Forthcoming and recent releases

(p) paperback (l) hardback/large paperback depending on availability

Each month, we provide our Hotlist of titles. Some are entirely new, others are moving into small paperback format for the first time or being reissued, sometimes after a long time out of print. All are due for publication on various dates that month, or early in the next one. The Hotlist helps local readers to plan and budget for book ordering. Here are some recent lists.


April 2019

Catalonia-based Javier Cercas is one the most important Spanish authors of recent decades. A new novel from him is always an event. Born in 1962, major works by this novelist, short-story writer and columnist include Soldiers of Salamis, which explored how the civil war resonated in a modern family. It was a mould-breaking story which sold more than a million copies worldwide, won multiple prestige literary awards in his home country, and spawned the 2002 film Soldados de Salamina by the Madrid-born novelist, film director and screenwriter David Trueba. Other Cercas books translated into English, include The Tenant and The Motive, The Speed of Light, The Anatomy of a Moment, and The Impostor.

Now comes Lord Of All the Dead (l), a bold and courageous journey into the author’s own family history and that of a country in a state of collapse from a fratricidal civil war. Cercas revisits Ibahernando, his parents’ village in Cáceres province, Extremadura, to research the life of Manuel Mena. This ancestor, dearly loved by Cercas’ mother, died at the age of 19 in the battle of the Ebro, one of the bloodiest episodes in Spain’s history.

But who was Manuel Mena? Was he a fascist hero whose memory is an embarrassment to Cercas? Or, was he a young idealist who just happened to end up fighting on ‘the wrong side’? Wartime epics, heroism and death are underlying themes of this bold and challenging novel. For a good background about Cercas’ family past, read ‘Picking over the wounds of Spain’s recent past’, Boyd Tonkin’s June 2014 interview with Cercas at

Lord Of All The Dead leads off this month’s Hotlist of titles,some entirely new, others moving into small paperback format for the first time or being reissued, sometimes after years out of print. All are due for publication on dates in April, with availability in print this month or in early May. The Hotlist helps readers to plan and budget for book ordering.

The lives of great Spanish artists have inspired novels by a number of writers in English over the past two decades. Old Many Goya, by Julia Blackburn, was a standout among these, for example.

The latest, Painter To The King (p) is Amy Sackville’s portrait of Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, from his arrival at the court of King Philip IV of Spain, to his death 38 years and scores of paintings later. It examines a relationship, not quite a friendship, between an artist and his subject. It is a portrait of a ruler, always on duty, and increasingly burdened by a life of public expectation and repeated private grief.

This is a portrait of a court collapsing under the weight of its own excess. Unfolding through series of masterly set-pieces and glancing sketches, this is a novel of brilliance, imagination and sheer style - about what is shown and what is seen, about art and life. It is available for the first time in a small paperback edition.

Two months before he shot himself, Adolf Hitler saw where it had all gone wrong. He had lost the war, he now believed, by failing to seize Gibraltar in the summer of 1940. The Rock of Gibraltar, a pillar of British sea power since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1704, looked forbiddingly formidable to assault without risking a high fatality rate among invading forces. But in truth, it was highly vulnerable. Even while threatened on all sides by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Vichy France and Francoist Spain, Gibraltar had to let thousands of people across its frontier every day to work. Of course, they included spies and saboteurs who wanted to blow up its 25 miles of secret tunnels. The opportunity slipped by as events took another turn with the failure to establish air superiority to invade the UK and then the laying of plans to stab Russia in the back, culminating in the 1941 Operation Barbarossa invasion of the latter. In 1942, Gibraltar was established as US general Dwight D Eisenhower’s headquarters for the allied forces Operation Torch invasions of North Africa, where their victories turned the tide of the Second World War. The Gibraltar story is powerfully brought to life and dissected in Defending The Rock (p), by Nicholas Rankin, former Chief Producer of the UK-basedBBC World Service. Readers of Spain-interest books may recall one of Rankin’s previous titles: the 2013 book Telegram from Guernica, which focused on special correspondent George Steer whose report implicating Nazi Germany in the blitz bombing of the Basque town inspired Picasso's black-and-white painting Guernica.

Continuing our rolling round-up of the many new Spain-related guide books being published in the first months of 2019, there is Experience Spain (l) in the Lonely Planet Experience series. In an age when many people turn to the worldwide web to plan and make journeys, this is a beautiful hardback packed full of photographs. In invites readers to journey to the heart of Spain to reveal the country’s most authentic local sights and experiences. Experience Spain shines a spotlight on the huge diversity of people, places, culture, food and history that shape this extraordinary country. The guide includes more than 70 experiences for those who are passionate about Spain. Lonely Planet pitches it at seasoned travellers looking to experience something new or undiscovered.

If you are taking children with you on your travels, you could do worse than to provide them with the AA Spanish Kids Phrasebook (p). It is aimed at the age range seven to thirteen. This handy, pocket-sized edition has been fully revised and updated with full colour throughout. In designing it for youngsters, the emphasis has been placed on fun for kids on the move for holidays, school trips and exchanges. It is presented in cartoon format so that the text is easily accessible for children. The wider series covers the most popular European destinations for family holidays: Spain, France and Italy.

March 2019

The Costa del Sol’s darker side never seems to lose its appeal to crime writers, In Fight Back, Scottish journalist and author Anna Smith (l) reintroduces us to gangster Kerry Casey, who has fought her way to the top of the Glasgow crime scene in Scotland. Kerry is now a fully-fledged gangland boss; but can she stay there? With her business partner Sharon and her wily lawyer Marty at her side, she is busy ridding her organisation of the drug-dealing, people-trafficking scum her dead brother Mickey got them involved with. But her great dream is still to take the Caseys straight. Her plan to turn her organisation around hinges on building a property empire in Spain. But Kerry has some deadly rivals in Glasgow, on the Costa del Sol, and even further afield.


Fight Back leads off this month’s Hotlist of titles, some entirely new, others moving into small paperback format for the first time or being reissued, sometimes after years out of print. All are due for publication on dates in March, with availability in print this month or in early April. The Hotlist helps readers to plan and budget for book ordering.


It is dominated this month by non-fiction, but first, here is a shout out to The Hideaway (p) by Sheila O’Flanagan. A shocking news report shatters Juno Ryan’s world. She suddenly finds herself without the man she loves, and with no way of getting the answers she so desperately needs. Distraught, she flees to the enchanting Villa Naranja in Spain. The blue skies and bountiful orange groves - along with Pep, the winemaker’s handsome son, begin to soothe her broken heart, but only Juno herself can mend it. Just when she begins to feel whole again, another bombshell falls. Can she put the past behind her?


A couple of history books catch our eye. A Brief History of Spain (p), by Jeremy Black, is just what it says. This very readable history covers environmental, political, social, economic, cultural and artistic elements, and is very open to regional variations and to the extent that the history of the peninsula and of its political groupings was far from inevitable. Its tone is accessible, supported by boxes providing supplemental information, and is perfect for travellers to Spain.


Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege In British History (p), by Roy Adkins, is an epic page-turner, rich in dramatic human detail: a tale of courage, endurance, intrigue, desperation, greed and humanity. The everyday experiences of all those

involved are brought vividly to life with eyewitness accounts and expert research. For over three and a half years, from 1779 to 1783, the tiny territory of Gibraltar was besieged and blockaded, on land and at sea, by the overwhelming forces of Spain and France. It became the longest siege in British history and was blamed for the loss of the United Kingdom’s American colonies in the War of Independence.


Now here is something different if you are looking for an unusual gift for a travelling foodie. In Europe’s Best Bakeries (p), Sarah Guy gives us an inspirational illustrated guide ranging from new sourdough bakeries to centuries-old

grand cafe-patisseries. Baked goods are embedded in European culture; many of the shops and cafes included in this book have been around for years and serve long-perfected cakes in historic premises. Others are new discoveries in unexpected locations, staffed by young bakers passionate about creating wonderful produce which is also organic and eco-friendly. This cooks up a gorgeous list of bakeries in Spain, the UK, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Italy, Germany and France, serving

up plenty of sumptuous photos and profiles on the best bakeries.


In Salsas and Tacos (l), Susan Curtis unveils New Mexican Cuisine as a unique and delicious melting pot of Spanish, Mexican, Native American and American Cowboy cultures, techniques, and flavours. Curtis, founder of the Santa Fe School of Cooking, brought together a team of powerhouse cooking instructors to gather the best and boldest recipes ever to fill a tortilla. Enjoy over 50 recipes from classics like roasted tomato salsa and pork carnitas tacos to fresh takes such as creamy chicken and almond tacos, grapefruit-orange salsa, tomatillo-papaya salsa, and apple pie tacos.

Tapas Cookery (p), from publisher Ryland Peters & Small includes all the classics from the perennially popular patatas bravas and tortilla Española to chorizo en vino tinto and bacalao. Many of these dishes can be made in advance for ease.


Among the new and updated language books appearing this spring, Rough Guide’s Spanish Phrasebook (p) is compact, clear, and packed with words and phrases to help conversation. This pocket-sized phrasebook, with a free app, is a trusty travel companion; all you need to make yourself understood, and to understand others, when you are out and about in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries. The visually appealing colour-coded system means you can find what you want, when you want, and fast.


Collins Spanish Visual Dictionary (p) invites you to use your senses to learn the most important words and phrases in Spanish. With colourful images and a free audio download, this attractive and practical guide to the Spanish language and culture

helps you find what you need quickly and easily. It also contains a Spanish-English and English-Spanish index. Everyday words are arranged by theme with attractive, up-to-date images to guide you. Each topic presents the most practical phrases to support your first steps in Spanish. Download the audio to follow and practise each word and phrase. Cultural and country information enhances appreciation of Spanish-speaking countries and people.


Among the new guidebooks, Dorling Kindersley has updated its Andalucía & the Costa del Sol: Eyewitness Top 10 guide. From Top 10 art and culture to the Top 10 tapas dishes, discover the best of Andalucía and the Costa del Sol with this easy-to-use travel guide. Discover Moorish Granada’s world-class heritage sights including the ancient El Alhambra, explore vibrant Jerez de la Frontera and its sherry bodegas, marvel