A centuries-old royal conspiracy. The ultimate heir hunt… It should have been a quiet weekend in London – a long overdue visit with the only true friend American genealogist Jefferson Tayte ever had. Now his friend lies bleeding in his arms and Tayte must follow his research to understand why, making him the target of a ruthless, politically motivated killer. Working with historian Professor Jean Summer and New Scotland Yard on what becomes a matter of British national security, Tayte soon finds himself in a race to solve a three-hundred-year-old genealogical puzzle. It takes them all on a deadly, high stakes chase across London as Tayte tries to connect the pieces and work out the motive behind a series of killings that spans twenty years. In what is Tayte’s most personal assignment to date, The Last Queen of England combines historic fact with fiction, challenging British history as we understand it. It uncovers a conspiracy that if proved could ultimately threaten an institution that has lasted more than a thousand years: the British monarchy.
About SimonSimon is an actor who found his way into audiobook narrating as a side-gig and seems to have made a success of it. With some training as an actor as a child (just a couple of hours a week, but it stuck) and 15 years working inside the BBC (ending up as one of the presenters/newsreaders on BBC Radio 4 in London) he found the ideal combination for an audiobook narrator. Found his way to California two decades ago and never left.
Inspired by the author’s own family history… To the Grave follows American genealogist, Jefferson Tayte, as he uncovers the disturbing consequences of a seemingly innocuous act in 1944 that was intended to keep a family together, but which ultimately tore it apart. His research exposes hidden pasts and the desperate measures some people will take to keep a secret. Sitting in a hotel room at gunpoint, facing an impossible decision, Tayte is forced to wonder how his latest assignment had come to this. Five days earlier, after a child’s suitcase arrives unexpectedly at his client’s home in Washington DC, Tayte embarks upon a journey that takes him back to England as he tries to unravel the story of Mena Lasseter – a girl whose life has become a family mystery. Hoping to reunite his client with the birth mother she never knew she had, having no idea that she’d been adopted, Tayte’s research draws him back to wartime Leicestershire and the arrival of the US 82nd Airborne, which irrevocably changes the course of Mena’s life. But as Tayte tries to find out what became of her and why she was separated from her suitcase all those years ago, he soon finds that he is not the only one looking for her. Someone else is determined to get to Mena first and it quickly becomes apparent that their motive is a secret worth killing for.
When American genealogist, Jefferson Tayte, accepted his latest assignment, he had no idea it might kill him. But while murder was never part of the curriculum, he is kidding himself if he thinks he can walk away from this one.
Driven by the all-consuming irony of being a genealogist who doesn’t know who his own parents are, Tayte soon finds that the assignment shares a stark similarity to his own struggle. Someone has gone to great lengths to erase an entire family bloodline from recorded history and he’s not going home until he’s found out why. After all, if he’s not good enough to find this family, how can he ever expect to be good enough to someday find his own?
Set in Cornwall, England, past and present, Tayte’s research centres around the tragic life of a young Cornish girl, a writing box, and the discovery of a dark family secret that he believes will lead him to the family he is looking for. Trouble is, someone else is looking for the same answers and they will stop at nothing to find them.
There are things worse than death. There are games so seductively evil, so wondrously vile, no gambler can resist. Amid the shadow-scarred rubble of World War II, Joseph Whitehead dared to challenge the dark champion of life’s ultimate game. Now a millionaire, locked in a terror-shrouded fortress of his own design, Joseph Whitehead has hell to pay. And no soul is safe from this ravaging fear, the resurrected fury, the unspeakable desire of…
“I have seen the future of the horror genre, and his name is Clive Barker,” Stephen King has written. Fortunately, this first novel (Barker has published short story collections) more than bears the weight of King’s praise. Barker is a better writer than King, and his characters are just as interesting. Set in modern Britain, the story thrusts a flawed “innocent”parolee Marty Straussinto an epic conflict between wealthy Joseph Whitehead and Mamoulian the Cardplayer, a centuries-old creature with whom Whitehead had struck a bargain to obtain his wealth and power. Whitehead reneges, and the resulting struggle is played out primarily on his fortress-like estate. Barker’s excellent writing makes the graphic, grotesque imagery endemic to current horror fiction very effective. Highly recommended anywhere horror fiction is popular.
In Chaucer’s London, betrayal, murder, royal intrigue, mystery, and dangerous politics swirl around the existence of a prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England’s kings. Bruce Holsinger’s A Burnable Book is an irresistible historical thriller reminiscent of the classics An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Name of the Rose, and The Crimson Petal and the White.
London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers–including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt’s artful mistress, Katherine Swynford–England’s young, still untested king, Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning. Songs are heard across London–catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the end of England’s kings–and among the book’s predictions is Richard’s assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a “burnable book,” a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low. Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen into the unwitting hands of innocents, who will be drawn into a labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from the king’s court to London’s slums and stews–and potentially implicates his own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may be the last hope to save a king from a terrible fate.
Medieval scholar Bruce Holsinger draws on his vast knowledge of the period to add colorful, authentic detail–on everything from poetry and bookbinding to court intrigues and brothels–to this highly entertaining and brilliantly constructed epic literary mystery that brings medieval England gloriously to life.
A man staggers out of his cottage into the streets of Oxfordshire, shattering an otherwise peaceful evening with the terrible sight of his body shaking and heaving, eyes wild with horror. Many of the villagers believe the Devil himself has entered Joseph Makepeace, the latest victim of a “great fog” that darkens the skies over England like a Biblical plague. When Joseph’s son and daughter are found murdered – heads bashed in by a shovel – the town’s worst suspicions are confirmed: Evil is abroad, and needs to be banished. A brilliant man of science, Dr. Thomas Silkstone is not one to heed superstition. But when he arrives at the estate of the lovely widow Lady Lydia Farrell, he finds that it’s not just her grain and livestock at risk. A shroud of mystery surrounds Lydia’s lost child, who may still be alive in a workhouse. A natural disaster fills the skies with smoke and ash, clogging the lungs of all who breathe it in. And the grisly details of a father’s crime compels Dr. Silkstone to look for answers beyond his medical books – between the Devil and the deep blue sea…
The emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life path on which their father set them, their destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.
Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it’s too late.
An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one final horrific test.
At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor’s final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing – and risk everything – to see that justice is meted out.
—Christie Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
—Richard A. Knaak, New York Times bestselling author of The Legend of Huma
—Max Gladstone, author of Three Parts Dead
“Takes a story of family, loss, conspiracy and revenge and gives it new legs. It’s epic fantasy with a sharp, jagged edge to it, a modern sensibility, prose as tight as the leather wrapped around a sword’s hilt, and characters that you can relate to and give a damn about. I look forward to the next installment of Staveley’s chronicle.”
—R. S. Belcher, author of The Six-Gun Tarot
“Staveley brings together a richly imagined world and vibrant characters, and serves them up with monks and monsters, tension and treachery—an exhilarating adventure.”
—Elspeth Cooper, author of Songs of the Earth
In this tantalizing tale of Victorian ghost stories and family secrets, timid, solitary librarian Gerard Freeman lives for just two things: his elusive pen pal Alice and a story he found hidden in his mother’s drawer years ago. Written by his great-grandmother Viola, it hints at his mother’s role in a sinister crime. As he discovers more of Viola’s chilling tales, he realizes that they might hold the key to finding Alice and unveiling his family’s mystery-or will they bring him the untimely death they seem to foretell?
Harwood’s astonishing, assured debut shows us just how dangerous family skeletons-and stories-can be.
From Publishers Weekly
Sly nods to spooky literary spinsters—Henry James’s Miss Jessel and Dickens’s Miss Havisham—set the tone for this confident debut, a gothic suspense novel with a metatextual spin. Gerard Freeman grows up on the windswept southern coast of Australia in the late 20th century with a controlling mother strangely silent about the details of her childhood in England. His only solace is steadfast English pen friend, Alice, to whom he confides everything. What was Gerard’s mother, Phyllis, hoping to escape when she left England? The protagonist slowly pieces together his mother’s past with the aid of short stories written by his great-grandmother, Viola. These cunning tales, filled with supernatural occurrences and séances, are seamlessly embedded in the main narrative, offering Gerard—and readers—enticing clues into his troubled family’s history. After Phyllis’s death, her newly liberated son travels to England, hoping to learn more and to pursue elusive Alice. As he searches through the country house his mother inhabited long ago, Gerard finds past and present fusing in horrifying fashion. In the hands of a lesser novelist, sustaining several plot lines might have been difficult. But the novel links textual investigation and sublimated passion, building to a satisfying, unexpected ending.
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1067. The battle of Hastings has been lost and the iron fist of William the Conqueror has begun to squeeze the life out of England, but there is one who still stands against foreign invasion – Hereward, the winter warrior.
Following the devastating destruction of the Battle of Hastings, William the Bastard and his men have descended on England. Villages are torched; men, women and children are put to the sword as the Norman king attempts to impose his cruel will upon this unruly nation. But there is one who stands in the way of the invader’s savagery. He is called Hereward. He is a warrior and master tactician and as adept at battle as the imposter who sits upon the throne. And he is England’s last hope.
In a Fenlands fortress of water and wild wood, Hereward’s resistance is simmering. His army of outcasts grows by the day—a devil’s army that emerges out of the mists and the night, leaving death in its wake. But William is not easily cowed. Under the command of his ruthless deputy, Ivo Taillebois—the man they call ‘the Butcher’—the Norman forces will do whatever it takes to crush the rebels, even if it means razing England to the ground. Here then is the tale of the bloodiest rebellion England has ever known—the beginning of an epic struggle that will change England forever.
Papyrus rolls and Twitter have much in common: They were their generation’s signature means of “instant” communication. Indeed, as Tom Standage reveals in his scintillating new book, social media is anything but a new phenomenon.
From the papyrus letters that Cicero and other Roman statesmen used to exchange news across the Empire to the rise of hand-printed tracts of the Reformation to the pamphlets that spread propaganda during the American and French revolutions, Standage chronicles the increasingly sophisticated ways people shared information with each other, spontaneously and organically, down the centuries. With the rise of newspapers in the nineteenth century, the nature of communication changed; increasingly, especially as radio and television, the “mass media,” came to dominate in the twentieth century, information was centrally controlled. However, with the advent of the Internet, the story has come full circle, and the spreading of information along social networks has reemerged in powerful new ways.
A fresh, provocative exploration of social media over two millennia, Writing on the Wall constantly reminds us how modern behavior echoes that of prior centuries—the Catholic Church, for example, faced similar dilemmas in deciding whether or how to respond to Martin Luther’s attacks in the early sixteenth century to those that large institutions confront today in responding to public criticism on the Internet. Invoking the likes of Thomas Paine, the celebrated Madame Doublet in the French Revolution, and Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet, Standage explores themes that have long been debated: the tension between freedom of expression and censorship; whether social media trivializes, coarsens or enhances public discourse; and its role in spurring innovation, enabling self-promotion, and fomenting revolution. As engaging as it is visionary, Writing on the Wall draws on history to cast new light on today’s social media and encourages debate and discussion about how we’ll communicate in the future.
- The Independent (UK) May 8th, 2014 May 13, 2014
- Slate.com – March 17th, 2014 March 30, 2014
- New York Times Sunday Review – Feb 23rd, 2014 February 24, 2014
- Memnoch The Devil by Anne Rice February 17, 2014
- When Shadows Fall by Paul Reid February 14, 2014