Magic takes many forms. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting that the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods' bridge to earth. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality - science.
Packed with inspiring explanations of space, time and evolution, laced with humour and clever thought experiments, The Magic of Reality explores a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? What causes tsunamis? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, inspirational detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist too.
Richard Dawkins elucidates the wonders of the natural world to all ages with his inimitable clarity and exuberance in a text that will enlighten and inform for generations to come.
Look into the eyes of a jinn and you stare into the depths of your own soul...
Writer and film-maker Tahir Shah - in his 30s, married, with two small children - was beginning to wilt under brash, cramped, ennervating British city life. Flying in the face of friends' advice, he longed to fulfil his dream of finding a place bursting with life, colour, history and romance - somewhere far removed from London - in which to raise a family. Childhood memories of holidaying with his parents, and of a grandfather he barely knew, led him to Morocco and to 'Dar Khalifa', a sprawling and, with the exception of its jinns, long-abandoned residence on the edge of Casablanca's shanty town that, rumour had it, once belonged to the city's Caliph.
And so begins Tahir Shah's gloriously vivid, funny, affectionate and compelling account of how he and his family - aided, abetted and so often hindered by a wonderful cast of larger-than-life local characters: guardians, gardeners, builders, artisans, bureacrats and police (not forgetting the jinns, the spirits that haunt the house) - returned the Caliph's House to its former glory and learned to make this most exotic and alluring of countries their home.
The Caliph's House is a story of home-ownership abroad - full of the attendant dramas, anxieties and frustrations - but it is also much more. Woven into the narrative is the author's own journey of self-discovery, of learning about a granfather he hardly knew, and of coming to love the magical, multi-faceted, contradictory country that is Morocco.
The kidnapping of a young man on a country road in Oxfordshire is but the first brutal step in a ruthless plan to force the President of the United States out of office. If it succeeds, he will be psychologically and emotionally destroyed. Only one man can stop it Quinn, the world's foremost Negotiator, who must bargain for the life of an innocent man, unaware that ransom was never the kidnapper's real objective . . .
The Negotiator unfolds with the spellbinding excitement, unceasing surprise and riveting detail that are the hallmarks of Frederick Forsyth, the master storyteller.
In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, a twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, pursued by the constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them.
In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River - John Irving's twelfth novel - depicts the recent half-century in the United States as a world 'where lethal hatreds were generally permitted to run their course.' From the novel's taut opening sentence to its elegiac final chapter, what distinguishes Last Night in Twisted River is the author's unmistakable voice, the inimitable voice of an accomplished storyteller.
Nathalie and David have been good and dutiful children to their parents, and now, grown-up, with their own families, they are still close to one another. Brother and sister.
Except that they aren't - brother and sister that is.They were both adopted, when their loving parents, found that they couldn't have children themselves. And up until now it's never mattered.
But suddenly, Nathalie discovers a deep need to trace her birth parents and is insisting that David makes the same journey. And through this, both learn one of the hardest lessons of all, that sometimes, the answers to who we are and where we come from can be more difficult than the questions ...
Ben is, at last, leaving home. At twenty-two, he's the youngest of the family. His mother, Edie, an actress, is distraught. His father, Russell, a theatrical agent, is rather hoping to get his wife back. His brother, Matthew, is struggling in a relationship in which he achieves and earns less than his girlfriend. And his sister, Rosa, is wrestling with debt and the end of a turbulent love affair.
Meet the Boyd family and the empty nest, twenty-first-century style.
Could one calamitous evening ruin the perfect life?
No challenge was too great, or so she thought........
All round high-flier Olympia Crawford Rubinstein has it all, a busy legal career, a solid marriage and a perfect family. She manages her life with grace and energy and there seems to be no challenge to which she cannot rise. Until one day she opens an invitation for her twin daughters to attend an exclusive coming out ball and her good fortune is changed irrevocably.
Chaos ensues as conflicting feelings emerge about the ball and Olympia finds herself at the heart of a severe family feud. Devastated, and pulled in all directions, Olympia is more determined than ever to steer her family through the event. Yet events unravel at an alarming speed and Olympia is poised to surrender when suddenly a series of events result in several changes of heart ,old wounds are healed and new traditions born. Can an evening of heartbreak and misery make way for an evening of growth, acceptance and love?
In a novel that is by turns profound, poignant, moving and warmly funny, Danielle Steel tells the story of an extraordinary family - finding new ways of letting go, stepping up and coming out ....in the ways that matter most.
Fernanda Barnes's life was once graced by security, success and stunning wealth. Now, widowed and with a mounting pile of debts, she is trying desperately to shield her three children from the rising panic within her.
When a file of press clippings and photos of the Barnes family is found in the desk of a convicted criminal, police detective Ted Lee is sent to protect them from potential danger. He is a man of unshakable integrity but even he cannot prevent the devastating events that follow. In a terrifying race against time, Detective Lee is the only man who can save Fernanda and her children from a terrifying fate...
For Maxine Williams, being married to Blake was an amazing adventure. Brilliant, charismatic, and wholly unpredictable, as an entrepreneur he had made millions and grabbed headlines. His only shortcoming was as a husband, and now they have worked out an odd but amicable divorce, and share three children they both adore. Blake gets to keep his globe-trotting lifestyle - dating a succession of beautiful, famous and very young women - while Maxine raises their kids in Manhattan and pursues her passion, working as a child psychiatrist. Then, everything changes...
Maxine finds a new love just as a tragedy transforms Blake from carefree playboy to compassionate, responsible grown-up. He wants Maxine in his life again - as a partner in a humanitarian project that could affect countless lives. But Maxine is on the cusp of a new life and almost certain that Blake, a.k.a. the Rogue, is a man capable of doing anything - except change...Or is he?
When two hopelessly mismatched people share a love for art, a passion for each other and a city like Paris, nothing is truly impossible...or is it?
Sasha is a traditionalist - now widowed, she knows she was married to the most wonderful man in the world.Liam is an artist, half-in and half-out of a marriage that his own impossibly impulsive behaviour has helped tear apart. But while Sasha has been methodically building her father's Parisian art gallery into an intercontinental success story, Liam has been growing into one of the most original and striking young painters of his time. So while the two are utterly unalike, the miracle of art brings them together.
Sasha tries to keep Liam hidden from her grown children and well-heeled clientele as she commutes between New York and Paris.Liam tries to bring out the wild streak that Sasha barely knows she has. Then a family tragedy suddenly alters Liam's life, forcing a choice and a sacrifice that neither one of them could have expected.Giving up now might just be the most impossible thing of all...
'Watch out, world. Here I come!' For Victoria Dawson, growing up isn't a happy experience. Born to picture-perfect parents, she never feels pretty enough to meet their expectations. But when her parents have a second child, Victoria is thrilled - she can't help but adore her new baby sister Gracie. And since Gracie is the image of them, her parents finally have the perfect daughter they always wanted. Meanwhile Victoria still never seems to get it quite right - she battles with her weight, she's told she'll never find a man if she's too clever, and the one career she feels passionate about her parents don't approve of.
And so Victoria decides to move to New York to fulfil her dreams and escape her family. Though her new life is exciting, the old temptations remain, and she continues to wage war with the scales.
Victoria struggles to find a life far from the hurt and neglect of her childhood, the damage created by her parents, the courage to find freedom, and become who she really is at last.
As the last snow melts on the Swedish island of Öland, Per Morner is preparing for his children's Easter visit. But his plans are disrupted when he receives a phone call from his estranged father, Jerry, begging for help.
Per finds Jerry close to death in his blazing woodland studio. He's been stabbed, and two dead bodies are later discovered in the burntout building.
The only suspect, Jerry's work partner, is confirmed as one of the dead. But why does Jerry insist his colleague is still alive? And why does he think he's still a threat to his life?
When Jerry dies in hospital a few days later, Per becomes determined to find out what really happened. But the closer he gets to the truth, the more danger he finds himself in.
And nowhere is more dangerous than the nearby quarry...
Josh Kilmer-Purcell lived a double life. By day, he was a successful young advertising executive. By night, he would trade in his corporate uniform for high heels and sequins, and perform in downtown New York nightclubs as a drag queen called Acquadisiac before returning to the uptown penthouse he shared with his crack-addicted male escort boyfriend. In this powerfully written, emotional rollercoaster of a memoir, Kilmer-Purcell blends the glittering and highly dramatic world of nightclubs, drugs and drag with a soulful and ironic perspective on his own journey through love and life.
Told with a raw and honest voice that conveys hard truths with unflinching courage, I Am Not Myself These Days is a stunningly witty and ultimately deeply moving tour de force by a remarkable new talent.
Hey, pretty lady, haven't we met?
Yes, beautiful thirtysomething Autumn Haven has definitely met hockeysuperstar Sam LeClaire before. Several years ago she had a passionate, Vegasinspired fling with him involving getting hitched in an Elvisthemed wedding chapel and ending with her waking up in a hotel room: alone, heartbroken... and pregnant.
So these days, reminding her exhusband that she even exists isn't high on Autumn's todo list. But they have a child, Conner, and suddenly Sam claims to have grown up, wanting to be more involved with his son. And handsome, dropdead sexy Sam always gets what he wants. Being a good dad to Conner is one thing, but to her horror, Autumn realises she still finds it practically impossible to be around Sam without falling for his charms once again. And that's the last thing she wants... isn't it?
Sexy, funny, unputdownable there's no one quite like Rachel Gibson.
When a world renowned scientist is found brutally murdered in a Swiss research facility, a Harvard professor, Robert Langdon, is summoned to identify the mysterious symbol seared onto the dead man's chest. His baffling conclusion: that it is the work of the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years - reborn to continue their bitter vendetta against their most hated enemy, the Catholic church.
In Rome, the college of cardinals assembles to elect a new pope. Yet somewhere within the walls of the Vatican, an unstoppable bomb of terrifying power relentlessly counts down to oblivion. While the minutes tick away, Langdon joins forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to decipher the labyrinthine trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome to the long-forgotten Illuminati lair - a secret refuge wherein lies the only hope for the Vatican.
But, with each revelation comes another twist, another turn in the plot, which leaves Langdom and Vetra reeling and at the mercy of a seemingly invisible enemyÂ…
Following the death of her seventeen-year-old mother in childbirth, Leonie Lynch is brought up in London's Eastgate Street by foster parents through the auspices of her godmother, the redoubtable Mrs Dodd, her living expenses provided for by her young mother's friend, Lady Angela Bentick.
Mrs Dodd turns to Lady Angela when her godchild is nearing her eighteenth birthday. Lady Angela runs a fashionable nursing home and can provide Leonie with a profession, whilst Mrs Dodd offers her accommodation. Upon joining Lady Angela's staff as a nurse, Leonie meets our two other heroines - Mercy Cordel and Dorinda Montgomery.
Mercy grew up at the family home, Cordel Court in Somerset, and shortly after her seventeenth birthday, was brought up to London by her stepmother for the London Season. Dorinda Montgomery, on the other hand, has hardly ridden up and down Rotten Row more than a half a dozen times before she has captured the heart of every masher around town, and earns the sobriquet 'Dorinda Blue.' Within days she is a famous member of the demi-monde, with her own house and carriage in St John's Wood. Meanwhile, Mercy Cordel is hard put to find a dancing partner. That she eventually finds a husband in the hard-bitten, hard-riding John Brancaster is a source of happy amazement to her.
Three such very different young women, and yet Society seems to reward Dorinda Montgomery more than it does the virtuous girl pushed into marriage with a suitably older husband Certainly this is how it seems to Leonie Lynch, the only one of the three who has quite made up her mind to dedicate herself to something other than marriage...
Widowed Martha Moreton was a devoted mother to her only child, Lucy. When Lucy married Len on a golden July day, Martha tried hard to make the best of things. Len was a good man who would make Lucy happy. They wouldn't be living far away. And the arrival of grandchildren was something she anticipated eagerly.
Unexpectedly, Len's job took the newly married couple overseas, where their first child was born. But sorrow, not joy, came with Dominic's birth. On their return, Lucy's best friend, Jennifer, as flighty as Lucy was conventional, was anxious to provide her own kind of consolation...
Martha, who was experiencing unlooked-for and at first unwelcome changes in her own life, clung fast to the maternal bond that meant so much to herself and Lucy. Everything she had come to depend on was overturned, however, before Martha was able to find her own kind of happiness in a very different existence.
One of Susan Sallis's most poignant and involving novels, The Keys to the Garden explores the mother-daughter relationship with a rare insight.
Nimisha Boynton-Rondymense was the body-heir of Lady Rezalla and, as such, was the heiress of one of the First Families on Vega III. But even as a child she eschewed the formalities of her aristocratic background and was happiest in her father's shipyard. By the time she was in her twenties she was the designer of the most advanced space yacht in the galaxy, and was owner of the Rondymense shipyards.
It was on a test of her Mark 5 prototype that things went wrong. In an empty space field, suitable for test runs, she was suddenly confronted with the boiling white pout of a wormhole, was sucked in, only to be thrown out into an unknown dimension of space. She was not the first. As she explored this new, unfamiliar section of the universe she found traces of ships that had been marooned over many centuries.
Not knowing if she would ever return to the world she knew, Nimisha chose to land on 'Erewhon' - fascinating, terrifying, beautiful and frightening - and inhabited not only by three survivors of a previous Vegan ship but by something else...
Tokyo, 1990 Grey Hutchins is in pursuit of an obsession. She is searching for a piece of film taken during the infamous Nanking massacre of 1937. Some say it never existed. Grey is certain that it does, and that it lies hidden - somewhere in Tokyo.
Alone in an alien city, Grey becomes a hostess in an exclusive club catering for Japanese businessmen - and gangsters. One gangster dominates - an old man in a wheelchair surrounded by a terrifying entourage - who is rumoured to rely on a powerful elixir for his continued health. It is an elixir that others want - at any price ...
With its focus on 1990's Tokyo and Nanking in 1937, The Devil of Nanking is a literary thriller of the highest order. With its heady atmosphere of overt violence, lurking fear and sexual tension, this is a novel that takes hold of the reader and does not let go until its explosive final pages.
Eleven-year-old Djata makes sure he is always home on Sundays. It is the day the State Security came to take his father away, and he believes it will be a Sunday when his father is finally sent home again.
In the mean time, Djata lives out a life of adventure. He plays wargames in flaming wheat fields; hunts for gold in abandoned claymines; watches porn in a backroom at the cinema, and plays chess with an automaton. But lurking beneath his rebel boyhood, pulling at his heartstrings, is the continued absence of his father. When he finally uncovers the real truth, he risks losing his childhood for ever.
With THE WHITE KING, György Dragomán won the prestigious Sándor Márai prize. An urgent, humorous and melancholy picture of a childhood behind the Iron Curtain it introduces a stunning new voice in contemporary fiction.
Something inside me remembers and will not forget...
When Alice Farrell is drawn to Grantchester churchyard and reads the strange inscription on Rosemary Virginia Ashley's gravestone, she feels oddly disturbed.
And when former boyfriend Joe returns to Cambridge with his new girlfriend Ginny, Alice is repelled by the ethereal, lavender-eyed beauty - and is certain of her evil.
Then Alice finds an old diary in Ginny's room and reads the story of Daniel Holmes, who lived in Cambridge forty years earlier, and fell under the fatal spell of Rosemary Ashley. As the two stories intertwine, Alice's suspicions about Ginny increase - until the past meets present in a terrifying climax..
The medical hierarchy of "The House of God" is like a pyramid a lot at the bottom and one at the top. Roy Basch, a Rhodes scholar, thinks differently, until he meets Hyper Hooper, out to win the most postmortems of the year award, or Molly, the nurse with the crash helmet.
Continuing the story of Confessions of a Shopaholic, out now on DVD.
For Rebecca Bloomwood, life is peachy. She has a job on morning TV, telling people how to manage their money - a subject on which she is an expert. Her bank manager is actually being nice to her, despite being just a tad overdrawn. And the icing on the brioche is that her boyfriend is moving to New York Â...and has asked her to go with him.
New York! The Museum of Modern Art! The Guggenheim! The Metropolitan Opera House! And Becky does mean to go to all these. Honestly. It's just that it seems silly not to check out a few other places first. Like Bloomingdales. And Saks. And that amusing little place she's been told about where you can sometimes get a Prada dress for $10. Or was it $100? Anyway, it's full of fantastic bargains.
Shopaholic Abroad - because there just aren't enough shops in Britain
Henry Chester, a domineering and puritanical Victorian artist, is in search of the perfect model. In nine-year-old Effie he finds her.
Ten years later, lovely, childlike and sedated, Effie seems the ideal wife. But something inside her is about to awaken.
Drawn by her lover, Mose, into a dangerous underworld of intrigue and blackmail, she meets Fanny Miller, the brothel-keeper, and her shadowy daughter, Marta - murdered ten years ago on the day of Henry's weekly visit...
And as friendship becomes possession and Henry's secret past is revealed, Effie and Marta plan their revenge together