217 BC. Rome has been savaged, beaten and is in retreat. Yet, in that winter of winters, her garrisons cling on behind the walls of Placentia and Cremona, thanks to her sea-born supplies. If he could be freed, a hostage of Rome may yet hold the key to launching a fleet of pirates that could sweep Rome from the seas. For that hostage is none other than Corinna’s son Cleon, rival heir to the throne of Illyria, held in Brundisium, four hundred miles south of the Rubicon.
But Hannibal is set on a greater prize! Macedon is the great power in Greece, feared even by Rome. Its young king, Philip, is being compared with his illustrious ancestor, Alexander the Great. An alliance with Macedon would surely sound the death knell for Rome.
Given Hannibal’s blessing, Sphax, Idwal and Corinna face an epic journey against impossible odds. Navigating the length of the Padus, past legionary garrisons and hostile Gauls, they must then risk the perils of the storm-torn Adria in the depths of the winter. If the gods favour them and they reach the lands of the pirate queen, only then will their real trials begin.
218 BC. Sphax is seventeen and haunted by the brutal murder of his parents at the hands of Rome. After ten years of miserable slavery he will make his last bid for freedom and go in search of Hannibal’s army and his birthright. He will have his revenge on the stinking cesspit that is Rome!
Destiny will see him taken under the wing of Maharbal, Hannibal’s brilliant general, and groomed to lead the finest horsemen in the world – the feared Numidian cavalry that would become the scourge of Rome.
From the crossing of the great Rhodanus River, Sphax’s epic journey takes him through the lands of the Gaul to the highest pass in the Alps. This is the story of the most famous march in history. A march against impossible odds, against savage mountain Gauls, a brutal winter and Sphax’s own demons.
This is more than a struggle for empire. This is the last great war to save the beauty of the old world, the civilized world of Carthage, Greece and Gaul. The world of art and philosophy – before it is ground into dust by the upstart barbarity of Rome.
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About the Book A Book of Secrets tells the story of a West African girl hunting for her lost brother through an Elizabethan underworld of spies, plots and secret Catholic printing presses.
Susan Charlewood is taken from Ghana (then known as Guinea) as a baby. Brought to England, she grows up as maidservant in a wealthy Catholic household. Living under a Protestant Queen in late 16th Century England, the family risk imprisonment or death unless they keep their faith hidden.
When her mistress dies Susan is married off to a London printer who is deeply involved in the Catholic resistance. She finds herself embroiled in political and religious intrigue, all while trying to find her lost brother and discover the truth about her origins.
The book explores the perils of voicing dissent in a state that demands outward conformity, at a time when England is taking its first steps into the long shadow of transatlantic slavery and old certainties about the shape of the universe itself are crumbling.
A Book of Secrets gives a striking new perspective on the era and lets one of the thousands of lost Elizabethan voices, speak out loud.
Its spring 1920 in the small military town of Nandagiri in south-east India. Colonel Aylmer, commander of the Royal Irish Kildare Rangers, is in charge. A distance away, decently hidden from view, lies the native part of Nandagiri with its heaving bazaar, reeking streets and brothels. Everyone in Nandagiri knows their place and the part they were born to play – with one exception. The local Anglo-Indians, tainted by their mixed blood, belong . . . nowhere.
When news of the Black and Tans’ atrocities back in Ireland reaches the troops in India, even their priest cannot cool the men’s hot-headed rage. Politics vie with passion as Private Michael Flaherty pays court to Rose, Mrs Aylmer’s Anglo-Indian maid . . . but mutiny brings heroism and heartbreak in equal measure. Only the arrival of Colonel Aylmer’s grandson Richard, some 60 years later, will set off the reckoning, when those who were parted will be reunited, and those who were lost will be found again.
England 1917, and VAD nurse, Stella Marcham is home from the front after the death of her fiancé, Gerald Fitzwilliam. Broken by grief, and feeling trapped at home, she needs a change of scene. As it happens, her sister Madeleine is pregnant and feeling anxious at Greyswick, her husband’s family home, and when Hector, her brother-in-law, asks Stella to visit, she readily accepts.
Stella finds Greyswick to be the gauche house of a nouveau riche family. Dark, over-decorated, staffed only by Cook, Maisie the maid and the glowering Mrs Henge, it is not a happy place. Madeleine is anxious but she won’t say why. Slowly things start to fall into place and Stella starts to experience things she can’t explain.
Unfortunately, the lady of the house refuses to believe them. Hector arrives with an amateur supernatural investigator, Tristan Sheer, to convince the sisters that they’re being hysterical.
With Stella is Annie Burrows, maid and daughter of the man who died trying to rescue the youngest Marcham sister from a fire. Annie is unusual. She can see ghosts. And she knows who is haunting Madeleine and why. A decades old murder is at the root of their problems. So, in parallel with Sheen’s investigation, the women set about solving the murder to end the haunting.
Hull, 1930. A terrified woman runs through the dark, rain-lashed streets pursued by a man, desperate to reach the sanctuary of the local police station. Alice Goddard runs with one thing in her mind: her daughter. In her panic she is hit by a car at speed and rushed to hospital. When she awakes, she has no memory of who she is, but at night she dreams of being hunted by a man, and of a little girl.
As the weeks pass and her memories gradually resurface, Alice anxiously searches for her daughter, but no one is forthcoming about the girl’s whereabouts – even her own mother is evasive. Penniless and homeless, Alice must begin again and rebuild her life, never giving up hope that one day she will be reunited with her lost daughter
From 22nd – 29th August, The Lost
Daughter will be at the bargain price of 99p.
The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane recounts events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma; the formative childhood years of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.
Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate.
Readers of Emma will be familiar with the conclusion of Jane and Frank’s story, but Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over its remainder.