I was the new boy, so they saddled me with the worst jobs.' Rome, AD 71. Against his better judgement, Falco secretly disposes of a decayed corpse for the Emperor Vespasian, then heads for the beautiful Bay of Naples with his best friend Petronius. He conveniently forgets to mention to his companion that this will be no holiday. They have been sent to investigate the murderous members of a failed coup, now sunning themselves in luxurious villas and on fancy yachts.
Rats are always bigger than you expect.' Falco, ancient Rome's hangdog investigator, hates sharing a cell with a rodent - though being bailed by his old mother is almost as embarrassing. His high-born girlfriend can't decide if she wants him, and Titus Caesar's reward for past services is a wet fish. Hoping for a better life, or at least a better apartment, he takes on new clients. On the elegant slopes of the Pincian Hill, three nouveau riche freedmen with two flashy wives are under siege by a clever redhead.
Your brother seemed to know what he was doing.' Rome, AD 72. Falco returns home from a six-month mission to the German legions. But trouble is in store for him: his apartment has been wrecked by squatters and an ex-legionary friend of his colourfully heroic brother Festus is demanding money, allegedly owed him as the result of one of Festus's wild schemes. Worse still, the only client Falco can get is his mother - who wants him to clear the family name.
"Give the man a chance!"
"I still can't believe I've put the bastard away for good!" Petro muttered.' Petronius Longus, captain of the Aventine watch and Falco's oldest friend, has finally nailed one of Rome's top criminals. Under Roman law, citizens are not imprisoned but are allowed 'time to depart' into exile outside the Empire. One dark and gloomy dawn, Petro and Falco put the evil Balbinus aboard a ship. But soon after, an outbreak of robbery and murder suggests a new criminal ring has moved into Balbinus' territory.
"Spoilt by the narrator"
"I've always wanted to see something of the Empire outside Rome." AD 71. Germania Libera: dark, dripping forests inhabited by bloodthirsty barbarians and legendary wild beasts, a furious prophetess who terrorises Rome, and the ghostly spirits of slaughtered Roman legionaries. Enter Falco, an Imperial agent on a special mission: to find the absconding commander of a legion whose loyalty is suspect.
"Narrator not well cast."
"The first concern of an author is to do down his colleagues." In the long, hot Roman summer of AD 74, Falco, private informer and spare-time poet, gives a reading for his family and friends. Things get out of hand, as usual. The event is taken over by Aurelius Chrysippus, a wealthy Greek banker and patron to a group of struggling writers, who offers to publish Falco's work.
"Narrator lets it down."
"All the problems I know about are family ones." A frightened child approaches Roman informer Falco, pleading for help. Nobody believes Gaia's story that a relation wants to kill her--and neither does he. Beset by his own family troubles, by his new responsibilities as procurator of the sacred poultry, and by the continuing search for a new partner, Falco turns her away. Immediately he regrets it. Gaia has been selected as the new Vestal Virgin, and when she disappears Falco is officially asked to investigate.
"Good story but spoilt by the narrator I prefer Rod"
I was just a freelance hero doing his best in a hard world.' The spirit of adventure calls Falco on a new spying mission for the Emperor Vespasian to the untamed East. He's picking up extra fees from his old friend Thalia the snake dancer as he searches for Sophrona, her lost water organist. With the Chief Spy Anacrites paying his fare, Falco knows anything can go wrong. A dangerous brush with the Brother, the sinister ruler of Nabataean Petra, sends Falco and his girlfriend Helena on a fast camel-ride to Syria.
"Missing Christian Rodska"
What did he eat last? Whom did he eat, in fact? Lumbered with working alongside reptilian Chief Spy Anacrites, Falco has the perfect plan to make money - he will assist Vespasian in the Emperor's 'Great Census' of AD 73. His potential fee could finally allow him to join the middle ranks and be worthy of long-suffering Helena Justina. Unexpectedly confronted with the murder of a man-eating lion, Falco is distracted from his original task, uncovering a bitter rivalry between the gladiators' trainers.
"Poor choice of narrator"
In the high days of the Raj, Captain Toby Larburgh meets a stranger in Calcutta's Great Eastern Hotel. Over a drink Toby tells of his adventures in the mountains of British India's northern borders. His quest to find out what lay behind the death of a local Imperial agent took him to the far-flung reaches of the British Empire, the distant princely state of Ghondabaur. When he reaches the lavish palace, he encounters a prince who is desperately attempting to save his father's kingdom from brutal invaders.
This was a lonely place for anybody to be brought to die.' In the wealthy town of Ostia, our hero Falco appears to be enjoying a relaxing holiday. But when his girlfriend, Helena, arrives carrying a batch of old copies of the Daily Gazette - with the intention of catching up on the latest scandal - Falco is forced to admit to Petronius his real reasons for being there. 'Infamia', the pen name of the scribe who writes the gossip column for the Daily Gazette, has gone missing.
"great escapism ,"
With barbarians at the gate and enemies within, two men must fight for the soul of the Republic. In a cave hacked out of rock two young boys appeal to the famed Roman oracle for a glimpse into their future. In the flickering torchlight the Sybil draws the blood-red shape of an eagle with wings outstretched: an omen of death. As they flee the cave in fear, Aulus and Lucius make an oath of loyalty until death. An oath that will be tested in the years to come. Narrator Nick Boulton brings this story of prophecy, courage, history and adventure to powerful life....
1850 and America is violently divided on the issue of slavery. When President Zachary Taylor dies, suddenly and under questionable circumstances, it is left to his Vice President, Millard Fillmore, a weaker man, to find ways to keep the North and the South apart. In New York, child of Irish immigrants, Matthew O'Hanlon is fired from his job as a newsman on the Herald but, surprisingly, finds work as Foreign Correspondent for the Associated Press in Panama City.
It is 1862, though not the 1862 it should be. Time has been altered, and Sir Richard Francis Burton, the king's agent, is one of the few people who know that the world is now careening along a very different course from that which Destiny intended. When a clockwork-powered man of brass is found abandoned in Trafalgar Square, Burton and his assistant, the wayward poet Algernon Swinburne, find themselves on the trail of the stolen Garnier Collection of black diamonds.
"This book is fantastic"
1805. Thomas Jefferson is about to begin a second term, but with a new Vice President. Aaron Burr, dropped from Jefferson's ticket, is a bitter and resentful man bent on revenge. In Boston, Jean Marie Macleod, a middle-aged lawyer, is a worried man. His young and beautiful wife, Marie, seems restless and dissatisfied. Macleod decides to seek advice from a friend in New York and, while there, meets an old acquaintance, Sebastian Francisco de Miranda, South American freedom fighter, Russian secret agent and adventurer.
Twelth Century, Italy. The domination of the Normans, the most feared warriors in Christendom, is causing trouble. At their head is the feared Robert de Hauteville, the 'Guiscard', who has colonised much of Italy and now commands the triple Dukedom of the extended Norman family, but Robert has made many enemies, including the ever-powerful papacy in Rome.
The year 1096. The Pope has called for a Crusade to free Jerusalem, and half the warriors of Europe have responded. Among them is the Norman, Count Bohemund, one-time enemy of Byzantium, whose help is required if progress is to be possible. In company with his warrior nephew, Tancred of Lecce, Bohemund must once more cross the Adriatic to the lands of the Byzantine Empire.
They were men born to fight. If God willed that Antioch was the place where they gave up life, so be it. Thanks to the stratagems of Bohemund de Hauteville, leader of the Apulian Normans, the Crusade has taken the city of Antioch, and just in time. Once the besiegers, Bohemund and his men are about to become the besieged - a huge Turkish-led army, commanded by the fearsome General Kerbogha, is fast approaching. Provisions are needed to support not only the army, but also thousands of camp followers and pilgrims.
Lucius Falerius is dead, and Rome in its entirety mourns the passing of its most powerful senator. It falls to his son Marcellus to carry out his father's legacy and restore the rights promised to the defeated Sicilian slaves, yet there are those who will not see the honour of Rome compromised and the slaves assuaged.
Africa, 1863. Sir Richard Francis Burton is an explorer, a linguist, a scholar, and the king's agent - or is he a puppet being manipulated by forces he cannot understand? A race to find the source of the Nile! Algernon Charles Swinburne is a famous young flame-haired poet, thrill-seeker, and follower of the Marquis de Sade. Here they are, back to where the adventure began. It is 1863, but not the one it should be. Time has veered wildly off course, and moves are being made that will lead to a devastating world war.
"A Weak End to a Great Series"
The brand-new novel in Bernard Cornwell's number one best-selling series on the making of England and the fate of his great hero, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. BBC2's major TV show The Last Kingdom is based on the first two novels in the series. From the day it was stolen from me, I had dreamed of recapturing Bebbanburg. The great fort was built on a rock that was almost an island; it was massive, it could be approached only on land by a single narrow track - and it was mine.
"Another brilliant story"
The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known... of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul... of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame... and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.
"The Pillars of the Earth"
On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius, and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed. As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war.
"Great for long journeys"
Arthur Wesley (the future Duke of Wellington) was born and bred to be a leader. With a firm belief that the nation must be led by a king, the red-coated British officer heads for battle against the French Republic, to restore the fallen monarchy. Napoleon Bonaparte joins the French military on the eve of the Revolution. He believes leadership is won by merit, not by noble birth. When anarchy explodes in Paris, he's thrust into the revolutionary army poised to march against Britain.
"Best Scarrow Yet"
The first novel in Simon Scarrow's bestselling Roman series. It is 42 AD, and Quintus Licinius Cato has just arrived in Germany as a new recruit to the Second Legion, the toughest in the Roman army. If adjusting to the rigours of military life isn't difficult enough for the bookish young man, he also has to contend with the disgust of his colleagues when, because of his imperial connections, he is appointed a rank above them.
In the last years of the ninth century, King Alfred of Wessex is in failing health, and his heir is an untested youth. The Danes, who have failed so many times to conquer Wessex, smell opportunity.... First comes Harald Bloodhair, a savage warrior leading a Viking horde. But Alfred still has the services of Uhtred, his unwilling warlord, who leads Harald into a trap and, at Farnham in Surrey, inflicts one of the greatest defeats the Vikings were ever to suffer.
"Where is Jonathan Keeble?"
The Generals is the compelling second novel in Simon Scarrow's best-selling Wellington and Napoleon quartet. In the turbulent aftermath of the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte stands accused of treachery and corruption. His reputation is saved by his skill in leading his men to victory in Italy and Egypt. But then he must restore order in France and find peace or victory over her enemies: England and Arthur Wellesley (the future Duke of Wellington).
On a small estate just outside Rome in the first century BC, two boys become blood brothers, little imagining the extraordinary future that lies before them. As friends and rivals, Gaius and Marcus are destined to find lasting fame.
"Emperor The Gates Of Rome (unabridged)"
The second novel in Simon Scarrow's best-selling Roman series. When Centurion Macro arrives on British soil as one of Emperor Claudius's invasion force in 43 AD, he is facing one of the toughest campaigns of his battle-scarred career. In a series of bloody skirmishes, Macro and his young subordinate, Optio Cato, and the desperately outnumbered Roman army must find and defeat the enemy before he grows strong enough to overwhelm the legions. But the Britons are not the only foe facing Macro and Cato....
Captain Sharpe's task is to recover from a feared guerilla leader the gold Wellington so desperately needs.The enemy he faces strikes terror into the hearts of all around - a renegade guerilla band whose leader has a particular loathing for Sharpe, who has stolen his woman. Soldier, hero, rogue - Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage.
H.M.S. Surprise, the third in O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey-Maturin series, follows the variable fortunes of Captain Jack Aubrey's career in Nelson's navy, as he attempts to hold his ground against admirals, colleagues, and the enemy, and accepts a commission to convey a British ambassador to the East Indies. The voyage leads him and his friend Stephen Maturin to the strange sights and smells of the Indian subcontinent, and through the archipelago of Spice Islands where the French have a near-overwhelming local superiority.
Julius Caesar has taken his legions north into mighty battles with the Gallic tribes. But as his successes mount, overwhelming ambition and new alliances begin to threaten his friendship with Marcus Brutus, brother-in-arms and fellow warrior. Although the conquest of Gaul has made Caesar a hero all over again, his victories on the battlefield cause still more rivalries at home. And ultimately Caesar and Brutus will have to choose whether to cross the Rubicon - together or singly - and to take the fight to Rome itself.
"Excellent despite poor narration"
This tale begins with Jack Aubrey arriving home from his exploits in the Mediterranean to find England at peace following the Treaty of Amiens. He and his friend Stephen Maturin, surgeon and secret agent, begin to live the lives of country gentlemen, hunting, entertaining, and enjoying amorous adventures. Their comfortable existence, however, is cut short when Jack is overnight reduced to a pauper with enough debts to keep him in prison for life. He flees to the continent to seek refuge.
"Not my favourite"
A story of love, war, loyalty and betrayal, Excalibur begins with the failure of Lancelot's rebellion and the ruin of Arthur's marriage to Guinevere. The Saxons, sensing the disunity of the Britons, seize the chance to destroy Arthur. The climax of the war comes with the legendary triumph at Mount Badon, and Arthur`s great victory. But the promises he made then come back to haunt him after the years of peace and glory.
Richard Sharpe, with enemies on every side, survives Marshall Massena's attack and ends at the lines of Torres Vedras. Sharpe's job as Captain of the Light Company is under threat and he has made a new enemy, a Portuguese criminal known as Ferragus. Discarded by his regiment, Sharpe wages a private war against Ferragus - a war fought through the burning, pillaged streets of Coimbra, Portugal's ancient university city.
"Fantastic. Rupert Farley is superb!"
The newly promoted Captain Richard Sharpe clashes with an incompetent colonel, leads his men in the battle of Talavera and earns himself a dangerous enemy. As Sharpe leads his men in to battle, he knows he must fight for the honour of the regiment and his future career. Soldier, hero, rogue - Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles.
In The Mauritius Command, Captain Jack Aubrey is ashore on half-pay without a command until his friend, occasional intelligence agent Stephen Maturin, arrives with secret orders for Aubrey to take a frigate to the Cape of Good Hope under a Commodore's pennant. But the difficulties of carrying out his orders are compounded by two of his own captains: one a pleasure-seeking dilettante, the other liable to provoke the crew to mutiny.
"The end of chapter nine is missing."
The newly promoted Commodore returns to the scene of his first naval action - the Baltic. In a gripping adventure in the northern waters, Hornblower must use all his skill and experience to prevent a catastrophic war.
"Complete and Enjoyable"
It's 17 September 1944. The Allies launch the largest airborne offensive in history, delivering 36,000 troops by parachute and glider to the Dutch/German border. In nine days' time, half of them will be casualties of war. Among their number is Theo Trickey, a young paratrooper so dreadfully injured he is not expected to survive. Under the care of Medical Officer Captain Daniel Garland, Trickey is shipped to Germany as a prisoner of war.
"Well written but I wanted more"