• The Man in the Red Coat – Julian Barnes

Set in the French Belle Epoque, The Man in the Red Coat is a fresh and original portrait of the era. It tells the story of the heroes and villains, its writers, artists and thinkers and most importantly a life of a man ahead of its time.

  • A House in the Mountains – Caroline Moorhead

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Village of Secrets comes the extraordinary story of four courageous women who helped form the Italian Resistance during WW2.

  • Singing the Trail – John McCrystal

The very first maps were oral maps made by early Polynesian and Maori settlers. These waypoints, described as ‘survey pegs of memory’, included lists of places in songs, chants, karakia and stories that showed direction. Hundreds of years later, the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman arrived and made the first attempt at a physical map. He was followed more than 100 years later by Cook, who made a more complete map as he circumnavigated the country. And, once the detail of the coastline was filled in, more detailed maps of the interior were made by those in search of resources to exploit. Beautifully illustrated with a selection of fascinating maps, Singing the Trail is a clever and compelling look at both New Zealand’s history and also the intriguing tradition of map-making.

  • Towards the Mountain – Sarah Myles

On 28 November 1979, an Air New Zealand plane crashed into the lower slopes of Mount Erebus in broad daylight while on a sightseeing trip to Antarctica, killing all 257 souls on board. This was New Zealand’s greatest peacetime tragedy.

Not only was the crash deeply shocking for our small country (it is said that everyone knew of someone onboard) but the legal and political aftermath wreaked its own trail of debris. The poor conduct of airline management in the months that followed the crash was described as ‘a litany of lies’ by a Royal Commission of Inquiry who found the airline at fault rather than the pilots. In the aftermath, the stories of the families involved were forgotten, until now.

Sarah Myles has researched extensively into the recovery and identification process that brought her grandfather and so many others home. She weaves through this her family’s traumatic experiences and her own memories of that time, discussing the legacy of grief and the possibility of hope.

  • Brilliant Maps – Ian Wright

Revelatory, thought-provoking and fun, Brilliant Maps is a unique atlas of culture, history, politics and miscellanea. Visually arresting and full of surprising facts and figures, it is a stunning piece of cartography that maps our curious and varied planet. For graphic design enthusiasts, compulsive Wikipedia readers and those looking for the sort of gift they buy for someone else and wind up keeping for themselves, this book will change the way you see the world and your place in it.

  • The Mountbattens – Andrew Lownie

To mark the 40th anniversary of Lord Mountbatten’s assassination by the IRA comes a nuanced portrayal of the glamorous couple behind the modern royal family—two very unusual people and their complex marriage. From British high society and the South of France to the battlefields of Burma and the Viceroy’s House, this is a rich and filmic story whose characters include all the key figures of the Second World War and the Royal Family.

  • Almost Perfekt – David Crouch

Sweden. A country that defies the laws of economic gravity. A land with high wages, strong unions and generous welfare. Perfect. Or is it? Having lived in Sweden for six years, journalist David Crouch has a unique perspective on one of the world’s most successful yet divided countries. Based on more than 70 interviews with leading figures in Swedish industry and politics, Almost Perfekt is a journey through Swedish society and what sets it apart from the world today.

  • Information Wars – Richard Stengel

Information Wars moves through Russia and Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, to show how disinformation is impacting on our global society. It illustrates how ISIS terrorised the world using social media, and how the Russians launched a tsunami of disinformation around the annexation of Crimea that became the model for their interference with the 2016 American presidential election. An urgent book for our times, Information Wars stresses that we must find a way to combat this ever-growing threat to democracy.

  • In the Closet of the Vatican – Frederic Martel

In the Closet of the Vatican exposes the rot at the heart of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church today. This brilliant piece of investigative writing is based on four years’ authoritative research, including extensive interviews with those in power. The celibacy of priests, the condemnation of contraceptives, the cover-up of sexual abuse, misogyny and the plotting against Pope Francis are just some of the issues clouded in mystery and secrecy that this New York Times bestseller reveals.

  • Damascus – Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas’ stunning new novel Damascus is a work of soaring ambition and achievement, of immense power and epic scope, taking as its subject nothing less than events surrounding the birth and establishment of the Christian church. Based around the gospels and letters of St Paul, and focusing on characters one and two generations on from the death of Christ, as well as Paul (Saul) himself, Damascus nevertheless explores the themes that have always obsessed Tsiolkas as a writer: class, religion, masculinity, patriarchy, colonisation, refugees; the ways in which nations, societies, communities, families and individuals are united and divided—it’s all here, the contemporary and urgent questions, perennial concerns made vivid and visceral.

In Damascus, Tsiolkas has written a masterpiece of imagination and transformation: a historical novel of immense power and an unflinching dissection of doubt and faith, tyranny and revolution, and cruelty and sacrifice.

  • Out of Darkness, Shining Light – Petina Gappah

This is the story of the body of the explorer Doctor David Livingstone—and the devoted servants who carried his remains for 1,500 miles so that he could be borne across the sea and buried in his own country. Their tale of how his corpse was transported out of nineteenth-century Africa—carrying the maps that sowed the seeds of the continent’s brutal colonisation—has the power of myth. It is not only symbolic of slavery’s hypocrisy but a celebration of human bravery, loyalty and love.

  • Paris: A Photographic Journey – Sandra Forty

Sandra Forty takes readers to Paris’ historical sights and scenes including the terrible fire that ravaged Notre Dame cathedral in April 2019. The ‘City of Light’ is captured in nearly 200 photographs in all of its architectural beauty and enchantment that possess all those who visit.

  • Southern Nights – Naomi Arnold

Aotearoa New Zealand was founded on stargazing. There is no better place on Earth to view the brilliance of other worlds.

Showcasing the night sky above New Zealand like it’s never been seen before, Southern Nights looks at major stars, objects of our sky, associated meanings, history and cultural importance. Naomi explains Polynesian celestial navigation, Māori and modern astronomy, and features some of NZ’s spectacularly talented and award-winning astrophotographers.

  • Rugby Folklore – Matt Elliott

A miscellany of stories, quotes and facts that are part of the fabric of New Zealand rugby.

Rugby Folklore is a book about matches won and lost, rivalries built and legends made. From on-field controversies, rugby songs, and what makes an All Black to Hika’s great try, ‘Bring Back Buck’ and wind at Athletic Park so strong that Don Clarke watched a ball kicked for touch sail back over his head.

This collection of interesting facts, unforgettable quotes and tall tales will you leave you looking on our national game with pure unbridled pride, and a little disbelief.

  • Crusaders – Dan Jones

Dan Jones is a master of popular narrative history, with the priceless ability to write page-turning narrative history underpinned by authoritative scholarship.

Never before has the era of the Crusades been depicted in such bright and striking colours, or their story told with such gusto.

  • The End is Always Near – Dan Carlin

In The End is Always Near, Dan Carlin connects the past and future in fascinating and colourful ways, exploring a question that has hung over humanity like the Sword of Damocles from the collapse of the Bronze Age to the nuclear era – that of human survival.

Combining his trademark mix of storytelling, history and thought experiments, Carlin forces us to consider what sounds like fantasy: that we might suffer the same fate as all previous civilisations. Will our world ever become a ruin for future archaeologists to dig up and explore?

This thrillingly expansive and entertaining book will make you look at the past – and future – in a completely different way.

  • The Hero – Lee Child

In his first work of non-fiction, the creator of the multimillion-selling Jack Reacher series explores the endurance of heroes from Achilles to Bond, showing us how this age-old myth is a fundamental part of what makes us human. He demonstrates how hero stories continue to shape our world – arguing that we need them now more than ever.