There is still a great fascination with the British Empire. Opinions vary widely about Great Britain’s imperial past, and about the extraordinary characters who shaped it and were willing to sacrifice everything for it.
This remarkable, engrossing true story tells of two of the British Empire’s most pivotal characters: Sir Frederick Lugard, soldier, explorer, anti-slaver and controversial first Governor-General of Nigeria, and Flora Shaw, the first colonial editor of The Times. The Passionate Imperialists recounts how they met, loved and transformed each other’s lives, and how they fought slavery and through their efforts helped improve the lives of millions of people in Africa.
The story starts in India and moves to Afghanistan, Sudan, across Africa, then travels to Hong Kong and concludes with the founding of Nigeria.
About the Author:
Rory O’Grady has travelled extensively in his career as a chartered civil engineer and has lived both in Nigeria and in Hong Kong during the last thirty years.
He is related by marriage to Sir Frederick Lugard, which enabled him to have privileged access to vital new information to write with new insight on Frederick Lugard and Flora Shaw.
Rory has retired to the county of Kent in the south of England and is carrying out research for his next book, which is set in Ireland and Japan.
Blackberry Bill is an enchanting tale about a ten-year-old orphaned boy who bravely sets out alone upon the Kentish marshes in pursuit of a mysterious recluse.
He believes that this eccentric character, a gypsy commonly known as Blackberry Bill, may hold the answers he seeks with regard to his own identity. When the two eventually meet, the boy learns that he is in fact the same person who had saved his life as a baby.
A touching friendship starts to flourish between the unlikely pair as the gypsy starts to teach the boy all about the pots and bottles which he continually excavates and about the delights and dangers present on the marsh, as well as something of his Romany way of life.
Blackberry Bill is a gripping, beautifully written story whose wonderfully-evoked naturalistic descriptions bear comparison with Dickens’s own accounts of the mysteries of the Kentish marshes. This book is unforgettable
About the Author:
Ned Reardon, who is a corporate book-keeper and keen rambler, spends much of his leisure time walking the North Kent marshes in England. He describes himself as an ordinary person who has fallen in love with writing.
Man or beast? Jo Green is a heroine of the Devon and Cornwall Police.
Thanks to Jo, OCD-plagued chess-player Vladek Boniek is serving thirty years for murdering four women close to Bodmin Moor.
Jo, a police constable at the time, caught him. She’s now a detective. Her new career is accompanied by painful realisations about her personal life, which lead to the most serious emotional conflicts she’s ever had to face.
Meanwhile, on Bodmin Moor, six months after Boniek’s conviction, new killings take place.
Suspicions point to a phantom wild cat.
But is a big cat really the culprit, or is a new Beast of Bodmin on the loose?
About the Author:
Mark Edmondson is a businessman, living and working in Manchester. The Beast of Bodmin is his first novel..
In 1969, the first two men landed on the moon. There were five other landings, leading to a total of twelve astronauts standing on the moon. A further six circled above while the world watched.
Also in 1969, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world south of Cape Horn. He was the eighth of only eleven men who rounded the Horn alone before the final moon landing. Those eleven men had no one watching them.
This book tells their remarkable, unforgettable stories.
The moon. Cape Horn. One is 250,000 miles away. The other is at the bottom of the Earth. One is airless, sterile and silent. The other is ravaged by perpetual storms, mountainous seas and ice.
In 1969, those two places were the centre of the world’s attention,
On 20 July 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. They were followed by a further ten astronauts.
At the same time, nine single-handed sailors were attempting to sail round Cape Horn, alone, in the Golden Globe Non-Stop Round the World Race. Only one man finished the race, but three other competitors did eventually make it past the Horn. Those four joined the seven other lone sailors who had previously rounded the Cape, to become the eleven Cape Horn astronauts.
This dramatic and exciting book, written so vividly you can feel the sea’s spray on your face and taste the salt on your lips, tells the story of the lives of those eleven men and their sailing exploits, and compares and contrasts their voyages with what the twelve space astronauts achieved.
‘One famous astronaut spoke of “a small step for man, one great leap for mankind”. For those who go to sea, rather than into space, there’s no greaterstep than rounding the Horn.’
From the preface, written by Paul Heiney
About the Author:
Nicholas Gray is a retired solicitor who has sailed and owned boats all his life. He has also been a sailmaker and restorer of classic yachts.
His first book, Last Voyages, was published in 2017. He divides his time between Kent and south-west France.
After Oliver Twist intervenes to save Jack Dawkins - the legendary Artful Dodger - from transportation to Botany Bay, Jack embarks on what proves to be a perilous quest to discover his roots. Before he can say ‘Fagin!’ he’s battling to survive a devastating flood and rescue beautiful black-haired, green-eyed Lysette Godden, the girl of his dreams, from the hands of murderous villains. Jack and Lysette, searching for Jack’s parents, head to France and have an adventure there which tests their mettle and mutual love to the utmost and changes their lives for ever.
Brilliantly and evocatively written, Jack Dawkins is a worthy sequel to Charles Dickens’s immortal masterpiece Oliver Twist.
About the Author
Terry Ward describes himself as being a life-long bibliophile and scribbler who likes nothing better than discovering what’s beyond the next hill. He has won two creative writing awards, is married, has two sons and lives in Rochester, Kent, near Gad’s Hill Place, where Charles Dickens spent the last years of his life.
The Other Days is a truly uplifting story of living with cancer.
About the Author
After reading Film and Drama at London University, Gillian Lee trained as a film editor with the BBC, then worked as a drama teacher. She lives in Cheshire with her husband, Christian. They have four children.
In December 2015, Gillian was diagnosed with a stage four, glioblastoma multiforme tumour; incurable, aggressive and deadly with a very short life prognosis. She looked for and she found silver linings. Like the stringing together of separate, precious beads to make a necklace, each part of this book radiates the joy of life.
Ben Parker’s stunning debut novel, ‘Beetlebrow the Thief’ – as featured on BBC Radio Leeds, Jersey and Kent – is a fast-paced feminist thriller about two teenage girls struggling to survive in the poverty-stricken streets of a male-dominated world; two teenage girls who have no other option but to complete a dangerous mission for their government.
When Beetlebrow and Pook are offered money to deliver a message to a distant city, they jump at the chance. But as they learn more about what their mission entails, they start to question everything they had once thought, and they to find a love they could never have imagined.
In this epic coming-of-age story, two bold and fearless young women begin to find a transcendent new purpose in their lives.
About the Author
Ben Parker was born in Ealing, London in 1983. He studied feminism, gender studies and LGBT+ studies as part of his BA and MA in English Literature from Southampton University.
My name is Herpyllis. I’m an unremarkable woman, but I’ve known remarkable men and women and lived through extraordinary times in exceptional places...
So begins this story of a life shaped and marked by two men who are still household names: Alexander the Great and Aristotle.
349BC: After the slaughter of her family and destruction of her city by the Macedonians, Herpyllis is taken to their capital, where the Queen becomes her second mother and Alexander her first love. It is a man’s world with new gods, but the women practise the ancient rites of the Great Goddess, held in secrecy and forbidden to men on pain of death.
A tale of passions, mayhem and pagan rites in the idyllic countryside
When yuppies Mitchell and Jocasta Dever move into Yew Tree cottage in the Hampshire village of Itchen Prior they fondly imagine they’ll be starting a new life of bucolic bliss in a rural idyll. In fact, things don’t exactly turn out like that. What they ﬁnd is a seething pit of incest, sexual jealousy, paganism, exploitation, sharp business practices, feudalism and murder.
A Place in the Country - whose galaxy of characters includes Sherborne St John, the lord of the manor and his scheming wife, Gwendolyn, who keeps her stable hand, Crux Easton, as a sex slave; Jed Smith, exploitative garden centre owner who uses the Bosnian student Jagoda Doboj and her friends as cheap illegal labour, and the deeply dubious Warren family - is a novel that takes a hilarious, jaunty, and also often moving and disturbing look at a rural idyll that is anything but.
‘I knew this girl, you see. A sort of a friend. No one thought she really mattered much, but that turned out to be a mistake. Because she blew a hole through my life – and the lives of everyone I knew.’
Anna’s found the perfect friend in Zoe: she’s cool, she’s smart, she’s goth, she’s gorgeous. If only geeky Kerry would stop hanging around and cramping their style. They’d like to get rid of her. But they should be careful what they wish for...
The Misper by best-selling crime and children’s writer Bea Davenport is a gripping story of obsessive friendships, jealousies, bullying – and the consequences of your actions.
This first collection of poems introduces Bridget Nolan’s deeply moving, wonderfully evocative, verbally inventive and highly varied voice. From the title poem ‘A Walk With Charles Dickens’, which makes you feel that Bridget really met him, to her beautiful ode ‘Romney Marsh’, and dozens of poems that stir the emotions first one way, then another, this collection is completely unforgettable. Inspired by Nature, Love and human vulnerability, folly and yearning, Bridget brings her beloved Kent alive for readers everywhere. She also explores the effects of grief following a deeply personal loss.
The poems are accompanied by personal notes, sharing the writer’s thoughts and reasoning behind individual poems.
Smart and sexy divorcee Lucy Shaw, Shaw by name but unsure by nature, wants to find something – or someone – to bring her lasting happiness. But she keeps looking in all the wrong places: including the chocolate aisle of her local supermarket, the occasional bottle of vodka and her complex and troubled past, and she finds she loses more than she gains – a husband, her patience, her enormous boobs and her dignity for starters.
Hampered by her tendency always to want what she hasn’t got and an apparent inability to let go of the past, will Lucy ever find her elusive happy-ever-after? This witty, amusing, highly entertaining and fast-paced novel is sure to make you feel Lucy’s dilemma, and warm your heart.
Bribed with 500 euros, seventeen-year-old Caylin agrees to go with her parents on a package holiday to Tuscany. She soon regrets her decision, leaves Mum and Dad behind at the hotel and hitchhikes alone to the city of Siena in search of something more exciting.
But Caylin‘s big adventure in Siena soon gets scary and dangerous when she meets a girl, Lula, who brands her a thief, which leads to Caylin being ostracised by her new best friend, Stefania. Meanwhile, unknown to Caylin, twenty-one-year-old Joe has volunteered to leave the holiday group to search for her and make sure she’s safe, or at least that‘s his story anyway! Caylin makes two dramatic discoveries, one about Joe and the other about Lula. Caylin’s adventure starts to spiral out of control, until love intervenes to give her the chance of a new life.
The kingdom of Culrain may have outlawed magic, but when Lex‘s best friend, Princess Mera, tells him that they must journey to the fabled Skara Brae to bring back magic, Lex knows it’s his destiny to go. But destiny doesn‘t come easily, and Lex will have to face many trials on his way, including the Brethren of Peace: an organisation devoted to destroying all magic. Could Lex be magic’s last hope?
Heera Watson is like any ordinary fifteen-year-old girl... not! Torn between the British way of life and her Indian heritage, she‘s the target of catty comments at school in Birmingham from Laura Foster, the ’It‘ girl at St Claire’s, and her gang. Heera is constantly pressured at school to look and dress in certain ways, but all she has ever wanted is to be herself. Her journey to becoming the person she really wants to be starts when she finds three sacred crystals in a safe at home. This discovery puts thousands of lives in danger, and catapults Heera into a mind-blowing quest through the magical kingdom of Fallowmere. There, forging new friendships with people and creatures she never imagined could exist, Heera bravely confronts deadly challenges to save her loved ones from the devious Dark King, who will stop at nothing to carry out his evil schemes. Heera Watson and the Rise of the Dark King is a wonderfully imaginative tale of courage, friendship, battle and what it means to face your true destiny.
Is losing your virginity just a simple matter, and is dying something we all take for granted? How many levels of crime are there and don’t we all transgress in varying degrees? Is learning all to do with understanding how much we don’t know?
Anna sets off in her youthful enthusiasm to explore beyond her cosmopolitan background, and in the complexity of rural England uncovers some startling truths about herself and the people she cares about.
This lyrically written, powerful novel from an author with a deep understanding of the wellsprings of emotion, will fascinate you, and warm your heart.
Shamila is a Muslim student at Marseille University at a time when the city is under threat from terrorism. Ethnic tensions are rising. Then one day while jogging, she meets a fellow student, Victor. It is the beginning of a friendship that rapidly grows into something more. But Victor is not a Muslim and her family don’t approve. What happens next will plunge them both into danger and change their lives forever. This is a tense, page-turner of a novel and could not be more topical, given current events.
Mark Jones, a twenty-three-year-old supermarket worker in Herne Bay, doesn’t have a lot going for him. He’s earning the minimum wage, is still living with his parents, and his favourite hobby is PlayStation.
But one evening after work, he eats a packet of crisps on the cliff top and watches the sun go down over the Thames estuary. When he throws the empty packet into a litter bin, a gust of wind suddenly blows the packet away. He has no idea how completely this chance event will change his life.
The Crisp Packet is one of the most original novels you’ll ever read. It tells the story of Mark’s odyssey into life and the accidental mayhem he causes before he finally finds true love with a woman who’s even more unusual than he is. The Crisp Packet is bizarre, funny, disturbing, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining. Meet Mark Jones, a hero of our times!
Meet Ivana (‘call me Vanny’) Jones, a sexy, beautiful, warm-hearted professional chess-player. She has a problem: she’s only attracted to guys who can beat her… so what’s she to do when a chess amateur, the Russian billionaire Boris Bogolyubov, proposes marriage?
Not only that, but as Vanny tries to achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a chess grandmaster, she develops a crush on Norwegian sex-god Sven while also falling for a stunning and adoring Frenchwoman.
Meanwhile, Vanny’s hoping a revolutionary new drug treatment will save her best friend Charlotte’s life.
Set in London, Monaco, Budapest, Helsinki, Odessa, New York… and Leicester, this sparkily written, passionate, emotional and entertaining novel will rock your boat… even if you’ve never shouted ‘Checkmate!’
Two completely unrelated young Londoners - Hamila Rashid, a black, ex-Somalian refugee living in the UK - and Tony Hammond-Jones, a white, middle-class bishop’s son from rural Hertfordshire - begin having recurring dreams featuring each other. When they finally manage to meet, they slowly realise that they share a destiny that has the potential to change the world forever.
Set in the turbulent year 1984, during the Miners’ Strike and under the shadow of IRA terrorism, A Loaded Gun takes place against the background of a Britain torn by conflict, its first woman prime minister being determined to re-shape the nation in her own image, which is closer to the vision of the hero, sports centre director Steve, than that of his lover, English literature lecturer Helena. More than one gun is fired in this energetic, pacy love story and political thriller.
Europe is on the brink of war and a precariously neutral Lisbon is teeming with British, German and Portuguese spies. In this uneasy atmosphere of espionage and political intrigue, Father Michael Harrington, a professor at an ancient college for the education of English clergy, is about to embark on the biggest adventure of his life: a passionate affair with Dona Elisabete, a stunning, free-living outspoken Portugese socialite.
Dona Elisabete challenges him in every way and leads him into increasing conflict with his vocation, and his king and country.
The Barque of Bulleyn is a thrilling story of adventure, gun-running, piracy, political intrigue and betrayal, with passion and love along the way. It is based on events that occurred between April and July 1574, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The novel is primarily about the author’s ancestor, Robert Isted of Hastings: the captain of the Barque of Bulleyn, a ship of war that he had purchased from the Navy Royal.
When he was a boy, K. C. Isted’s father took him to Hastings and told him that the family was descended from pirates and smugglers. K. C. Isted never forgot this. Years later, when researching his family history, he discovered the full story. The Barque of Bulleyn is a result of that research.
What drives a man to burn down his house - the home he shared with his wife and children? Michael Gaines is that man. Brought to the end of his tether by a seemingly unsympathetic bank, he’s lost his business, his home and, for now, his wife and children after they walk out on him.
Yet everything may not be what it seems. Stuck in prison, and with the help of his career criminal cellmate, Michael slowly starts to understand what has really happened. He’s been deliberately targeted by an envious business rival who not only wants to steal Michael’s business but has also set his eyes on Michael’s beautiful wife, Hannah.
Gaines, his life collapsing around him, resolves to take revenge…
Auctioning babies makes sense, at least that’s what Market World thinks. After all the baby goes to someone who can give it a good start in life, and the baby’s parents get a return for their pain and trouble.
But for Ed and Matt, the Baby Auction sums up everything that’s wrong with a society based on profit. Then one day Matt rescues a drowning child and they face the question: can love and compassion overcome the harsh laws of Market World?
When Michael Stanton goes to work one day and doesn’t come back, everyone – friends, family and the police – thinks his pregnant girlfriend Jill should accept he’s left her. After all, he’s done it before.
But Jill just won’t believe that Michael would walk away from her and their unborn child. Increasingly desperate and alone, she’s determined to find him.
Just where is Michael?
What Jill doesn’t know is that his beautiful ex, Anna, wants him back, and won’t take no for an answer. And it isn’t just him she wants…
In a maze of captivity, sexual tension and dark desire, Michael battles with his feelings. Does he really want his normal life back, or could there be a future with the woman who terrifies, controls and fascinates him?
Baby is a compelling, sexy, disturbing and unforgettable thriller.
Heaven and Hell is a stunningly original, erotic and immensely thought-provoking novel about a Jewish journalist, Michael Cohen, sent by a London news agency to uncover secret plans to rebuild the Temple on Mount Zion, Jerusalem, next to the Mosque on the Dome of the Rock. Tempted by women and fascinated by them following a disturbing childhood experience, Cohen undergoes a spiritual crisis that leads to his conversion to Christianity, accusations of proselytising to the Jews, a spell in a mental hospital and a climactic spiritual salvation.
In seventeenth-century London, thirteen years after the plague and twelve years after the Great Fire, the restoration of King Charles II has dulled the memory of Cromwell’s puritan rule, yet fear and suspicion are rife. Religious turmoil is rarely far from tipping the scales into hysteria.
Elizabeth Cellier, a bold and outspoken midwife, regularly visits Newgate Prison to distribute alms to victims of religious persecution. There she falls in with the charming Captain Willoughby, a debtor, whom she enlists to gather information about crimes against prisoners, so she might involve herself in petitioning the king in their name.
‘’Tis a plot, Madam, of the direst sort.’ With these whispered words Willoughby draws Elizabeth unwittingly into the infamous Popish Plot and soon not even the fearful warnings of her husband, Pierre, can loosen her bond with it.
This is the extraordinary true story of one woman ahead of her time and her fight against prejudice and injustice.
Written with charm and humour, Mary Essinger‘s page-turning memoir takes the reader on a highly entertaining journey from her pre-war life of spirited poverty in a Leicestershire village to a career as a lecturer in Spoken English, novelist and stand-up comedian. With a sharp eye for tragedy and a warm appreciation for joy, Mary recounts her wartime life and subsequent life as a dress designer in the economic boom conditions of the 1950s and falling in love with a German Jewish refugee who clicked his heels when he met her family. It’s all here, in Mary, Quite Contrary.