A fantastic portrait of life in wartime Sarajevo as seen through the eyes of teenage basketball fanatic Irena. Her carefree lifestyle is thrown into turmoil until at last she herself becomes actively involved in the fighting. A moving and compelling tale.
Spanning two generations, two wars and the histories of two very special works of art, this is a fascinating novel about public and private history, the fallout of war and the journey to reconciliation.
A colossal and controversial novel of 17th century Rome, in which a spy in the service of Louis XIV escapes from a quarantined tavern into the labyrinthine tunnels beneath the city. Despite being boycotted by the Italian press for its provocative anti-Vatican tone, it has become something of a global publishing phenomenon and deserves the immediate attention of any keen reader of historical fiction.
A fabulous debut novel about a young boy growing up in former Yugoslavia on the eve of war. Charming and engaging, it is refreshingly free of a dry, didactic tone, yet it brings to life this horrible war and its effects on the lives of ordinary people.
One of the great comic novels of the 20th century, in which vain and obsessive Zeno Cosini is encouraged by his psychoanalyst to write his erratic memoirs. It all seems to come down to his inability to resist one more cigarette... A brilliant cult classic.
A 20th century classic from the Hungarian master. On honeymoon in Venice, Mihaly soon finds his marriage, and then his whole existence, spinning swiftly out of control. Accidentally abandoning his wife at a provincial railway station he embarks on an existential journey across Italy. Funny, atmospheric and deftly plotted, this is one of our favourites.
Hungarian Szerb once again pits his considerable novelistic gifts against the splendours of Venice, here telling the tale of an obscure Central European ruler who plots a coup against himself and travels to the city of canals in search of 'real' experience. Deceptively profound and gloriously absurd.
This quite marvellous novella follows a blissfully ignorant journalist in Salazarist Lisbon, reluctant to confront the reality of the Fascist menace that looms over the city until he encounters the enigmatic Montiero Rossi, who inspires him to open his eyes.
Brilliantly funny and wielding a strong sense of the absurd, Toksvig's comedy of errors in the Umbrian hills - following a failed theatre director as she seeks a new lease of life - absolutely flies past.
Trevor is one of the true Irish greats, beloved for his poise and subtlety. This slender novel is thus something of an aberration, featuring as it does a terrorist attack on a Umbrian train. That said, the crux of the story is the tender relationships formed by the survivors as they convalesce at the country home of Mrs Emily Delahunty. Warm, timeless and acutely observed.
Though set primarily in Amsterdam, this magnificent Croatian novel is all about the former Yugoslavia, taking as its subject a group of Balkan-conflict exiles as they try to forge a new life in a strange city.
The newest instalment in the stylish Commissaire Adamsberg series sees the eponymous detective depart Paris for London and Serbia. Outside the gates of Highgate Cemetery, a seemingly innocuous pile of shoes has been found to contain severed feet. As Adamsberg and the anxious Commandant Danglard begin to investigate, they are drawn into a terrifying network of vampire-hunters, whose legacies are borne across continents and centuries.
By far and away Salley Vickers' best work, it is a charming, gentle novel set in Venice which follows Miss Garnet, a quiet, abstemious, middle-aged woman who spends six months in Venice following the death of her dear friend.
This is the acclaimed prose translation by David West, which has been described as the most truthful rendition of the Aeneid. It also includes an updated introduction, with discussion of each of the 12 books of Virgil's epic.
Volume two of Waugh's magnificent Sword of Honour Trilogy sees its hero Guy Crouchback swap the whisky-soaked japes of training in the Hebrides for the chaos and indignity of the Nazi invasion of Crete.
A wonderful thriller comprising a dual narrative, the first strand set amidst the chaos of WWII Lisbon while the second follows a contemporary detective investigating the brutal murder of a teenage girl in the same city. Wilson's characters and atmospheres are rendered exquisitely, but never at the expense of the potent plot.
Top-notch crime writer Wilson began his popular Javier Falcon series with this gripping, disturbing detective story which pushes the boundaries of its genre whilst remaining true to the essence of a classic thriller. We defy you to put this down.
A slender and remarkable novel of great imaginative intensity. Set in Venice in the Napoleonic era, it follows two highly unusual characters through the twists of love, offering in its assured style a great depth of wit and wisdom.
A novel of impeccable research and sustained empathy, narrated by Emperor Hadrian as he faces his looming demise. Taking the form of a long valedictory letter to his successor Marcus Aurelius, this is a profound and sensuous work, harnessing the weight of history in an enduring philosophical journey.