'The two foes of human happiness are pain and boredom.' Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century because his humanistic, atheistic, if pessimistic views chimed with a new secularism that was emerging from a Western society dominated by religion. Despite his rather forbidding image (and a few outdated views), he is one of the most approachable German philosophers, and this is certainly evident in these two key works, The Wisdom of Life and Counsels and Maxims.
At the age of 48, Cicero - the greatest orator of his time - is in exile, separated from his wife and children, tormented by his sense of failure, his great power sacrificed on the altar of his principles. And yet, in the words of one of his most famous aphorisms, "While there is life, there is hope." By promising to support Caesar - his political enemy - he is granted return to Rome. There, he fights his way back to prominence....
"Rerecord with Simon Jones"
Paris in 1895: Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of 20,000. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus' guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military.
"Top Notch Historical Fiction"
First published in 1900, when Thomas Mann was 25, Buddenbrooks is a minutely imagined chronicle of four generations of a North German mercantile family - a work so true to life that it scandalized the author’s former neighbours in his native Lübeck.
When human rights lawyer Philippe Sands received an invitation to deliver a lecture in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, he began to uncover a series of extraordinary historical coincidences. It set him on a quest that would take him halfway around the world in an exploration of the origins of international law and the pursuit of his own secret family history, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg Trials.
"Important lessons for today"
Five long years have passed since the annihilation of three Roman legions in the wilds of Germania. Varus, the general who led the ill-fated army, is long dead, and the bones of his 15,000 legionaries moulder in the forests. But not all the Romans were slain in the ambush. Centurion Tullus, a seasoned veteran, survived, and now he lives for revenge upon the tribal chieftain Arminius, who masterminded the ambush. Tullus will stop at nothing to kill his bitterest enemy or to recover his legion's lost Eagle.
Alistair Urquhart was a soldier in the Gordon Highlanders captured by the Japanese in Singapore. He not only survived working on the notorious Bridge on the River Kwai , but he was subsequently taken on one of the Japanese ‘hellships’ which was torpedoed. Nearly everyone else on board died and Urquhart spent 5 days alone on a raft in the South China Sea before being rescued by a whaling ship. He was taken to Japan and then forced to work in a mine near Nagasaki.
From the author of The First to Land, a novel set during World War II. They called them the Scrapyard Flotilla. After a quarter of a century of service, the eight destroyers had seen all kinds of action. Now they were to be used in raids to open the way for the invasion of Occupied Europe.
In The Golden Egg, as the first leaves of autumn begin to fall, Vice Questore Patta asks Brunetti to look into a minor violation committed by the mayor’s future daughter-in-law. Brunetti has no interest in helping his boss amass political favors, but he has little choice but to comply. Then Brunetti’s wife, Paola, comes to him with a request of her own. The mentally handicapped man who worked at their dry cleaners has just died of a sleeping pill overdose, and Paola loathes the idea that he lived and died without anyone noticing him, or helping him.
"A British Brunetti"
John Howard is determined to brighten up his old age by taking a fishing trip to France, but during his stay the Nazis invade. Howard must try to escape back to England with the two small children of some friends who are forced to stay behind in order to help the Allied war effort. As the conflict grows closer, the roads become impassable and Howard also comes across five more children who need his help. He ends up leading this motley group of youngsters through the French countryside, constantly beset by danger yet heroically protecting his charges.
"One of My All Time Favorires"
There is an old, empty house in Devil's Cleave, a deep gorge that leads from the high moors down to the harbour village of Hollow Bay. The house is Crickley Hall and it's large and grim, somehow foreboding. It's rumoured to be haunted. It's thought to hold a secret. Despite some reservations, the Caleighs move in, searching for respite in this beautiful part of North Devon, seeking peace and perhaps to come to terms with what's happened to them as a family. But all is not well with the house....
"The SECRETS of Crickley Hall"
This is the tale of a deadly conspiracy, an all-consuming obsession and an unlikely heroine. Michael Aldridge, talented architect and devoted family man, has built his dream home on the Isle of Wight, but when strange coincidences take a sinister turn, he must uncover a long-forgotten secret before it's too late. A wonderfully sinister new novella from the master of the chilling ghost story, The Going and the Rise questions how far you would go to realise your dream...and what you would risk to protect the one you love.
"Estimable and haunting"
A New Year challenge goes horribly wrong for one noble knight of the Round Table. King Arthur loved Christmas and New Year - it was an excellent excuse for feasting, exchanging gifts and a time for general good fellowship among the knights at Camelot. And he wouldn't stop feasting until some marvellous adventure had befallen either him or one of his companions. One year, there was an adventure to top the lot. An enormous knight rides into the hall dressed in green. Everything is green. His hair and beard are green. Even his horse is green.
"A classic story well read"
Joseph Conrad's searing tale of one of the strangest and most memorable journeys ever taken. Quite simply the scariest book ever written, this is a searing tale of one of the strangest and most memorable journeys ever undertaken - to the heart of a geographical and psychological wilderness from which no-one returns unscarred. For this isn't simply a journey up an uncharted river into a geographical wilderness; rather, it's a trip deep into our collective subconscious.
"Masterfully performed "
The Consolation of Philosophy is one of the key works in the rich tradition of Western philosophy, partly because of the circumstances in which it was written. Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (c480-c524) was of aristocratic Roman birth and became consul and then master of offices at Ravenna, one of the highest posts under the Ostrogothic Roman ruler Theodoric. But Boethius was unjustly charged with treason in 524, and this led to house arrest, then torture and execution.
There was a time when Cicero held Caesar’s life in the palm of his hand. But now Caesar is the dominant figure, and Cicero’s life is in ruins. Exiled, separated from his wife and children, his possessions confiscated, his life constantly in danger, Cicero is tormented by the knowledge that he has sacrificed power for the sake of his principles. His comeback requires wit, skill and courage - and, for a brief and glorious period, the legendary orator is once more the supreme senator in Rome.
"Excellent narration, great book"
Plan Aurora, hatched in a remote dacha in the forest outside Moscow and initiated with relentless brilliance and skill, is a plan within a plan that, in its spine-chilling ingenuity, breaches the ultra-secret Fourth Protocol and turns the fears that shaped it into a living nightmare. A crack Soviet agent, placed under cover in a quiet English country town, begins to assemble a jigsaw of devastation.
"As usual, Forsyth is Fantastic"
HMS Temeraire: latest and most advanced of Britain's nuclear submarines. When Temraire's trials are cut short and she is ordered to the Far East to reinforce the fleet against a threat from Red China, her captain, David Jermain, knows that this is no routine exercise in flag-waving. And once in Asian waters, he and his submarine find themselves involved in a hidden, undeclared conflict beneath the sea.
They lied to protect their country. He told the truth to save it. A gripping historical thriller from the bestselling author of Fatherland. January 1895. On a freezing morning in the heart of Paris, an army officer, Georges Picquart, witnesses a convicted spy, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, being publicly humiliated in front of twenty thousand spectators baying ‘Death to the Jew!’ The officer is rewarded with promotion: Picquart is made the French army’s youngest colonel and put in command of ‘the Statistical Section’ - the shadowy intelligence unit that tracked down Dreyfus.