Upcoming

Sea books, soon to be washed ashore. If you are an author or a publisher, do tell me about upcoming releases. If you are a reader, I promise to have these titles in the sea library sooner or later.

Jūras grāmatas, kuras gaidāmas drīzumā! Ja esi autors vai izdevējs, dod ziņu, ko te pievienot. Ja esi lasītājs, varu apsolīt, ka agrāk vai vēlāk šīs grāmatas būs jūras bibliotēkā.

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Philip Marsden “The Summer Isles: A Voyage of the Imagination” OCTOBER 2019

In an old wooden sloop, Philip Marsden plots a course north from his home in Cornwall. He is sailing for the Summer Isles, a small archipelago near the top of Scotland that holds for him a deep and personal significance. On the way, he must navigate the west coast of Ireland and the Inner Hebrides. Bearing the full force of the Atlantic, it is a seaboard which is also a mythical frontier, a place as rich in story as anywhere on earth.

Through the people he meets and the tales he uncovers, Marsden builds up a haunting picture of these shores – of imaginary islands and the Celtic otherworld, of the ageless draw of the west, of the life of the sea and perennial loss – and the redemptive power of the imagination.

Exhilarating and poignant, Marsden’s prose has been widely praised. Bringing together themes he has been pursuing for many years, The Summer Isles is an unforgettable account of the search for actual places, invented places, and those places in between that shape the lives of individuals and entire nations.

PHILIP MARSDEN is the award-winning author of a number of works of travel, fiction and non-fiction, including The Bronski HouseThe Spirit-Wrestlers, and The Levelling Sea. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and his work has been translated into fifteen languages. He lives in Cornwall.

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Cynan Jones “Stillicide” OCTOBER 2019

Water is commodified. The Water Train that serves the city increasingly at risk of sabotage.

As news breaks that construction of a gigantic Ice Dock will displace more people than first thought, protestors take to the streets and the lives of several individuals begin to interlock. A nurse on the brink of an affair. A boy who follows a stray dog out of the city. A woman who lies dying. And her husband, a marksman: a man forged by his past and fearful of the future, who weighs in his hands the possibility of death against the possibility of life.

From one of the most celebrated writers of his generation, Stillicide is a moving story of love and loss and the will to survive, and a powerful glimpse of the tangible future.

CYNAN JONES was born near Aberaeron, Wales in 1975. He is the author of three novels, The Long Dry (winner of a Betty Trask Award, 2007), Everything I Found on the Beach (2011), and The Dig (2014), a chapter of which was shortlisted for the 2013 Sunday Times/ EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. He is also the author of Bird, Blood, Snow (2012), the retelling of a medieval Welsh myth.

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Mary Costello “The River Capture” OCTOBER 2019

Luke O’Brien has retreated from the city to live a quiet life on his family land situated at the bend of the River Sullane. Surrounded by the Irish countryside and alone in the crumbling house, he longs for a return to his family’s heyday. He has given up on love and relationships and instead turned to books for solace.

One morning a young woman arrives at his door. Her appearance could have profound consequences for him and his family. But will he let her into his closed life?

In a novel that pays glorious homage to Joyce, The River Capture tells of one man’s descent into near madness, and the possibility of rescue. This is a novel about love, loyalty and the raging forces of nature. More than anything, it is a book about the life of the mind and the redemptive powers of art.

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Richard J. King “Ahab’s Rolling Sea: A Natural History of Moby-Dick” OCTOBER 2019

Although Moby-Dick is beloved as one of the most enduring works of American fiction, we rarely consider it a work of nature writing—or even a novel of the sea. Yet Pulitzer Prize– winning author Annie Dillard avers Moby-Dick is the “best book ever written about nature,” and nearly the entirety of the story is set on the waves. In fact, Ishmael’s sea yarn is in conversation with the nature writing of Emerson and Thoreau, and Melville himself did much more than live for a year in a cabin beside a pond. He set sail: to the far remote Pacific Ocean, spending more than three years at sea before writing his masterpiece in 1851.

A revelation for Moby-Dick devotees and neophytes alike, Ahab’s Rolling Sea is a chronological journey through the natural history of Melville’s novel. From white whales to whale intelligence, giant squids, barnacles, albatross, and sharks, Richard J. King examines what Melville knew from his own experiences and the sources available to a reader in the mid-1800s, exploring how and why Melville might have twisted what was known to serve his fiction. King then climbs to the crow’s nest, setting Melville in the context of the American perception of the ocean in 1851—at the very start of the Industrial Revolution and just before the publication of On the Origin of Species. King compares Ahab’s and Ishmael’s worldviews to how we see the ocean today: an expanse still immortal and sublime, but also in crisis. And although the concept of stewardship of the sea would have been foreign to Melville, King argues that Melville’s narrator Ishmael reveals his own tendencies toward what we would now call environmentalism.

Featuring a coffer of illustrations and interviews with contemporary scientists, fishers, and whale watch operators, Ahab’s Rolling Sea offers new insight into a cherished masterwork and our evolving relationship with the briny deep—from whale hunters to climate refugees.

Richard J. King is visiting associate professor of maritime literature and history at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He is the author of Lobster and The Devil’s Cormorant: A Natural History.

Ahab’s Rolling Sea is a wide-ranging, highly personal, richly eclectic, and extremely well-researched book whose style and humor, combined with its rigor, suggest the potential for popularity even beyond the fascinations of this self-confessed whalehead. Who could not warm to a chapter titled ‘Gulls, Sea-Ravens, and Albatrosses’ or ‘Sword-Fish and Lively Grounds,’ or be intrigued by ‘Phosphorescence’? There’s a Melvillean romance here, and it sits especially well with King’s love and empathy for human as well as natural history. A contemporary, witty, almost postmodern field guide.” Philip Hoare, author of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR, The Sea InsideLeviathan or, The Whale.

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Sarah Dry “Waters of the World: The Story of the Scientists Who Unraveled the Mysteries of Our Oceans, Atmosphere, and Ice Sheets and Made the Planet Whole” OCTOBER 2019

From the glaciers of the Alps to the towering cumulonimbus clouds of the Caribbean and the unexpectedly chaotic flows of the North Atlantic, Waters of the World is a tour through 150 years of the history of a significant but underappreciated idea: that the Earth has a global climate system made up of interconnected parts, constantly changing on all scales of both time and space. A prerequisite for the discovery of global warming and climate change, this idea was forged by scientists studying water in its myriad forms. This is their story.

Linking the history of the planet with the lives of those who studied it, Sarah Dry follows the remarkable scientists who summited volcanic peaks to peer through an atmosphere’s worth of water vapor, cored mile-thick ice sheets to uncover the Earth’s ancient climate history, and flew inside storm clouds to understand how small changes in energy can produce both massive storms and the general circulation of the Earth’s atmosphere. Each toiled on his or her own corner of the planetary puzzle. Gradually, their cumulative discoveries coalesced into a unified working theory of our planet’s climate.

We now call this field climate science, and in recent years it has provoked great passions, anxieties, and warnings. But no less than the object of its study, the science of water and climate is—and always has been—evolving. By revealing the complexity of this history, Waters of the World delivers a better understanding of our planet’s climate at a time when we need it the most.

Sarah Dry is a writer and historian of science who has immersed herself in the history of meteorology and climate for more than ten years. She is the author of Curie and The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in Oxford, UK, with her family, and is on the board of the Science Museum Group.

Waters of the World sparkles with lyricism and wit. Dry is a gifted storyteller, and her research into the pre-history of Earth system science has turned up gripping tales of risk, adventure, defiance, and discovery. A unique and important book.” Deborah R. Coen, author of Climate in Motion: Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale

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Edward Parnell “Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country” OCTOBER 2019

What does it mean to be haunted? Why do certain places give us a sense of the uncanny? And should we run from the things that haunt us, or embrace them?

In his late thirties, the ghost story writer Edward Parnell found himself without a family. His parents had died in quick succession in his teens, before his beloved brother succumbed to the same disease years later. In his grief, he turned to his bookshelves.

In Ghostland, Parnell goes in search of the ‘sequestered places’ of the British Isles, our lonely moors, our moss-covered cemeteries, our barren shores and our mysterious and ancient woodlands. At the same time he explores how these places conjured and shaped a kaleidoscopic spectrum of our literature and cinema, from the ghost stories of MR James, Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood to Alan Garner and Susan Cooper’s fantasies, from WG Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn and Graham Swift’s Waterland to Robin Hardy’s ‘folk horror’ film The Wicker Man.

Ghostland is an evocative and moving exploration of what haunted these writers and artists, and what is it that is haunting him. It is a unique meditation on grief, memory and longing, and the magical power of stories and nature.

Edward Parnell lives near Norwich and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He has been the recipient of an Escalator Award from Writers’ Centre Norwich and a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. His novel The Listeners was the winner of the Rethink New Novels Prize. Edward has previously worked for BirdLife International and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, and has written numerous natural history and conservation-related articles for various magazines and newspapers; he has also worked extensively in television and media production, and as a freelance editor and copywriter.

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Bernd Brunner “Winterlust: Finding Beauty in the Fiercest Season” NOVEMBER 2019

Bernd Brunner, an acclaimed science, history, and literary writer, offers a luminous, sweeping survey of winter, spanning from ancient traditions to modern pastimes, and profiling fascinating creatures and people who endure winter’s harshest expression.

In Winterlust, a farmer painstakingly photographs 5,000 snowflakes, each one dramatically different from the next. Indigenous peoples thrive on frozen terrain, where famous explorers perish. Icicles reach deep underwater, then explode. Rooms warmed by crackling fires fill with the scents of cinnamon, cloves, and pine. Skis carve into powdery slopes, and iceboats traverse glacial lakes. This lovingly illustrated meditation on winter entwines the spectacular with the everyday, expertly capturing the essence of a beloved yet dangerous season, which is all the more precious in an era of climate change.

“A wonderful read and fascinating study of the coldest time of the year—Brunner adds warmth to this subject. I only regret this invaluable book was not available during my own research.” New York Times bestseller Bob Eckstein, author of The Illustrated History of the Snowman

“A wonder-filled journey through humanity’s multifaceted relationships with this most endangered of seasons. Brunner’s explorations reveal how we shape and are shaped by the environments in which we live.” David George Haskell, author of The Songs of Trees and Pulitzer finalist, The Forest Unseen.

“Many people in the modern world do their best to push winter away with their thermostats, shopping malls and annual escapes to sunnier climes. Brunner masterfully does in words what resilient and adventurous people have done in their lives for centuries; he finds beauty in blizzards and ice and the crystallized enchantment of snow.” Dan Egan, Pulitzer finalist and author of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes

Bernd Brunner’s writings have appeared in publications around the world including Lapham’s QuarterlyThe Paris Review DailyAeon, and Quartz. Of his many books, his latest, Birdmania, was praised by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, amongst others. An alumnus of the Logan Nonfiction Program, Brunner divides his time between Istanbul and Berlin.

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Jessica J. Lee “Two Trees Make a Forest” NOVEMBER 2019

I have learned many words for ‘island’: isle, atoll, eyot, islet, or skerry. They exist in archipelagos or alone, and always, by definition, I have understood them by their relation to water. But the Chinese word for island knows nothing of water. For a civilisation grown inland from the sea, the vastness of mountains was a better analogue: (dao, ‘island’) built from the relationship between earth and sky.

Between tectonic plates and conflicting cultures, Taiwan is an island of extremes: high mountains, exposed flatlands, thick forests. After unearthing a hidden memoir of her grandfather’s life, written on the cusp of his total memory loss, Jessica J Lee hunts his story, in parallel with exploring Taiwan, hoping to understand the quakes that brought her family from China, to Taiwan and Canada, and the ways in which our human stories are interlaced with geographical forces. Part-nature writing, part-biography, Two Trees Make a Forest traces the natural and human stories that shaped an island and a family.

Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author, environmental historian, and winner of the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author Award. She received a doctorate in environmental history and aesthetics in 2016, and her first book, Turning, was published in 2017. Jessica is the founding editor of The Willowherb Review. She lives in Berlin.

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Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood “Ness” NOVEMBER 2019

Eerie, unsettling and hauntingly beautiful – a new collaboration from the bestselling creators of Holloway

‘Ness goes beyond what we expect books to do. Beyond poetry, beyond the word, beyond the bomb — it is an aftertime song. It is dark, ever so dark, nimble and lethal. It is a triumphant libretto of mythic modernism for our poisoned age. Ness is something else, and feels like it always has been’ Max Porter, Booker-longlisted author of Lanny and Grief is the Thing with Feathers

Somewhere on a salt-and-shingle island, inside a ruined concrete structure known as The Green Chapel, a figure called The Armourer is leading a black mass with terrible intent.

But something is coming to stop him.

Five more-than-human forms are traversing land, sea and time towards The Green Chapel, moving to the point where they will converge and become Ness. Ness has lichen skin and willow-bones. Ness is made of tidal drift, green moss and deep time. Ness has hagstones for eyes and speaks only in birds. And Ness has come to take this island back.

What happens when land comes to life? What would it take for land to need to come to life? Using word and image, Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood have together made a minor modern myth. Part-novella, part-prose-poem, part-mystery play, in Ness their skills combine to dazzling, troubling effect.

Robert Macfarlane is the author of The Lost Words with Jackie Morris, The Old Ways and Underland, among other books.

Stanley Donwood is an artist and the author of Slowly Downward and Household Worms. His next books are There Will Be No Quiet and Bad Island.

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Mark Carwardine “Handbook of Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises” NOVEMBER 2019

This outstanding new handbook to whales, dolphins and porpoises is the most comprehensive, authoritative and up-to-date guide to these popular mammals. With nearly 1,000 accurate illustrations – complete with detailed annotations pointing out the most significant field marks – this new handbook covers all 90 species and every subspecies in the world.

Many of the world’s most respected whale biologists have collaborated on the concise text, which is packed with helpful identification tips from cetacean expert, Mark Carwardine. Mark’s informative text is accompanied by up-to-date distribution maps and photographs for each species. Beautifully designed, to ensure critical information is quickly accessible, this is an indispensable resource that every whale-watcher will want to carry out to sea.

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Kawai Strong Washburn “Sharks in the Time of Saviours” JANUARY 2020

A powerful debut novel that delicately blends Hawaiian myth with the broken American dream. 

In 1994 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores is saved from drowning by a shiver of sharks. His family, struggling to make ends meet amidst the collapse of the sugar cane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favour from ancient Hawaiian gods.But as time passes, this hope gives way to economic realities, forcing Nainoa and his siblings to seek salvation across the continental United States, leaving behind home and family.With a profound command of language, Washburn’s powerful debut novel examines what it means to be both of a place, and a stranger in it.

Kawai Strong Washburn was born and raised on the Hamakua coast of Hawaii. His short fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, Electric Literature and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, among others. He has received scholarships from the Tin House and Bread Loaf writer’s workshops and has worked in software and as a climate policy advocate. He lives in California with his wife and daughters. Sharks in the Time of Saviours is his debut novel.

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Molly Aitken “The Island Child” JANUARY 2020

On the night of a terrible storm, Oona is cut from her mother and welcomed with joy to the remote Irish island of Inis. Not far away, on a deserted beach, a woman pushes out a boy.

Oona becomes drawn to wild Felim and his ousted mother, increasingly tangled in their erratic lives on the precipice of the island’s deeply Catholic and superstitious community. The gossips say that the mother and son are related to the fairies, and fear escalates when dark secrets are spun. As the magic of this strange boy grows, an extraordinary bond is created that will ricochet dangerously across Oona’s life.

Thirty-six years later, when her own daughter vanishes, Oona is forced to face the past she tried to escape in one last attempt to build a bridge between her and her lost child.

Woven through with the myth of Persephone, this is a haunting and magical tale of motherhood, desire, loss and the healing power of stories. The Island Child is a novel for readers of Megan Hunter, Sarah Perry, Eowyn Ivey, Edna O’Brien and Jeanette Winterson.

Molly Aitken was born in Scotland in 1991 and brought up in Ireland. She studied Literature and Classics at Galway University and has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa. She was shortlisted for Writing Magazine’s fairy tale retelling prize 2016, and has a story in the Irish Imbas 2017 Short Story Collection. Currently, she works as an editor and ghostwriter and lives in Sheffield. The Island Child is her debut novel.

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Kiran Millwood Hargrave “The Mercies” FEBRUARY 2020

Beneath the sunken sun on Christmas Eve 1617, where Finnmark, Norway, scatters into its northernmost islands, twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter watches the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of Vardø must fend for themselves.

Three years later, beneath a midnight sun, a sinister figure arrives in Vardø. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority, and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty and terrible evil.

Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, this is a story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the everdark edge of civilisation. For readers of Burial RitesThe Miniaturist and Wolf Winter. Forthcoming from Picador (UK), Little, Brown (US), and over a dozen other territories in February 2020.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave (1990) is an award-winning poet, playwright, and novelist. Her bestselling works for children include The Girl of Ink & Stars, and have won numerous awards including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year, and the Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Year, and been shortlisted for prizes such as the Costa Children’s Book Award and the Blue Peter Best Story Award. The Mercies is her first novel for adults. Kiran lives by the river in Oxford, with her husband, artist Tom de Freston, and their rescue cat, Luna.

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Felicity Plunkett “A Kinder Sea” FEBRUARY 2020

A Kinder Sea is Felicity Plunkett’s masterpiece in the original sense of that term- the work that most fully expresses her gifts. This collection explores the sea as sanctuary, hoard and repository. It is composed of sequences- love letters, elegies, narratives and odes. Plunkett’s combination of intensity and range is rare, as is this collection’s formal precision and emotional directness. This is an exceptional collection – a break-out work for this gifted poet.

Felicity Plunkett is an Australian poet and critic. She was poetry editor at the University of Queensland Press from 2010 to 2018. Her debut collection Vanishing Point (UQP, 2009) won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize and was shortlisted for several other awards. She has a chapbook Seastrands (Vagabond, 2011) and is the editor of Thirty Australian Poets (UQP, 2011). Her new collection, A Kinder Sea is forthcoming.

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Stanley Donwood “Bad Island” FEBRUARY 2020

From cult graphic designer and long-time Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood comes a starkly beautiful graphic novel about the end of the world.

A wild seascape, a distant island, a full moon. Gradually the island grows nearer until we land on a primeval wilderness, rich in vegetation and huge, strange beasts. Time passes and man appears, with clubs, with spears, with crueller weapons still – and things do not go well for the wilderness. Civilization rises as towers of stone and metal and smoke, choking the undergrowth and the creatures who once moved through it. This is not a happy story and it will not have a happy ending.

Working in his distinctive, monochromatic lino-cut style, Stanley Donwood carves out a mesmerizing, stark parable on environmentalism and the history of humankind.

‘I’ve read lots of his stuff and it’s always good and I am in no way biased’ Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead

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Steve Mentz “Ocean” MARCH 2020

Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

The ocean comprises the largest object on our planet. Steve Mentz’s Ocean shows us that retelling human history from an oceanic rather than terrestrial point of view disorients familiar stories and creates a new sense of our relationship with nature. Unlike conventional stories that describe civilizations made through agricultural settlement or violent conquest, in the ocean humans labor more vulnerably as either sailors or swimmers. Our engagement with the planet’s waters can be destructive, as with today’s deluge of plastic trash and acidification, but the discrepancy between small bodies and vast seas also emphasizes the frailty of human experience.

Embracing the omnipresence of salt water in human history, Ocean combines history, myth, poetry, and narrative in order to revise the human story on a nonhuman scale.

From ancient stories of shipwrecked sailors to the containerized future of 21st-century commerce, Ocean splashes the histories we thought we knew into an unfamiliar context.

Steve Mentz is Professor of English at St John’s University, USA. He is the author of three books, including Shipwreck Modernity: Ecologies of Globalization, 1550 – 1719 (2015), and the editor of four books. His maritime research has been supported by the Folger Shakespeare Library, the John Carter Brown Library, Mystic Seaport, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Maritime Museum in London.]

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Elisabeth Gifford “The Lost Lights of St Kilda” MARCH 2020

1927: When Fred Lawson takes a summer job on St Kilda, little does he realise that he has joined the last community to ever live on that beautiful, isolated island. Only three years later, St Kilda will be evacuated, the islanders near-dead from starvation. But for Fred, that summer – and the island woman, Chrissie, whom he falls in love with – becomes the very thing that sustains him in the years ahead.

1940: Fred has been captured behind enemy lines in France and finds himself in a prisoner-of-war camp. Beaten and exhausted, his thoughts return to the island of his youth and the woman he loved and lost. When Fred makes his daring escape, prompting a desperate journey across occupied territory, he is sustained by one thought only: finding his way back to her.

The Lost Lights of St Kilda is a sweeping love story that will cross oceans and decades. It is a moving and deeply vivid portrait of two lovers, a desolate island, and the extraordinary power of hope in the face of darkness.

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Gavin Francis “Island Dreams: Mapping an Obsession” May 2020

In Island Dreams, Gavin Francis journeys into our collective fascination with islands. He blends stories of his own travels with great voyages from literature and philosophical exploration, and he examines the place of islands and isolation in our collective consciousness.

Comparing the life of freedom of thirty years of extraordinary travel – from the Faroe Islands to the Aegean, from the Galapagos to the Andaman Islands – with a life of responsibility as a doctor, community member and parent approaching middle age, Island Dreams riffs on the twinned poles of rest and motion, independence and attachment, never more relevant than in today’s perennially connected world.

Beautifully illustrated with maps throughout, this is a celebration of human adventures in the world and within our minds.

Gavin Francis is an award-winning writer and GP. He is the author of four books of non-fiction, including Adventures in Human Being, which was a Sunday Times bestseller and won the Saltire Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award, and Empire Antarctica, which won Scottish Book of the Year in the SMIT Awards and was shortlisted for both the Ondaatje and Costa Prizes. He has written for the Guardian, The Times, the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books. His work is published in eighteen languages. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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James Bradley “Ghost Species” May 2020

When scientist Kate Garrard joins a secretive project to re-engineer the climate by resurrecting extinct species she becomes enmeshed in another, even more clandestine program to recreate our long-lost relatives, the Neanderthals. But when the first of the children, a girl called Eve, is born, Kate cannot bear the thought her growing up in a laboratory, and so elects to abduct her, and raise her alone.

Set against a backdrop of hastening climate catastrophe, Ghost Species is an exquisitely beautiful and deeply affecting exploration of connection and loss in the age of planetary trauma. For as Eve grows to adulthood she and Kate must face the question of who and what she is. Is she natural or artificial? Human or non-human? And perhaps most importantly, as civilization unravels around them, is Eve the ghost species, or are we?

James Bradley is the author of four novels, WrackThe Deep FieldThe Resurrectionist and Clade, and a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus. His books have won or been shortlisted for a number of major Australian and international literary awards and have been widely translated.