The Romans have long been held up as one of the first ‘civilised’ societies, and yet in fact they were capable of immense cruelty. Not only that, but they made the killing of humans into a sport. The spoiled emperors were the perpetrators (and sometimes the victims) of some imaginative murders. Dangerous Days in the Roman Empire will include some of the violent ways to visit the Elysian Fields (i.e. death) including: animal attack in the Coliseum; being thrown from the Tarpeian Rock – 370 deserters in 214 AD alone (or if the emperor didn’t like your poetry); by volcanic eruption from Vesuvius; by kicking (Nero’s fatal quarrel with the Empress Poppea); from poison mushrooms (Claudius); by great fires; torturous tarring; flogging to death; boiling lead (the invention of ‘kind’ Emperor Constantine); or being skinned alive by invading barbarians.
Dangerous Days in the Roman Empire looks at the back-story leading up to the victims’ deaths, and in doing so gives the general reader a concise history of a frequently misunderstood era. Buy this book today for £1.99
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The Hungarian Revolution in 1956 is a story of extraordinary bravery in a fight for freedom, and of ruthless cruelty in suppressing a popular dream. A small nation, its people armed with a few rifles and petrol bombs, had the will and courage to rise up against one of the world’s superpowers.
The determination of the Hungarians to resist the Russians astonished the West. People of all kinds, throughout the free world, became involved in the cause. For 12 days it looked, miraculously, as though the Soviets might be humbled. Then reality hit back. The Hungarians were brutally crushed.
The uprising was the defining moment of the Cold War: the USSR showed that it was determined to hold on to its European empire, but it would never do so without resistance. From the Prague Spring to Lech Walesa’s Solidarity and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the tighter the grip of the communist bloc, the more irresistible the popular demand for freedom.
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Ben Lopez is a Kidnap-for-Ransom consultant. He spends his days travelling from one crisis zone to the next, negotiating with people who value money over life.
On behalf of government agencies, law enforcement teams, multinational corporations and private clients, Ben sets up and commands the negotiator’s cell, bartering with some of the world’s most desperate people for the safe return of their captives. Working alongside a shadowy team of former spies and special operatives, his arsenal of psychological techniques is just as powerful as brute force. He remains on location for as long as it takes to get the job done. Then he disappears.
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Sharon Marshall worked on four tabloid newspapers over the course of ten years. Along the way she did and saw some Very Bad Things, and failed – spectacularly – to find love. It was only when she realised that these two things were connected that she finally realised it was time to quit.
In her hilarious and eye-opening memoir she reveals what really goes on behind the scenes at a major tabloid newspaper – just how far journalists will go to get a story, and just how far celebrities will go (secretly) to get their name in the headlines. In the tradition of Hotel Babylon and City Boy, TABLOID GIRL is a smart, funny, revealing look into a fascinating world.
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In the spring of 1553 three ships sailed north-east from London into uncharted waters. The scale of their ambition was breathtaking. Drawing on the latest navigational science and the new spirit of enterprise and discovery sweeping the Tudor capital, they sought a northern passage to Asia and its riches.
This long-neglected endeavour was one of the boldest in British history, and its impact was profound. Although the ‘merchant adventurers’ failed to reach China as they had hoped, their achievements would lay the foundations for England’s expansion on a global stage. As James Evans’ vivid account shows, their voyage also makes for a gripping story of daring, discovery, tragedy and adventure.
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SPIES IN THE SKY is the thrilling, little-known story of the partner organisation to the famous code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park. It is the story of the daring reconnaissance pilots who took aerial photographs over Occupied Europe during the most dangerous days of the Second World War, and of the photo interpreters who invented a completely new science to analyse those pictures. They were inventive and ingenious; they pioneered the development of 3D photography and their work provided vital intelligence throughout the war.
With a whole host of colourful characters at its heart, from the legendary pilot Adrian ‘Warby’ Warburton, who went missing while on a mission, to photo interpreters Glyn Daniel, later a famous television personality, and Winston Churchill’s daughter, Sarah, SPIES IN THE SKY is compelling reading and the first full account of the story of aerial photography and the intelligence gleaned from it in nearly fifty years.
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The year is 1539 and the court of Henry VIII is increasingly fearful at the moods of the ageing sick king. With only a baby in the cradle for an heir, Henry has to take another wife and the dangerous prize of the crown of England is won by Anne of Cleves.
She has her own good reasons for agreeing to marry a man old enough to be her father, in a country where to her both language and habits are foreign. Although fascinated by the glamour of her new surroundings, she senses a trap closing around her. Katherine is confident that she can follow in the steps of her cousin Anne Boleyn to dazzle her way to the throne but her kinswoman Jane Boleyn, haunted by the past, knows that Anne’s path led to Tower Green and to an adulterer’s death.
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The year is 1881, the era of China’s humiliation at the hands of imperialist Europe. Seven-year-old Sai Jinhua is left alone and unprotected, her life transformed after her mandarin father’s summary execution for the crime of speaking the truth.
Now an orphan, Jinhua is sold to a brothel and put to work as a ‘money tree’, enduring the very worst of human nature thanks to the friendship and wisdom of the crippled brothel maid.
But when an elegant but troubled scholar takes Jinhua as his concubine, her world begins to expand. With him she will travel to Vienna, seeing things she has never imagined, and opening her heart to dreams she has never dared to dream . . .
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It is 1910 and Maia, tragically orphaned at thirteen, has been sent from England to start a new life with distant relatives in Manaus, hundreds of miles up the Amazon. She is accompanied by an eccentric and mysterious governess who has secret reasons of her own for making the journey. Both soon discover an exotic world bursting with new experiences in Journey to the River Sea, Eva Ibbotson’s highly colourful, joyous adventure.
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Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and become a YouTube sensation with his performance of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ in space. The secret to Chris Hadfield’s success – and survival – is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst – and enjoy every moment of it.
You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Colonel Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights in this book will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth – especially your own.
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