Set during the fall-out of the Cultural Revolution, these bizarre and delicate stories capture the collision of the old China of vanished dynasties, with communism and today's tiger economy.
The mad woman on the bridge wears a historical gown which she refuses to take off. In the height of summer she stands madly on the bridge. Until a young female doctor, bewitched by the beauty of the mad woman's dress, plots to take it from her, with tragic consequences.
Japan, 1865, the women's palace in the great city of Edo. Bristling with intrigue and erotic rivalries, the palace is home to three thousand women and only one man - the young shogun. Sachi, a beautiful fifteen-year-old girl, is chosen to be his concubine.But Japan is changing, and as civil war erupts, Sachi flees for her life. Rescued by a rebel warrior, she finds unknown feelings stirring within her; but this is a world in which private passions have no place and there is not even a word for 'love'. Before she dare dream of a life with him, Sachi must uncover the secret of her own origins - a secret that encompasses a wrong so terrible that it threatens to destroy her ....
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Ever wondered if declaring support for fair-trade and then chucking Kenyan beans from your shopping trolley to reduce food miles really added up? Or whether the women in Bangladeshi sweatshops really want you to stop buying the clothes from their sewing machines? Or how the system works when you dump stuff but never buy from a charity shop? While none of us should stop trying, it was never easy being green. Mindful of his footprint, Fred goes in search of the source of the cotton in his shirt, the prawns in his curry and the people who grew, mined or made all his stuff in an attempt to discover the true story behind our everyday things. This compelling story of his travels moves green thinking on to a new, more sophisticated plane.
Imagine a world where everyone knows everything about everybody. Where 'sharing' is valued above all, and privacy is considered a dangerous perversion.Trafford wouldn't call himself a rebel, but he's daring to be different, to stand out from the crowd. In his own small ways, he wants to push against the system. But in this world, uniformity is everything. And even tiny defiances won't go unnoticed.Ben Elton's dark, savagely comic novel imagines a post-apocalyptic society where religious intolerance combines with a sex-obsessed, utterly egocentric culture. In this world, nakedness is modesty, independent thought subversive, and ignorance is wisdom. A chilling vision of what's to come? Or something rather closer to home?
'That rare unplug-the-phone, skip-all-meals, ignore-your-bedtime thriller.' GILLIAN FLYNNDetective Inspector Hazel Micallef is making her way towards retirement after keeping the peace in the sleepy town of Port Dundas for many years. But when a local woman is found murdered - her mouth gruesomely shaped into a silent cry - Hazel and her department are faced with their biggest case yet. They soon discover that this is not the first time a body has been found in this way, and it is unlikely to be the last. The Calling is soon to be a major film starring Susan Sarandon, Topher Grace and Donald Sutherland.'A stunning serial killer chiller - dark, surprising and utterly compelling' MO HAYDER
When feisty and successful Manhattan attorney Emily Haxby ends her happy relationship just as her boyfriend is on the verge of proposing, she can't explain to herself, let alone her closest friends, why she did it. And whilst Emily contemplates whether she has made a huge mistake, the rest of her world begins to unravel. She is assigned - by a boss who can't keep his hands to himself - to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit where she must defend the very values she detests, and there's something wrong with Grandpa Jack, the person she cares most about in the world...As Emily finally begins to take control of her life and come to terms with issues she didn't even know she had, she realizes that perhaps what she wants has been there all along...
In the beginning there was...a turtle.
Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it's carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules.But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc's very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world's first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard...
'What's so hard about pulling a sword out of a stone? The real work's already been done. You ought to make yourself useful and find the man who put the sword in the stone in the first place.' The City Watch needs MEN! But what it's got includes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), Lance-constable Angua (a woman... most of the time) and Corporal Nobbs (disqualified from the human race for shoving).And they need all the help they can get, because someone in Ankh-Morpork has been getting dangerous ideas - about crowns and legendary swords, and destiny. And the problem with destiny is, of course, that she is not always careful where she points her finger. One minute you might be minding your own business on a normal if not spectacular career path, the next you might be in the frame for the big job, like saving the world...
'A foot on the neck is nine points of the law' There are many who say that the art of diplomacy is an intricate and complex dance. There are others who maintain that it's merely a matter of who carries the biggest stick. The oldest and most inscrutable (not to mention heavily fortified) empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise What I did on My Holidays. Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water buffaloes; warlords are struggling for power - and what the nation wants, to avoid terrible doom for everyone, is a wizard. Rincewind is not the Disc's premier wizard - in fact, he can't even spell 'wizard' - but no-one specified whether competence was an issue. And they do have a very big stick...
Mighty Battles! Revolution! Death! War! (And his sons Terror and Panic and daughter Clancy).
Georgina Kincaid's job sucks. Literally. Love hurts, and no one knows it better than Georgina Kincaid. If she so much as kisses her new boyfriend, she'll drain his life force. Georgina is a succubus-a demon who draws her power from other men's pleasure. Admittedly, the shapeshifting and immortality perks are terrific, and yes, Georgina did choose to join the ranks of hell centuries ago. But it seems completely unfair that a she-demon whose purpose is seduction can't get hot and heavy with the one mortal who knows and accepts her for who she is. It's not just her personal life that's in chaos. Doug, Georgina's co-worker at a local bookstore, has been exhibiting bizarre behavior, and Georgina suspects that something far more demonic than double espressos is at work. She could use help finding out, but Bastien, an irresistibly charming incubus and her best immortal friend, is preoccupied in the suburbs with corrupting an ultra-conservative talk radio star-and giving Georgina some highly distracting come-hither vibes. Georgina is going to have to work solo on this one-and fast because soon, Doug's life won't be the only one on the line...
Just typical. No love life to speak of for months, then all at once, every horny creature in the Otherworld wants to get in your pants... Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl's got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy - one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie's first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it. Now Eugenie is a hot target for every ambitious demon and Otherworldy ne'er-do-well, and the ones who don't want to knock her up want her dead. Eugenie handles a Glock as smoothly as she wields a wand, but she needs some formidable allies for a job like this. She finds them in Dorian, a seductive fairy king with a taste for bondage, and Kiyo, a gorgeous shape-shifter who redefines animal attraction. but with enemies growing bolder and time running out, Eugenie realizes that the greatest danger is yet to come, and it lies in the dark powers that are stirring to life within her....
Like any great diva, Eva Valentine is a flawed character. Spoilt, stubborn and sassy, she exudes lioness confidence when in the company of her fellow bitches Maddie and Parker, and hungers for sex like others desire chocolate.Eva is a woman who would kiss your girlfriend as quick as she'd steal your husband, but underneath this hard-nosed facade she's just a regular girl who craves normality, and a love that she can call her own.After CCTV images of a clumsy clinch with her very married boss make headlines in the Sunday papers, her whole world begins to crumble. Eva must come to terms with the harsh consequences of her reckless actions, but don't think for a second that this would ever stop her fun. In Europe's most expensive capital, beautiful people can always find rich friends to fly them to fabulous parties in London or glamorous holidays in Marbella.
'I am sure of this much: my little story has become your history. You won't really understand your times until you understand mine...'
Reeling from the aftermath of the twin tragedies of the Great War and the influenza epidemic, diffident schoolteacher Agnes Shanklin has taken the trip of a lifetime: to Egypt and the Holy Land. But her arrival at Cairo's Semiramis Hotel coincides with an event that will change history. For the year is 1921 and the Cairo Peace Conference is about to preside over nothing less than the creation of the modern Middle East. At first Agnes acts as a welcome sounding board for the historic players - Churchill, T. E. Lawrence and Lady Gertrude Bell among them - poised to invent the nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and so decide the fate of the Arab world. Yet as the tumultuous days pass, she attracts the attention of a charismatic German spy and is inexorably drawn into the duplicitous, dangerous world of geopolitical intrigue...
As enlightening as it is entertaining, this compelling, passionately felt novel casts brilliant and perceptive light on what lies behind so many of today's headlines.
The Complete Cat is an essential reference book that covers every aspect of cat ownership. Drawing on the breadth of knowledge gained over many years, it is an absolute must-have for cat owners. It includes sections on:Taking in stray cats
What to look for in a good cat breeder
Effective flea control
Diet and nutrition
Giving your cat a tablet
Poisonous household items
Special needs for the elderly catAnd many more...
James, a first-year student at Cambridge, is overwhelmed by the thrill of opportunity and startled by his own hunger for friendship. He finds himself seduced by a covert and exclusive circle of friends - the 'Tudor Night Climbers' - who scale the university's turrets after dark, transforming it into a dangerous playground of spiralling heights.
When still only a novice member of his tribe, James begins to fall for the only female in the group, the enigmatic and beautiful Jessica, and is soon at the heart of a fatal love triangle with the reckless and charismatic leader of the group, Francis. When a volatile relationship finally explodes, the Night Climbers' funding suddenly dries up, until Francis dreams up a heist that will secure them millions, but will also test their very souls. Partly inspired by the original 'Night Climbers' of the Sixties who famously made dare-devil leaps from college roofs, this passionate exploration of youth at its most vital and unstable marks the debut of a strikingly gifted new writer.
'Edgier than Bryson, hits harder than Mayle'
The TimesA year after arriving in France, Englishman Paul West is still struggling with some fundamental questions:What is the best way to scare a gendarme? Why are there no health warnings on French nudist beaches? And is it really polite to sleep with your boss's mistress?Paul opens his English tea room, and mutates (temporarily) into a Parisian waiter; samples the pleasures of typically French hotel-room afternoons; and, on a return visit to the UK, sees the full horror of a British office party through Parisian eyes.Meanwhile, he continues his search for the perfect French mademoiselle. But will Paul find l'amour éternel, or will it all end in merde?MERDE ACTUALLY
In his second comedy of errors, Paul West continues to sabotage the entente cordiale.Author's apology: 'I'd just like to say sorry to all the suppository fans out there, because in this book there are no suppositories. There are, however, lots of courgettes, and I see this as progress. Suppositories to courgettes - I think it proves that I'm developing as a writer.' Stephen Clarke
They were like a band of brothers...In 1983 Andy McNab was assigned to B Squadron, one of the four Sabre Squadrons of the SAS, and within it to Air Troop, otherwise known as SEVEN TROOP.This is Andy McNab's gripping account of the time he served in the company of a remarkable group of men - from the day, freshly badged, he joined them in the Malayan jungle, to the day, ten years later, that he handed in his sand-coloured beret and started a new life. The links they forged then bound them inextricably together, but the things they saw and did during that time would take them all to breaking point - and some beyond - in the years that were to follow. He who dares doesn't always win...
The brilliant Nick Stone thriller from the bestselling author of Bravo Two Zero.If Nick Stone wasn't so desperate for his American citizenship, he probably wouldn't have agreed to do this one last job with the CIA. But Carrie is over there and he simply can't refuse the chance of a new life with the woman he loves. The job seems simple enough - and he is certainly skilled enough. Infiltrate the hostile, violent republic of Algeria, kill a money-laundering businessman, and bring back his severed head. Stone knows there are some questions you don't ask, but as events spin out of control he realizes there is vital information he hasn't been told. Lurking beneath the glamorous exterior of the south of France is a dirty drugs war - and Stone is thrown into the middle of it. And there he is faced with his toughest dilemma yet...'Packed with wild action' Daily Telegraph
Immediate Action is a no-holds-barred account of an extraordinary life, from the day Andy McNab was found in a carrier bag on the steps of Guy's Hospital to the day he went to fight in the Gulf War.As a delinquent youth he kicked against society. As a young soldier he waged war against the IRA in the streets and fields of South Armagh. As a member of 22 SAS Regiment he was at the centre of covert operations for nine years - on five continents.Recounting with grim humour and in riveting, often horrifying, detail his activities in the world's most highly trained and efficient Special Forces unit, McNab sweeps us into a world of surveillance and intelligence-gathering, counter-terrorism and hostage rescue.There are casualties: the best men are so often the first to be killed, because they are in front.By turns chilling, astonishing, violent, funny and moving, this blistering first-hand account of life at the forward edge of battle confirms Andy McNab's standing in the front rank of writers on modern war.
The breathtaking Nick Stone thriller from the author of Bravo Two ZeroEx-deniable operator Nick Stone is bodyguarding a TV crew on the streets of war-torn Basra. He seems certain to die when insurgent gunmen attack. Only a reporter's swift action saves his life.When the reporter vanishes within hours, presumed kidnapped, Stone is asked by the Intelligence Service to find him. The trail leads from Iraq to London, Dublin, and Kabul - the brutal city where governments, terrorism and big business collide.Caught in the crossfire, Stone's nightmare is only just beginning - for the hunter has suddenly become the hunter...'Authentic to the core' Daily Express
Have you ever wondered what your ex is up to?When Nell was a student, she and Patrick were a serious item. They were inseparable, and she really thought he was The One. But then Alex came along...the safer, more restful option, and thanks to her over-controlling mother she opted for him instead.Now nothing is going right. Alex has left her to live in New York with a younger, blonder woman. Escaping to the Caribbean for a recuperative holiday, she is mugged at Gatwick and her bag is stolen. It's crisis time - and she makes two decisions: First - she will take lessons in self-defence.
Second - she will try and find Patrick again. Is she trying to put the past behind her- or setting out to ruin her future?
The only child of an electrical engineer and a mother who resented the fact that she'd never been to university, the broadcaster Jenni Murray grew up in a traditional household in the 1950s. But instead of becoming the conventional housewife her mother expected her to be, Jenni opted to forge her own path in both her career and her personal life.The resulting tensions have lasted as long as she can remember. How, she has often wondered, could two women be so close, so full of love for each other, and at the same time so full of hate that they broke each other's hearts?And so Jenni began her remarkable memoir - and continued to write throughout 2006 as her mother lay dying, and Jenni struggled to care for her and her beloved father while herself being treated for breast cancer. Filled with love and laughter, frustration and heartbreak, and with the courage 'to keep on keeping on' even in the darkest days, it will speak to every mother and daughter, dutiful or not.
Why is catalogue shopping responsible for Jonathan Ross's inimitable sense of style?Why might wearing cape and mask be a fast track to heaven?Why does Jonathan wince every time he sees a Hoover?And why did he fall in love with a deep-sea diver?Why? Because this is Jonathan Ross. And nothing is out of bounds when it comes to talking about life as he knows it. From sex and pugs to rock 'n' roll and genital warts, Jonathan holds forth as only he can. This sharply observed, laugh-out-loud, outrageous page-turner will leave you asking just one question . . . Why didn't he write it sooner?
Vicky Rai, the son of a high-profile Minister, has been shot dead by one of the guests at his own party. They are a glitzy bunch, but among them the police find six strange, displaced characters with a gun in their possession. each of them steaming with a secret motive.India's wiliest investigative journalist, Arun Advani, makes it his mission to nail the murderer. In doing so, the amazing, tender and touching, techni-colour lives of six eccentric personalities unravel before our eyes. But can we trust Advani? Or does he have another agenda in mind...?