-nation South African thrillers. Nico Storm and his father undertake a nightmare journey through a devastated continent; they are among the few to survive a worldwide virus. Meyer justifies at every point the book’s length.’

 

 

ALWAYS ANOTHER COUNTRY Final front cover.jpg

ALWAYS ANOTHER COUNTRY by Sisonke Msimang

Taiye Selasi, The Guardian, Best Books of 2017

‘Sisonke Msimang’s ALWAYS ANOTHER COUNTRY is my favourite kind of memoir, so lyrical and dreamlike that it reads like a novel. It’s an artful meditation on exile and return, womanhood and motherhood unfolding against the backdrop of post-apartheid South African politics.’

Books Live, Our guide to the best holiday reads

‘One of the most searing voices of contemporary South Africa, this is Msimang’s candid and personal account of her exile childhood in Zambia and Kenya, college years in North America, and returning to the country in the ’90s.’

 

THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY hdbk front cover uk.JPG

THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY by Gregory Norminton

Robert Macfarlane, Resurgence & Ecologist, Books of the Year

‘I nominate Gregory Norminton’s THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY, which I have read in advance of its publication this January. It’s a brilliant deep-time meditation on how landscapes hold – and conceal – meanings. The novel’s stories are set across three points in time, but always in the same place (a Roman road – the highway of the title – crossing southern England). It’s a powerful meditation on the damages – and the good – we have wrought, and will wreak, on the living world.’

THE MISSING WIFE cover UK new for 2017.jpg

 

THE MISSING WIFE by Sheila O’Flanagan

Amazon, Amazon’s 10 Best-selling ebooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT final cover.jpg

WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT by Sheila O’Flanagan

Easons, Our Favourite Books of 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXQUISITE final cover April 2017.jpg

EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell

Karen Robinson, The Times / Sunday Times Crime Club, The Crime Time Best of the Year 2017

Jake Kerridge, The Daily Telegraph, The Crime Time Best of the Year 2017

Stav Sherez, The Spectator, The best crime novels of 2017

Love Reading, Books of the Year 2017, June 2017 Book of the Month.

‘Wow! This is a cracking psychological thriller. Told in first person from two different viewpoints it causes...’

Chapterinmylife, Top Reads 2017

‘The narrative in EXQUISITE is intense, it is emotive and it delivers an insidious plot which wormed its way into my very soul. From the breath-taking beauty of the Lake District to the seedy bedsit land of Brighton, my imagination was captured from page one!’

Bonus - Must-read books for 2018

BOOKWORM final.JPG

BOOKWORM by Lucy Mangan

Sarah Shaffi, Stylist, The 20 must-read books to make room for in 2018

'Stylist columnist Mangan has always been a reader, travelling from Narnia to Wonderland via Kirrin Island, learning about death from Charlotte’s Web and boys from Judy Blume. In BOOKWORM Mangan revisits her childhood reading - looking at the ways books shape our lives - picks a few forgotten treasures to inspire a new generation of bookworms, and uses books to tell her own story.'

 

 

 

 

ThingsBrightAndBeautiful.jpg

THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL by Anbara Salam

Sarah Shaffi, Stylist, The 20 must-read books to make room for in 2018

'Bea Hanlon and her preacher husband Max are on a mission on Advent Island in the Pacific. The remote island is inhospitable, but to everyone’s surprise Bea gradually adapts to life on the island, and begins to enjoy herself, until the arrival of an unwelcome house guest - Marietta, who was the island’s missionary before the Hanlons arrived. Examining the true nature of religious missions and a marriage in crisis, this is a vividly drawn and powerful novel.'

 

K. Sello Duiker’s THE HIDDEN STAR shines around the world this Christmas!

THE HIDDEN STAR - UK Cassava Republic cover.jpg

THE HIDDEN STAR, K. Sello Duiker’s timeless tale for younger readers, is now widely available around the world from Cassava Republic Press. First published in 2006 by the Umuzi imprint of Penguin Random House South Africa, and subsequently by Cassava Republic in Nigeria and West Africa, this year marks the first publication in the UK and North America and the rest of the English-speaking world.

Eleven-year-old Nolitye lives in a shack with her mother Thembi in Phola, a dusty township on the edge of Johannesburg. She loves maths and collecting stones, which she keeps in a bucket under her bed. She also has magical powers: she can communicate with dogs.

Nolitye’s granny used to say: ‘If you mess with a woman, you mess with a stone,’ and when Nolitye finds a magical stone on the dusty streets of Phola, her granny's words take on a new meaning. Along with her two friends — pampered Bheki, and Four Eyes, a reformed member of the Spoilers gang led by Rotten Nellie — Nolitye puts the powers of the stone to good use. For the first time the threesome can stand up to the Spoilers, Nolitye can save the life of Rex, the leader of a pack of talking township mutts, and dare to look scary MaMtonga — with her living brown-and-green snake necklace — in the eye.

But soon Nolitye finds out that the purplish-blue magic stone is one of five needed to put right things that started to go wrong the day her father died in a mining accident when she was five years old. Or so she was told by her mother... Merging a cast of characters from African myth and folklore with everyday township life, K. Sello Duiker created a magical world and a truly wondrous quest that will appeal to an ageless audience.

Duiker author photo - large.jpg

By his untimely death, K. Sello Duiker had published various short stories and two novels. THIRTEEN CENTS was awarded the Commonwealth Prize for a first novel, while THE QUIET VIOLENCE OF DREAMS was translated into four languages, and won the Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English Literature. THE HIDDEN STAR was published posthumously.

Praise for K. Sello Duiker

THE HIDDEN STAR

 ‘That rarity – an artist whose literary prowess hit us in our collective face with such vehemence that we couldn’t help but sing his praises…On the face of it, THE HIDDEN STAR is a simple story of magic and fantasy…Duiker’s book is lean and taut…Not only is the book entertaining and pacy, but it succeeds in evoking the innocence and curiosity of a child, while communicating larger truths about the vulnerability of human beings… I got goose-bumps reading it.’ - Fred Khumalo, The Sunday Times

‘One of my favourite fiction reads of the year.’ - Jakes Gerwel, The Sunday Independent Writer‘s Choice 2006

 ‘Duiker has taken South African fiction to another level…It’s a truly wonderful novel whose words flow like poetry.’ - Angelique Serrao, The Saturday Star

THIRTEEN CENTS

‘The visions are powerfully rendered and stylistically reminiscent of those experienced by Ben Okri’s young protagonist in THE FAMISHED ROAD.’ - Robyn Alexander, Mail and Guardian

‘K. Sello Duiker… got South Africans talking about books.’ - Justice Malala, FT Magazine

‘A remarkable first novel.’ - Sam Raditlahlo, Feminist Africa

THE QUIET VIOLENCE OF DREAMS

‘He had the genius to give South African literature a breath of life and youth – to this day unparalleled. We must read him and thank him.’ – Le Monde

 

BFLA Staff Top Picks of 2017

Manu.jpg

Emanuela Anechoum

I AM I AM I AM by Maggie O’Farrell – This book made me feel grateful for my heart beating. Maggie’s writing analyses her relationship with death in seventeen episodes, with beautiful, dense yet light prose – some chapters are as long as a page, and as common as crossing the street while texting; others are tense, scary, angry. While recollecting her brushes with death, Maggie inevitably digs deep into what it means to be living. A brilliant, unforgettable read.

Fahrelnissa Zeid, Tate Exhibition – It’s outrageous that the world has completely forgotten that a Muslim princess spent her life roaming around Europe to join the avant-garde art movement, wearing pants, hanging out with Parisians artists, meeting the Queen, implementing Byzantine and Islamic artistic traditions with European modernism, teaching art to young girls in Jordan, all the while being married to an Iraqi prince. Aside the fact that her art is brilliant, her life destroyed every single stereotype on Muslim women. Absolutely fantastic!

Jane The Virgin – This show is everything: three fierce women dealing with unexpected pregnancies, generational gaps, green cards, abortion, religion, career, co-parenting… As our virgin yet accidentally artificially inseminated Jane juggles between motherhood, career and love, we laugh and weep out loud. I love the show’s subtle feminism: Jane cries all the time, but she’s never weak. She’s career-driven. She doesn’t lose all the baby weight at once. She uses a breast pump. Through hilarious family drama, Jane steadily respects herself, always, and without ever making this the point. She just does – instinctively, as all women should.

Cassie Barraclough

cassie.jpg

THEATRE: Junkyard, by Jack Thorne. A playful, moving new musical, set in Bristol in 1979, about a group of forgotten teenagers who find friendship and purpose working together building a playground out of scrap. Newcomer Erin Doherty shone in the lead role.

TV: Three Girls, by Nicole Taylor. A superbly written three-parter exploring the human stories behind the Rochdale child sexual abuse scandal, and the hapless and damaging court case that followed. Shocking, brutally honest, and never sentimental, this was TV at its most powerful.

FILM: Wonderwoman, dir, Patty Jenkins. Anything that will inspire little girls to want to be strong and smart rather than skinny and simpering gets my vote – plus it also managed to be a top notch action movie providing a breath of fresh air within the tired superhero genre. Just brilliant. Plus now I really want an armour-plated bra.

Isobel Dixon

My most recent musical highlight is Handel’s Messiah, as sung by Clare College at the Union Chapel last week – the first time I’ve heard a work I love so much sung live. But the most extraordinary musical event, reverberating since the Edinburgh Festival this summer, was the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal of Valery Gergiev conducting his Mariinsky Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, who performed Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony together. A huge privilege to hear swathes of the glorious music conducted with such vigour, then the pauses and interjections as Gergiev steered the musicians towards the transformation of the repeats. An immense, electrifying and strangely intimate experience.

ISOBEL.jpg

New York in 4th of July week was positively serene, and one quiet space at its heart proved an astonishment – The West Room, Pierpont Morgan’s private study in the Morgan Library. I had a deeply visceral reaction to the treasure in the shelves lining the walls– full sets of rare first editions of Austen, Dickens, all the Brontës and so much more. Libraries can often feel like chapels or cathedrals, places of wonder and discovery. In the dim light of that study, with its Renaissance masterpieces and red damask walls, sunlight filtering through the stained glass windows, I felt elated, tearful, near faint with delight. Biblio-euphoria.

One film this year had me riveted by scenes of panoramic beauty, horrified at human cruelty, but also amazed at the force of creativity and courage against oppression. Waiting for Happiness by Mauretanian-born director Abderrahmane Sissako has long been one of my favourite films – but watching his powerful Timbuktu (further charged by Amine Bouhafa’s superb score), blew me away. I was in pieces after watching it, and will never forget it.

NICOLE.jpg

Nicole Etherington

THE POWER by Naomi Alderman. I’ve read so many brilliant novels by women writers this year but THE POWER was perhaps the most captivating. Alderman cleverly shows how fragile power is, and how one change can disturb the world’s equilibrium.

STRANGER THINGS. I watched both series this year and they are my favourite things on Netflix. The children completely steal the show. So much 80s goodness

GOD’S OWN COUNTRY. A really poignant film that stayed with me long after I watched it. The cinematography, the acting, the writing is all flawless. At its heart is a family that are no longer able to express their emotions, and an outsider who forces them to confront them.

Julian Friedmann

JULIAN.jpg

THE CLEVER GUTS DIET by Michael Mosley. How the gut microbiome affects depression and brain power.

THE ART OF CREATIVE WRITING by Lagos Egri. An old book but one I read every couple of years. Never fails to be beneficial. The only how to book on writing you need. 

THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES by Peter Wohlleben. What they feel and how they communicate. Reminds us we are not so sophisticated. 

Hattie Grunewald

HATTIE.jpg

Groundhog Day The Musical. People are sceptical when I say that the musical production of Groundhog Day at the Old Vic was the best theatre I saw last year, and the best writing on mental health in a long time. But I stand by my opinion. This year the soundtrack came out and I’ve been listening to it ever since. It’s a feel-good comedy with amazing music, brilliant jokes and a joyous belief that any human has the ability to turn their life around – they just need to be given a long enough timescale!

TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN by John Green. Continuing the theme of amazing mental health writing, John Green’s new novel was my book of the year. Aza’s struggle with OCD and obsessive thought spirals feels intimate and authentic and leads to a hugely compelling novel.

BOYS by Charli XCX music video. Music videos are an under-appreciated art-form. I’ve never seen anything that so successfully flips the male gaze. In a year where female objectification and abuse has been such a talking point, I was so happy to be able to watch something so jubilant and defiant.

Samuel Hodder

Photographing Granada, Nicaragua. Small but elegant and cosmopolitan Granada is a photographer's delight! Bustling with life despite the blazing sun, its Spanish Colonial architecture is painted every colour of the rainbow, flanking cobbled streets running off a central square that is filled with market traders, palm trees and squawking tropical birds. Go to the Convento y Museo San Francisco to learn about Nicaragua's indigenous peoples and see their brooding, unforgettable sculptures. Or if you need to cool off, head down to the lake and take a boat ride at sunset around the Islets.

SAMUEL.jpg

Macbeth by the Ninagawa Company at the Barbican. Following his death last year, this was a revival of the production that made Yukio Ninagawa's name 30 years ago. It transplants the play to 16th century Japan and it is stunning - a feast for the eyes, from the first moment to the last. I'd wondered how much sense I would make of listening to Shakespeare in Japanese, but I needn't have worried. It was powerful, operatic, and intensely atmospheric - horrifying and beautiful all at once.

The Earthsea novels - Ursula K Le Guin. Why had I not read these before? Halfway through the first, A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, I knew I had found my favourite fantasy author. Yes Ursula K Le Guin has a great style, and she is a master world builder. But it's the psychological perceptiveness and realism that makes these novels masterpieces. As we grow up with Ged we feel we are on a spiritual journey with him, one that is profound and often unsettling. These are adventure stories, but stories that explore many great themes along the way - self-betrayal and self-forgiveness, loneliness, ageing, bereavement and grief. They are moving, penetrating, and ultimately comforting. Read them!

Resham Naqvi

Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains Exhibition at the V & A. A fascinating glimpse into the world of Pink Floyd! This was an audio-visual feast for the senses for die hard Pink Floyd fans, as well as for those who weren’t as well versed with their music. Iconic imagery (album covers along with films and videos hearing from the band members and collaborators), psychedelic  artwork, breath-taking installations and exhibits of the vintage instruments the band members used made this immersive exhibition one to remember.

tom_petty_4.png

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Stevie Nicks at BST Hyde Park 2017. Listening to Stevie Nicks live at this atmospheric concert was amazing. Tragically, it was also to be the last live performance by the legendary Tom Petty.

Basquiat – Boom for Real at the Barbican (21 September 2017 – 28 January 2018). If you get a chance to see this exhibition before it closes, I would highly recommend it. A contemporary of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) was a self-taught artist, poet, DJ and musician and his contribution to the art scene is showcased in this vibrant and eclectic exhibition. A must see!

Juliet Pickering

When I first sent my picks to my colleague, I was reminded that I had chosen Elizabeth Strout as a favourite, last year; this year has brought me no one better, so she’s also my Queen of 2017. After sobbing over ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, I went and found all her previous novels and have saved them for bank holidays, birthdays and vacations. The last I have left to read, THE BURGESS BOYS, is top of my Christmas reading pile, and then I must anxiously wait for the next to be published. These stories are all the things I love: small town communities, intense feeling running under the surface of the everyday, and fascinating, complex women. Alongside ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, I’d recommend AMY AND ISABELLE.

JULIET.jpg

My favourite film of the year has been Call Me By Your Name, a lush, sexy coming-of age set in Lombardy. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful, and I have a full-scale Hollywood crush on Armie Hammer.

And, this year I started listening to the Mostly Lit podcast - after they invited SLAY IN YOUR LANE authors Yomi and Elizabeth on to an episode - and I have worked my way through nearly all the episodes now. The three hosts are quick, wry and incisive, and I’ve learned a lot about BAME perspectives on classic and contemporary books. It’s boosted my reading list, I relish any kind of book chat anyway, and I loved the episode with Malorie Blackman.

JAMESP.jpg

James Pusey

FILM – PADDINGTON 2. New adventures for the marmalade-sandwich-chomping bear with a moral compass. Contains mild peril.

TV – BLUE PLANET 2. Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink. Contains octopuses and plastic.

TV - JORDSKOTT 2. Ecological Swedish drama. Better than meatballs.

BONUS EVENT – FA Cup Final. Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1. Enough said.

James Sykes

JAMESS.jpg

THE ARGONAUTS by Maggie Nelson. I loved this from the first paragraph. A life-affirming experimental memoir which tells the story of Maggie Nelson’s relationship with her genderfluid partner Harry Dodge, exploring love, sexuality and queer family-making.   

Twin Peaks: The Return – written & directed by Mark Frost & David Lynch. This wasn't a perfect comeback by any means, but like the original series it lurches nightmarishly from outright horror to ridiculous slapstick, and is often brilliant. David Bowie's character is replaced by a giant steaming kettle. There's a lengthy sequence set inside the first atom bomb test. There’s the sheer delight of seeing old faces, hearing the iconic music. And just like when it ended in 1991, the final scene leaves the viewer reeling.

PRIESTDADDY by Patricia Lockwood. Probably the funniest book I’ve ever read. It’s also a touching memoir, a revealing portrait of the most bizarre dad on the planet, and a meditation on the power of art.

Conrad Williams

Impressionists in London, Tate Britain. The Tissot pictures were hilarious – he’s called the Jane Austen of paint – and ‘Hush’ (musical performance in high society drawing room) is just priceless. But the light and fog painting by Whistler and Monet traced a progression from what one might (if one were Ruskin) dub the ravishingly perceptual to the downright visionary.

CONRAD.jpg

Modigliani Exhibition, Tate Modern. What he does with the eyes in his portraits is something you could see evolving through the show. The famous nudes turned out to be much more moving than I expected. When the eyes ‘open’ again the intimacy is overwhelming.

Matisse in the Studio, Royal Academy. Illustrated his pictorial obsession with objects eg a chocolatier, and a mesmerising Venetian chair (displayed)  so beautiful that it persistently trumped his attempts to portray it. My favourite pic here to the left.

 

Tom Witcomb

Hunt for the Wilderpeople - Absolute top drawer. Moving, funny, weird and just so good-natured. This outing from Taika Waititi has so much spirit, with superb script, such great chemistry between Sam Neill and Julian Dennison, and an outstanding performance from Rachel House. Their life on the lamb is so enticing, you'll want to go get lost with them.

TOM.jpg

It's hard to pick a single spot from the trip I took to India at the start of the year, but the area surrounding Munnar, a town in the Western Ghats is one of the most beautiful places I've had the luck to visit. Situated at the confluence of three mountain streams, sprawling tea plantations sit amidst serene hills, and the town itself bustles like a mountaineers Base Camp. I never wanted to come down (admittedly partly because of the literally white knuckle ascent).

An intense call to arms in this bizarro-world, The Guillotine by Hey Collossus, is the album for Brexit Britain. Not simply an album of unrelenting metallic intensity, its soaring moments are counterbalanced with woe, quiet unease and mysteriously catchy melody. The rhythm section pulls you into a mechanistic groove whilst maintaining the organic, beating heart of the album. And I'll take your coffeehouse protest music, in all its sentimental, suburban self-congratulation, and raise you existential dread and political indignation in lyrics with a militant passion to match the sonics.

 

MASTER OF WAR: SCOURGE OF WOLVES by David Gilman published in ebook today!

005 SCOURGE OF WOLVES (MASTER OF WAR series) - UK HoZ reissue (new).jpg

Lovers of action-packed historical fiction can rejoice – the fifth instalment of David Gilman’s acclaimed MASTER OF WAR series is released in digital form by Head of Zeus today, just in time for Christmas, with the hardback set to follow in February 2018. Gilman’s series featuring Thomas Blackstone (English stonemason turned archer and knight) has received widespread praise, with Robert Fabbri (author of the Vespasian series) describing it as ‘A gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty.’ Sharon Penman described Blackstone as ‘an incredibly appealing and sympathetic character’ and declared herself ‘bedazzled’.

SCOURGE OF WOLVES continues Blackstone’s story in the winter of 1361. After two decades of conflict, Edward III has finally agreed a treaty with the captive French King, John II. In return for his freedom, John has ceded vast tracts of territory to the English. But for five long years mercenary bands and belligerent lords have fought over the carcass of his kingdom. They will not give up their hard-won spoils to honour a defeated king's promises.

If the English want their prize, they'll have to fight for it.

As he battles to enforce Edward's claim, Thomas Blackstone will see his name blackened, his men slaughtered, his family hunted. He will be betrayed and, once again, he'll face the might of the French army on the field. But this time there will be no English army at his back. He'll face the French alone.

The MASTER OF WAR series has sold in Brazil, the Czech Republic, Spain and Hungary, with MASTER OF WAR hitting #23 in the German Top 50 Bestseller charts. David’s riveting standalone novel THE LAST HORSEMAN, set during the Boer War, was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 2017, with Smith commending the novel for being ‘A gripping ride through a memorable period of history.’

Praise for David Gilman’s MASTER OF WAR series

'The 100 Years' War is the new Rome for historical adventure novels.' – Ben Kane

'I'm totally bedazzled. I'd never thought that another writer could rival Bernard Cornwell when it came to dramatizing battles, but David is giving him a real run for his money. The battle scenes are so realistic it is almost like time-traveling, though definitely not for the faint of heart. Thomas is an incredibly appealing and sympathetic character. And the level of suspense is ratcheted up to a truly brutal level, for it is impossible for a reader to predict what will be coming next.' – Sharon Penman

‘His words strike like a bodkin point straight to the torso, the clangour of battle and the suspense of intrigue immersive and visceral, and all wrapped up in some of the most evocative prose that you will ever discover.’ — Ruadh Butler, author of the INVADER 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.

Visit David’s website.

Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.