23 Aug 2011
Congratulations to Tom Devine whose history of Scottish emigration To the Ends of the Earth , published this week by Penguin, has immediately gone on Amazon to1 in Books > History > Britain & Ireland > Scotland
17 Aug 2011
Journalist Christian Oliver’s debut novel The Viper of Kerman about a coup d’etat in Iran had good reviews when it came out last year. It’s now out as an e book and gathering equally good comments on Amazon including:
em>The Viper of Kerman is a story where the balance is beautifully maintained between the characters and the narrative itself, and it also possesses an authenticity that says much for the depth to which Christian Oliver immersed himself between 2003 and 2006 when he was Reuters’ Iran correspondent. The Viper of Kerman is Christian Oliver’s first novel, and for its quality, power and credibility it deserves to be highly praised. This is clearly a major new talent whose next book I shall await with keen interest.
This story of an attempted coup d’etat in Iran by a cynical, manipulative ayatollah is beautifully written with credible characters whose motives and dialogue are all totally convincing. I have recently read the latest novels by William Boyd, Henry Porter and Sebastian Faulks, all three of which singularly lacked the foregoing attributes, and indeed were all in varying degrees marked by writing of extraordinary ineptitude. In contrast, firtst time novellist Christian Oliver writes like a young John Le Carre - subtly with delicate modulation of tone and pace. I can’t recommend this book too highly, and like the other reviewers I shall be looking out for his next book with keen anticipation.
An excellent Robert Harris style political thriller. Provides excellent background on the current turmoil in Iran. Good read.
From the first page when readers are plunged into the dangerous underground waterways alongside Abbas the blind, everything is set for pace, mystery and adventure. But the book is certainly not ‘just’ a page-turner. There are many other sympathetic characters, too, and much to learn from their interlocking stories. I will be looking out for the next book from this author.
15 Aug 2011
Roger Crowley’s City of Fortune: How Venice won and lost a naval empire, currently in the top ten history bestsellers on Amazon, has been receiving rave reviews including:
” Roger Crowley makes a trustworthy and wonderfully eloquent guide … Crowley is such a natural narrative historian, with such an eye for colourful but telling details and such a knack for dramatic character sketches, that he remains a constant joy to read.” Christopher Hart, Sunday Times
“In recent years Crowley has gained a reliable reputation as a confident, clear-eyed guide to the Mediterranean. In Venetian fashion he plunders the historical records and literary archives, setting them out seductively to display a teeming tapestry of Venetian bravura over half a millennium, from the years 1000 to 1500.” Iain Finlayson, The Times
“[Crowley’s previous books] were notable for their lucidity and assurance and proved Crowley to be one of the best narrative historians currently writing. City of Fortune is of the same standard … Crowley’s accounts are spare but thrilling … the rise and fall of Venice’s empire is an irresistible story and Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler. For centuries, he notes, the republic’s sailors returned home with “gold, spices, plague and grief” and in this compelling book, like a scrupulous Venetian merchant, he weighs out full measures of each.” Michael Prodger, Financial Times
“…this book affords a perfect account of its subject. In terms of pace, colour and fluency, Roger Crowley’s style is flawless, matched by his complete grasp of the motives - mercantile, political and ideological - driving Venetians across the increasingly tricky Mediterranean waters. Read him to discover what a muda was, how a bailo differed from a provveditore, and why our modern world has at least some of its roots embedded in the Adriatic mud on which this apparently implausible empire began.” Jonathan Keates, Literary Review
“Roger Crowley burst onto the scene six years ago with a stunning account of the fall of Constantinople in 1453….Military history is still his forte, and the book is studded with set-piece accounts of epic engagements…” Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph
“Roger Crowley’s hugely readable, well-written and informative book – take it there with you this summer! – explains how the Venetian Republic grabbed the riches that built it…An expert on maritime empires and Constantinople, he conjours vividly the privations and horrors the Venetians endured in the name of trade…Crowley is excellent on all this – and in building our sense of anticipation of the empire’s end.” Stella Tillyard, Daily Telegraph
” ‘Crowley is a wonderfully lucid and enchanting writer who shines at siege warfare and combat operations but he is equally skilled in expressing the essence of Venetian economic power. His narrative is laced with references to business practice that never seem forced or inapt.” Christopher Silvester, Daily Express
15 Aug 2011
Tim Newark’s study of crime in the Empire, published by Mainstream on 1st September, is already attracting headlines with two news stories this weekend:
04 Aug 2011
Dinah Roe will be giving a talk at the British LIbrary on her forthcoming book on the Rossettis on August 17th. Details of the talk can be found at
and a preview of the book at
04 Aug 2011
Congratulations to Connor Rowntree who is going to be presented with a WellChild award by Prince Harry, who is their patron, on August 31st, and who will be the subject of an ITV documentary on children who’ve overcome difficulty and gone on to inspire others. Connor is also up for the Pride of Britain Awards and has been nominated to carry the Olympic Torch. His mother’s memoir about how he and his family have dealt with his appalling injuries is currently ‘On Submission.
01 Aug 2011
Congratulations to Roger Crowley whose City of Fortune: How Venice Won and Lost a Naval Empire published this week by Faber has already made the top ten Amazon history bestseller list.
01 Aug 2011
Congratulations to Gurpareet Bains who has won Chef of the Year title at the English Curry Awards 2011.
22 Jul 2011
Severn House have bought Witch Hammer , the third in MJ Trow’s historical crime series featuring Kit Marlowe, scholar of Corpus Christi college and intelligencer for Francis Walsingham.