THE OLD ENEMY by Henry Porter (Quercus £8.99, 416 pp)

THE OLD ENEMY Henry Porter (Quercus £8.99, 416 pp)


by Henry Porter (Quercus £8.99, 416 pp)

The third novel in Henry Porter’s Paul Samson trilogy finds the former MI6 agent, now working in private security, keeping watch over a young woman apparently working undercover at an environmental NGO. As it turns out, Samson is the one in danger.

He narrowly survives an assassination attempt made by a knife-wielding thug. However, he discovers that Robert Harland, a former spymaster, and Denis Hisami, a billionaire Kurdish Philanthropist, were murdered.

Both men, along with Samson, had been involved in the rescue of Hisami’s kidnapped wife, Anastasia — the lost love of Samson’s life. There is now a pattern of retribution murders. Porter’s pacy thriller reunites Samson and Anastasia in a tense search for the shadowy head of an enemy organisation whose reach penetrates to the heart of Western democracy.

THE REACHER GUY by Heather Martin (Constable £10.99, 544 pp)

THE REACHER GUY Heather Martin (Constable £10.99, 544 pp)


by Heather Martin (Constable £10.99, 544 pp)

He was born James Grant, in Coventry, in 1954, and grew up near Birmingham.

It wasn’t a happy childhood — Jim (as he was known) found his parents, Rex and Audrey, cold and unloving. As a schoolboy, he was a reader, but also a fighter — so tough that his nickname was ‘Grievous’. Jim was fired in 1995 after he got a job at Granada TV.

He went to W H Smiths, bought three pads of lined paper, a pencil and a pencil sharpener — and launched his new career as the bestselling novelist Lee Child, creator of the world-weary anti-hero and global phenomenon, Jack Reacher.

Heather Martin’s richly detailed biography chronicles the author’s life from its bleak beginnings to the moment in 2019 when he decided it was time to retire, handing over responsibility for Reacher’s future exploits to his younger brother, Andrew.

THE TIME TRAVELLER'S GUIDE TO REGENCY BRITAIN by Ian Mortimer (Vintage £10.99, 432pp)

THE TIME TRAVELLER’S GUIDE TO REGENCY BRITAIN Ian Mortimer (Vintage £10.99, 432pp)


by Ian Mortimer (Vintage £10.99, 432pp)

‘What was it really like to live in those days?’ is one of the great conundrums of history. Ian Mortimer’s best-selling Time Traveller’s Guides to Medieval, Elizabethan and Restoration England, offer a pungent insight into the daily life of those eras.

His latest Guide, which covers 1789-1830, begins in a tragic tragedy: John White, aged 77, was killed by blood poisoning after he cut his toenails using a penknife.

From recreational drug use (the future poet laureate Robert Southey reported ‘a thrill in my teeth’ after inhaling nitrous oxide) to the mouse-skin false eyebrows favoured by ladies of fashion, the Guide offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of people not so very different from ourselves.