Category: FBA

The Soviet Sisters: a gripping spy novel from the author of the international hit ‘The German Heiress’

Two sisters become embroiled in the burgeoning Cold War in this spellbinding novel of espionage, secrets and betrayals

Berlin, 1947: good Soviets Vera and Marya find themselves mired in the covert post-war conflicts that are shaping a new world order. When Marya, an interpreter liaising with the British, gets caught in secret agent Vera’s web of deceit, she must make desperate choices to survive – and to protect those she loves. Nine years later, as the Soviets confront their Stalinist past, Vera revisits that pivotal moment, unravelling shocking truths about her sister and herself. Against an epic backdrop, Anika Scott weaves a nail-biting, morally complex story of double–triple bluff and loyalty – or otherwise – to family or motherland.

PRAISE FOR THE SOVIET SISTERS

Electrifying, meticulously researched, and expertly plotted, The Soviet Sisters is at once a Cold War thriller, a gripping spy story, a page-turning mystery, and a familial drama‘ Lara Prescott, New York Times-bestselling author of The Secrets We Kept

What a page turner! The era and setting were very fresh, I learned so much, and I loved being taken around post-war Berlin. East and West, love and hate – this story gives beautiful insight into the opposites that can make or break a sisters’ bond. Compelling‘ Mandy Robotham, USA Today-bestselling author of The Berlin Girl and The Girl Behind the Wall

Black Butterflies: the exquisitely crafted debut novel that captures life inside the Siege of Sarajevo

‘An intensely evocative and deeply moving debut – I held my breath as I read’ Ruth Gilligan, RSL Ondaatje Prize-winning author of The Butchers

Sarajevo, spring 1992. Each night, nationalist gangs erect barricades, splitting the diverse city into ethnic enclaves; each morning, the residents – whether Muslim, Croat or Serb – push the makeshift barriers aside.

When violence finally spills over, Zora, an artist and teacher, sends her husband and elderly mother to safety with her daughter in England. Reluctant to believe that hostilities will last more than a handful of weeks, she stays behind while the city falls under siege. As the assault deepens and everything they love is laid to waste, black ashes floating over the rooftops, Zora and her friends are forced to rebuild themselves, over and over. Theirs is a breathtaking story of disintegration, resilience and hope. 

Praise for Black Butterflies

‘Beautifully written and hauntingly evocativeBlack Butterflies distils into a single consciousness a nation’s violent trauma and an artist’s sense of hope. Priscilla Morris has crafted a rich and highly accomplished debut’ Sam Byers, author of Perfidious Albion

‘In this compelling and convincing debut novel, Morris brilliantly evokes a world slipping, day by day, under the surface of the opaque waters of war. Dark and yet starkly beautifulBlack Butterflies is a narrative of how violence scars the soul of a city and its inhabitants. It is at once a testament to the victims and survivors of the Siege of Sarajevo, to the power of art and to Morris’s skills as a storyteller, all the more keenly felt for the subtlety with which they are deployed’ Aminatta Forna, author of Happiness

Black Butterflies is incredible, a must-read. There are few novels that stay with you after the final page is read, but this is one. Brutal yet also uplifting, immersive and real, it shows what the human spirit is capable of’ Karen Angelico, author of Everything We Are

‘An astonishingly good debut, chronicling one of the darkest times in global history. It reads so authentically that I might assume it was a book in translation, albeit by an excellent translator. Like food and fuel in the Siege of Sarajevo, no word is wasted. Zora’s story broke my heart, and I hope it will open the hearts of all those who read it to refugees, at a time when history is destined to repeat itself’ Liz Nugent, author of Our Little Cruelties

Black Butterflies is an elegy to the vibrant and inclusive society that was subjected to a murderous assault in 1992. But it is more than this: without sentimentality, it examines political and philosophical questions that come abruptly to the fore when the inhabitants of a modern city are starved and shot. This novel comes at an apt time, not just because it marks the thirtieth anniversary of the beginning of the Siege of Sarajevo, but because it testifies to the ease and speed with which things can fall apart’ Kevin Sullivan, author of The Longest Winter

The Spirit Engineer: ‘A fiendishly clever tale of ambition, deception, and power’ Derren Brown

‘A fiendishly clever tale of ambition, deception, and power’ DERREN BROWN

Belfast, 1914. Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, high society has become obsessed with spiritualism, attending séances in the hope they might reach their departed loved ones.

William Jackson Crawford is a man of science and a sceptic, but one night with everyone sitting around the circle, voices come to him – seemingly from beyond the veil – placing doubt in his heart and a seed of obsession in his mind. Could the spirits truly be communicating with him or is this one of Kathleen’s parlour tricks gone too far?

Based on the true story of Professor William Jackson Crawford and famed medium Kathleen Goligher, and with a cast of characters including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, The Spirit Engineer conjures a haunted, twisted tale of power, paranoia and one ultimate, inescapable truth…

PRAISE FOR THE SPIRIT ENGINEER

I adored this book. Haunting, witty and deeply moving, The Spirit Engineer is surely set to become a gothic classic. I was instantly drawn into the mystery and swept along by the shocking twists and turns. A beautifully written novel’ JODIE WHITTAKER, ACTOR

‘A.J. West has history at his fingertips and writes brilliantly – so clever it makes your head spin! The Spirit Engineer is a work of true invention and drama that moves at a cracking pace from the very first page and keeps you guessing. A compelling and daring book’ JEREMY VINE, BROADCASTER

‘Set in a historical moment where science and spiritualism meet, The Spirit Engineer is an ingeniously plotted debut novel’ SARAH BURTON, AUTHOR OF THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF H

‘A marvellous and menacing gothic chiller, filled with secrets and soaked in atmosphere, in which the ghouls and fiends are not of the other world, but this one…’ NEIL BLACKMORE, AUTHOR OF THE INTOXICATING MR LAVELLE 

‘A spooky tale of frustrated ambition, hidden loyalties, and desperation, told with wit, charm and devastating twists. A gothic novel that also manages to make you laugh, even if you shouldn’t’ JONATHAN HARVEY, PLAYWRIGHT

With a skilful misdirection that any Edwardian spirit medium would be proud to demonstrate, A.J. West soon turns the screw in this fascinating novel… Obsession builds until the stunning climax of the final shocking séance and its awful repercussions. Was William rights to be convinced? Did he prove ghosts exist?’ ESSIE FOX, AUTHOR OF THE SOMNAMBULIST

‘A gripping, gothic story anchored in the political and spiritual chaos of Edwardian Belfast. Part horror, part history, The Spirit Engineer is a chilling and thought-provoking tale of exploitation, faith, deception, fraud, séances, hubris, and prejudice… accomplished and page-turning. Fans of Penny Dreadful and The Nevers will love it’ GARETH RUSSELL, HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR OF THE SHIP OF DREAMS: THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC AND THE END OF EDWARDIAN BELFAST

Rainsongs

Award-winning writer Sue Hubbard delivers a poignant story of transformation, conjuring the rugged beauty of County Kerry’s coastline.

Newly widowed, Martha Cassidy has returned to a remote cottage in a virtually abandoned village on the west coast of Ireland for reasons even she is uncertain of. Looking out from her window towards the dramatic rise of the Skelligs across the water, she reflects on the loss of Brendan, her husband and charming curator, his death stirring unresolved heartache from years gone by. Alone on the windswept headland, surrounded by miles of cold sea, the past closes in.

As the days unfold, Martha searches for a way forward beyond grief, but finds herself drawn into a standoff between the entrepreneur Eugene Riordan and local hill farmer Paddy O’Connell. While the tension between them builds to a crisis that leaves Paddy in hospital, Martha encounters Colm, a talented but much younger musician and poet. Caught between its history and its future, the Celtic Tiger reels with change, and Martha faces redemptive choices that will change her life forever.

Layer Cake

Layer cake (n): a metaphor for the murky layers of the criminal world.

Smooth-talking drug dealer X has a plan to quietly bankroll enough cash to retire before his thirtieth birthday. Operating under the polished veneer of a legitimate businessman, his mantra is to keep a low profile and run a tight operation until it’s time to get out .

When kingpin Jimmy Price asks him to find the wayward daughter of a wealthy socialite who’s been running around with a cokehead, he accepts the job with the promise that after this he can leave the criminal world behind with Jimmy’s blessing. Oh, and he needs to find a buyer for two million ecstasy pills acquired by a crew of lowly, loud-mouth gangsters, the Yahoos. Simple enough, until an assassin named Klaus arrives to scratch him off his list, revealing this job is much more than it seems at first.

From the glitz of the London club scene of the 1990’s to the underbelly of its criminal world, Layer Cake is the best in British crime fiction.

Viva La Madness

Hiding out in the Carribean until the heat dies down from his last job, X is thinking it’s time to ditch the resort life and calls up his old friend Morty to plot his return to London.

But he’s hardly stepped off the plane when his associates, Sonny King and Roy ‘Twitchy’ Burns, get on the wrong side of a feuding Venezuelan drug cartel on the hunt for a sensitive package. Suddenly he’s thrown into a stand-off between rival mobs and with so many players in the game it’s tough going making out who wants to cut him a deal and who’s trying to kill him.

Darkly comic, fast-paced and full of twists Viva la Madness is packed with sex, scams, drugs and enough dirty money to fill a few offshore bank accounts.

Black Venus

In nineteenth century Paris, the young bohemian Charles Baudelaire roams the streets. Dressed impeccably – thanks to an inheritance that is quickly vanishing – and lost in the decadences of alcohol and opium, he is about to meet one woman destined to change his life forever: the beautiful Haitian cabaret singer, Jeanne Duval.

Inspiring Baudelaire’s most infamous poems – leading to the banning of his masterwork, Les Fleurs du Mal, and a scandalous public trial for obscenity – Duval becomes Baudelaire’s muse, the catalyst for a legacy spanning centuries. Their volatile and passionate affair explodes through the Parisian literary scene but, as the ever-more fractious world catches up with them, the strength of their love will be tested to the end.

Unfolding among the bars and salons during revolutionary times, Black Venus is an intoxicating story of love and betrayal in which drugs, absinthe and lust prove the making, and the destruction, of a great poet.

The Ornatrix

Flavia was born with a birthmark marring her face in the shape of a bird in flight. A dyer’s daughter, she grows up in a secluded little house in the woods, away from prying eyes. Ashamed of the mark, her mother forces Flavia to conceal her face behind a veil. But on the night before her younger sister’s wedding, Flavia does something drastic, something that will draw her into a much wider and stranger world than she could have imagined: the convent of Santa Giuliana, just outside the city walls. There she meets Ghostanza, a courtesan turned widow, whose white-lead painted face entrances Flavia, and whose beauty and cruelty are unmatched. Flavia becomes her ornatrix: her hairdresser and personal maid. But as white-lead paint rots the flesh below it, the bustling city, and Santa Giuliana, is rotting below the shimmer of wealth and privilege. And Flavia is drawn into a world of desire and jealousy that has devastating consequences. Set in sixteenth century and painted against a vivid historical Italian landscape, rich in description and character and with themes and characters relevant to today, it tackles issues of belonging, female identity and the perception of beauty. It cannot fail to move.

The Devil in the Valley

In his quiet Vermont home, a man named Taft sits and wonders what’s missing from his life. He’s at a loss until a strange voice startles him from the rocking chair, where a stranger has seemingly appeared out of nowhere: well-dressed and smooth-talking, this man offers Taft the chance to have anything he’s ever wanted-for a price. So begins The Devil in the Valley, the latest novel from critically acclaimed author Castle Freeman, Jr. Combining his deft hand for the supernatural with his classic setting of rural Vermont, Freeman gives us a story that touches on temptation and greed, and explores what we’re willing to trade to obtain the things we most desire. A modern fable that explores the supernatural while staying rooted deeply in our world, The Devil in the Valley is a powerful novel from a master at his craft.

The Killing Gene

OUT OF AFRICA, INTO DARKNESS…

When an archaeologist goes missing in the Congo basin, Professor Randolph Harkness and young tearaway Ross McCartney go in search of her – only to stumble upon a conspiracy to conceal ancient horrors lost to the passage of time. Evading spies and trained killers, can they expose this cover-up? Or will they be buried with it?

An unputdownable thriller, The Killing Gene reveals the story of our species, the paradox of the modern mind and our innate predilection for murder…

***PRAISE FOR THE KILLING GENE***

‘A real page-turner.’ Rob Sinclair, author of the bestselling Enemy series

‘In an epic adventure stretching from the jungles of the Congo to the valleys of Tajikistan and beyond, The Killing Gene blends exceptional research and a keen observation of human nature to create a captivating and intelligent adventure novel. Featuring a tenacious hero who must unravel a menacing conspiracy if he is to reveal the truth to the world, this is another stunning thriller from E. M. Davey.’ Rob Jones, author of the international bestselling Joe Hawke series

‘Davey’s writing is punchy, yet lyrical, delving deep into the distant past of humankind, questioning what makes Homo sapiens unique and what the future might hold for the one race on earth that has inherited The Killing Gene.’ Matthew Harffy, author of The Bernicia Chronicles series

‘Gripping, shocking… a dispatch from the front line where ancient history meets modern nightmares. E.M. Davey has been to some of the wildest places on Earth, and it shows. This will keep its hooks in you long past the final page.’ Tom Harper, author of The Lost Temple