God’s Traitors : Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England

The year is 1606. A woman wakes in a prison cell. She has been on the run, changing her lodging every few days but the authorities have tracked her down and taken her to the Tower of London.

She is placed in solitary confinement and interrogated for her role in the Gunpowder Plot. The woman is Anne Vaux – one of several ardent, extraordinary, brave and, at times, utterly exasperating members of the Vaux family. In this superb history, award-winning author Jessie Childs explores the Catholic predicament in Elizabethan England through the eyes of a Catholic aristocratic family: the Vauxes of Harrowden Hall, in the Midlands.

Elizabeth I had criminalised Catholicism in England: for refusing to attend Anglican services her subjects faced crippling fines and imprisonment; for giving refuge to outlawed priests – the essential conduits to God’s grace – they risked death. Catholics, like the Vauxes, were beleaguered on the one hand by a Papacy that branded Elizabeth a heretic and on the other by a government that saw itself fighting a war on terror. With every invasion scare and attempt on Elizabeth’s life, the danger for England’s Catholics grew.

God’s Traitors is a tale of dawn raids and daring escapes, stately homes and torture chambers, ciphers, secrets and lies. From clandestine chapels and side-street inns to exile communities and the corridors of power, it exposes the tensions and insecurities masked by the cult of Gloriana. Above all, it is a timely story of courage and frailty, repression and reaction and the terrible consequences when religion and politics collide.

Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales : The Lid off Life in the Kitchen with 110 Stunning Recipes

Dishes with names such as Beef Carpaccio with Red Wine Octopus and Sweet and Sour Onions may seem like they belong firmly in the world of classy restaurants, but in this book Glynn Purnell breaks down the kitchen door, sharing his secrets with the home cook – then invites you to stay for the after party. He guides you through an array of dazzling dishes, including Mackerel and Potato Pakora, Pork Chops with Sauerkraut and Chocolate and Passion fruit Dome – all using affordable ingredients and accessible methods – in between sharing mischievous anecdotes detailing his exploits with his fellow chefs once the kitchen doors are closed. Illustrated with stunning photography throughout, it’ll ensure you never look at a cucumber in the same way again.

Parliament: the Biography (Volume I)

The history of Parliament is the history of the United Kingdom itself. It has a cast of thousands. Some were ambitious, visionary and altruistic.

Others were hot-headed, violent and self-serving. Few were unambiguously noble. Yet their rowdy confrontations, their campaigning zeal and their unstable alliances framed our nation.

This first of two volumes takes us on a 500-year journey from Parliament’s earliest days in the thirteenth century through the turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses and the upheavals of the Civil Wars, and up to 1801, when Parliament – and the United Kingdom, embracing Scotland and Ireland – emerged in a modern form. Chris Bryant tells this epic tale through the lives of the myriad MPs, lords and bishops who passed through Parliament. It is the vivid, colourful biography of a cast of characters whose passions and obsessions, strengths and weaknesses laid the foundations of modern democracy.

Under Another Sky : Journeys in Roman Britain

This is shortlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize. This is a book about the encounter with Roman Britain: about what the idea of ‘Roman Britain’ has meant to those who came after Britain’s 400-year stint as province of Rome – from the medieval mythographer-historian Geoffrey of Monmouth to Edward Elgar and W.H. Auden.

What does Roman Britain mean to us now? How were its physical remains rediscovered and made sense of? How has it been reimagined, in story and song and verse? Charlotte Higgins has traced these tales by setting out to discover the remains of Roman Britain for herself, sometimes on foot, sometimes in a splendid, though not particularly reliable, VW camper van. Via accounts of some of Britain’s most intriguing, and often unjustly overlooked ancient monuments, Under Another Sky invites us to see the British landscape, and British history, in an entirely fresh way: as indelibly marked by how the Romans first imagined, and wrote, these strange and exotic islands, perched on the edge of the known world, into existence.

The Real Jane Austen : A Life in Small Things

Who was the real Jane Austen? Overturning the traditional portrait of the author as conventional and genteel, bestseller Paula Byrne’s landmark biography reveals the real woman behind the books. In this paperback of the landmark biography, best-selling biographer Paula Byrne uses objects that conjure up a key moment in Austen’s life and work – a silhouette, a vellum notebook, a topaz cross, a writing box, a royalty cheque, a bathing machine, and many more – to unlock the biography of this most beloved author. The woman who emerges is far tougher, more socially and politically aware, and altogether more modern than the conventional picture of ‘dear aunt Jane’ allows.

Byrne’s lively book explores the many forces that shaped Austen’s life, her long struggle to become a published author, and brings Miss Austen dazzlingly into the twenty-first century.

 

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