Page 1


Birlinn Limited was established in 1992 by Managing Director Hugh Andrew, and is comprised of a number of imprints. Birlinn publishes Scottish and general UK interest books, from biography to history, military history, sport and Scottish Gaelic. Children’s books are also included in this list. The name comes from the old Norse word ‘birlinn’, meaning a long boat or small galley used especially in the Hebrides and West Highlands of Scotland in the Middle Ages. Polygon publishes literary fiction and poetry, both classic and modern, from Scottish writers such as Robin Jenkins, George Mackay Brown and the author of the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith, as well as selected music and film titles. International writers including Jan-Philipp Sendker, Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti are also published under this imprint. Polygon was originally set up by students of Edinburgh University in the late 1960s. Arena Sport is Birlinn’s sport imprint and is designed for the general trade. The sport books range from football and rugby, to golf and cycling. These books have an international as well as national appeal. Arena’s first titles were published in June 2013. John Donald publishes academic books.

BIRLINN LTD West Newington House 10 Newington Road Edinburgh EH9 1QS Tel: +44 (0) 131 668 4371 Fax: +44 (0) 131 668 4466 CUSTOMER AND TRADE ORDERS Booksource 50 Cambuslang Road Cambuslang Investment Park Glasgow G32 8NB Tel: 0845 370 0067 Fax: 0845 370 0064 Intl: +44 (0) 141 643 3961 MANAGING DIRECTOR Hugh Andrew PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Neville Moir PUBLICITY AND MARKETING DIRECTOR Jan Rutherford FINANCE DIRECTOR Joanne Macleod


New Titles 2014


THE FOREVER GIRL Alexander McCall Smith NEW ISBN 9781846972294 February 2014 Price £16.99 Demy Hbk TPS 215x135mm Extent 288pp Category Fiction Rights: UK and Commonwealth

From the author of the best-selling and universally adored No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series comes this stand-alone, bighearted and often heartbreaking novel about unrequited love and the unexpected places it takes us. At the age of four Clover chooses her own name. Aged six, she falls in love with her best friend, James, with whom she happily spends all her time. But in the adult world, things are not so simple: at the same time that Clover’s mother finds she’s fallen out of love with her husband, she realises that James’s father is interested in her. As the children grow into adulthood, their connection becomes more complicated as well: James drifts away from Clover, but she keeps him in her sights: she attends the same college in Scotland and then follows him to London, Sydney, Singapore, rebuilding her life in every city, hoping each time that James will see what he is missing. As Clover and James, and their parents, navigate their irresistible but baffling mazes of emotion, we are given a beautifully realised tale about how love, even if unrequited, can shape a life.

FATTY O’ LEARY’S DINNER PARTY Alexander McCall Smith NEW 9781846973000 August 2014 Price £9.99 Demy Hbk TPS 170x125mm Extent 288pp Category Fiction Rights: UK and Commonwealth

Praise for The Forever Girl:

‘Sensitively written with lovely rounded characters, this is an absolute gem’ – Lovereading

Also available as an eBook

Fatty’s loving wife Betty plans a trip to Ireland for his 40th birthday and almost immediately things go wrong: the seats in economy class on the plane are too small; Irish bathroom furniture is not as commodious as he’d have liked. And all the time Fatty must put up with the unthinking cruelty of strangers. In an hilarious and touching portrayal of a kindly and misunderstood soul, McCall Smith has created yet another memorable character who will become an instant favourite to his many fans.



TRAINS AND LOVERS 9781846972454 Hbk £9.99

ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH is one of the world’s most prolific and most popular authors. For many years he was a professor of Medical Law, then, after the publication of his highly successful No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which has sold over 25 million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction. His various series of books have been translated into over 46 languages and become bestsellers throughout the world. These include the 44 Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in the Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the von Igelfeld series and the Corduroy Mansions novels.

THE NO.1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY 9781846970610 hbk £50.00

BERTIE’S GUIDE TO LIFE AND MOTHERS 9781846972539 Hbk £16.99

‘[H]is fluency is remarkable, as is his ability to engage the interest and sympathy of the reader [. . .] he is true to one’s experience of life in a way that comparatively few novelists are’ – Allan Massie


Praise for Alexander McCall Smith:

‘One of the remarkable things about McCall Smith is the unwavering charm of his tone’ – Rosemary Goring, Sunday Herald ‘For me the nicest writer in Scotland is Alexander McCall Smith. The Importance of Being Seven made me feel good about life, the universe and everything, even poor wee Bertie’s mother, Irene’ – Alex Gray, Herald ‘It is McCall Smith’s particular genius to be able to look on the brighter side of life, and he’s seldom done so more enjoyably’ – Scotsman

Precious 4 A New Case for Precious Ramotswe

‘A joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles, which moves beyond its setting to deal with deep moral issues and love, desire and friendship’ – Sunday Express

‘Everything about [McCall Smith] is appealing. He’s just full of delight – it just bubbles out of him’ – Sunday Herald ‘A rare pleasure’ – Daily Telegraph ‘A publishing phenomenon’ – Guardian

ISBN 9781846973048 June 2014 Price £9.99 Hbk Also available TPS 185x125mm as an eBook Extent 96pp Category Children’s Fiction Rights: UK and Commonwealth (excl. Canada)

Precious Ramotswe’s early years as a precocious detective continue in the fourth book in this delightful series for all ages.

‘Quirky and original . . . told with warmth, wit and intelligence, and McCall Smith’s cast of characters are beautifully observed. It’s a page-turner with many happy endings. Perfect’ – Daily Express ‘Richly illustrates McCall Smith’s absolute mastery of the art of storytelling’ – The Lady

PRECIOUS #4 A New Case for Precious Ramotswe Alexander McCall Smith NEW

Precious and the Monkeys has now sold over 16k copies in both Scots and English hardback editions. This latest title is a must-read for Precious’s many fans. Well before Precious Ramotswe founded her Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency, as an eightyear-old girl she was already solving mysteries. Here, in this delightful, new, enchanting tale for children, we see how the young Precious became the crafty and intuitive private investigator we all know and love! Find out as Alexander McCall Smith tells the story of another adventure featuring Precious Ramotswe.

It is hard to think of a contemporary writer more genuinely engaging … [his] novels are also extremely funny: I find it impossible to think about them without smiling’ – Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday ‘A treasure of a writer whose books deserve immediate devouring’ – Marcel Berlins, Guardian ‘It delivers a benevolent commentary on the quirks of human nature and absurdities of modern life, occasionally exasperated but almost always kind. There is plenty of authorial wisdom but it’s always tongue-in-cheek, with a wink towards the reader’ – The Bookbag ‘Its author’s gentle humour and playful teasing out of moral dilemmas great and small are there in abundance’ – Scotsman ‘Mr McCall Smith isn’t only incapable of writing an unfunny sentence, he is particularly wise on human weakness even in nice people. The way he gently and accurately exposes the less charitable thoughts that everyone sometimes thinks so resonates that you feel he can read your own mind’ – Kate Green, Country Life


‘There are those who fear McCall Smith will burn himself out, but I’m not one of them. It seems, rather, that as he breathes, so he writes. He is, thus, to be envied’ – Sunday Herald ‘His writing is as warm as cocoa, as cosy as thermal underwear, and just what the doctor ordered for cold winter evenings. Exceedingly good’ – The Times


PRECIOUS AND THE MONKEYS 9781846972195 pbk £6.99



A WELL TEMPERED HEART Jan-Philipp Sendker NEW ISBN 9781846972850 March 2014 Price £8.99 B Pbk TPS 198x129mm Extent 336pp Category Fiction

Also available as an eBook

JAN-PHILIPP SENDKER, born in Hamburg in 1960, was the American correspondent for Stern from 1990 to 1995, and its Asian correspondent from 1995 to 1999. He lives in Berlin with his family.

Almost ten years have passed since Julia Win came back from Burma, her father’s native country. Though she is a successful Manhattan lawyer, her private life is at a crossroads; her boyfriend recently left her, she has suffered a miscarriage, and she is, despite her wealth, unhappy with her professional life. Julia is lost and exhausted. One day, in the middle of an important business meeting, she hears a stranger’s voice in her head that causes her to leave the office without explanation. In the following days, her crisis only deepens. Not only does the female voice refuse to disappear, but it starts to ask questions Julia has been trying to avoid. Why do you live alone? To whom do you feel close? What do you want in life? Interwoven with Julia’s story is that of a Burmese woman named Nu Nu who finds her world turned upside down when Burma goes to war and calls on her two young sons to be child soldiers. This spirited novel, like The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, explores the most inspiring and passionate terrain: the human heart.

THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS 9781846972409 Pbk £8.99

Praise for The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: ‘A magical tale to capture your imagination’ – My Weekly

AFTER FLODDEN Rosemary Goring NEW ISBN 9781846972836 February 2014 Price £8.99 B Pbk TPS 198x129mm Extent 400pp Category Historical Fiction

Also available as an eBook

Patrick Paniter was James IV’s right-hand man, a diplomatic genius who was in charge of the guns at the disastrous battle of Flodden in September 1513. After the death of his king he is tormented by guilt as he relives the events that led to war. When Louise Brenier, daughter of a rogue sea trader, asks his help in finding out if her brother Benoit was killed in action, it is the least he can do to salve his conscience. Not satisfied with the news he brings, Louise sets off to find out the truth herself, and swiftly falls foul of one of the lawless clans that rule the ungovernable borderlands. After Flodden is a novel about the consequences of the battle of Flodden, as seen through the eyes of several characters who either had a hand in bringing the country to war, or were profoundly affected by the outcome. There have been very few novels about Flodden, despite its significance, and none from this perspective. It’s a racy adventure, combining political intrigue and romance, and its readership will be anyone who loves historical fiction, or is interested in the history of Scotland and the turbulent, ungovernable borderlands between Scotland and England. Praise for After Flodden: A swashbuckling tale in the best tradition of adventure fiction . . . charged with melancholy and menace’ – Times Literary Supplement ‘A well-told tale of a violent time; fast-moving and packed with incident’ – Andrew Miller, Costa-winning author of Pure ‘A well-crafted tale which drives forward with unremitting pace’ – Scotland on Sunday


ROSEMARY GORING was born in Dunbar and studied social and economic history at the University of St Andrews. She was the literary editor of Scotland on Sunday, followed by a brief spell as editor of Life & Work, the Church of Scotland’s magazine, before returning to newspapers as literary editor of the Herald, and later also of the Sunday Herald. In 2007 she published Scotland: The Autobiography: 2000 Years of Scottish History By Those Who Saw it Happen, which has since been published in America and Russia.

AFTER FLODDEN 9781846972720 Hbk £14.99


JAKE SIMONS is a novelist, journalist and graphic artist. His acclaimed first novel, The Exiled Times of a Tibetan Jew, was named by the Independent on Sunday as a Book of the Year. Jake writes features for The Times, the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, the Telegraph, La Repubblica and other publications, and he is a contributor to BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent. Born in London in 1978, he is a fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, and Practitioner-in-Residence at Bournemouth University. He lives with his family in Winchester.

JAM Jake Wallis Simons NEW ISBN 9781846972805 April 2014 Price £12.99 C Pbk TPS 228x155mm Extent 352pp Category Fiction

Also available as an eBook

As darkness falls on the M25, the flow of traffic comes to a halt. Time passes. More time passes. Then more. Drivers switch off their engines, then get out of their cars. And so the story begins . . . In this bold, state-of-the-nation novel, Jake Wallis Simons brings together characters from all walks of life and explores what happens when lives collide on the M25. Praise for The English German Girl: ‘Kept me up at night . . . amazing. It has been in my thoughts since’ – Guardian ‘Well researched and very moving’ – The Times

THE PURE 9781846972737 Pbk £7.99

THE ENGLISH GERMAN GIRL 9781846972089 Pbk £8.99

CHRISTOPHER RUSH was born in St Monans and was a teacher of literature in Edinburgh for thirty years. His books include A Twelvemonth and a Day and the highly acclaimed To Travel Hopefully. A Twelvemonth and a Day served as inspiration for the film Venus Peter, released in 1989. The story was also reworked by Rush in a simplified version in 1992 as a children’s picture book, Venus Peter Saves the Whale, illustrated by Mairi Hedderwick, which won the Friends of the Earth 1993 Earthworm Award for the book published that year that would most help children to enjoy and care for the Earth..

WILL Christopher Rush NEW ISBN 9781846972782 February 2014 Price £9.99 B Pbk TPS 198x129mm Extent 512pp Category Historical Fiction

Also available as an eBook

William Shakespeare is dying, with his lawyer at his bedside. It is time to dictate his will. But how can a man put his affairs in order before he’s come to terms with his past? Acclaimed poet, novelist, and Shakespeare professor Christopher Rush has put thirty years of scholarship and creativity into this unforgettable reimagining of the Bard’s life. Rush takes readers into the mind of William Shakespeare, a man whose almost superhuman art was forged from very human frailties and misfortunes. Will takes us back to Shakespeare’s childhood, his first encounters with sex, and the dangers of politics, plague, and love. We hear the chilling account of the Tyburn executions, see him crossing the frozen Thames with the wooden beams that would become the Globe theater, and return with him to Stratford on the heartbreaking journey to bury his only son. Rush has created an utterly irresistible figure whose voice rings true across four hundred years – irrepressible, bawdy, witty, and wise, his every word steeped in the situations and phrases of his own plays. ‘Startlingly poetic … excellent’ – The Spectator ‘This fictional autobiography does more than eulogize … Burgess is the only other novelist to pass this test’ – Times Literary Supplement ‘A brilliantly witty and imaginative piece of writing’ – Classic FM



THE DAY WITHOUT YESTERDAY Stuart Clark NEW ISBN 9781846972829 April 2014 Price £8.99 B Pbk TPS 198x129mm Extent 288pp Category Fiction

Also available as an eBook

Europe is marching blindly into the First World War and Berlin is in a storm of nationalist marches and army recruitment. Albert Einstein anticipates the carnage to come when his university colleagues begin work on poison gas to ‘shorten the war’. He is also struggling with the collapse of his marriage in the wake of an illicit affair. Increasingly isolated, Einstein finds his academic work sidelined with few people entertaining his outlandish new way of understanding the universe. Meanwhile, in the trenches of the western front, devoutly religious young Belgian Georges Lemaître vows to become both a physicist and a Catholic priest if he survives. When the war ends, Einstein does make his breakthrough and is thrust into the international limelight. Lemaître confronts him with a startling concept: that buried in the maths of the theory of relativity is a beginning of space and time, a moment when the universe came into existence – a day without yesterday. But can the priest be trusted? Or is he simply trying to foist a version of Biblical Genesis onto Einstein’s now world famous theory?

STUART CLARK is a widely read astronomy journalist whose career is devoted to presenting the complex world of astronomy to the general public. Stuart holds a first class honours degree and a PhD in astrophysics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a former Vice Chair of the Association of British Science Writers and is the cosmology consultant for New Scientist. In 2000 the Independent placed him alongside Stephen Hawking and the Astronomer Royal, Professor Sir Martin Rees, as one of the ‘stars’ of British astrophysics teaching.

THE DAY WITHOUT YESTERDAY 9781846972478 Hbk £12.99

THE SENSORIUM OF GOD 9781846972379 Pbk £8.99

THE SKY’S DARK LABYRINTH 9781846972157 Pbk £8.99

‘Sit under the stars and wonder, not just at their eternal beauty and mystery, but at the courage of the men who risked their lives so we could understand them’ – Daily Mail ‘The best historical fiction goes beyond dates and events, giving historical figures emotions, achievements and failings. This is very much the case here,’ – We Love This Book ‘A blend of historical fiction and astronomy that most people with an interest in science will wish to obtain.’ – Sir Patrick Moore

FRIEND & FOE A Hew Cullan Mystery Shirley McKay NEW ISBN 9781846972171 May 2014 Price £12.99 C Pbk TPS 228x155mm Extent 320pp Category Historical Fiction

Also available as an eBook

St Andrews, 1583. The young king James VI is confined at Falkland Palace, plotting his escape. Dissension rages between Kirk and Crown, the king and his ‘lord enterprisers’, and between the separate factions of the church. In St Andrews Castle, a bishop in decline plays out his darkest fantasies, while Hew and his friend Giles investigate the true source of his sickness, uncovering corruption at its heart. The death of a young soldier, implicating Hew’s sister and Giles’s wife Meg, leads Hew to an astonishing discovery, and towards his blackest hour, his fortunes inextricable from those of James himself. ‘Intoxicating mix of dramatic crime and repressed passion’ – New Books ‘A gripping mystery that holds the reader to the very last page, and a marvellous portrait of St Andrews in the sixteenth century’ – John Burnside


SHIRLEY MCKAY was born in Tynemouth but now lives with her family in Fife. At the age of fifteen she won the Young Observer playwriting competition, her play being performed at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs. She went on to study English and Linguistics at the University of St Andrews before attending Durham University for postgraduate study in Romantic and Seventeenth-Century prose. She was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger. Shirley works as a freelance proofreader.

TIME & TIDE 9781846971945 pbk £12.99

FATE & FORTUNE 9781846971808 pbk £8.99

HUE & CRY 9781846971525 pbk £8.99


GILLIAN GALBRAITH grew up near Haddington. For seventeen years, she was an advocate specialising in medical negligence and agricultural law cases. Since then, she has been the legal correspondent for the Scottish Farmer and has written law reports for The Times. She lives deep in the country near Kinross with her husband and daughter, plus assorted cats, dogs, hens and bees.

BLOOD IN THE WATER 9781841831121 Pbk £7.99

WHERE THE SHADOW FALLS 9781846971068 Pbk £7.99

DYING OF THE LIGHT 9781846971433 Pbk £7.99

THE GOOD PRIEST A Father Vincent Ross Mystery Gillian Galbraith NEW ISBN 9781846972799 April 2014 Price £14.99 Demy Hbk TPS 215x135mm Extent 256pp Category Crime Fiction

Also available as an eBook

In the house of a Roman Catholic bishop a man lies in a pool of blood. Out in the bishop’s diocese the quiet life of parish priest Father Vincent Ross is about to be thrown into turmoil by a terrifying revelation. There are ugly scandals being hidden by the church he has served for so long, and a murderer is on the prowl. The police and the authorities are groping in the dark, but Father Ross has been given special information that he cannot disclose to anyone. It gradually dawns on him that he and he alone can unravel the mystery and bring the nightmare of violence to an end. He must put his personal safety, his reputation and finally his life on the line. Praise for Gillian Galbraith: ‘Highly readable’ – Alexander McCall Smith ‘[Galbraith] offers a much needed female perspective on the city and the genre’ – Scottish Field

NO SORROW TO DIE 9781846971754 Pbk £7.99

THE ROAD TO HELL 9781846972522 Pbk £7.99

SARA SHERIDAN writes fiction for adults and children. Previous recent novels include The Secret Mandarin (2009) and Secret of the Sands (2011), both published by HarperCollins. She studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin. Sara sits on the committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland and was Project Manager for the 26 Treasures Project in Scotland 2011. Sara has her own website – www.sarasheridan. – and is very active on Facebook and Twitter. She lives in Edinburgh with her family.

ENGLAND EXPECTS A Mirabelle Bevan Mystery Sara Sheridan NEW ISBN 9781846972812 April 2014 Price £16.99 Hbk TPS 228x153mm Extent 256pp Category Crime Fiction

ISBN 9781846972904 July 2014 Price £7.99 B Pbk TPS 198x129mm Extent 288pp Category Crime Fiction

Also available as an eBook

Set during the summer heatwave of 1953, England Expects finds Mirabelle and Vesta investigating the seemingly unrelated murders of a racing journalist and a cleaning woman. Their searches lead them through Brighton Pavilion’s crumbling passageways to the quad of a Cambridge college and finally into the shady underworld of Brighton freemasonry. And, while not on the murder trail, Vesta has to make some difficult decisions about her personal life. BIRGHTON BELLE 9781846972287 Pbk £7.99

LONDON CALLING 9781846972430 Hbk £16.99

LONDON CALLING 9781846972652 Pbk £7.99

Praise for the series : ‘Mirabelle has a dogged tenacity to rival Poirot’ – Sunday Herald ‘I was gripped from start to finish’ – Newbooks magazine ‘Unfailingly stylish, undeniably smart’ – Daily Record ‘A crime force to be reckoned with’ – Good Reads ‘Plenty of colour and action, will engage the reader from the first page to the last. Highly recommended’ – Bookbag WWW.POLYGONBOOKS.CO.UK


THE SECRET A Dr Steven Dunbar Thriller Ken McClure NEW ISBN 9781846972898 June 2014 Price £8.99 B Pbk TPS 198x129mm Extent 252pp Category Thriller/Suspense

Also available as an eBook

Steven Dunbar gets the news that an old friend, Dr Simone Ricard of Medicins Sans Frontieres, has died in an accident while attending a scientific meeting in Prague. She and her team have been working to eradicate polio in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan and have discovered a possible reason for their failure to do so – fake teams put in by the CIA. She has gone to Prague to publicise this but the meeting organisers won’t let her speak – they already know the reason and have accepted the CIA apology. They think it will only make matters worse if wider publicity is sought. Praise for Ken McClure:

KEN MCCLURE is the internationally bestselling author of medical thrillers such as Wildcard, The Gulf Conspiracy, Eye of the Raven and Past Lives. His books have been translated into over 20 languages and he has earned a reputation for meticulous research and the chilling accuracy of his predictions. McClure’s work is informed by his background as an award-winning research scientist with the UK’s Medical Research Council. Dr Steven Dunbar, an ex-Special Forces medic, is one of his most popular characters

DONOR 9781846971624 Pbk £7.99

WILDCARD 9781846971631 Pbk £7.99

WHITE DEATH 9781846971488 Pbk £7.99

DUST TO DUST 9781846971815 Pbk £7.99

LOST CAUSES 9781846972003 Hbk £16.99

HYPOCRITE’S ISLE 9781846972676 Pbk £8.99

‘His medical thrillers out-chill both Michael Crichton and Robin Cook’ – The Daily Telegraph

THE LAST WITNESS A D. C. I. Daley Thriller Denzil Meyrick NEW ISBN 9781846972881 July 2014 Price £7.99 B Pbk TPS 198x129mm Extent 280pp Category Crime Fiction

Also available as an eBook

James Machie was a man with a genius for violence, his criminal empire spreading beyond Glasgow into the UK and mainland Europe. Fortunately, James Machie is dead, assassinated in the back of a prison ambulance following his trial and conviction. But now, five years later, he is apparently back from the grave, set on avenging himself on those who brought him down. Top of his list is his previous associate, Frank MacDougall, who is living under the protection of D.C.I. Jim Daley in the small Scottish town of Kinloch. Daley knows that, having been the key to Machie’s conviction, his old friend and colleague D.S. Scott is almost as big a target. And nothing, not even death, has ever stood in James Machie’s way . . . Praise for Denzil Meyrick: ‘Touches of dark humour, multi-layered and compelling’ – Daily Record ‘Has the ability to give even the least important person in the plot character and the skill to tell a good tale’ – Scots Magazine ‘Soon to be mentioned in the same breath as authors such as Alex Gray, Denise Mina and Stuart Macbride ... very impressive’ – Ian Baillie, Lennox Herald ‘Tartan noir continues to flourish ... just the right amount of authenticity ... gritty writing ... most memorable’ – Herald


Denzil Meyrick was educated in Argyll then, after studying politics, joined Strathclyde Police, serving in Glasgow. After being injured and developing back problems, he entered the business world, and has operated in many diverse roles, including director of a large engineering company and distillery manager, as well as owning a number of his own companies, such as a public bar and sales and marketing company. Meyrick has also worked as a freelance journalist in both print and on radio. His first novel, Whisky from Small Glasses, was published by Ringwood in 2012.


BILL JANOVITZ is a singer, guitarist and songwriter in the band Buffalo Tom. He has also released four solo albums. He wrote Exile on Main Street about the iconic stones album and has written extensively for All Music. He lives in Massachusetts with his family.

ROCKS OFF 50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones Bill Janovitz NEW ISBN 9781846972997 February 2014 Price £12.99 Demy Pbk TPS 215x135mm Extent 416pp Category Popular Music

Also available as an eBook

To Bill Janovitz, Stones fanatic, musician and writer, all artists reveal themselves through their work, and the Rolling Stones are no different. Each song exposes a little more of their soul. Rocks Off is a songby-song chronicle that maps the landmarks of the band’s career while expanding upon their recording and personal history through insightful and energetic prose. Much like friends poring over old records on a Sunday afternoon, the book presents the musical leaps taken by the band and discusses how the lyrical content reflected and influenced popular culture. Most of the song choices – fifty in all – are the classic hits, however, the book digs deeper into beloved album tracks and more rare songs with unique stories. Rocks Off is the ultimate listening guide that will spur readers to dust off those old albums and listen in with a newfound perspective on one of the most acclaimed rock’n’roll bands of all time. ‘There are many sorts of Rolling Stones fans, but all of them will love this book’ – Wall Street Journal ‘Even fanatics will learn something here’ – Kirkus Reviews

ZOË HOWE is a music author whose other books include the acclaimed Typical Girls? The Story of the Slits; ‘How’s Your Dad?’ Living in the Shadow of a Rock Star Parent, British Beat Explosion – Rock n’ Roll Island and Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson’s memoir Looking Back At Me, published by Cadiz Music in 2012. Her writing has also appeared in The Quietus, Company, Notion, BBC Music, Holy Moly, Classic Rock and NME. Zoë has also made music radio series for stations including the award-winning Resonance FM, and she can be heard talking about rock n’ roll from time to time on BBC 6 Music, Absolute Radio, Planet Rock, BBC London and elsewhere.

BARBED WIRE KISSES The Jesus and Mary Chain Story Zoë Howe NEW ISBN 9781846972492 May 2014 Price £12.99 Pbk TPS 226x153mm Extent 304pp Category Biography/Music

Also available as an eBook

Musically, culturally and in terms of sheer attitude, The Jesus and Mary Chain stand alone. Their seminal debut album Psychocandy would change the course of popular music, and their iconic blend of psychotic white noise, darkly surreal lyrics and pop sensibility continues to enchant and confound. This authorised book is the fierce, frank and often funny tale of The Jesus and Mary Chain, told by the band members and their associates for the first time. The story begins in the faceless new town of East Kilbride, near Glasgow, at the dawn of the 1980s with two chronically shy brothers, Jim and William Reid, listening to music in their shared bedroom. What follows charts the formation of The Jesus and Mary Chain, their incendiary live performances, their relationship with Alan McGee’s Creation Records and those famous fraternal tensions that prepared McGee for the onslaught of the Gallaghers, with plenty of feedback, fighting and, most importantly, perfectly crafted pop along the way. It is time this vastly influential group and sometime ‘public enemy’ had their say. ‘Scuffed-up classic rock with all guns blazing’ – Uncut ‘The first time Alan McGee saw The Jesus and Mary Chain was the soundcheck at his club and he thought they were incredible. “It’s insane, it’s mind blowing, it’s not music, but it’s, like, complete enthusiasm” he said’ – Bobby Gillespie



WILD ADVENTURE Tom Pow NEW ISBN 9781846972874 June 2014 Price £12.99 Pbk TPS 215 x 135mm Extent 112pp Category Poetry

Also available as an eBook

Tom Pow’s beautiful, powerful poems examine the remarkable life of Thomas Watling. Watling was born in Dumfries in September 1762 and raised by a long-suffering maiden aunt. Convicted of forging Bank of Scotland one-guinea notes he was sentenced to fourteen years in the recently founded colony of Botany Bay in Australia. The first professional artist to arrive in the colony, Watling was seconded to its Surgeon General (and amateur naturalist) John White. His pioneer paintings of birds, animals and the landscape became some of the principal records of the earliest days of Australia. He was eventually pardoned, on 5 April 1797, and left Australia, eventually returning home to Dumfries. He died there, most likely in 1814.


ISBN 9781846972911 July 2014 Price £9.99 Pbk TPS 198x129mm Extent 112pp Category Poetry

The Magicians of Scotland will build upon the success of The Magicians of Edinburgh (reprinted five times) and on that book’s critical acclaim. Ron Butlin is the Edinburgh Makar and this collection will have an Edinburgh emphasis while seeking to celebrate and interrogate Scotland and its people at a crucial turning point in our country’s history. Just as The Magicians of Edinburgh’s themes ranged from Sir Walter Scott to the new Parliament, from Greyfriar’s Bobby to the trams, the themes of the new collection will include Scotland’s past, present and future, its landscape and people, its myths and politics – from Bannockburn and Flodden to Faslane, the Loch Ness Monster, wind farms, Hutton to Higgs, Bonnie Prince Charlie to Donald Trump. It will be accessible, serious and entertaining.


TOM POW was born in Edinburgh in 1950. Primarily an awardwinning poet, he has also written young adult novels, picture books, radio plays and travel books. He has held various writing posts, including that of Scottish/ Canadian Writing Fellow, based at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and Virtual Writer in Residence (Scotland’s first) for the Scottish Library Association’s Scottish Writers Project. Tom was the first ever Writer in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival from 2001 to 2003. From 2000 to 2009, he was a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Storytelling at the University of Glasgow in Dumfries, and is currently Honorary Senior Research Fellow there as well as a part-time lecturer on Lancaster University’s distance learning Masters in Creative Writing. More information can be found at

RON BUTLIN is a poet, playwright, novelist, short story writer and opera librettist whose works have been broadcast in the UK and abroad and have been translated into many languages. His volumes of poetry include the awardwinning Ragtime in Unfamiliar Bars (Secker & Warburg, 1985) and Histories of Desire (Bloodaxe, 1995). His New and Selected Poems was published by Barzan in 2005. His novels include The Sound of My Voice (winner of the Prix Mille Pages 2004 and Prix Lucioles 2005, both for Best Foreign Novel), Night Visits and most recently Belonging. He was appointed Edinburgh Makar in May 2008.


FOUND AT SEA Andrew Greig REPRINT ISBN 9781846972690 March 2014 Price £8.99 B Pbk TPS 198x129mm Extent 72pp Category Poetry

Also available as an eBook

Andrew Greig recounts in poetic sequence the tale of his open dinghy voyage from Stromness in Scapa Flow and an overnight stay on Cava (an island formerly inhabited for over twenty years by two unusual women) in poetic sequence. In sailing small boats in scary open waters Andrew Greg found a new activity and a new metaphor for life. Written in six weeks, Found at Sea is a ‘very wee epic’ about sailing, male friendship and a voyage. Bon voyage!

KIDNAPPED AND CATRIONA Robert Louis Stevenson REPRINT ISBN 9781846970337 May 2014 Price £7.99 Pbk TPS 215 x 135mm Extent 496pp Category Classic Fiction

Also available as an eBook

HANDFAST Scottish Poems for Weddings and Affirmations Lizzie MacGregor

In Kidnapped (1886) and later fiction such as The Master of Ballantrae (1888), Stevenson examined some of the extreme and contrary currents of Scotland’s past, often projecting a dualism of both personality and belief. This dualism is most famous in Kidnapped, whose two central characters are David Balfour, a Lowland Whig, and Alan Breck Stewart, a Highland Jacobite. The novel revolves around their friendship and their differences, suggesting a metaphor for Scotland itself. Stevenson wrote the sequel Catriona with the title David Balfour, but during serialisation in England the public became confused, thinking it might be a reprint of Kidnapped. At publisher Cassell’s request, the title was changed to Catriona, after Balfour’s daughter.

Ranging from grand to gently humorous this collection is suitable for reading aloud in church, registry, field or the front room. Find the words for that special day, and keep them with you for always.

REPRINT ISBN 9781904598244 March 2014 Price £9.99 Pbk TPS 165x125mm Extent 64pp Category Poetry WWW.POLYGONBOOKS.CO.UK


THE RED DOOR The Complete English Stories 1949-76 Iain Crichton Smith

THE SECRETS OF THE CONCLAVES Revealed by Atto Melani Rita Monaldi & Francesco Sorti

VARG IN LOVE A Valentine’s Day Mystery Alexander McCall Smith

ISBN 9780857906663 Price £2.99 Category History

ISBN 9780857906250 Price £0.79 Category Fiction

THE PAINTED LADY An Inspector McLevy Mystery David Ashton

END OF THE LINE An Inspector McLevy Mystery David Ashton

ISBN 9780857901682 Price £1.99 Category Autobiography & Biography

ISBN 9780857906021 Price £1.15 Category Crime & Mystery/ Historical Fiction

ISBN 9780857900296 Price £1.99 Category Crime & Mystery/Fiction


DAISY’S WARS Meg Henderson


SECOND SIGHT Meg Henderson

ISBN 9780857901934 Price £3.99 Category Fiction

ISBN 9780857901941 Price £3.99 Category Fiction

ISBN 9780857901958 Price £3.99 Category Fiction

ISBN 9780857901965 Price £3.99 Category Fiction

ISBN 9780857907165 Price £5.79 Category Fiction/Short Stories

JK ROWLING AND THE HARRY POTTER PHENOMENON An Unauthorised Biography Lindsey Fraser


THE COMPLETE BOB DYLAN DISCOGRAPHY Martin C. Strong ISBN 9780857901675 Price £1.99 Category Autobiography & Biography

CHASING ANGELS Meg Henderson ISBN 9780857906663 Price £2.99 Category History

DISTRIBUTION SALES CONTACTS SCOTLAND Seol Ltd West Newington House 10 Newington Road Edinburgh EH9 1QS Tel: +44 (0) 131 668 1456 Fax: +44 (0) 131 668 4466 WEST Carol Crawford Email: Tel: 07810 484001 EAST Vikki Reilly Email: Tel: 07920 018136 ARGYLL Hugh Andrew Email: HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS Carole Hamilton Email: Tel: 07780 606493 ENGLAND AND WALES Compass DSA Limited Swan Centre Fishers Lane Chiswick W4 1RX Tel: +44 (0) 1628 559500 Fax: +44 (0) 1628 663876

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND New South Books c/o TL Distribution 15-23 Hailes Avenue Moorebank NSW 2170 Australia Tel: (02) 8778 9999 Fax: (02) 8778 9944 Email: Website:

RETURNS POLICY All books must be in mint condition and suitable for resale. All returns requests must be authorised in advance by Birlinn Ltd or an authorised representative.

USA, CANADA & CHINA Independent Publishers Group (IPG) 814 North Franklin St Chicago, Illinois 60610 USA Tel: (312) 337 0747 Fax: (312) 337 5985 Email:

Books may not be returned within three months or after twelve months from receipt by the customer.

Military Titles Only Casemate 2114 Darby Road Havertown, PA 19083 USA Tel: (+1) 610 853 9131 Fax: (+1) 610 853 9146 Email: TRADE TERMS All orders are subject to a 35% discount, unless otherwise arranged. The standard discount will be applied to all subscriptions and cash with order. Single copy orders are subject to a 20% discount. Orders with a net invoice value under £30 may be subject to a reduced discount of 25%.

No out-of-print titles may be returned unless permission is sought from the publisher.

Single copy returns will not normally be accepted unless by special arrangement. Faulty books must be returned complete. Title page is not acceptable. Returns must be sent to the Booksource warehouse within one month of written authorisation being received, otherwise they may not be accepted. Returns should NOT be sent to the publisher’s office. All returns must have an authorised returns label and should be addressed to: Booksource 50 Cambuslang Road Glasgow G32 8NB



Polygon Spring Catalogue 2014  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you