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Elaine's Holiday Reads

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Rachel Sherlock found this witty
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 These are a few of the books I think would be a great read on these long winter's nights.

    Bring Up the Bodies

    By 1535 Thomas Cromwell is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome. But Henry's actions have forced England into dangerous isolation, and Anne has failed to bear a son to secure the Tudor line. When Henry visits Wolf Hall, Cromwell watches as he falls in love with the silent, plain Jane Seymour and sees what is at stake: not just the king s pleasure, but the safety of the nation. As he eases a way through the sexual politics of the court, he must negotiate a truth that will satisfy Henry and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge undamaged from the bloody theatre of Anne's final days. In "Bring up the Bodies", sequel to the Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in "English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn".

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    True History of the Kelly Gang

    'I lost my own father at 12 years of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silence...' To the authorities in pursuit of him, outlaw Ned Kelly is a horse thief, bank robber and police-killer. But to his fellow ordinary Australians, Kelly is their own Robin Hood. In a dazzling act of ventriloquism, Peter Carey brings the famous bushranger wildly and passionately to life.

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    The Phantom Atlas

    The Phantom Atlas is an atlas of the world not as it ever existed, but as it was thought to be. These marvellous and mysterious phantoms - non-existent islands, invented mountain ranges, mythical civilisations and other fictitious geography - were all at various times presented as facts on maps and atlases. This book is a collection of striking antique maps that display the most erroneous cartography, with each illustration accompanied by the story behind it. Exploration, map-making and mythology are all brought together to create a colourful tapestry of monsters, heroes and volcanoes; swindlers, mirages and murderers. Sometimes the stories are almost impossible to believe, and remarkably, some of the errors were still on display in maps published in the 21st century. Throughout much of the 19th century more than 40 different mapmakers included the Mountains of Kong, a huge range of peaks stretching across the entire continent of Africa, in their maps - but it was only in 1889 when Louis Gustave Binger revealed the whole thing to be a fake. For centuries, explorers who headed to Patagonia returned with tales of the giants they had met who lived there, some nine feet tall. Then there was Gregor MacGregor, a Scottish explorer who returned to London to sell shares in a land he had discovered in South America. He had been appointed the Cazique of Poyais, and bestowed with many honours by the local king of this unspoiled paradise. Now he was offering others the chance to join him and make their fortune there, too - once they had paid him a bargain fee for their passage... The Phantom Atlas is a beautifully produced volume, packed with stunning maps and drawings of places and people that never existed. The remarkable stories behind them all are brilliantly told by Edward Brooke-Hitching in a book that will appeal to cartophiles everywhere.

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