The Call of the Cormorant
From the author of the prize-winning As the Women Lay Dreaming comes a remarkable ‘unreliable biography’ of Karl Kjerúlf Einarsson: an artist and an adventurer, a charlatan and a swindler, forever in search of Atlantis.
As a child in the windswept, fog-bound Faroe Islands in the late nineteenth century, Karl Einarsson believes he is special, destined for a life of art and adventure. As soon as he can, he sets out for Copenhagen and beyond, styling himself as the Count of St. Kilda. He’s an observer and citizen of nowhere, a serial swindler of aristocrats and Nazis, fishermen and fops.
But when his adventures find him in 1930s Berlin, he is forced for the first time to reckon with something much bigger than himself. As the Nazis rise to power around him, his wilful ignorance becomes unwitting complicity, even betrayal.
Based on a true story, this is a fantastical tale of island life, of those who leave and those who stay behind, and the many dangers of delusions and false identities.
Seasons of Storm and Wonder
by Jim Crumley
From Jim Crumley, the “pre-eminent Scottish nature-writer” (Guardian), this landmark volume documents the extraordinary natural life of the Scottish Highlands and bears witness to the toll climate chaos is already taking on our wildlife, habitats and biodiversity – laying bare what is at stake for future generations.
A display of head-turning autumn finery on Skye provokes Jim Crumley to contemplate both the glories of the season and how far the seasons themselves have shapeshifted since his early days observing his natural surroundings.
After a lifetime immersed in Scotland’s landscapes and enriched by occasional forays in other northern lands, Jim has amassed knowledge, insight and a bank of memorable imagery chronicling the wonder, tumult and spectacle of nature’s seasonal transformations. He has witnessed not only nature’s unparalleled beauty, but also how climate chaos and humankind has brought unwanted drama to wildlife and widespread destruction of ecosystems and habitats.
In this landmark volume, Jim combines lyrical prose and passionate eloquence to lay bare the impact of global warming and urge us all towards a more daring conservation vision that embraces everything from the mountain treeline to a second spring for the wolf.
Harcus & Laird Book 5
A disturbing hanging with a backstory of secrets and shaming highlights some outdated attitudes within Aberdeen’s finest.
After past skirmishes with the police, local PI Maggie Laird is determined to steer clear, but her partner, Wilma Harcus, goes rogue. Not only does she have leads up her sleeve, but she has grandiose ideas to expand their PI agency into the realm of romance fraud and cybercrime. Then, troubled schoolchild Frankie Bain goes missing.
As the clock runs down, the two investigations collide. Was the hanging the last, desperate act of a tortured mind or a calculated murder? And will Frankie Bain be found alive?
In this fifth Harcus and Laird novel, Claire MacLeary fashions a fast-paced, fresh and topical new adventure for her inimitable PI partnership.
REVIEWS OF Death Drop
'Original and entertaining … With her quirky mix of grit and humour, Claire MacLeary is carving a niche for herself.' Crime Fiction Lover
'A rare vitality and verve … these are two of Scottish fiction’s most engaging characters.' Alistair Braidwood, Scots Whay Hae
'This is a thoroughly entertaining series that could run and run.' Sunday Herald
'A terrific writer.' Kirsty Gunn
Cold Fish Soup
by Adam Farrer
Before Adam Farrer’s family relocated to Withernsea in 1992, he’d never heard of the Holderness coast. The move represented one thing to Adam: a chance to leave the insecurities of early adolescence behind. And he could do that anywhere. What he didn’t know was how much he’d grow to love the quirks and people of this faded Yorkshire resort, in spite of its dilapidated attractions and retreating clifftops. While Adam documents the minutiae of small-town life, he lays bare experiences that are universal. His insights on family, friendship, male mental health and suicide are revealed in stories of reinvention, rapacious seagulls, interdimensional werewolves, burlesque dancing pensioners, and his compulsion towards the sea. Cold Fish Soup is an affectionate look at a place and its inhabitants, and the ways in which they can shape and influence someone, especially of an impressionable age. Adam’s account explores what it means to love and be shaped by a place that is under threat, and the hope – and hilarity – that can be found in community.
Prizes and awards
Winner: NorthBound Book Award 2021
REVIEWS OF Cold Fish Soup
'Funny and moving.' Tony Walsh
'What a glorious book! Just beautiful. Adam dances down that line between happy and sad with such sure-footed grace. It underlines that there is no such thing as 'an ordinary life' or indeed an 'ordinary place'.' Catherine Simpson
'In a book as laced with humanity as it is with the presence of the North Sea, Adam Farrer asks that you fall in love with the overlooked, with that which is crumbling and destined to be lost to the sea. I fell for it hard.' Wyl Menmuir
'Witty and introspective … moving … elegiac … vivid evocations of the landscape … Echoing the canny writing of David Sedaris, Farrer has a knack for wringing hilarity from life’s grim moments … this meditation on the beauty of impermanence charms.' Publishers Weekly
'Vividly documents the minutiae of small-town life on the margins … captures it beautifully.' The Bookseller
'A truly wonderful and ingenious writer … funny, warm.' Emma Jane Unsworth
'Cold Fish Soup is such a wide-ranging and thought-provoking essay collection, covering masculinity, mental health, werewolves and alien sightings, sense of belonging, the difficulties of carving out a creative life in a geographically marginalised place, coastal erosion and burlesque, amongst other things. It drew me in, and kept me hooked, through all diversions and detours in time and narrative, and made me both cry and laugh heartily and fully. It is a love letter to Withernsea and all the people in it, its crumbling cliffs, its strange beauties and its losses, that made me love Withernsea too.' Polly Atkin
'Cold Fish Soup understands the oddity, tenderness and brutal ordinariness of small town life. Adam Farrer is a bold new voice in nonfiction writing. His keen observations are as gentle as they are wry, as attentive to the bleak truths of loss and deprivation as they are to the eccentric humour of humans being entirely themselves ... Witty, charming, moving and real.' Jenn Ashworth
Ring of Stone Circles
Exploring Neolithic Cumbria
To paraphrase L.P. Hartley, “The past is a different country.” Stan L Abbott sets out to explore the visible clues to our mysterious past from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages: stone circles. Cumbria boasts more of these monuments than any other English county. Here, our tallest mountains are ringed by almost fifty circles and henges, most of them sited in the foothills or on outlying plateaux. Were these the earliest such monuments in Britain, placing Cumbria at the heart of Neolithic society? And what traces of that society remain today in the roads we travel, the food we eat, the words we speak, our work and play? By observing and comparing many sites in Cumbria and beyond, and researching many sources, a greater understanding emerges. Were some circles built for ritualistic purposes, or perhaps astronomical? Were they burial sites? Or were they just places for people to meet? Illustrated with linocut illustrations by artist Denise Burden, Ring of Stone Circles follows the search for the hidden stories these monuments guard – and might reveal if we get to know them.
REVIEWS OF Ring of Stone Circles
'An energetic and informed historical adventure shining a light on Neolithic Cumbria.' Emily Atherton, Editor, Cumberland and Westmorland Herald
'An intriguing and often amusing journey through what little we know – and the great deal that we don’t – about our Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestry.' Steve Anglesey, Editor, The New European
When twelve-year-old Sherrie-Lee witnesses a failed bank robbery in her neglected town, she seizes an opportunity to claim a new identity for herself. Escaping her troubled home life, she tries out a new name and invents stories and personas to cover her tracks. Sherrie-Lee finds both possibility and loneliness in this new freedom, as well as an unusual friendship which she nurtures. But harsh realities close in, and she’s plagued with foreboding – from her vulnerable brother at home to the climate crisis. While she dreams of a kinder world, it won’t be long before her own deceits start catching up with her. This arresting debut challenges assumptions and captures the powerless yearning of adolescence with a voice that is fresh, magnetic and often funny – one that pulls you in and won’t let go.
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2022
“A page-turning blast, funny, sinister and perfectly plotted … Rarely has being constantly wrong-footed been so much fun.” James Walton, The Times
“Very funny … engrossing.” Guardian
“Brilliant, bamboozling … burstingly alive and engaging.” Telegraph
“Compelling … I was hooked like a fish.” Spectator
‘I have decided to write down everything that happens, because I feel, I suppose, I may be putting myself in danger.’
London, 1965. An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character.
In Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet presents these notebooks interspersed with his own biographical research into Collins Braithwaite. The result is a dazzling – and often wickedly humorous – meditation on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself, by one of the most inventive novelists writing today.
Prizes and awards
LONGLISTED: GORDON BURN PRIZE 2022
LONGLISTED: THE BOOKER PRIZE 2022
REVIEWS OF Case Study
“Burnet’s triumph is that it’s a page-turning blast, funny, sinister and perfectly plotted so as to reveal — or withhold — its secrets in a consistently satisfying way … Rarely has being constantly wrong-footed been so much fun.” James Walton, The Times
"Enormous fun … a mystery and a psychological drama wrapped up in one. Case Study is a triumph." Alex Preston, Observer
"Caustically funny and surprisingly moving, this is one of the finest novels of the year." Christian House, Financial Times
"A riveting psychological plot ... tortuous, cunning ... clever." Kate Webb, The Times Literary Supplement
'Encourages us to look more closely at the inherent instability of fiction itself … genuinely affecting … a very funny book.' Nina Allan, Guardian
Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Weird Sisters
by Olga Wojtas
Fifty-something librarian Shona is a proud former pupil of the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, but has a deep loathing for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which she thinks gives her alma mater a bad name. Impeccably educated and an accomplished martial artist, linguist and musician, Shona is selected by Marcia Blaine herself to travel back in time for a crucial mission involving Macbeth, the Weird Sisters and a black cat. Unsure which version of history she’s in, Shona tries to figure out who she’s here to save. But between playing the Fool and being turned into a mouse, things don’t always go her way. Shona’s expertise in martial arts is put to the test as family tensions rise and fingers are pointed for murder. Can Shona unravel the mystery in time to complete her mission? Never underestimate a librarian! Praise for Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace Longlist: Comedy Women in Print 2020 “I couldn’t wait to be reunited with this character. I utterly love her.” Lynne Truss “Audacious … witty and fun.” Herald “Smart, funny and all-round good company, wherever Shona goes, readers will eagerly follow.” Scotsman
Castles from Cobwebs
by J.A. Mensah
Read an extract
LONGLISTED: Desmond Elliot Prize 2021 WINNER: NorthBound Book Award 2019 I’d always known that I was Brown. Black was different though; it came announced. Black came with expectations, of rhythm and other things that might trip me up. Imani is a foundling. Rescued as a baby and raised by nuns on a remote Northumbrian island, she grows up with an ever-increasing feeling of displacement. Full of questions, Imani turns to her shadow, Amarie, and her friend, Harold. When Harold can’t find the answers, she puts it down to what the nuns call her “greater purpose”. At nineteen, Imani answers a phone call that will change her life: she is being called to Accra after the sudden death of her biological mother. Past, present, faith and reality are spun together in this enthralling debut. Following her transition from innocence to understanding, Imani’s experience illuminates the stories we all tell to make ourselves whole.
Prizes and awards
DESMOND ELLIOT PRIZE: Longlisted
NORTHBOUND BOOK AWARD: Winner
CHAMBÉRY FIRST NOVEL AWARD: Longlisted
REVIEWS OF Castles from Cobwebs
'A strong debut.' THE FEMINIST NOOK
'Offers a unique blend of magical realism and social commentary – the past and the present intermingle with colonial history, displacement and family ties to form a rich narrative tapestry.' RESHMA RUI, WORDS OF COLOUR
'Striking … a memorable read that shines a light on important social issues whilst telling a beautiful story of hope, friendship and self-discovery.' BETH BARKER, NRTH LASS
'Mensah doesn’t shy away from tough subjects … a well-crafted debut … an extraordinary literary talent and … a thoroughly recommended read.' EMMA YATES-BRADLEY, NORTHERN SOUL
'Lyrical and magical … a powerful and very readable novel.' LOUISE MASKILL, INDIE BOOK NETWORK
'[An] extraordinary debut … changes with every reading, like the sea, deep and light, or the flicker of spidersilk … a book to be cherished and shared.' VAHNI CAPILDEO
'A compelling exploration of memory, race, mothers and the fractured self.' JESSICA ANDREWS
'From start to finish, I was spellbound … I absolutely love this book.' YVONNE BATTLE-FELTON
‘Real, powerful, and unique.’ CHITRA RAMASWAMY NorthBound Book Award Judge
The Green Lady
by Sue Lawrence
Read an extract