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A terrifically engaging and original biography about one of England’s greatest novelists, and the glamorous, eccentric, debauched and ultimately tragic family that provided him with the most significant friendships of his life and inspired his masterpiece, “Brideshead Revisited”. Evelyn Waugh was already famous when “Brideshead Revisited” was published in 1945. Written at the height of the war, the novel was, he admitted, of no ‘immediate propaganda value’. Instead, it was the story of a household, a family and a journey of religious faith – an elegy for a vanishing world and a testimony to a family he had fallen in love with a decade earlier. The Lygons of Madresfield were every bit as glamorous, eccentric and compelling as their counterparts, the Marchmains, in “Brideshead Revisited”. William Lygon, Earl Beauchamp, was a warm-hearted, generous and unconventional father whose seven children adored him. When he was forced to flee the country by his scheming brother-in-law, his traumatised children stood firmly by him, defying not only the mores of the day, but also their deeply religious mother. In this engrossing biography, bestselling author Paula Byrne takes an innovative approach to her subject, setting out to capture Waugh through the friendships and loves that mattered most to him. She uncovers a man who, far from the snobbish misanthropist of popular caricature, was as loving and complex as the family that inspired him. This brilliantly original biography unlocks for the first time the extent to which Waugh’s great novel encoded and transformed his own experiences. In so doing, it illuminates the loves and obsessions that shaped his life, and brings us inevitably to a secret that dared not speak its name.Show more
Brought to you by Penguin. A critical but fair political biography of Churchill that zooms in on crucial moments in his life and career that help us understand the man in his many contradictions. While in A.J.P. Taylor's words, Churchill was 'the saviour of his country', he was also a deeply flawed character, whose personal ambition would cloud his political judgement - and as a result he was often plain wrong. But the book's central argument goes beyond biography: argues that Churchill has cast a dark shadow over post-war British history and contemporary politics - from the 'Churchillian stance' of Tony Blair taking the country to war in Iraq to the delusion of a special relationship with the United States to the fateful belief in British exceptionalism: that the nation can once again stand alone in Europe. Wheatcroft takes a radically different approach to other hagiographies of Chruchill. This is a biography that doesn't just tell the story of his life but the equally fascinating one of his legacy, focusing on how Churchill was viewed by contemporaries and those who came after. This book is both a biography of the man and a fresh and revealing account of post-war politics seen through his legacy. © Geoffrey Wheatcroft 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021Show more
'A daring and mesmerizing twist on the art of biography' - Douglas Smith, author of Rasputin: The Biography 'Anyone who loves [Dostoevsky's] novels will be fascinated by this book' - Sue Prideaux, author of I Am Dynamite! A Life of Friedrich Nietzsche Dostoevsky's life was marked by brilliance and brutality. Sentenced to death as a young revolutionary, he survived mock execution and Siberian exile to live through a time of seismic change in Russia, eventually being accepted into the Tsar's inner circle. He had three great love affairs, each overshadowed by debilitating epilepsy and addiction to gambling. Somehow, amidst all this, he found time to write short stories, journalism and novels such as Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov, works now recognised as among the finest ever written. In Dostoevsky in Love Alex Christofi weaves carefully chosen excerpts of the author's work with the historical context to form an illuminating and often surprising whole. The result is a novelistic life that immerses the reader in a grand vista of Dostoevsky's world: from the Siberian prison camp to the gambling halls of Europe; from the dank prison cells of the Tsar's fortress to the refined salons of St Petersburg. Along the way, Christofi relates the stories of the three women whose lives were so deeply intertwined with Dostoevsky's: the consumptive widow Maria; the impetuous Polina who had visions of assassinating the Tsar; and the faithful stenographer Anna, who did so much to secure his literary legacy. Reading between the lines of his fiction, Christofi reconstructs the memoir Dostoevsky might have written had life - and literary stardom - not intervened. He gives us a new portrait of the artist as never before seen: a shy but devoted lover, an empathetic friend of the people, a loyal brother and friend, and a writer able to penetrate to the very depths of the human soul.Show more
In September 1935, Dr Buck Ruxton strangled his wife Isabella, whom he suspected of having an affair, in their Lancashire home while their three children slept in their beds. When the nanny, Mary Rogerson, disturbed him in the act, he killed her too. To hide his crimes, he dismembered and chopped up the bodies, removing any distinguishing features, before he disposed of them in a ravine on the Scottish borders. It took the genius of Professors Sydney Smith and John Glaister, and their groundbreaking forensic techniques, to piece together the identities of the bodies. And when the finger of suspicion finally pointed at Ruxton, he acquired the services of the most famous lawyer in the land, Norman Birkett QC, who, against all the odds, had successfully defended the man accused of the Brighton Trunk Murders the previous year. Would he succeed this time? In The Jigsaw Murders, journalist Jeremy Craddock tells the whole story of these gruesome killings for the first time. He brings to life the main characters, from the enigmatic and charismatic Ruxton, to his wife Isabella and Mary Rogerson - until now only seen as anonymous victims of a cruel crime - to the police officers, lawyers and scientists involved in this landmark case which led to the birth of modern forensics.Show more
A story of anarchists, Feds, gangs and Gilded Age mystery, the third thrilling instalment of the Ingo Finch crime series is perfect for fans of Abir Mukherjee, Philip Kerr and C J Sansom. To solve this case, only an outsider will do... Ingo Finch faces his biggest challenge yet. New York, 1904 - over a thousand are dead after the sinking of the General Slocum, a pleasure steamer full of German immigrants out for a day on the East River. The community is devastated, broken, in uproar. With a populist senator preying on their grievances, a new political force is unleashed, pushing America to ally with Germany in any coming war. Nine months later, Ingo Finch arrives in Manhattan, now an official British agent. Tasked with exposing this new movement, he is caught in a deadly game between Whitehall, Washington, Berlin... and the Mob. Not everything in the Big Apple is as it seems. For Finch, completing the mission is one thing; surviving it quite another... 'Riveting and Beautifully written.' ALEX GERLIS, author of the Richard Prince thrillers.Show more
Their rivalry will change the world forever. As competition for the imperial throne intensifies, Constantine and Maxentius realise their childhood friendship cannot last. Each man struggles to control their respective quadrant of empire, battered by currents of politics, religion and personal tragedy, threatened by barbarian forces and enemies within. With their positions becoming at once stronger and more troubled, the strained threads of their friendship begin to unravel. Unfortunate words and misunderstandings finally sever their ties, leaving them as bitter opponents in the greatest game of all, with the throne of Rome the prize. It is a matter that can only be settled by outright war... "Astonishing ... A fascinating, detailed and dramatic story of one of Rome's most notorious emperors." SUNDAY EXPRESS, on Commodus.Show more
Long days of boredom in confinement, the general inefficiency of prison bureaucracy and a critically over-stretched prison service. The tediousness of prison life kicks in for prisoner FF8282, also known as author Jeffrey Archer, in the second volume of his best-selling series The Prison Diaries. Still his fellow inmates show inspiring spirit and courage, amid an otherwise gloomy prison landscape, revealing that even in the darkest hours light can always be found. In 2001 August 9th, Jeffrey Archer is transferred from HMP Belmarsh, a double-A Category high-security prison in south London, to HMP Wayland, a Category C establishment in Norfolk. Though more relaxed in terms of rules prison life still is no picnic, but rather a purgatory. During his sixty-seven days in Wayland, Archer reveals the harsh details of everyday life in Britain's prisons, offering firsthand insight into the lives led behind bars. - Jeffrey Archer is a bestselling British author and former politician. He was educated at Oxford and went on to become a Member of Parliament, the deputy chair of the Conservative Party as well as sitting in the House of Lords. His political career ended in scandal and he turned to writing and he has been published in over 275 million copies worldwide. He is perhaps most famous for the 'Clifton Chronicles' and his blockbuster 'Kane and Abel' which was number one on the New York Time's Bestseller list and inspired a popular miniseries starring Peter Strauss and Sam Neill. After he was imprisoned for perjury in 2001, he wrote his highly acclaimed non-fiction series, Prison Diaries - 'Hell', 'Purgatory' and 'Heaven' - which were inspired by his experiences and loosely structured around Dante's Divine Comedy.Show more
A flicker of light almost appears at the end of the tunnel for prisoner FF8282, as he is transferred to North Sea Camp near Boston, Lincolnshire, a D-category prison. Under a less strict regime, the prisoners can enjoy a more relaxed set of rules, while slowly preparing to someday rejoin the world outside the walls. However, a minor breach of conditions gets him sent off to the notorious HMP Lincoln facility for twenty-two days, where more traumatic experiences await. 'Heaven' is the third book in Jeffrey Archer's bestselling series The Prison Diaries. In this final volume Archer reflects on his time spent in prison, leading up to his release on parole in July 2003. An eye-opening insight into prison life, exploring the humanity to be found behind bars, while simultaneously highlighting a system failing society as a whole and as individuals, where inmates leave worse off and more dangerous than when they first entered. - Jeffrey Archer is a bestselling British author and former politician. He was educated at Oxford and went on to become a Member of Parliament, the deputy chair of the Conservative Party as well as sitting in the House of Lords. His political career ended in scandal and he turned to writing and he has been published in over 275 million copies worldwide. He is perhaps most famous for the 'Clifton Chronicles' and his blockbuster 'Kane and Abel' which was number one on the New York Time's Bestseller list and inspired a popular miniseries starring Peter Strauss and Sam Neill. After he was imprisoned for perjury in 2001, he wrote his highly acclaimed non-fiction series, Prison Diaries - 'Hell', 'Purgatory' and 'Heaven' - which were inspired by his experiences and loosely structured around Dante's Divine Comedy.Show more
Prisoner FF8282 gazes out from confinement on what he deems must be a glorious summer's day, rays of sunlight bursting through the barred windows of his cell. Within the thick prison walls separating society from its dangerous criminals, a multitude of harrowing fates unfold, seldomly explored by the public. First-time offenders thrown in cells with hardened criminals, several inmates becoming heroin addicts and a system riddled with flaws. However, even in prison the sunlight cannot be kept out. Thursday 19 July 2001, following a seven-week perjury trial, international, bestselling author Jeffrey Archer was sentenced to four years in prison; the first twenty-two days and fourteen hours of which were spent in the notorious HMP Belmarsh facility in south London. This experience led to Archer's best-selling volumes, The Prison Diaries, a detailed, hour-by-hour recollection of his time spent amongst criminals in the high-security prison, housing murderers, terrorists and some of Britain's most violent criminals. Still under these harsh circumstances, Archer manages to show that like the rays of sunlight pushing through heavy bars, humanity can be found even in the inferno of hell. 'Hell' is the first volume in the series, offering the author's firsthand depiction of prison life, while simultaneously highlighting a system failing society as a whole and as individuals, where inmates leave worse off and more dangerous than when they first entered. - Jeffrey Archer is a bestselling British author and former politician. He was educated at Oxford and went on to become a Member of Parliament, the deputy chair of the Conservative Party as well as sitting in the House of Lords. His political career ended in scandal and he turned to writing and he has been published in over 275 million copies worldwide. He is perhaps most famous for the 'Clifton Chronicles' and his blockbuster 'Kane and Abel' which was number one on the New York Time's Bestseller list and inspired a popular miniseries starring Peter Strauss and Sam Neill. After he was imprisoned for perjury in 2001, he wrote his highly acclaimed non-fiction series, Prison Diaries - 'Hell', 'Purgatory' and 'Heaven' - which were inspired by his experiences and loosely structured around Dante's Divine Comedy.Show more
Thanks to the invidious reputation of his most famous work, The Prince, Niccolo? Machiavelli exerts a unique hold over the popular imagination. But was Machiavelli as sinister as he is often thought to be? Might he not have been an infinitely more sympathetic figure, prone to political missteps, professional failures and personal dramas? In Machiavelli: His Life and Times, Alexander Lee reveals the man behind the myth, following him from cradle to grave, from his father's penury and the abuse he suffered at a teacher's hands, to his marriage and his many affairs (with both men and women), to his political triumphs and, ultimately, his fall from grace and exile. In doing so, Lee uncovers hitherto unobserved connections between Machiavelli's life and thought. He also reveals the world through which Machiavelli moved: from the great halls of Renaissance Florence to the court of the Borgia pope Alexander VI, from the dungeons of the Stinche prison to the Rucellai garden, where he would begin to write some of his last great works. As much a portrait of an age as of a uniquely engaging man, Lee's gripping and definitive biography takes the reader into Machiavelli's world - and his work - more completely than ever before.Show more
A game of spies, a brutal murder, the fate of an Empire... The North Sea, October 1904 - When Russian warships bombard the Hull trawler fleet, killing innocent fishermen, public outrage pushes Britain and Russia to the brink of war, the sparks from which could inflame the entire Continent. Doctor Ingo Finch, once of the Royal Army Medical Corps, is long done with military adventuring. But when a stranger seeks him out, citing a murderous conspiracy behind the infamous "Dogger Bank Incident", Finch is drawn back into the dark world of espionage. With Whitehall, St Petersburg and rival Bolsheviks vying to manipulate the political crisis, the future of Britain, and Europe, is at stake... A gripping and compulsive historical crime thriller, The Cold North Sea is an explosively entertaining losten for fans of Abir Mukherjee, Peter May and Philip Kerr.Show more
An extraordinary historical crime thriller, perfect for listeners of Philip Kerr, M.J. Carter and Abir Mukherjee. 1899, South Africa: As the Boer War rages, Captain Ingo Finch of the Royal Army Medical Corps pieces together casualties at the front. Later, recovering in Cape Town, he is woken by local police. A British officer has been murdered, and an RAMC signature is required for the post-mortem. Shocked by the identity of the victim, the bizarre nature of the crime and what appears a too-convenient resolution, Finch turns detective. He is soon thrust into a perilous maze of espionage and murder. 'Dawson has produced a strong thriller with something to say... An intriguing mix of John Buchan style adventuring and well researched period detail, full of superstition, mistrust and political intrigue... A very strong debut.' Sarah Ward, author of the Richard Prince thrillers.Show more
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