Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors

Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors Description:

On October a plane carrying a team of young rugby players crashed into the remote snow peaked Andes Out of the forty five original passengers and crew only sixteen made it off the mountain alive For ten excruciating weeks they suffered deprivations beyond imagining confronting nature head on at its most furious and inhospitable And to survive they were forced to do what would have once been unthinkable br This is their story one of the most astonishing true adventures of the twentieth century

Rating: 3.43 out of 5

Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades

Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades Description:

Examines the history and legacy of the warrior monks discussing their successful capture of the city of Jerusalem during the Crusades and their eventual demise

Rating: 3.80 out of 5

The Death of a Pope

The Death of a Pope Description:

Juan Uriarte a handsome and outspoken Spanish ex priest seems to be the model of nonviolence and compassion for the poor and downtrodden So why is he on trial accused of terrorist activities His worldwide Catholic charitable outreach program is suspected of being a front for radicals The trial is covered by Kate Ramsay a young British reporter who sets out to undercover the truth about Uriarte and his work She travels with him to Africa to see his work first hand but soon finds herself attracted to him Meanwhile an international conspiracy is growing one that reaches into the Vatican itself When the death of Pope John Paul II brings the conclave that will elect Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI a terrorist plot involving blackmail subterfuge and mass murder begins to fall into place a plot that could spell disaster for the Catholic Church and the world Piers Paul Read s powerful tale combines vivid characters high drama love betrayal faith and redemption in a story of intrigue of church espionage and an attempt to destroy the longest continuous government in the world the Papacy The Death of a Pope races toward an unexpected and unforgettable conclusion

Rating: 3.57 out of 5

The Dreyfus Affair: The Scandal That Tore France in Two

The Dreyfus Affair: The Scandal That Tore France in Two Description:

July The German military attach in Paris receives a visit from a seedy looking man who claims to be a French army officer in desperate need of money offering to sell them military secrets br br Captain Alfred Dreyfus was a rising star in the French artillery command Reserved yet intelligent and ambitious Dreyfus had everything a family money and a clear path to a prestigious post on the General Staff However Dreyfus had enemies as a result of his ambition Many of them came from the impoverished Catholic aristocracy and disliked Dreyfus because he was rich bourgeois and above all a Jew br br On the basis of flimsy evidence Dreyfus was placed under arrest for the crime of high treason Not long afterward he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life on the legendary lethal Devil s Island The saga of Dreyfus s many trials he was not exonerated until twelve years after first being arrested the fight to free him and the intrigues on both sides is a fast moving mystery story rife with heroes and villains loose women loyal wives bisexual men tricksters and charlatans But this was no mere sideshow The anti Semitism and deceit on display in the Dreyfus case was an ominous prelude to the Holocaust and the long bloody twentieth century to come br br In an era when religious conflict fierce patriotism and charged debates over national identity pervade the public sphere the scandal of Captain Dreyfus still has much to teach us In the hands of prizewinning novelist biographer and narrative historian Piers Paul Read this real life morality tale comes alive for a new generation Using his storytelling skills and a nuanced deep knowledge of French history Read rediscovers l affaire Dreyfus as a rich riveting tale

Rating: 3.30 out of 5

Alice in Exile

Alice in Exile Description:

i Alice in Exile i is Piers Paul Read s triumphant return to the fiction for which he is widely praised romantic dramatic and rich with detail It features Alice Fry an independent woman in a world ruled by men and the two men who love her It is when Alice meets Edward Cobb the eligible son of a baronet When Alice s father a radical publisher gets involved in a scandal Edward breaks off their engagement unaware that Alice is expecting his child Desperate she travels to Russia to serve as a governess for charming Baron Rettenberg as the Russian Revolution and World War I rage on br

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Ablaze: The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl

Ablaze: The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl Description:

The bestselling author of Blaze presents a heart pounding account of the world s greatest nuclear disaster based on sources not available before the fall of the Soviet Union Read s enthralling account is filled with acts of courage and also bumbling confusion secrecy lies and coverups Read spent many months in Russia interviewing hundreds of survivors and experts Photographs maps

Rating: 3.63 out of 5

The Misogynist

The Misogynist Description:

Jomier broods He broods about the present He broods about the past He types his gloomy thoughts onto his computer screen a digital journal When he has nothing more to say about the present he returns to the past copying entries from old notebooks onto his computer Jomier has reached the age of retirement What will he do

Rating: 3.64 out of 5

A Married Man

A Married Man Description:

John Strickland is a middle aged barrister with a wife Clare and two children Staying with his parents in law at their house in Norfolk he reads Leo Tolstoy s novella The Death of Ivan Illych and this precipitates a mid life crisis What has happened to his youthful ideals to do good in the world What has happened that has made his marriage go stale It is the period of strikes political crisis and the three day week Strickland determines to stand as a Labour MP His ambition is mocked by his wife and blaming her for his life s stagnation he starts an affair with another woman

Rating: 3.60 out of 5

Alec Guinness: The Authorised Biography

Alec Guinness: The Authorised Biography Description:

Sir Alec Guinness was one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century With a talent recognised by discerning critics from his very first appearance on the stage he gained a world wide reputation playing roles on the screen such as Fagin in Oliver Twist and Sidney Stratton in The Man in the White Suit His performance as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai won him an Oscar and in his later years he captivated a new generation of admirers as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Guinness was a man who vigorously guarded his privacy and despite publishing an autobiography and two volumes of his diaries he remained an enigma to the general public and a mystery even to his family and closest friends br br After his death in August his widow Merula asked the author Piers Paul Read who had been a friend of her husband to write his authorised biography Given full co operation by the Guinness family and free access to Sir Alec s papers including his private and unpublished diaries Read has written an enjoyable yet penetrating and perceptive account of an intriguing and complex man br br Read shows how Guinness s quirks of character and genius had roots in the circumstances of his early life His marriage to Merula Salaman a young actress of great promise is chronicled by the many hundred letters Guinness wrote to her when serving in the Navy during World War II while his post war diaries reveal that readjustment to civilian life was traumatic with doubts about his talent and a confusion about his sexual nature leading to bouts of severe depression br br Guinness s conversion to Catholicism in partly exorcised his demons but he never wholly escaped the contradictions of his life his domestic ties vying with wayward passions a yearning for holiness with an intolerance of constraint a raw sensitivity to the feelings of others with an irascible and domineering nature Yet from the diaries and letters to his friends quoted extensively in this biography there emerges a man of great compassion generosity wit and charm intellectually curious a talented writer a great gossip bon viveur and munificent host

Rating: 3.60 out of 5

Scarpia

Scarpia Description:

It is the late th century and Sicilian nobleman Vitello Scarpia finds himself penniless and in disgrace on the streets of Rome After leaving his home in pursuit of a military career his fiery passion has seen him expelled from the Spanish royal guard and left to seek his fortune in Italy a fortune inseparably bound to the Pope whose rule is put in question by the French Revolution br br Scarpia enrolls in the papal army and is soon taken up by a countess eager to have a handsome young officer at her side She introduces Scarpia into Roman society and he is both enthralled and agitated by its mix of religiosity sophistication decadence and intrigue Then on a mission to Venice he meets the gifted beautiful singer Floria Tosca And as the armies of revolutionary France advance into Italy and war and revolution engulf the whole peninsula these two lives become entwined br br Steeped in factual detail and exploring the lives part historical part fictional of figures from Puccini s famous opera i Scarpia i shines a light into dusty corridors of history and dark corners of the human soul

Rating: 3.33 out of 5