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  • David Mitchell's novels have captivated critics and readers alike, as his Man Booker shortlistings and Richard and Judy Book of the Year award attest. Now he has written a masterpiece:

    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the kind of book that comes along once in a decade -- enthralling in its storytelling, imagination and scope. Set at a turning point in history on a tiny island attached to mainland Japan, David Mitchell's tale of power, passion and integrity transports us to a world that is at once exotic and familiar: an extraordinary place and an era when news from abroad took months to arrive, yet when people behaved as they always do - loving, lusting and yearning, cheating, fighting and killing. Bringing to vivid life a tectonic shift between East and West, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is dramatic, funny, heartbreaking, enlightening and thought-provoking. Reading it is an unforgettable experience.

  • Ben Macintyre -- author of Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal -- is back with the "utterly thrilling" Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory. Reviewed today in the New York Times:

    Excellent westerns have been composed by people who could barely ride a horse, and the best writers of sex scenes are often novelists you wouldn't wish to see naked. But when it comes to spy fiction, life and art tend to collide fully: nearly all of the genre's greatest practitioners worked in intelligence before signing their first book contract.

    "W. Somerset Maugham, John Buchan, Ian Fleming, Graham Greene, John le Carre: all had experienced the world of espionage firsthand," Ben Macintyre writes in his new book, Operation Mincemeat. "For the task of the spy is not so very different from that of the novelist: to create an imaginary, credible world and then lure others into it by words and artifice." Both are lurkers, confounders, ironists, betrayers: in a word, they're spooks.

    Mr. Macintyre himself writes about spies so craftily, and so ebulliently, that you half suspect him of being some type of spook himself. It is apparently not so. He is a benign-seeming writer at large and associate editor at The Times of London, a father of three and the author of five previous, respected nonfiction books, including Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal (2007). Perhaps he is also controlling predator drones and a flock of assassins from a basement compound. But, alas, I doubt it.

    Operation Mincemeat is utterly, to employ a dead word, thrilling. But to call it thus is to miss the point slightly, in terms of admiring it properly. Mr. Macintyre has got his hands around a true story that's so wind-swept, so weighty and so implausible that the staff of a college newspaper, high on glue sticks, could surely take its basic ingredients and not completely muck things up (more...)

  • Yotam Ottolenghi's 'Plenty'

    Wed, 12 May 2010 01:53

    With his fabulous restaurants and bestselling Ottolenghi Cookbook, Yotam Ottolenghi has established himself as one of the most exciting new talents in the world of cookery and food writing. This exclusive collection of vegetarian recipes is drawn from his column The New Vegetarian for the Guardian's Weekend magazine, and features both brand-new recipes and dishes first devised for that column.

    Featuring vibrant, evocative food photography from acclaimed photographer Jonathan Lovekin, and with Yotam's voice and personality shining through, Plenty is a must-have for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike:


  • Chaos Walking -- Monsters of Men

    Tue, 11 May 2010 03:18

    'War', says the Mayor. 'At last'. Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they're so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge...

    The electrifying finale to the award-winning Chaos Walking trilogy, Monsters of Men is a heart-stopping novel about power, survival, and the devastating realities of war:


  • Almost as a counterpoint to the book I recommended on Friday (Claus Hant's Young Hitler), here is a new book about Hitler which reveals previously unknown information about the founder of the Thule Society:

    In a new book about Hitler, historian Aytun Altindal dedicates a whole section to the mysterious Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorf, the founder of the Thule Society, which Hitler joined in 1919 and later transformed into the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

    Behind the Mask of Hitler by Aytun Altindal is published on the 21st May.

    In the first section of the book, notorious for his controversial content, the author gives a detailed study of the dictator's family life, and offers enlightening information into a questionable lineage that Hitler was determined to keep secret.

    He goes on to study Hitler's fascination of the occult and the way the Thule Society nurtured his ideologies and cultural pessimism.

    Whereas most historians record the Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorf as either having died in 1933 during the 'Night of the Knives', or having committed suicide in 1945, Altindal claims there are police documents showing that he was still alive in 1957 and living in Turkey.

    The author Aytun Altindal is a political analyst and an expert on comparative religions and secret societies. He is recognised for his outstanding work, his opposition to oppressive military regimes and his dedication to human rights issues, such as women's liberation and secularism. He has written twenty-three books -- seven of which were banned in his home country of Turkey for their politically controversial content and he was sentenced to prison.

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