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Tory Top Library: suggested reading

The empty throne by Bernard Cornwell

The new novel in Bernard Cornwell’s number one bestselling series The Warrior Chronicles, on the making of England and the fate of his great hero, Uhtred of Bebbanburg.
In the battle for power, there can be only one ruler.
England is fractured, torn apart more by internal fighting than the threat of Viking invasion. The ruler of Mercia is dying, leaving no legitimate heir. His wife is a formidable fighter and great leader, but no woman has ever ruled over an English kingdom. And she is without her strongest warrior and champion, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. So the scene is set for an explosive battle between elders and warriors for an empty throne.
The vacant throne leaves a dangerous opportunity for the rival West Saxons to seize Mercia. But Edward of Wessex is distracted by the succession of his own throne, with two heirs claiming the right to be West Saxon king. And while the kingdoms are in disarray, the Vikings, this time coming from the west, will go on the rampage once more.
The very future of England hangs in the balance. A hero is needed, a hero who can destroy the threat to Mercia, a hero who will ultimately decide the fate of a nation…

empty throne

Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell

In this 22nd Scarpetta novel, the master forensic sleuth finds herself in the unsettling pursuit of a serial sniper who leaves no incriminating evidence except fragments of copper. The shots seem impossible, yet they are so perfect they cause instant death. The victims appear to have had nothing in common, and there is no pattern to indicate where the killer will strike next. First New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then the murky depths off the coast of South Florida, where Scarpetta investigates a shipwreck, looking for answers that only she can discover and analyze. And it is there that she comes face to face with shocking evidence that implicates her techno genius niece, Lucy, Scarpetta’s own flesh and blood.

Flesh and blood

For valour by Andy McNab

When a young trooper is shot in the head at the Regiment’s renowned Killing House, Nick Stone is perfectly qualified to investigate the mysterious circumstances more deeply. He has just returned from Moscow – still trying to come to terms with the fact that his girlfriend and baby son are safer there without him – so combines an unrivalled understanding of the Special Forces landscape with a detachment that should allow him to remain in cover.
But less than forty-eight hours later, a second death catapults him back into the firing line – into the telescopic sights of an unknown assassin bent on protecting a secret that could strike at the heart of the establishment that Stone has, in his maverick fashion, spent most of his life fighting to protect.
And now the clock is ticking, Stone hurtles from the solitude of a remote Welsh confessional to Glencoe – whose shadows still whisper of murder and betrayal – and on to Southern Spain, in an increasingly desperate quest to uncover the truth about a chain of events that began in the darkness of an Afghan hillside, and left a young man haunted by the never-ending screams of a friend the Taliban skinned alive.
Nick Stone’s most heart-stopping adventure yet will force the reader to recognise the thinness of the line that separates sacrifice from suicide, to share the nightmares that walk hand in hand with heroism – and to count the real cost of actions taken in the name of loyalty.

For Valour

Gray Mountain by John Grisham

The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.

Gray mountain

Masters of Rome by Robert Fabbri

Britannia, 45 AD: Vespasian's brother, Sabinus, is captured by druids. The druids want to offer a potent sacrifice to their gods - not just one Roman Legate, but two. They know that Vespasian will come after his brother and they plan to sacrifice the siblings on Midsummer's Day. But to whom will they be making this sacrifice? What were the gods of this land before the Celts came? Only the druids still hold the secret and it is one of pure malevolence.
Vespasian must strive to save his brother whilst completing the conquest of the south-west of the haunted isle, before he is drawn inexorably back to Rome and the heart of Imperial politics. Claudius' three freedmen remain at the focus of power. As Messalina's time as Empress comes to a bloody end, the three freedmen each back a different mistress. But who will be victorious? And at what price for Vespasian?

 Masters of Rome

Pegasus by Danielle Steele


Late 1930's Germany: Best friends Alex von Hemmerle and Nicolas von Bingen, titled childhood friends with neighboring estates, are witnessing the rise of Nazism when Nick's father reveals the long-buried secret of his son's partial Jewish ancestry. Warned by highly placed friends to flee, the only treasures Nick and his sons can take are two dazzling Lipizzaner horses, gifts from Alex. These powerful and majestic creatures become their ticket to a new life waiting across the ocean-one in which a job has been promised to Nick with the famous Ringling Brothers Circus. While Alex and his daughter face escalating danger in war torn Europe, Nick struggles to adjust to life in the circus…until a graceful young high wire walker manages to steal his heart. Spanning multiple generations and continents, this is a rich, involving story of transformation, perseverance, fate, love, and loss, tied together by two families who were never meant to stay apart and the magnificent stallion that will link them forever.

 Pegasus

A full churchyard by Nicholas Rhea

Detective Inspector Montague Pluke, of CID, is England's most superstitious police officer. With crime at its lowest level for years, he decides to conduct a cold-case review. But there are no major unsolved crimes so, alerted by his wife, Millicent, to a large number of recent deaths - all attributed to natural causes - his expert knowledge of superstitions and folklore lead him to identify areas of suspicion sufficient to justify re-opening a case. Could an undetected mass-murderer be operating in Crickledale? His inquiries reveal that many of the deceased had been attended by Crickledale Voluntary Carers and he quickly produces a list of possible suspects. Indeed, the entire team of carers falls under suspicion - and Detective Inspector Pluke's wife, Millicent, is one of them.
Gray mountain
When hotshot Manhattan lawyer Samantha Kofer finds herself laid off in the early days of the 2008 recession, she expects her yearlong exile in an Appalachian legal aid clinic to be nothing but a way to kill time while plotting her return to New York. But working in the tiny town of Brady, Virginia, brings her closer to the actual machinations of the legal system than she’s ever been before, and she soon finds herself entangled in a high-stakes Big Coal case that could prove deadly. John Grisham takes readers far from the big city in this propulsive tale.

A full churchyard

The sixth extinction by James Rollins


A remote military research station sends out a frantic distress call, ending with a chilling final command: Kill us all! Personnel from the neighboring base rush in to discover everyone already dead-and not just the scientists, but every living thing for fifty square miles is annihilated: every animal, plant, and insect, even bacteria.
The land is entirely sterile-and the blight is spreading.To halt the inevitable, Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma must unravel a threat that rises out of the distant past, to a time when Antarctica was green and all life on Earth balanced upon the blade of a knife. Following clues from an ancient map rescued from the lost Library of Alexandria, Sigma will discover the truth about an ancient continent, about a new form of death buried under miles of ice.
From millennia-old secrets out of the frozen past to mysteries buried deep in the darkest jungles of today, Sigma will face its greatest challenge to date: stopping the coming extinction of mankind.
But is it already too late?

The sixth extinction

The escape by David Baldacci

David Baldacci’s blockbuster #1 bestselling thrillers Zero Day and The Forgotten introduced readers to John Puller. A combat veteran and special agent with the U.S. Army, Puller is the man they call to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. But all his training, all his experience, all his skills will not prepare him for his newest case, one that will force him to hunt down the most formidable and brilliant prey he has ever tracked: his own brother.

 Baldacci The escape