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The Waterstones Round Up: February's Best Books

Posted on 1st February 2021 by Mark Skinner

Sarah J Maas, Mick Herron and Francis Spufford all make very welcome returns to the publishing fray this month, whilst Nikesh Shukla discusses fatherhood and feminism, Bill Gates sets out his manifesto for tackling climate change and Simon Garfield espouses the unbreakable bond between human and canine. Discover a world of great reading this February.

Please Note: Due to the ongoing situation concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, publication dates are liable to change at short notice.      


 
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From the author of Golden Hill comes a tender, endlessly inventive novel that resurrects five children killed in a wartime bomb-blast and asks what kind of a future these working-class youths would have had.
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Based on a true story of seventeenth-century scandal, Jago’s evocative first novel is redolent of the intrigue and machinations of James I’s court, as two very different women attempt to find favour and make their way through a political viper’s nest.
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A tender and emotionally complex debut about the relationship between two young Black British artists, Open Water shines a light on the ways love and race can be interlinked in modern society.
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A powerful meditation on the value of human connection, poet Patricia Lockwood’s mordantly funny debut novel explores the pitfalls of social media in an entirely original fashion.
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The incisive and tantalising fiction debut by the author of The Sisterhood, Insatiable charts a vulnerable young woman’s entry into a world of power, ambition, influence and greed.

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Hawke’s first novel in nearly two decades paints an evocative portrait of a young actor about to make his Broadway debut whilst struggling with heartbreak and disappointment caused by his destroyed marriage.
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The author of Foreskin’s Lament and Hope: A Tragedy returns with an outrageous and wickedly funny novel about the moral – and practical - dilemmas of devouring the corpses of family members.
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In the aftermath of a Novichok poisoning gone wrong, Jackson Lamb’s crew navigates the corrupt web of global finance, media and populist politics in the seventh instalment of Herron’s bestselling Slough House series.
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From the author of Blood & Sugar, Daughters of Night is a chilling, evocative murder mystery set in the glimmering town houses and dark alleyways of Georgian London.
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When a man is found murdered in Utah, each of his three wives fall under suspicion in this utterly addictive and highly original thriller which never sacrifices character for plot.
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In the thirteenth instalment in Griffiths’s bestselling series, a body found on the beach and a group looking for Bronze Age weapons set Dr Ruth Galloway on the trail of a merciless murderer.
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In this highly anticipated fifth book of the mesmerising A Court of Thorns and Roses saga, it is the turn of Feyre’s sister to step into the limelight: now that the war has finally ended, the world seems wide open for the valiant Nesta.
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The fourth book in Shannon’s phenomenal The Bone Season series, The Mask Falling inhabits both gloomy Parisian catacombs and the opulent hallways of Versailles in an unputdownable continuation of the saga.
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Exploring the tensions and heartbreak of three strangers thrown together at an intergalactic pit-stop, The Galaxy, and the Ground Within is a stunning conclusion to Becky Chamber’s highly acclaimed Wayfarers series.
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Full of wit, heartbreak and humour, Last One at the Party is a staggeringly original debut about the end of the world as we never imagined it, set in an apocalyptic London.
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With humour and heart-rending honesty, Nikesh Shukla reflects on fatherhood, feminism, racial politics and how we become ourselves in this memoir that is as elegantly written as it is compassionate.
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Displaced from numerous countries and identities, Nadia Owusu’s life has been one of adversity and struggle and the indelible legacy of the internal conflict within her forms the basis of this revelatory memoir, expressed through the metaphor of earthquakes.
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Bringing together twelve prescient pieces from the earlier part of the iconic writer’s career, Let Me Tell You What I Mean invites the reader on a journey across America's cultural and political landscape through Didion’s visionary gaze.
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With clarity and grace, Three Mothers traces the intellectual, political and emotional inheritance that Alberta King, Berdis Baldwn and Louise Little passed on to their sons, bringing up the most iconic heroes of the American civil rights movement.
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An incisive and deeply moving meditation on identity and belonging, Lawton’s memoir fearlessly seeks answers to questions that are both highly personal and acutely political.
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Discussing the ideas of male identity through personal tragedy, Unspoken is a powerful and frank look at toxic masculinity from rapper Guvna B.
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Equally riveting and heartbreaking, The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames charts one woman’s journey as she traces her origins back to London’s Foundling Hospital and discovers the story of her birth mother.
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From the author of The Medici comes a rigorously researched and absorbingly chronicled study of the all-powerful dynastic rulers and patrons of the arts in Renaissance Italy.
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A riveting piece of historical detective work, River Kings tracks bioarchaeologist Jarman’s investigation of a Viking ‘Carnelian’ bead from twenty-first century England to eighth-century Baghdad, proving that the Norse warriors travelled much further than originally thought.
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A delightfully esoteric odyssey around Britain in search of the final resting places of the great and good, Cooke’s travelogue is bursting with entertaining anecdote and much salient trivia about the dearly departed.
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As gripping as a thriller, We Are Bellingcat tells the incredible true story of the innovative practitioners of open-source intelligence and how they’ve helped to uncover some of the biggest stories of our day.
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Fenton’s meticulous and astounding reportage unravels the full story of Baltimore’s infamous Gun Trace Task Force and the shocking depths of systemic corruption within which it operated.
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Oborne’s timely and pithy polemic against the myriad falsehoods and untruths perpetrated by Boris Johnson and the current Conservative government exposes a methodical process of pathological lying to secure power for its own ends.
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An antidote to the gloomier forecasts of impending climate disaster, Bill Gates's sprightly and infectiously proactive book offers practicable, sustainable solutions to reversing global climate change.
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Fortey’s immense knowledge and sparkling prose bring to life the history of four billion years of evolution, as well as offering a fascinating glimpse into the formative years of a great scientist.
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From the tame wolves in ancient cave art to the Soviet space programme’s mutniks, the author of On the Map and Just My Type turns his attention to the special relationship between man and dog in this highly entertaining volume.
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Exploring the challenges of being an adopted child, Radio 5 breakfast show host Nicky Campbell’s touching memoir reveals how his Labrador Maxwell helped him to overcome the traumas of his past.
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