Fiction M – Z

Novels by the following York Authors can be found on this page:

  • Sarah Maine
  • Tim Murgatroyd
  • Fiona Shaw
  • Tim Vicary
  • Alys West
  • John Wheatcroft.

Cover of Bhalla Strand by MaineSarah Maine
Bhalla Strand

Freight Books, 2014. Paperback/e-book
Genre: General fiction
Set in York? No
Description: Bhalla Strand is the story of two women, living a century apart. Beatrice (1910) is married to an unresponsive and obsessive artist, Theo Blake, while Hetty (2010) is seeking her roots, and a new beginning. A body uncovered in the foundations of a remote Hebridean house links their lives together.
‘There is an echo of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca in Sarah Maine’s highly readable debut.’ The Independent
This might be the author’s fifth or sixth novel, not her first. A literary star is born!’ Ronald Frame, author of The Lantern Bearers and Havisham
I predict great things for Sarah Maine.’ The Bookbag
Find out more and buy from: Amazon | Publisher’s website

Cover of Taming Poison DragonsTim Murgatroyd
Taming Poison Dragons
Myrmidon Books, 2009. Hardback, Paperback, ebook.
Also Translated into Chinese: Shanghai Literature and Arts Publications, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Set in York? No
Description: First book in the China Trilogy
Western China, 1196…
Yun Cai, once a handsome and adored young poet, is now exiled to his family estates to suffer a bitter old age and the irritations of his feckless heir and shrewish daughter-in-law.
But ‘poison dragons’ of cruel ambition sweep away Yun Cai’s dull existence when a band of rebel horsemen terrorise his village.  He also fears a debt of honour: to save his oldest friend, the imperial courtier P’ei Ti, now the rebels’ most valuable hostage in a hellish prison.
Throughout these ordeals Yun Cai is drawn to memories of his glittering yet perilous youth in the imperial capital, and a reckless love for the beautiful singing girl, Su Lin, that cost his freedom and almost his life.  Yun Cai must now rediscover his old wit and courage to confront the ruthless warlord General An-Shu and his beautiful but sadistic consort, the Lady Ta Chi.
Taming Poison Dragons is an epic and captivating tale of honour, ruthless ambition and enduring love in Sung Dynasty China.
Reviews: ‘This epic novel captures the ethereal beauty of Chinese poetry…Murgatroyd has found a style which conveys admirably the peculiar beauty of the rich metaphorical Chinese language’ Morning Star
‘Taming Poison Dragons is a captivatingly original and unforgettable story of tragedy and enduring love in Sung Dynasty China.’ Calderdale Libraries
Awards: Entered by the publisher for  the 2009 Man Booker Prize.
Find out more and buy from: Author’s websiteAmazonPublisher’s website

Cover of Breaking BambooTim Murgatroyd
Breaking Bamboo
Myrmidon Books, 2010. Hardback, Paperback, ebook.
Also translated into Chinese: Shanghai Literature and Arts
Genre: Historical Fiction
Set in York? No
Description: Second book in the China Trilogy
Central China, 1264…
When Mongol armies storm into the Middle Kingdom, the descendents of Yun Cai (Taming Poison Dragons) are trapped in a desperate siege that will determine the fate of the Empire. Guang and Shih are identical twins, one a heroic soldier idolised by the city he defends, the other a humble doctor. In the midst of war, jealous conflicts over Shih’s wife and concubine threaten to tear the brothers apart. Enemies close in on every side – some disturbingly close to home. Can the Yun family survive imprisonment, ruthless treachery and Kublai Khan’s bloody hordes? Or will their own reckless passions destroy them first? Breaking Bamboo is the second instalment of a trilogy set in Song and Yuan Dynasty China, charting the trials and adventures of the Yun clan.
Reviews: “The author’s knowledge of and love for this region and era are clear, and the reader is definitely immersed in the atmosphere and culture of the time. I recommend this to anyone interested in China and also anyone who feels like reading an interesting and well-written tale of love, betrayal, war and difficult decisions.” Ann Northfield, Historical Novels Review, Issue 56, May 2011
Awards: Entered by the publisher for the 2010 Man Booker Prize.
Find out more and buy from: Author’s website   l  Amazon Publisher’s website

Cover of The Mandate of HeavenTim Murgatroyd
The Mandate of Heaven
Myrmidon Books, October 2013. Hardback, paperback, e-book.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Set in York? No
Description: Final book in the China Trilogy
Hou-ming, city of ghosts, central China, 1304…
In a vast graveyard created by Mongol slaughter, three children meet amidst the decaying ruins and forge a friendship that will determine their destinies.
As the years pass they separate, finding different paths in life.
Yun Shu, cruelly rejected by her father for refusing to bind her feet, seeks solace as a Daoist nun.
Hsiung, enslaved by the Mongols when just a boy, becomes a ruthless rebel warlord determined to drive the invaders from his native land.
Teng, an artist and scholar, last son of a once noble family ruined by the new Mongol dynasty, risks his life to preserve the culture he reveres.
For the three friends to come together, they must endure war, treachery greed and the casual abuse of power. To win honour and unexpected love they must overcome dangerous enemies and conflicts in the depths of their hearts.
Each of them, through clouds of troubles, must earn the Mandate of Heaven.
Reviews: to follow
Find out more and buy from: Author’s website  l  AmazonPublisher’s website

Cover of Shaw: A Stone's ThrowFiona Shaw
A Stone’s Throw
Serpent’s Tail, 2012 Paperback/e-book
Genre: Literary Fiction; Historical novel
Set in York? No
Description: Two fathers: one on a fateful journey, one skimming stones. Between them is Meg. She’s survived grief, death by water, war. She’s married and loved, and lost. Haunted by her own decisions, she watches her son live with his. Each must let go of the past and face the future.
Reviews: ‘Fiona Shaw writes with a pure style and an honest heart.’ Emma Donoghue
‘As subtle and delicate as gossamer… a masterclass in restraint’ Financial Times
‘Exquisitely written’ Daily Mirror
‘Shot through with moments of pure poetry’ Independent
Find out more and buy from: Author’s website l Amazon  l Publisher’s website

Cover of Shaw: Tell it to the beesFiona Shaw
Tell it to the Bees
Tindal Street, 2009. Paperback/e-book/Audio
Genre: Literary fiction, historical fiction
Set in York? No
Description: Lydia is distraught at her marriage break-up. When her son Charlie befriends the town’s doctor, her life turns upside-down.
Charlie tells his secrets only to the bees, but he can’t keep his mother’s friendship to himself. As Lydia and Jean become closer, rumours fly and threaten to shatter Charlie’s world.
Reviews: ‘Shaw’s writing is lovely: elegant, subtle and haunting’ The Times
‘Powerfully exposes the wrenches of prejudice…A tender and unlikely page-turner’ Financial Times
‘A page-turning, involving read that makes you ask big questions about the world and its prejudices. Liberating and uplifting.’ Jackie Kay
‘…echoes of Revolutionary Road. Delicate, but feistily written.’ Elle
Find out more and buy from:Author’s website l Amazon  l Publisher’s website

Cover of Shaw: The picture she tookFiona Shaw
The Picture She Took
Virago, 2005
Genre: Literary fiction. Historical fiction
Set in York? Set partly in Yorkshire
Description: War is the making of Jude, nursing soldiers on the Western Front. She photographs everything, including the men. Daniel has returned from war in Ireland a haunted man. One chance snapshot, two soldiers sharing a cigarette, connects them; it will expose the past, and threaten the future. Can they survive?
Reviews: ‘The kind of historical romance that matches anything by Sebastian Faulks or Penelpe Fitzgerald… Shaw has a great talent for getting right to the inner core of her characters’ Independent on Sunday
‘Nothing is quite as it seems in Shaw’s historical fiction….Absorbing and moving in equal measure.’ Time Out
Find out more and buy from:Author’s website l Amazon

Cover of Shaw - The Sweetest ThingFiona ShawFiona Shaw
The Sweetest Thing
Virago, 2003. Paperback/e-book
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical fiction
Set in York? Yes
Description: Victorian York: a story is played out inside the cocoa factory and asylum, photographic studio and Meeting House. A contemporary novel about late-Victorian life, it gives us a world of morality, espionage and cocoa, in which a fortune can be made from a mouthful of sugar and a pin-up girl.
Reviews: ‘Richly researched, warmly characterised and admirably humane’ Daily Mail
‘triumphs through its unpretentiousness…For a writer to re-enact the past through the moral strength of her protagonists proclaims a considerable talent.’ TLS
‘An erotic and intimate story… a truly top flight historical novel…[which] cannot be praised too highly.’ Historical Novels Review
Find out more and buy from: Author’s website l Amazon

Cover of Game of ProofTim Vicary
A Game of Proof – A mother’s fight to defend her son
White Owl Publications  4th July 2011 ebook and paperback.
Genre: Legal Thriller
Set in York? Yes
Description: A mother’s worst nightmare – can her son be guilty of murder?
Criminal barrister Sarah Newby is gaining a high reputation in York Crown Court. But what should she do when her own son, Simon, is arrested and charged with a series of brutal rapes and murders?
Reviews: ‘A brilliant British crime thriller that you really should read.’ Kindle Book Review
‘This book is a top class British legal thriller. It … puts the author up there with his American counterparts, John Grisham, Scott Turow and Michael Connolly.’ Tim Kevan, barrister, author ofLaw and Disorder
Find out more and buy from: Author’s websiteAmazon  l Author’s blog 

Cover of A Fatal VerdictTim Vicary
A Fatal Verdict – A Sister’s Revenge
White Owl Publications 9th July 2011 ebook and paperback
Genre: Legal Thriller
Set in York? Yes.
Description: What would you do if someone murdered your child, but the justice system let you down? Kathryn Walters is faced with this dreadful decision when her daughter, Shelley, is found dead in her boyfriend’s flat. York barrister Sarah Newby is confronted with one of her toughest cases yet.
Reviews: ‘Excellent … Vicary brings the drama of the court room to life, all set against the back drop of the beautiful city of York.’ Kindle Book Review
‘A superb piece of writing’ Jenny Twist, author ofDomingo’s Angel’
Awards: B.R.A.G. Medallion 2012.
Find out more and buy from:  Author’s website   l Amazon l Author’s blog

Cover of Bold CounselTim VicaryBold Counsel – no one hides forever
White Owl Publications 16th July 2011 ebook and paperback
Genre: Legal Thriller
Set in York? Yes
Description: York barrister Sarah Newby presents her first case in the Court of Criminal Appeal, and meets a handsome property developer, Michael Parker. But when a body is discovered in one of Michael’s cottages, she begins to wonder: is this just a coincidence, or is her new lover really a murderer?
Reviews: ‘This is another superb and accomplished British thriller by Tim Vicary, and is sure to be enjoyed by many a reader.’ Kindle Book Review
‘Simply outstanding … I cannot recommend this book more highly.’ John Bartlett, author of  ‘Chequered Justice’
Awards: The Awesome Indies Seal of Approval 2012
Find out more and buy from: Author’s websiteAmazon  l Author’s blog

Alys West
2016. Paperback/e-book
Genre: Urban fantasy romance
Set in York? No
Description: A mysterious green man, a healer who doesn’t heal and dreams that foretell the future. For artist Zoe, her stay in Glastonbury just seriously weird. And that’s before she discovers there’s real magic happening around her… A gripping urban fantasy romance which will keep you spellbound until the last page.
Reviews: ‘If you are looking for a romantic read that is a little different, with the supernatural thrown into the mix and wickedly entertaining characters who stay with you long after you have finished the book, then Beltane is the book for you. You won’t be disappointed.’ Brew and Books Reviews
Read a sample: Here
Find out more from: Author’s website l Publisher’s website
Buy from: Amazon

Cover of Alys West's The Dirigible King's DaughterAlys West
The Dirigible King’s Daughter
2016. Paperback/e-book
Genre: Steampunk romance
Set in York? Partially
Description: An amorous Alderman, a mysterious Viscount, a fake engagement and an arrest for attempted murder: Harriet Hardy’s life just got seriously complicated. Can she clear her name and marry the man she loves or is it already too late for the Dirigible King’s Daughter?
Reviews: ‘Victorian Steampunk with kickass pistol-packing Victorian feminist… The Dirigible King’s Daughter is a quick entertaining read for those who enjoy romance, steampunk, or just a charmingly-written and beautifully edited little book that makes few demands and delivers exactly what it promises’. Rosie Amber’s Book Blog
Read a sample: Here
Find out more from:  Author’s website l  Publisher’s website
Buy from: Amazon

cull-valley-coverJohn Wheatcroft
Here in the Cull Valley

Stairwell, 2016, Paperback
Genre: Drama
Set in York? No, although the city makes a brief and significant appearance.
Description: As journalist Teddy Beresford is about to die in a car crash, he reviews his life and we learn about the way his sexual obsession with a woman he does not love has led him to this place
Reviews: ‘The fictional news reports and features are a particular joy, capturing to a tee the fake gossipy sentimentality of a certain type of newspaper feature and the bland clichés of some news reports.’ Stephen Lewis, York Press
Find out more and buy from: Publisher’s website  l Usual outlets

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