Hester Prynne is a beautiful young woman. She is also an outcast. In the eyes of her neighbours she has committed an unforgivable sin. Everyone knows that her little daughter, Pearl, is the product of an illicit affair but no one knows the identity of Pearl's father. Hester's refusal to name him brings more condemnation upon her. But she stands strong in the face of public scorn, even when she is forced to wear the sign of her shame sewn onto her clothes: the scarlet letter 'A' for 'Adulteress'
It's early 2008 and the credit crunch is starting to bite. Sam and Laura Diamond - and their friends - are circling forty and all feeling a lot less certain about life than when they first met in their twenties. Laura wants to work part-time and have a third child - an appalling prospect for her husband Sam, whose secret ambition is to give up his job as a struggling scriptwriter and have a vasectomy.
Life's no more straightforward for wild child turned corporate lawyer Janey Dart. Having finally given up on Patrick, the love of her life, she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and hastily married to a wealthy hedge fund manager who loathes her friends.
And Sam's oldest friend, trendy restaurant owner Jonathan Sleet, is about to hit the big time with a TV series and cookbook, but can't control his roving eye. So it's no surprise that back on their organic farm in Suffolk, his once glamorous wife Hannah is finding distractions of her own.
Determined to reunite the group, Jonathan brings everyone together for a holiday to celebrate his fortieth birthday. But six friends, two decades of tangled fortunes and an explosive secret from the past make for an unforgettable week.
Three Brothers follows the fortunes of Harry, Daniel and Sam Hanway, born on a post-war council estate in Camden Town. Marked out from the start by curious coincidence, each boy is forced to make his own way in the world - a world of dodgy deals and big business, of criminal gangs and crooked landlords, of newspaper magnates, back-biters and petty thieves.
London is the backdrop and the connecting fabric of these three lives, reinforcing Ackroyd's grand theme that place and history create, surround and engulf us. From bustling, cut-throat Fleet Street to hallowed London publishing houses, from the wealth and corruption of Chelsea to the smoky shadows of Limehouse and Hackney, this is an exploration of the city, peering down its streets, riding on its underground, and drinking in its pubs and clubs. Everything is possible - not only in the new freedom of the 1960s but also in London's timeless past.
It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Cephallonia as part of the occupying forces. At first he is ostracised by the locals, but as a conscientious but far from fanatical soldier, whose main aim is to have a peaceful war, he proves in time to be civilised, humorous - and a consummate musician.
When the local doctor's daughter's letters to her fiancé - a member of the underground - go unanswered, the working of the eternal triangle seems inevitable. But can this fragile love survive as a war of bestial savagery gets closer and the lines are drawn between invader and defender?
Born at the stroke of midnight at the exact moment of India's independence, Saleem Sinai is a special child. However, this coincidence of birth has consequences he is not prepared for: telepathic powers connect him with 1,000 other 'midnight's children' all of whom are endowed with unusual gifts. Inextricably linked to his nation, Saleem's story is a whirlwind of disasters and triumphs that mirrors the course of modern India at its most impossible and glorious
Into the intrigue and violence of Indo-China comes Pyle, a young idealistic American sent to promote democracy through a mysterious 'Third Force'. As his naive optimism starts to cause bloodshed, his friend Fowler, a cynical foreign correspondent, finds it hard to stand aside and watch. But even as he intervenes he wonders why: for the sake of politics, or for love?
Can you forgive the past?
It's 1963 and a young German reporter has been assigned the suicide of a holocaust survivor. The news story seems straighforward, this is a tragic insight into one man's suffering. But a long hidden secret is discovered in the pages of the dead man's diary.
What follows is life-and-death hunt for a notorious former concentration camp-commander, a man responsible for the deaths of thousands, a man as yet unpunished.
Plan Aurora, hatched in a remote dacha in the forest outside Moscow and initiated with relentless brilliance and skill, is a plan within a plan that, in its spine-chilling ingenuity, breaches the ultra-secret Fourth Protocol and turns the fears that shaped it into a living nightmare.
A crack Soviet agent, placed under cover in a quiet English country town, begins to assemble a jigsaw of devastation. MI5 investigator John Preston, working against the most urgent of deadlines, leads an operation to prevent the act of murderous destruction aimed at tumbling Britain into revolution...
TRANSLATED BY MICHAEL GLENNY The devil makes a personal appearance in Moscow accompanied by various demons, including a naked girl and a huge black cat.When he leaves, the asylums are full and the forces of law and order in disarray. Only the Master, a man devoted to truth, and Margarita, the woman he loves, can resist the devil's onslaught.