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Tanzanite
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Postby Tanzanite » Tue October 11th, 2011, 10:55 pm

The Spirit of Venice by Paul Strathern. Non-fiction. UK release May 3, 2012.


The Republic of Venice was the first great economic and naval power of the modern Western world. After winning the struggle for ascendency against its bitter Genoese rivals in the late 13th century, the Republic enjoyed centuries of unprecedented glory and a trading empire which at its apogee reached as far afield as China, Syria and West Africa. This golden period was only to draw to the end with the slow decline of Venetian power in the 18th century and the Republic’s eventual surrender to Napoleon.

The Spirit of Venice aims to define the character of the Republic during these illustrious years. Whilst investigating the vital events of the period, Paul Strathern pays particular attention to the lives of individuals who embodied the spirit of the Republic, or on occasions helped to even redefine it, be they Venetians, visitors or those who were helplessly bound up in the history of the Republic. This cast includes some of the most celebrated figures of European history – Petrarch, Marco Polo, Galileo, Titian, Vivaldi, Casanova – alongside less famous but equally extraordinary characters, such as Caterina, ‘the Tragic Queen of Cyprus’, and John Law, the Scots gambler who in the 18th century invented paper money and bankrupted France in the process.

Frequently, though, these emblems of the city found themselves at odds with the Venetian authorities. The oligarchy of wealthy merchant families who dominated the Republic prized stability above all else, and were notoriously suspicious of any ‘cult of personality’. Was this very tension perhaps the engine for the Republic’s unprecedented rise? Rich with biographies of some of the most exalted characters to have ever lived, The Spirit of Venice constitutes a refreshing and authoritative new way into the history of the most evocative of city states.

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Tanzanite
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Postby Tanzanite » Tue October 11th, 2011, 10:56 pm

The Road Not Taken: How Britain Narrowly Missed a Revolution by Frank McLynn, Non-fiction. UK release June 7, 2012.

Britain has not been successfully invaded since 1066; nor, in nearly 1,000 years, has it known a true revolution – one that brings radical, systemic and enduring change. The contrast with her European neighbours – with France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and Russia – is dramatic. All have been convulsed by external warfare, revolution and civil war – all have experienced fundamental change to their ruling elites or their social and economic structures.

In The Road Not Taken, Frank McLynn investigates the seven occasions when England came closest to revolution: the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, the Jack Cade rising of 1450, the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, the English Civil War of the 1640s, the Jacobite Rising of 1745–6, the Chartist Movement of 1838–50 and the General Strike of 1926. Mixing narrative and analysis, he vividly recreates each episode and provides compelling explanations of why social turbulence stopped short of revolution.

McLynn takes issue with those who argue that great events do not have great causes – that they happen not because of some titanic clash of systems (the bourgeoisie versus the landed aristocracy or the oligarchy versus the gentry) but because of accident – the blunders and miscalculations of individual human beings. As well as suggesting causes for these seismic events and reasons for their ultimate collapse, he examines the underlying currents which have allowed England (and, since 1707, Scotland) to enjoy a continuity and stability unknown in almost every other country

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Tanzanite
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Postby Tanzanite » Tue October 11th, 2011, 10:56 pm

"Divia" wrote:we havent had one of these in a long time :)


One of what?

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Tanzanite
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Postby Tanzanite » Wed October 19th, 2011, 8:21 pm

Spartacus: The Gladiator by Ben Kane. UK release January 19, 2012 (reposted with cover and updated summary)

In historical terms we know very little about Spartacus the man - partly because most contemporary Roman historians were keen to obliterate his memory and prevent him from attaining mythic status. This of course is grist to the novelist's mill. Ben Kane's brilliant novel begins in the Thracian village to which Spartacus has returned, after escaping from life as an auxiliary in the Roman army. But here he quickly falls foul of his overlord, the Thracian king, who has set his heart on Dionysian priestess, Ariadne - later to become wife of Spartacus. Betrayed again to the Romans by his jealous king, Spartacus - and with him Ariadne - are taken in captivity to the school of gladiators at Capua. it is here - against the unbelievable brutality of gladiatorial life - that Spartacus and Crixus the Gaul plan the audacious overthrow of their Roman masters, escaping to Vesuvius, where they recruit and train a huge slave army - an army which will keep the might of Rome at bay for two years and create one of the most extraordinary legends in history. SPARTACUS; THE GLADIATOR takes the story up to the moment when the slave army has inflicted its first great defeat on Rome.
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Tanzanite
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Postby Tanzanite » Wed October 19th, 2011, 8:22 pm

Empress Josephine’s Crown by Michelle Moran. UK release March 1, 2012.


Empress Josephine's family has been called to Napoleon's court for the terrible news that he intends to divorce his barren wife of thirteen years and take a younger bride, the Austrian Princess Marie-Louise. For Josephine's daughter, Hortense, this means she is free to leave her husband, Napoleon's brother, having given the Bonapartes three heirs. As she looks for love, she must support her mother through the terrible grief of Napoleon's betrayal. For his new wife, it is a terrible duty she must take on in her father's name. She has nothing in common with the strange, older man she has married and can find little in her life to enjoy. But an unlikely friendship with Hortense will bring her much comfort, especially as she must fight for her own happiness. For Napoleon's sister, Pauline Bonaparte, it is yet another woman stealing her brother's attention and affection. Having spent years attempting to control his power and his influence, she must fight harder and dirtier if she is to win...

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Tanzanite
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Postby Tanzanite » Wed October 19th, 2011, 8:22 pm

Spy for the Queen of Scots by Theresa Breslin. Young Adult. UK release May 3, 2012.


As lady-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots, the beautiful Ginette - known as Jenny - is the young queen's closest childhood friend. Growing up in the elegant but ruthless French court, surrounded by enemies and traitors - not least the jealous, manipulative Catherine de Medici, and Mary's own scheming half-brother, James - Jenny has always been fiercely loyal to her mistress. But when she overhears a mysterious whispered plot, closely followed by several unexplained deaths at court, she puts her own life in danger and turns spy for Mary.

Jenny quickly realises not a soul at court can be trusted, and when she and Mary return to their Scottish homeland for Mary to claim her throne, they face even greater peril. Desperate to protect her friend from those who would slit her throat to steal her crown, while battling her feelings for the charismatic nobleman Duncan Alexander, Jenny becomes embroiled in a dangerous web of secrets, betrayals and lies.

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Tanzanite
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Postby Tanzanite » Wed October 19th, 2011, 8:23 pm

Wallis by Rebecca Dean. UK release June 10, 2012. (previously titled The Shadow Queen)


Two lovers. Two very different lives.

One future together that will change history.

When debutante Wallis Simpson is growing up, she devotes her teenage daydreams to one man, the future King of England, Prince Edward. But it's Pamela Holtby, Wallis's aristocratic best friend, who mixes within the palace circle.

Wallis's first marriage to a dashing young naval pilot is not what she dreamt of; he turns out to be a dominating bully of a man, who punishes her relentlessly. But her fated marriage does open a suprising door, to the world of Navy couriers – where navy wives are being used to transport messages around the world. This interesting turn of fate takes Wallis from the exuberant social scene in Washington to a China that is just emerging from civil war.

Edward in the meantime is busy fulfilling his royal duties – and some extra-curricular ones involving married women. Until the day, just before he ascends the throne as Edward VIII, he is introduced to a very special married woman, Wallis Simpson.

Was Wallis Simpson really the monster the royal family perported her to be? Or was she an extraordinary woman who led an unimaginable life?

A dramatic novel, that crosses continents and provides a unique insight into one of history’s most charismatic and multi-faceted women.

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Tanzanite
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Postby Tanzanite » Wed October 19th, 2011, 8:24 pm

Lady Jane Grey by Sue Reid. Young Adult. UK release June 7, 2012.

Not much of a product description for this one:
The tragic story of Lady Jane Grey who was Queen of England for nine days in July 1553
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Tanzanite
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Postby Tanzanite » Wed October 19th, 2011, 8:25 pm

Of Fathers and Sons: Geoffrey Hotspur and the Este Inheritance by Evan Ostryzniuk. UK release September 6, 2012.

Geoffrey Hotspur, orphan-squire and ward of the powerful John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, longs to return home to France.


Having fought in the ranks of the now disbanded papal armies in Italy, he finds himself penniless and stuck in a foreign land far from his native Avignon, with only a resentful and unscrupulous debt collector as companion. He misses the warm bosom of the Great Hall, the company of his fellow squires and the kind words of the chatelaine, Anne de Roet. Above all, though, Geoffrey fears losing his place at court, and so he must by all means and with speed make his way back to the halls of Gaunt or risk being forsaken by the only family he has known.

But when Geoffrey and his English Free Company take a job protecting pilgrims headed north, he meets a beguiling young woman, heiress of an old and distinguished crusader family of Cyprus, who fuels his fantasies about courtly love and confuses his priorities. Meanwhile, to reach the safety of Avignon, Geoffrey must traverse northern Italy, where the clouds of war are gathering...

Twelve year old Niccolo, the new Marquis of Ferrara and heir to the strategic lands of the Este family, is under siege. His right to the throne is being contested by his uncle, the old Visconti captain-general Azzo d'Este, who has been cultivating allies and gathering men-at-arms since the death of the old marquis in 1393 - and he is almost ready to strike. Outnumbered and insecure because of his questionable legitimacy, Niccolo must gather an army of his own if he is to defend his birthright. However, with limited resources and vassals deserting him left and right, the young marquis must keep his wits about him if he is to negotiate the perilous waters of family politics.

When the paths of the errant squire and troubled marquis cross, their fates intertwine as each endeavors to take from the other what he needs.
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SonjaMarie
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Postby SonjaMarie » Wed October 19th, 2011, 8:28 pm

"Tanzanite" wrote:Lady Jane Grey by Sue Reid. Young Adult. UK release June 7, 2012.

Not much of a product description for this one:
The tragic story of Lady Jane Grey who was Queen of England for nine days in July 1553


About time there was My Story about Jane! I'll be getting this most likely because of the cover image.

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