In September 1838 a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis, a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured laborers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind. When the seas settle, five men have disappeared - two lascars, two convicts and one of the passengers. Did the same storm upend the fortunes of those aboard the Anahita, an opium carrier heading towards Canton? And what fate befell those aboard the Redruth, a sturdy two-masted brig heading East out of Cornwall? Was it the storm that altered their course or were the destinies of these passengers at the mercy of even more powerful forces?
On the grand scale of an historical epic, River of Smoke follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbors of China. There, despite efforts of the emperor to stop them, ships from Europe and India exchange their cargoes of opium for boxes of tea, silk, porcelain and silver. Among them are Bahram Modi, a wealthy Parsi opium merchant out of Bombay, his estranged half-Chinese son Ah Fatt, the orphaned Paulette and a motley collection of others whose pursuit of romance, riches and a legendary rare flower have thrown together. All struggle to cope with their losses - and for some, unimaginable freedoms - in the alleys and crowded waterways of 19th century Canton. As transporting and mesmerizing as an opiate induced dream, River of Smoke will soon be heralded as a masterpiece of twenty-first century literature.
The beautiful, spoiled and bored Olivia, married to a civil servant, outrages society in the tiny, suffocating town of Satipur by eloping with an Indian prince. Fifty years later, her step-granddaugher goes back to the heat, dust and squalor of the bazaars to solve the enigma of Olivia's scandal.
Young, feisty Maisie Dobbs has recently set herself up as a private detective. Such a move may not seem especially startling. But this is 1929, and Maisie is exceptional in many ways.
This 'dream-laden and spooked' (Marina Warner, London Review of Books) story is to many one of the best-loved books of the twentieth century. Munthe spent many years working as a doctor in Southern Italy, labouring unstintingly during typhus, cholera and earthquake disasters.
In this, his first book, Patrick Leigh Fermor recounts his tales of a personal odyssey to the lands of the Traveller's Tree - a tall, straight-trunked tree whose sheath-like leaves collect copious amounts of water.
On an Aegean island one summer, an English traveller meets an enigmatic elderly Frenchwoman. He is captivated by a painting she owns of a busy Caribbean port overlooked by a volcano, and, in time, she shares the story of her youth there in the early 20th century.
Patrick Leigh Fermor was only 18 when he set off to walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople, and it was during these early wanderings that he started to pick up languages and develop his lifelong passion for travel. This volume ranges from drawing portraits in Vienna to watching voodoo in Haiti.
@2@@20@The thrilling climax to the @18@Ibis@19@ trilogy that began with the phenomenal Booker-shortlisted @18@Sea of Poppies.@19@@21@@16@@20@@21@@16@It is 1839 and tension has been rapidly mounting between China and British India following the crackdown on opium smuggling by Beijing. With no resolution in sight, the colonial government declares war. @3@@2@One of the vessels requisitioned for the attack, the@18@ Hind@19@, travels eastwards from Bengal to China, sailing into the midst of the First Opium War. The turbulent voyage brings together a diverse group of travellers, each with their own agenda to pursue. Among them is Kesri Singh, a sepoy in the East India Company who leads a company of Indian sepoys; Zachary Reid, an impoverished young sailor searching for his lost love, and Shireen Modi, a determined widow en route to China to reclaim her opium-trader husband's wealth and reputation. @18@Flood of Fire@19@ follows a varied cast of characters from India to China, through the outbreak of the First Opium War and China's devastating defeat, to Britain's seizure of Hong Kong.@3@@2@@18@Flood of Fire @19@is a thrillingly realised and richly populated novel, imbued with a wealth of historical detail, suffused with the magic of place and plotted with verve. It is a beautiful novel in its own right, and a compelling conclusion to an epic and sweeping story - it is nothing short of a masterpiece.@3@
In November 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. His death remains a defining moment for millions of people but few understand the unstoppable forces that were building in the city long before this dramatic event played out before the world. Dallas 1963 is a riveting account of the convergence of a group of unyielding and highly focused protagonists in a city sometimes seemingly filled with hate for JFK. Wicked stabs of fate and circumstance steered these fascinating characters together: the richest man in the world, a combative military general, a Mafia don, a strident Congressman, thundering preachers and even the elegant owner of one of America's most famous stores. This book expertly narrates how the spiralling events surrounding these characters on the ground in Dallas ultimately brewed a toxic environment before the President's assassination. Using a wealth of new information, as well as the first ever examination of key primary documents, Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis, both experts in their field, provide a comprehensive and detailed portrait of the place, the time and the people of these extraordinary events in American history. They also provide cautionary and controversial lessons rendering this time increasingly relevant for the modern age.
A long time ago Magic faded away, leaving behind only yo-yos, the extremely useful compass-pointing-to-North enchantment and the spell that keeps bicycles from falling over. Things are about to change. Magical power is on the rise and King Snodd IV of Hereford has realised that he who controls Magic controls almost anything. Only one person stands between Snodd and his plans for unimaginable power and riches. Meet Jennifer Strange, sixteen-year-old acting manager of Kazam, the employment agency for sorcerers and soothsayers. She may only have one functioning Wizard and her faithful assistant 'Tiger' Prawns to help her. But one thing is certain: she will not relinquish the noble powers of Magic to big business and commerce without a fight.