THE LONG CALL by Ann Cleeves
The Long Call is the captivating first novel in a brand new series from Sunday Times bestseller and creator of Vera and Shetland, Ann Cleeves.
In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.
Now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region; a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose.
A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew’s new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.
Finding the killer is Venn’s only focus, and his team’s investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.
THE FENS by Francis Pryor
A personal, historical journey across one of the most mysterious regions of England, exploring its archaeology, history, landscape – and place in the English imagination.
The Fens is Britain’s most distinctive, complex, man-made and least understood landscape. Francis Pryor has lived in, excavated, farmed, walked – and loved – the Fen Country for more than forty years: its levels and drains, its soaring churches and magnificent medieval buildings.
In Fenland, he counterpoints the history of the Fenland landscape and its transformation – the great drainage projects that created the Old and New Bedford Rivers, the Ouse Washes and Bedford Levels, the rise of prosperous towns and cities, such as King’s Lynn, Cambridge, Peterborough, Boston and Lincoln – with the story of his own discovery of it as an archaeologist. ‘Whenever I travel somewhere else, in upland Britain, I find the hills and the horizon are leaning towards me, as if trying to cover me over; to blinker my gaze and stifle my imagination. It’s always a huge relief to get back to the its infinite vistas of the Fens.’
Francis Pryor is one of Britain’s most distinguished living archaeologists, and the excavator of Flag Fen. He is the author of Home, Britain BC, Britain AD, Seahenge, The Making of the British Landscape and Stonehenge.
MELMOTH by Sarah Perry
Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But her sheltered life is about to change.
A strange manuscript has come into her possession. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world. Condemned to walk the Earth forever, she tries to beguile the guilty and lure them away for a lifetime wandering alongside her.
Everyone that Melmoth seeks out must make a choice: to live with what they’ve done, or be led into the darkness. Helen can’t stop reading, or shake the feeling that someone is watching her. As her past finally catches up with her, she too must choose which path to take.
Exquisitely written, and gripping until the very last page, this is a masterpiece of moral complexity, asking us profound questions about mercy, redemption, and how to make the best of our conflicted world.
Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979. She has been the writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library and the UNESCO World City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague. After Me Comes the Flood, her first novel, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Folio Prize, and won the East Anglian Book of the Year Award in 2014. Her second novel, The Essex Serpent, was a number one bestseller in hardback, Waterstones Book of the Year 2016, the British Book Awards Book of the Year 2017, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and Dylan Thomas Award, and longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017. She lives in Norwich.