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FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH:  James Twining's first novel, THE DOUBLE EAGLE, was an instant hit, and pretty soon achieved best-seller status with over 100,000 copies sold in the UK alone. THE BLACK SUN continues the adventures of Tom Kirk, once again involving the sinister and treacherous Uncle Harry, only this time, Kirk's working for the British Secret Service as they try to uncover the connection between a murdered SS officer and a number of stolen WWII paintings. You won't be disappointed - James is a master story-teller and this is a sensational follow-up to a classic first novel. Full review on the Harper Collins Page. You could win a signed copy of THE BLACK SUN - full details here. Review: I knew I wouldn't be disappointed - James is a born story-teller, and this is straight out of a mould that begins with Boys' Own Paper and continues to this day with cliffhanger chapter endings reminiscent of Saturday Morning cinema - a fantastic ride, a brilliant story. I'm not sure I would choose Tom Cruise for Tom Kirk, as is suggested on the cover, though he is kind of obvious - not British enough for me. This will be another number one bestseller, and deservedly so.

Max Arthur, bestselling author of the hugely popular "Forgotten Voices" series, recaptures the day-to-day lives of working people in the Edwardian era. The Edwardian era is often eclipsed in the popular imagination by the Victorian era that preceded it and the First World War that followed. In this wonderful work, Max Arthur redresses this imbalance, combining oral history and rare images and rediscovered film stills from the turn of the century to give voice to the forgotten figures who peopled the cities, factories and seasides of Edwardian Britain. This extraordinary period was fuelled by a relentless sense of progress and witnessed the invention of many of the technologies we now take for granted. The extremes of this upstairs-downstairs world prompted a huge upsurge in political activity, and the Edwardian age saw the rise of socialism and the emergence of the suffragette movement. These years are made all the more poignant by our knowledge that the First World War was imminent and this time of optimistic development would be brutally cut short. This exciting work draws together the experiences of people from all walks of life, capturing the first generation that were able to record their lives on film and imbuing them with an emotional immediacy that is sure to have enormous popular appeal. Review: This is a piece of living history, the kind of thing you get to hear infreuently, like when your children do a school project and ask the oldest members of the family what they can remember about living through the war, etc. Poignant, heart-rending stories, mostly about poverty during the Edwardian era - how times have changed - and how, in some ways, they're still the same! This will captivate you right from the start. There's nothing like real people reminiscing, but if it's done correctly, like this volume, you have a winner.

This is an evocative romantic fantasy set in the legendary time of King Arthur from the author of "Camelot's Shadow". Lynet of Cameliard is the youngest child of Lord Kenan, who holds Castle Cambryn in the name of Queen Guinevere. When Lynet's brother, Colan, murders their father the castle and its people are thrown into disarray. Leaving her elder sister Laurel behind as a hostage, Lynet sets off for Camelot to beg Guinevere to return to Cameliard with her and restore order. Meanwhile at Camelot, Lancelot's squire Gareth, youngest brother of the renowned Sir Gawain, is getting himself into all sorts of trouble, first by dallying too much with the ladies, then by losing a duel against an elderly knight, behaviour which reflects on the reputation of Lancelot himself. When Lynet arrives at court to make her appeal, Gareth sees a way to redeem himself. But the danger is greater then either of them could have realized. For Lynet's fugitive brother has allied himself with Arthur's half-sister and sworn enemy, the sorceress Morgaine. Morgaine plans to use the troubles at Cameliard to bring about Guinevere's downfall, fatally weakening Arthur. Can Gareth and Lynet put aside their growing feelings for one another in order to avert catastrophe? Review: With the 100th anniversary of T H White this month, interest in the legend of Arthur and Camelot has never been higher. Sarah Zettel's style is easy and lyrical. A worthy sequel in every way, and this retelling of the legend just gets better and better.

This is the second book in the classic eight volume graphic novel series retelling the story of Buddha, from the godfather of the genre - an irreverent and humourous rendition of the life and times of Prince Siddhartha. In book two, "The Four Encounters", Prince Siddhartha - fated to become the Buddha - is confronted by the harsh penalties of social injustice within his own kingdom, fuelled by selfish warlords and villains like the depraved warrior, Bandaka. The tragic fortunes of his loved-ones, such as Tatta, the rogue and Migalia, the fierce female bandit, force the Prince to choose between love and destiny; Siddhartha must forsake his heart and begin his pilgrimage. Originated in the 1970s, "Buddha" is Osamu Tezuka's unparalleled rendition of the life and times of Prince Siddhartha. Tezuka's storytelling genius and consummate skill at visual expression blossom fully as he contextualizes the Buddha's ideas; with an emphasis on, action, emotion, humour and conflict as Prince Siddhartha runs away from home, travels across India and questions Hindu practices such as ascetic self-mutilation and caste oppression. Rather than recommend resignation and impassivity, Tezuka's "Buddha" predicates enlightenment upon recognizing the interconnectedness of life, having compassion for the suffering, and ordering one's life sensibly, his approach is slightly irreverent in that it incorporates something that Western commentators often eschew, namely, humour. Review: a sensational rendering of the story of Buddha, complete with his transition from boy to man and all that entails. The drawing is sublime, the story clear and well-told. Excellent fun.

A young woman escapes her stifling home town to become a WAAF, little realising the life she will lead as World War Two breaks. Daisy grows up in a Geordie family of Irish descent, which has just one interest: her older sister, a precociously talented singer. Daisy learns early on how to cope with disappointment and rejection, but she also develops a rare resilience and determination. This stands her in good stead when a despicable act of violence gives her no choice but to leave home. The WAAFs want recruits and Daisy signs up, full of trepidation but hope too. Now she can be the person she's always wanted to be - but who exactly is that? Through the dangers of the war, the raids, the heightened camaraderie, the emotional tension, Daisy comes to realise that she need not put up a front as a good-time girl or an ice queen. But by then, it's too late for the one pilot who almost broke through her reserve! Review: Daisy could have been my mother, or one of my aunts on my father's side. To me, this is real, because I've heard stories like it from my own family members often enough. Brilliantly entertaining.

Daniel Alarcon is a brilliant new voice in literary fiction. "War by Candlelight" is a beautiful, vital and luminous first collection. Something is happening around the globe: the mass movement of peoples, dislocations of language and culture in the wake of war and economic crises - simply put, our world is changing. In this exquisite collection, Daniel Alarcon takes the reader from Third World urban centres to the fault lines that divide nations and people, personalising the shifting realities of our own contemporary world. These nine stories examine the lives of various characters in transition - from unrepentant terrorists to immigrants wrestling with the idea of never returning home - men and women never entirely free of the convulsive conditions that define their lives. Wars, both national and internal, are waged in jungles, across borders, in the streets of Lima, in the intimacy of New York apartments. Review: Alarcon paints a fascinating picture of urban warfare, with terrific characters and scenes from real life that really set you thinking: what if life was like that here, in the sleepy United Kingdom? This one will be a set book for English Literature, I'm sure.

THE JESUS DYNASTY: JAMES TABOR: Synopsis: If you thought Dan Brown's fiction was gripping, try the truth. This controversial book pieces together new evidence on the real life of Jesus. The true inspiration behind Kathy Reich's bestselling thriller, "Crossbones", archaeologist and scholar James Tabor takes us on a startling journey that changes the story of Christianity as we know it. Based on hand-on archaeological experience and ground-breaking academic research, real-life Indiana Jones, James Tabor, has produced a compelling and bold new interpretation of the life of Jesus and the origins of Christianity. So impressive is his work that Kathy Reichs, bestselling mystery writer of the "Tempe Brennan" series, was inspired by his findings to write her latest novel, "Cross Bones". The truth, however, is far more gripping than fiction - either hers or Dan Brown's. Tabor's revelations are startling and substantiated, beginning with his accidental discovery on a dig in Israel of what many now think was Jesus' family tomb. Piecing together new archaeological evidence, combined with the earliest surviving Christian documents, Tabor reconstructs Jesus' real family history. What emerges is Jesus as head of a persecuted royal dynasty in exile. Jesus was leader of a messianic movement - one far different to the revelations of his maverick follower Paul who was responsible for what we know as Christianity today. Was Jesus far more human than the Church has led us to believe? Did Jesus entrust his teachings to someone much closer to him? Was his royal bloodline meant to free mankind or just a chosen few? And why did dissident follower Paul have a more lasting effect on Christianity than Jesus himself? Review: James Tabor speaks with confidence and authority, dissecting the Gospels for evidence of the real truth about Jesus - was he married, did he have brothers and sisters, did he have children, did he escape from the cross, and so on. The questions are posed scientifically and the evidence to support Tabor's claims and conclusions are overwhelming. At this point, with the National Geographic's release of the new translation of Judas' Gnostic Gospel, one wonders how long it will be before the whole Christian Church is turned on its head. Having read all the evidence, one is tempted to come down on the side of the conspiracy theorists.....this is a real-life Indiana Jones adventure, and lone with far-reaching consequences. Absorbing and fascinating.

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Gateway is published by Paul Edmund Norman on the first day of each month. Hosting is by Flying Porcupine at - and web design by Gateway. Submitting to Gateway: Basically, all you need do is e-mail it along and I'll consider it - it can be any length, if it's very long I'll serialise it, if it's medium-length I'll put it in as a novella, if it's a short story or a feature article it will go in as it comes. Payment is zero, I'm afraid, as I don't make any money from Gateway, I do it all for fun! For Advertising rates in Gateway please contact me at Should you be kind enough to want to send me books to review, please contact me by e-mail and I will gladly forward you my home address. Meanwhile, here's how to contact me: Gateway banner created by and © Paul Edmund Norman

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