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Secrets and Spies

Presenting Your Books of the Month for February

Welcome to our February crop of must-reads. Amongst their number sits the bestselling winner of the Costa First Novel Award, together with the truly revelatory account of a maverick who found his calling in spycraft. We also present a Cold War thriller from an author who only seems to shift from strength to strength, and a cracking children’s adventure with friendship at its mechanical heart.


Fiction Book of the Month

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“I’m a finance clerk. I could be issuing invoices for anything, really: armaments, Rohypnol, coconuts.”

Fresh from triumphantly scoring the Costa First Novel Award, Gail Honeyman blends laugh-out-loud funny with sudden unexpected pathos for one of the strongest debuts we’ve seen in years. Eleanor Oliphant – a woman who lives and sees life very much by her own rules – simply leaps from the page as a character to be understood and admired.

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Non-Fiction Book of the Month

M
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Henry Hemming had a real hit on his hands back in 2014 with Churchill's Iceman: The True Story of Geoffrey Pyke. Now he returns with the equally compelling tale of a man who by any measure was a paradox, the figure who did more than any other to eliminate the WWII British fascist movement despite once skirting the British Fascisti himself.

Maxwell Knight, the definitive model for Ian Fleming’s ‘M’, shaped the modern intelligence service and, as Hemming expertly lays out, was far stranger and more complex than any fiction.

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Thriller of the Month

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Author of The Good German, Joseph Kanonturns his considerable abilities to the era of 1960s defection and the Cold War at its most heated.

Exposed as Communist spy, CIA golden boy Frank Weeks skipped the Iron Curtain to vanish for over a decade. Now, out of the blue, Frank emerges, requesting his publisher brother Simon join him in Moscow to help edit his soon-to-be published memoir. Simon is still in thrall to his charm: Frank, however, continues to play a very dangerous game. Assured, urbane and brilliant, Defectors surely sets Kanon into the same pantheon as le Carré, Fleming and Deighton.

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Children's Book of the Month

Tin
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Another cracker of a debut as County Kildare writer Pádraig Kenny effortlessly conjures an alternate world of childlike robots, remorseless villains and a young boy desperate to uncover the truth of his own past.

This is England of the 1930s, but not one we would recognise: technology has forked into the production of ‘mechanicals’, loyal, innocent, thinking machines, their development deliberately limited for fear of use in war. Now Christopher – a ‘proper’, a real boy with a real soul – is missing, and it’s down to his band of kind and brave mechanical friends to find him.

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Books of the Month

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Added to basket
Gail Honeyman
In stock online £8.99   £6.99 Paperback
Tin
Added to basket
Tin
Padraig Kenny
In stock online £6.99   £5.99 Paperback
M
Added to basket
M
Henry Hemming
In stock online £9.99   £7.99 Paperback
Defectors
Added to basket
Joseph Kanon
In stock online £8.99   £6.99 Paperback
Sapiens
Added to basket
Yuval Noah Harari
In stock online £9.99   £7.99 Paperback
A Gentleman in Moscow
Added to basket
Amor Towles
In stock online £8.99   £6.99 Paperback
Birdcage Walk
Added to basket
Helen Dunmore
In stock online £8.99   £5.99 Paperback
Autumn
Added to basket
Ali Smith
In stock online £8.99   £6.99 Paperback
The Crow Girl
Added to basket
Erik Axl Sund
In stock online £8.99   £6.99 Paperback
Slow Horses
Added to basket
Mick Herron
In stock online £8.99 Paperback
The Hidden Life of Trees
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Peter Wohlleben
In stock online £9.99   £7.49 Paperback
A Place Called Perfect
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Helena Duggan
In stock online £6.99   £5.99 Paperback
Homegoing
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Yaa Gyasi
In stock online £8.99   £6.99 Paperback
Pax
Added to basket
Pax
Sara Pennypacker
In stock online £6.99   £5.49 Paperback
Histories of Nations
Added to basket
Peter Furtado
In stock online £9.99   £7.49 Paperback
When Breath Becomes Air
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Paul Kalanithi
In stock online £8.99   £6.99 Paperback
Goldfish Boy
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Lisa Thompson
In stock online £6.99   £5.99 Paperback
My Name Is Lucy Barton
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Elizabeth Strout
In stock online £8.99   £6.99 Paperback
The Girl of Ink & Stars
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Kiran Millwood Hargrave
In stock online £6.99   £5.49 Paperback
The Ashes of London
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Andrew Taylor
In stock online £8.99   £6.99 Paperback
Who Let the Gods Out?
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Maz Evans
In stock online £6.99   £5.99 Paperback
Spook Street
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Mick Herron
In stock online £7.99 Paperback
The Polar Bear Explorers' Club
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Alex Bell
In stock online £6.99   £5.49 Paperback
The Secret Life of Cows
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Rosamund Young
In stock online £9.99 Hardback