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The Best Books to Look Out For in 2020: Fiction

Posted on 19th December 2019 by Mark Skinner

From established storytelling maestros to exciting new voices, and from compelling crime thrillers to scintillating science fiction - not to mention the little matter of the conclusion of a certain Tudor-era trilogy - there are many, many reasons to get excited about publishing in 2020. In this exclusive first peek at some of the biggest and best new novels of the forthcoming year, there truly is something for everyone.

Fiction

General Fiction

£25.00 £18.00
Hardback
Coming soon - 05/03/2020
The final, thrilling conclusion to Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning trilogy, charting the life of mercurial politician and power broker Thomas Cromwell.
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£20.00 £16.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 09/06/2020
Awaiting publication
Elena Ferrante returns with another flawlessly observed novel rich in astute psychology and multi-faceted characterisation. Following the fortunes of an adolescent girl through changing family dynamics and burgeoning self-realisation, The Lying Life of Adults is a pitch-perfect dissection of Italian family life and the untamed desires and self-destructiveness of youth.
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£20.00
Hardback
Coming soon - 31/03/2020
Awaiting publication
One of our greatest living novelists resurrects the short life of Hamnet Shakespeare, in this emotionally devastating account of the Bard’s only son. Utterly immersive and convincing, Hamnet is a poignant period tale that not only shines a light on an oft-neglected area of Shakespearean history but speaks to wider themes of grief and loss with impeccable poise and unflinching honesty.
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£16.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 02/07/2020
Awaiting publication
Ali Smith’s Summer continues the interplay between the recent past and modern day society that marked out her preceding works as so resonant and insightful. The culmination of a hugely ambitious and fast-paced literary project that aims to capture the state of the nation with burning immediacy, Summer is one of 2020’s absolute must-reads.
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£20.00
Hardback
Coming soon - 02/06/2020
Awaiting publication
Steeped in the hedonism and idealism of the 1960s’ counterculture, Utopia Avenue documents the rise and fall of the eponymous psych rock band, from destiny in Soho to nemesis in Rome. Written with Mitchell’s trademark lyrical flair and eye for the extraordinary, Utopia Avenue adroitly captures a moment in time when the future seemed limitless and happiness was there for the taking.
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£25.00 £20.00
Hardback
Coming soon - 15/09/2020
Awaiting publication
A stunning prequel to The Pillars of the Earth that delivers an enthralling slice of epic fiction in its own right, The Evening and the Morning tells the story of one man’s unquenchable ambitions for his abbey. Set on the cusp of the Middle-Ages, Follett’s multi-strand narrative brings a vanished world to life in ravishing detail and proves his prowess as a master of storytelling on a grand scale.
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£12.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 03/02/2020
From the pulsating story of seventeenth-century witchcraft that formed Halls’s electrifying debut The Familiars to a compelling and poignant tale of motherhood, deception and loss in eighteenth-century London. Suffused with the squalor and inequality of the Georgian metropolis, The Foundling is a mesmerising piece of fiction from a rising literary star.
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£14.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 09/04/2020
Awaiting publication
Another acutely observed evocation of Middle America, Redhead by the Side of the Road is both a deliciously offbeat love story and a wry character study of a lovable eccentric, stuck in his ways. Showcasing the nimble prose and emotional warmth that have made her both a critical darling and a beloved popular author, this is Anne Tyler at her winning, wistful best.
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£16.99 £12.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 19/03/2020
Awaiting publication
From the winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction comes a psychologically astute and emotionally devastating story about the messy dynamics of family and the damage long-buried truths can do when they explode into the open. As wise, perceptive and bittersweet as An American Marriage, Silver Sparrow resounds with delicate grace and poignant subtext.
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£20.00 £15.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 06/02/2020
Awaiting publication
There are few writers as capable of skewering the contradictions, frustrations and frictions of family life with as much humour and piercing accuracy as Marian Keyes and her latest sees her on sparkling form. When one woman's concussion leads to an outpouring of long-contained gripes and secrets, it calls into question just how civilised and 'grown-up' any of us actually are.
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£14.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 06/02/2020
Awaiting publication
Millwood Hargrave’s adult debut weaves an atmospheric tale of self-sufficient womanhood and sexual suspicion in a tight-knit island community during the seventeenth century. Drawing deft comparisons between historic misogyny and its more insidious modern-day variant, The Mercies is a tender love story and pulsating period thriller rolled into one.
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£16.99 £14.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 03/02/2020
Coates’ blazing political and cultural writing is amongst the most intelligent and powerful work of the twenty-first century and here he delivers a debut novel of poetic intensity and righteous anger. Compellingly recounting the clandestine work of abolitionist cells buried in the 19th-century Deep South, The Water Dancer is a fearless and profound slice of crusading historical fiction.
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£18.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 28/05/2020
Awaiting publication
From the tea-rooms of Bath to the rainforests of Borneo, Tremain’s nineteenth-century, globe-spanning epic throws a reluctant healer and a flawed philanthropist together in a grand narrative of refuge and belonging. Written with an assured sense of time and place, Islands of Mercy is further evidence of the Booker Prize-shortlisted author’s breath-taking storytelling skills.
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£14.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 15/10/2020
Awaiting publication
Already a millennial icon thanks to her Waterstones Books of the Year-shortlisted memoir Everything I Know About Love, Dolly Alderton turns her scalpel-sharp pen to fiction, with this witty, tender and big-hearted debut. Outwardly successful, Nina Dean’s life is beginning to unravel and she has no idea how to gather the threads together again.
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£14.99
Hardback
10+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Woodson’s stunningly assured work navigates three generations of black American history with verve and urgency. Taking a sixteen year old girl’s coming-of-age party as a jumping off point to explore the dreams and struggles of a richly delineated cast of characters, Red at the Bone is a supreme achievement and shaping up to be one of the most acclaimed novels of the year.
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£16.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 20/02/2020
Awaiting publication
A beautifully realised novel of mother-daughter relationships and the dark underbelly of fame and adulation, Actress deftly unpacks the secrets and lies of a renowned theatre performer and the effects of her notoriety on the child who idolised her. With a sharp eye for female interaction and familial subtext, Actress finds the former Booker Prize-winner on superlative form.
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£18.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 19/03/2020
Awaiting publication
Exquisitely rendered in Sebastian Barry’s rhapsodic prose, A Thousand Moons continues the tale of Winona - featured in the author’s Costa Award-winning Days Without End – as she makes her way through the forbidding and treacherous world of post-Civil War America. Conjuring time and place as only Barry knows how, this is a majestic novel of bruising love and coming of age in the American South.
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£14.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 30/04/2020
Awaiting publication
A captivating novel of money, beauty, crime, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.
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£12.99 £10.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 06/02/2020
Awaiting publication
A Girl is a Half-formed Thing swept all before it six years ago and now Strange Hotel looks set to cause a literary similar sensation with its delicately poised narrative of a woman caught between multiple hotel rooms and the rich, emotive memories that they provoke. Written with singular lyrical power, this is a gorgeous, elegant novella about the anonymous spaces that come to define us.
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£14.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 27/02/2020
Awaiting publication
Perfectly capturing the faded glamour of late 1950s Brighton, Here We Are is a wryly comic character study of a trio of end-of-the-pier entertainers. Richly evocative and empathetic, Swift’s masterful novel frames a classic love triangle in the language of old school Vaudeville and the vexed joys of the British seaside.
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£18.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 26/02/2020
Awaiting publication
An apeirogon is a shape with a countably infinite number of sides, and McCann’s intensely powerful and compassionate novel is undoubtedly a multi-faceted and endlessly rewarding beast. Exploring the relationship between two bereaved men amidst the physical and emotional carnage of the West Bank, Apeirogon is a masterpiece of characterisation and subtle political commentary.
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£14.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 02/07/2020
Awaiting publication
A uniquely disturbing novel from the Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Everything Under, Sisters explores the dark side of sibling devotion and the stark challenges a troubled family face in sinister new surroundings. Treading an exquisite balance between mordant character study and psychological horror, Sisters is another gripping work from one of our most intriguing contemporary voices.
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£16.99
Hardback
10+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
The author of the outrageous Look Who’s Back spins another bravura allegory, targeting the refugee crisis and transient celebrity amongst many other emotive and contentious themes. Brave, controversial and very, very funny, The Hungry and the Fat is a scintillating slice of satirical mayhem from a bold, maverick talent.
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Debut Voices

£14.99
Hardback
10+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
An incendiary novel of desperate love and pulse-quickening danger, American Dirt confronts the lawless frontier of the US-Mexico border in a scintillating narrative. With whip-smart pacing and an astounding ability to make the seemingly incredible both authentic and intimate, this is an enthralling page turner of the highest literary quality.
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£12.99 £10.99
Paperback
Coming soon - 20/02/2020
Awaiting publication
A landmark publication in Nam-Joo’s native country where it kick-started a nascent MeToo movement, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 throws a grenade under the appalling misogyny and paternalism of South Korean society. Detailing the daily injustices and long-term sacrifices that the eponymous central character is expected to accept unquestioningly, this is a must read book for 2020.
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£12.99 £9.99
Paperback
10+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Cha’s explosive novel takes an unflinching look at the second-generation immigrant experience and the long shadow of the Los Angeles race riots of the 1990s. Drawing rich parallels between the tumult of 27 years ago and the present day, Your House Will Pay also has pertinent things to say about intersectionality and belonging in Trump’s America.
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£12.99
Hardback
10+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Drenched in sinister rural gothic, Francine Toon’s eerie debut makes superbly unsettling use of the Scottish highlands to infuse the continuing aftershocks of a decade-old mystery with slowly encroaching dread. Steeped in brooding atmosphere and a hugely disquieting serenity, Pine comes complete with gorgeous sprayed edges bearing the elegant image of a pine tree.
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£12.99 £10.99
Hardback
10+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Sprightly, topical and wonderfully involving, Kiley Reid’s freewheeling debut holds a mirror up to race, class and gender in twenty-first century America. In Alix, Reid has created a female protagonist who perfectly encapsulates the neuroses and contradictions of the day, whilst her witty, winningly crafted narrative marks Such a Fun Age out as a dazzling slice of contemporary fiction.
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£12.99 £10.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 20/02/2020
Awaiting publication
The Memory Wood tells the tale of two adolescents and the unbearably tense game of cat and mouse that develops between the two of them when one discovers the other, who has been abducted. Wrong-footing readers on every page, Lloyd’s tour de force is constructed like the chess games so beloved of the novel’s central protagonist. Unmissable.
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£12.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 31/03/2020
Awaiting publication
Tackling the contentious issue of sexual abuse with unflinching enquiry and emotional complexity, My Dark Vanessa interrogates the blurred lines between consent and manipulation and how both memory and context can shift alarmingly over time. Perfect for fans of Lisa Taddeo’s groundbreaking Three Women, My Dark Vanessa is disturbing and unputdownable.
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£12.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 17/02/2020
Beautifully handled and profoundly moving, Dear Edward traces the path through life of the sole survivor of a tragic plane crash. Addressing issues of guilt, grief, identity and friendship, Napolitano’s inspired UK debut weaves a heartwarming and ultimately uplifting story about the choices we make and the obligations we have to those we have left behind.
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£12.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 06/02/2020
Awaiting publication
A post-apocalyptic thriller with real urgency and credibility, this electrifying debut from ‘QI elf’ Murray elucidates an immobile future Earth, with each side locked in permanent day and night. Deploying subtle allegory and high concepts to shine a piercing light on contemporary society and politics, The Last Day is an intelligent, mature science fiction thriller for the ages.
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Crime & Thrillers

£12.99 £10.99
Hardback
10+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Treading a fine line between grisly murder mystery and outright horror, Tudor has forged a formidable reputation as Britain’s answer to Stephen King. The Other People’s insidiously creepy tale of vanished daughters and miles of sinister, menacing motorway confirms her place at the forefront of unputdownable thriller writing.
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£16.99 £13.99
Hardback
10+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Based on a single brilliant conceit, Hannah’s latest spine-tingling mystery enmeshes the reader in a series of ever more artful twists and red herrings right up until the final page. Structured with the skill of a true master of the form, Haven’t They Grown throbs with chilly malice and delicious malevolence.
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£14.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 02/04/2020
Awaiting publication
A purveyor of startlingly accomplished historical crime fiction, Andrew Taylor sends Marwood and Lovett off on another brilliantly baffling thriller set in seventeenth century London. Boasting political intrigue and evocative period atmosphere, The Last Protector is crime writing at its most elegant and assured.
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£12.99 £10.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 17/02/2020
Fresh from the bestselling success of the former Waterstones Thriller of the Month, The Hunting Party, Foley treats us to another closed community page-turner, set this time at a glamorous wedding on a remote island. Lean, pacy and terrifically twisty, The Guest List is a good, old-fashioned whodunit in distinctly twenty-first century trappings.
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£14.99 £11.99
Hardback
10+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
This near-unbearably tense thriller is an outstanding novel that demands to be read in one sitting. As a blizzard engulfs the Somerset countryside, rogue shooters force a school into lockdown and a community into a cycle of panic, detection and a struggle for survival. Three Hours is both an exemplary page-turner and an insightful portrayal of radicalisation, rage and redemptive love.
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£20.00
Hardback
Coming soon - 14/05/2020
Awaiting publication
The second installment in the Colter Shaw series, The Goodbye Man finds the survivalist and expert tracker investigating a sinister organisation buried deep in the Washington wilderness. Deaver is on reliably strong form as ever, lacing his gripping plot with deft characterisation and heart in mouth set piece moments.
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£16.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 28/05/2020
Awaiting publication
Carter’s background in criminal psychology shines through in his nuanced and credible characters and, with Written in Blood, he may have crafted his most psychologically acute thriller yet. A pickpocket, a loudmouth and a bag with sinister, life-changing contents coalesce in this utterly absorbing page turner.
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£14.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 25/06/2020
Awaiting publication
Set amongst the ‘water rats’ of the Thames riverboat community, Candlish’s disquieting thriller probes the enmity that lies beneath the surface of friendships as well as the fatal unreliability of memory. Suffused with the author’s singular ability to unnerve and disturb, The Other Passenger will haunt you long after the final page has been turned.
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Science Fiction & Fantasy

£14.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 15/09/2020
Awaiting publication
Susannah Clarke’s monumental masterwork Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was one of the finest works of speculative fiction of the twenty-first century and now, with Piranesi, she once more mines a darkly fantastical vision with a tale of a very singular house and its mysterious inhabitants. Saturated in gothic atmosphere and supernatural lore, Piranesi is simply unmissable.
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£14.99
Hardback
5+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Deliriously strange and fizzing with manic invention, Dead Astronauts builds on the ground-breaking Southern Reach trilogy and the majestic Borne, affirming Vandermeer’s vision as one of the most individual in contemporary science fiction. A wickedly subversive tale of abstract, shape-shifting creatures battling a sinister, authoritarian Company, this is one of the must read novels of the year.
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£16.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 03/03/2020
The bestselling writer of YA fantasy delivers her adult debut in impressive style with an immersive mystery set in a richly drawn phantasmagorical landscape. A sweeping epic packed full of romance and adventure, House of Earth and Blood is a bold, brilliant opening chapter in what promises to be a spectacular new series from Maas.
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£18.99
Hardback
10+ in stock
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Another spectacular broadside from the cult science fiction scribe, Agency skips between a post-apocalyptic London and an alternate San Francisco where Hilary Clinton was crowned President. Wildly satirical and ineffably cool, Gibson’s high octane techno thriller is a dizzyingly eccentric ride.
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£18.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 17/02/2020
The new Peter Grant mystery finds the erstwhile wizarding copper immersed in the nefarious goings-on of a shady tech company. Throbbing with Aaronovitch’s trademark blend of comic fantasy and compelling crime, False Value is a bravura addition to the Rivers of London sequence.
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£16.99
Hardback
Coming soon - 26/03/2020
Awaiting publication
A mesmerising novel from a giant of modern science fiction writing, The City We Became furnishes New York City with a quintet of souls before unleashing an ancient evil upon the futuristic metropolis. Brimming with Jemisin’s customary imaginative flair and luminous prose, this is a glorious slice of speculative fiction.
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