‘Companion Piece’, by Ali Smith

Like the centuries-old lock at the heart of the novel, Companion Piece is a masterfully crafted puzzle for the reader to unpick. Part mystery, part modern commentary and part meditation on companionship, Ali Smith’s follow-up to her Seasonal Quartet takes the reader on a dizzying whirlwind through mythology, history, and the claustrophobic nature of life […]

‘The Instant’, by Amy Liptrot

  In a city famous for its nightlife, I’ve been waking up early to look for birds of prey. Following on from the success of her debut novel The Outrun – a deeply personal memoir that explored the author’s return to her roots in Orkney after years spent struggling with addiction – the stakes were […]

‘Man at Sea’, by Liam Bell

encrypt (verb): to hide information or important messages from enemy spies, using the locked room underneath the parish church. Man at Sea by Liam Bell is a tense, intriguing thriller that explores the secrets and betrayals of war, and whether revenge is still worthwhile when everyone else has long gone home.   Malta, 1941: Eleven-year-old Joe […]

‘Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar’ by Olga Wojtas

Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar was published to coincide with the centenary of the birth of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark, but don’t let anyone tell Wojtas’ protagonist that! Fifty-something Shona Ferguson is a member of the crème de la crème, as she likes to remind the reader from […]

‘The Rasputin Dagger’ by Theresa Breslin

In The Rasputin Dagger, award-winning author Theresa Breslin returns with an epic tale of love, friendship and loss set against the backdrop of the Russian revolution. With a care for historical detail and accuracy evidenced by her other books such as The Medici Seal and Remembrance, Breslin’s skill for evoking the details of everyday life […]

‘Riverkeep’ by Martin Stewart

Martin Stewart’s debut novel Riverkeep, a gripping account of a young man’s quest to save his father, draws on several Gothic elements to create a dark and brooding tale that has been compared to the work of Patrick Ness, Philip Pullman, and Ursula Le Guin. Publisher Penguin acquired the manuscript based on a 2000-word short […]

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