3 4 Friday - Patrick Leigh Fermor, Max Hastings and Books Are My Bag

Tough to choose three titles this week, as several of the biggest books of the year arrived at the shop - many of which we've been eagerly awaiting. Good job too, because this weekend sees the launch of the massive 'Books Are My Bag' campaign to celebrate bookselling on the high street.

You may notice that our window has a distinctly orange hue:
We'll be doing our own launch next week, as well as introduce you to a few of our favourites. But for today's 3-4-Friday #FridayReads we've a couple of special signed editions - and the publication of an unfinished masterpiece...
Patrick Leigh Fermor's 'The Broken Road' is the final volume in the trilogy of travel writing which describes the amazing walk he undertook at age 18 from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople back in the 1930s.

'The Broken Road' follows on from 'A Time Of Gifts' and 'Between The Woods and The Water'. Although Leigh Fermor never finished the manuscript, it's based on diaries, notes and an early draft which he wrote in the 1960s. Fermor died in 2011 and - as befits someone who has often been described as possibly our greatest ever travel writer - this has been edited by Artemis Cooper, Fermor's brilliant biographer, and Colin Thubron, author of The Silk Road and To A Mountain In Tibet. The book is in hardback at £25.

In life, he was once described as a cross between 'Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene' and since his death, interest in Patrick Leigh Fermor and his remarkable life and adventures have only increased. This is definitely a book to transport and inspire.

Author and journalist Sir Max Hastings called Mr. Leigh Fermor “perhaps the most brilliant conversationalist of his time, wearing his literacy light as wings, brimming over with laughter.” so it's fitting that our next book is by him.

'Catastophe' is a magisterial chronicle of the calamity that befell Europe in 1914 as the continent shifted from the glamour of the Edwardian era to the tragedy of total war.

On the eve of its centenary, Max Hastings seeks to explain both how the conflict came about and what befell millions of men and women during the first months of strife. His narrative of the early battles will astonish those whose images of the war are simply of mud, wire, trenches and steel helmets. Hastings describes how the French Army marched into action amid virgin rural landscapes, in uniforms of red and blue, led by mounted officers, with flags flying and bands playing. The bloodiest day of the entire Western war fell on 22 August 1914, when the French lost 27,000 dead.

While what followed was a vast tragedy, Hastings argues passionately against the 'poets' view', that the war was not worth winning.

We have a very limited stock of signed copies - plus £5 off the cover price of £30 - two very good reasons to ask for an early copy of this to be put aside...

Talking of signed copies (because they are usually not around for very long) if you are a fan of the world's greatest skeleton detective, we have signed copies of Derek Landy's 'Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men' at £14.99.

This consistently brilliant and inventive series is now in its eighth instalment, and perfect for boys and girls 9+. We think it's the biggest, funniest, most thrilling comedy-horror-adventure series in the universe. But come in and take a look for yourself...

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