Polygon Books

Birlinn Limited
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Polygon publishes a wide range of fiction, poetry and biography and even the occasional cookbook. Best known as publishers of Alexander McCall Smith.
    Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books2 days ago
    A sequence of poetry based on the tragic, ancient Irish legend, from the author of Out of the Ordinary and Iona.The story of Deirdre of the Sorrows is widely known in Ireland, yet all but forgotten across the water in Scotland. This great tragic love story, which has its roots in the ninth or tenth century, is very much shared by both countries. For Deirdre, according to the legend, fled with her lover Naoise to Argyll. The oldest song in Scotland is believed to be Deirdre’s haunting farewell to her adopted land as she returns once more to Ireland. In this new sequence, Deirdre of the Sorrows, Kenneth Steven beautifully reimagines the legend of this love story; he brings back to life Deirdre’s journey and attempts to capture its timeless power.“Steven tells his interpretation with a poet’s ear for telling phrasing, and a reporter’s eagerness for pace and development. There is also a great sense of place in his epic, and a brooding melancholy threaded through the initial triumph of love. Steven here writes with the music of his mother’s singing of a tale of beauty and loss, ancient and yet resonating among our contemporary uncertainties.” —Church Times (UK)
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books2 days ago
    Scottish detective Alice Rice stalks a serial killer in this thriller steeped in “chilling realism” from the author of Blood in the Water (Edinburgh Evening News).As Heather Brodie kisses her lover goodnight, her disabled husband lies dead, his throat cut from ear to ear. Who wanted Gavin Brodie dead? Many people, including Gavin Brodie. Crushed by an incurable illness, he pleaded to be allowed to die.When DS Alice Rice is brought in to investigate, another terminally ill man is found murdered. It could be a coincidence—or it could be something much more sinister: a serial killer preying on the sick and infirm. And Alice has more worries when she suspects her partner, Ian Melville, is lying to her. This atmospheric thriller builds on the success of the first three Alice Rice mysteries and is a passionate tale of deception, betrayal, and the value of life and love.“Highly readable.” —Alexander McCall Smith, New York Times–bestselling author of Dream Angus“An author to watch.” —Publishing News“She’s onto a winner with her chosen location of Edinburgh. Its brooding architecture and narrow alleyways suit dark tales . . . All-in-all, a satisfying detective novel with all loose ends nicely tied up.” —The Bookbag“[Galbraith] offers a much-needed female perspective on the city and the genre.” —Scottish Field
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books2 days ago
    Alice Rice—“a strong female detective on the Scottish crime scene”—must stem the tide of murder in a new thriller from the author of The Road to Hell (The Bookbag).A young disabled girl is lost on a winter’s night in Leith, unable to help herself or find her way home. Someone is combing the streets, frantically searching for her. Within hours of her disappearance, a body is washed up on Beamer Rock, a tiny island in the River Forth being used as part of the foundations for the new Queensferry bridge. No sooner has Det. Inspector Alice Rice managed to discover the identity of that body than another one is washed up on the edge of the estuary in Belhaven Bay. What is the connection between the two bodies? Are there other victims in the killer’s sights? If so, can Alice solve the puzzle before another life is taken? In this novel, the sixth in the series, appearances belie reality, and truths and falsehoods gradually merge, becoming indistinguishable.Praise for Gillian Galbraith and the Alice Rice Mystery Series“Highly readable.” —Alexander McCall Smith, New York Times–bestselling author of Dream Angus“An author to watch.” —Publishing News“[Galbraith] offers a much-needed female perspective on the city and the genre.” —Scottish Field
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books6 days ago
    During a trip to China, Paul and Christine experience the nightmare of every parent: their four year old son is threatened with kidnap. The only safe place for the family is the US embassy in Beijing, but they are two thousand miles away, with the police searching frantically for them, and all airports, train stations and major roads under surveillance. They’ll have no chance without help from strangers, but who will be willing to risk their lives for them?Suspenseful and rife with the page-turning storytelling that has come to define Sendker’s work, Far Side of the Night  is a brilliant and timely thriller that offers a penetrating look into contemporary China.
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books7 days ago
    Journalist and statesman Tom Johnston (1881–1965) was considered by many as the greatest Scotsman of his time.In founding the popular Glasgow-based newspaper, Forward, in 1906, he created a platform for lively socialist and nationalist debate inScotland for over half a century. Johnston moved into active politics in 1922 to become one of the Clydeside group of MPs, rising to becomeone of the great Secretaries of State for Scotland in the wartime coalition under Churchill. After 1945 he was chairman of a number of publicorganizations, including the Scottish Tourist Board, the Scottish National Forestry Commission and the North of Scotland Hydro-Electricity Board(1946–59), and oversaw the monumental hydro-electric schemes which revolutionised Scottish power supply.This is the story of a remarkable and much-loved politician and a deeply principled and respected man.
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books17 days ago
    The descendants of the Gaels are scattered far and wide across the world – a diaspora that is at once cherished and overlooked. This unique, heartfelt book brings vividly to life through raps, secular psalms, love poems and aphorisms the Gaelic experience as it was, as it is and as it might be. Shore to Shore/Cladach gu Cladach is a vital legacy of the multimedia project Struileag, at the heart of which lies poetry, and is a demonstration that inside every culture is to be found the whole human condition.This book contains contemporary poetry and text from all around the Gaelic diaspora commissioned over a three year period. Struileag has also delivered a 60 minute show Children of the Smoke which premiered during the Commonwealth Games 2014, a TV arts show, a CD of the show and an engaged, international, online community. Struileag is a La Banda project Artistic director – Jim Sutherland
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books17 days ago
    Originally published in 2000 by Polygon to mark the 250th anniversary of Fergusson's birth, this new edition contains all Fergusson's finest poems in both Scots and English, and features a new introductory essay, revised orthography, a substantial section of notes and a glossary. Acknowledged as a crucial influence on Burns, Robert Fergusson was a remarkable poet in his own right. All his work was produced during a few brief years, delighting readers with its vigour and power. Although he wrote much verse in the then fashionable style of Augustan English, it is his Scots verse which, in its great warmth, humanity, satire, and hilarious comedy, is his enduring legacy. His work covers the whole gamut of human emotions and experience and his subject matter ranges from drunken encounters with the notorious City Guard to quieter reflections on pastoral themes. Fergusson died in 1774 at the age of only 24.
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books18 days ago
    Alongside the mountain poems from Men on Ice, Order of the Day and Western Swing will be brand new material, facsimiles of previously unpublished material – including his first poem, written in 1972 – and illustrations and material from the National Library of Scotland archive. A beautiful collector's item full of illustrations, marginalia and notes.
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books18 days ago
    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.
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books3 months ago
    A serving girl vanishes in this mystery story set in sixteenth-century Scotland . . .Elspet, a serving girl at the harbor inn, has been told for years by the inn’s owner, Walter Bone, that she is ugly and that no man will ever want her. Then, after years of being shut away from the world, she unexpectedly catches the attention of a young laborer and realizes she has been lied to all these years. She meets her lover in secret at the Lammas day fair, but her dalliances do not go unnoticed . . .Now Hew Cullan finds himself retained by a man with a mind for murder. Walter Bone makes clear his intent to kill Elspet’s lover, and seeks Hew’s help to ensure his will is upheld when he is inevitably hanged for the act. But his jealousy has unexpected consequences. When Elspet disappears without a trace, several innocent fair-goers and patrons are dragged into a web of suspicion, rumor, and accusation. It falls to Hew to unravel the twisted threads and figure out the truth of the matter.“McKay is to be congratulated for the continued quality and inventiveness of her tales.” —The National
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books3 months ago
    A short story in the historical mystery series featuring a sleuthing lawyer in sixteenth-century St. Andrews, Scotland.When a regent of St. Salvator’s appears to lose his wits, it falls to physician Giles Locke and lawyer Hew Cullan to discern the cause—and to defend the college from the King’s commissioners—in this darkly comic mystery tale in the acclaimed series set in sixteenth-century Scotland.“McKay is to be congratulated for the continued quality and inventiveness of her tales.” —The National
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books3 months ago
    A candlemaker’s life is extinguished in this short story of murder and intrigue featuring the sixteenth-century Scottish lawyer Hew Cullan.On Candlemas eve, an apprentice candle maker finds his master, John Blair, dead in his workshop, and the evidence points to the surgeon Sam Sturrock. Lawyer Hew Cullan finds himself, together with his friend, the physician Giles Locke, drawn into the investigation when they are enlisted by Sturrock’s desperate apprentice. At first it seems like Blair’s death is the result of reckless surgical practice, but as Hew delves deeper into the life of the candle maker he discovers a web of extortion. It seems John Blair was a man with many enemies . . .“McKay is to be congratulated for the continued quality and inventiveness of her tales.” —The National
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books3 months ago
    This “terrific collection” presents the beloved Scottish author’s complete short stories, plus 14 new tales of bracing honesty and mordant wit (The Times, UK).A twice-married mother of seven, Agnes Owens had worked for years as a house cleaner, typist, and factory worker before being discovered in a small-town writing workshop. Her first story, “Arabella,” announced her great talent to her three instructors: Liz Lochhead, Alasdair Gray, and Jim Kelman. Many more stories followed, filling the now-classic volumes Gentlemen of the West, Lean Tales, and People Like That.This collection presents the complete contents of those books, plus fourteen previously unpublished stories, presented under the collective title The Dark Side. Owens' talent for pithy, unsettling tales is as sharp as ever, confirming her place as one of Scotland's finest contemporary writers.“Owens is a gentle writer with a slicing with . . . honest and unaffected.” —Sunday Times, UK
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books3 months ago
    This classic novel by the acclaimed author and poet examines a cruel episode of Scottish history through the intimate thoughts of an elderly woman.First published in 1968, Consider the Lilies is widely celebrated as one of the finest achievements in contemporary Scottish literature. Set in the time of the Highland Clearances—the mass eviction of tenant farmers that began in the mid 18th century—it tells the tale of a solitary woman whose home is razed in the name of “agricultural improvement.”Having lived her whole life among her rural Highland community, she is suddenly told that she will be forced from her home, which will then be burned to the ground. The shattering pronouncement leaves her shocked and disoriented as her thoughts shift between despair for her future and memoires of the life that will soon be gone.
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books10 months ago
    The central character is not Spartacus himself, but Kleon, a fictional Greek educated slave and eunuch who joins the revolt. In the first chapter we are told how he was sold into slavery as a child and sexually abused by an owner.Another important character is Elpinice, a female slave who helps Spartacus and his fellow gladiators escape from Capua, and who becomes Spartacus's lover. She gives birth to a son, but while Spartacus is fighting elsewhere she is raped and murdered by soldiers, and the child is also killed. The novel touches on Gibbon's views on human history, with Spartacus seen as a survivor of the Golden Age.
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books2 years ago
    A verse novella by Glasgow Laureate Jim Carruth, Killochries tracks the relationship of two very different men working a remote farm over the course of twelve months. A young man is sent to work at Killochries, a farm belonging to a relative, after burning out in the city. He is appalled by the absence of his previous life’s essentials, by the remote strangeness of this new world.The old shepherd has never left the hills; has farmed them all his life. He doesn’t care for the troubles of the modern world, trusting only in God, and greets the incomer with taciturn indifference. Through weeks shaped by conflict, hardship and loss a new understanding grows.
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books2 years ago
    Two Men at Once' is one of Norman MacCaig best known poems. He was indeed two men at once: Edinburgh, the city where he was bornand lived as a teacher and poet, was his home, but no other place shaped his poetry more than Assynt in Sutherland. It is here that he wouldspend many a summer on family holidays, walking the hills and fishing the lochs. MacCaig’s fresh eye saw remarkable newness even in theeveryday and each poem is a tiny revelation, a new look at an old friend. This collection celebrates, renews, and rediscovers Norman MacCaig’sAssynt.
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books3 years ago
    A new DCI Daley short story from bestselling Scottish crime author Denzil Meyrick. ; When a body is found in a whisky barrel, buried on Dalintober beach, it appears that a notorious local crime, committed over a century ago, has finally been solved. D.C.I. Daley discovers that, despite the passage of time, the legacy of the murder still resonates within the community, and as he tries to make sense of the case, the tortured screams of a man who died long ago echo across Kinloch. ;
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books3 years ago
    Investigative journalist Carl Shewan lives in a world controlled by terror. Part of a dying breed, trapped under the heel of the oppressive CivCon regime, he and his colleagues are slowly being pushed to the margins as they struggle against a government that will tolerate no challenge to its absolute authority. When an informant summons him to the Highland town of Inverlair with information on the mysterious new communications system, S.C.O.P.E, Carl thinks he might finally be onto something. Not long after he arrives, however, the system is activated …with catastrophic results. Imprisoned in this remote refuge by a technological catastrophe, Carl struggles to adapt to impending fatherhood and to a harsh new existence in an ancient landscape, until a childless gamekeeper offers him an alternative to guilt and alienation. Set in the near future, Lie of the Land examines the claustrophobia of small-town life and questions how far the state will go to preserve an orderly society, one in which ubiquitous surveillance has reduced human life to a virtual experience.
  • Birlinn Limitedadded a book to the bookshelfPolygon Books3 years ago
    'If you thought Denzil Meyrick’s previous book, The Last Witness was thrilling, this one is truly mesmerising… completely captivating… DCI Daley is shaping up to be the West Coast’s answer to Edinburgh’s Rebus' — Scottish Home & Country When a senior Edinburgh civil servant spectacularly takes his own life in Kinloch harbour, DCI Jim Daley comes face to face with the murky world of politics. To add to his woes, two local drug dealers lie dead, ritually assassinated. It’s clear that dark forces are at work in the town. With his boss under investigation, his marriage hanging on by a thread, and his sidekick DS Scott wrestling with his own demons, Daley’s world is in meltdown. When strange lights appear in the sky over Kinloch, it becomes clear that the townsfolk are not the only people at risk. The fate of nations is at stake. Jim Daley must face his worst fears as tragedy strikes. This is not just about a successful investigation, it’s about survival. Also available from Denzil Meyrick: Whisky From Small Glasses, The Last Witness and The Rat Stone Serenade.
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