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Altai: A Novel

Altai is a great historical thriller and the prose has all the surface glitter of the Grand Canal or the Golden Horn.” – Edward Stourton, Financial Times

When a fire rips through the Venetian Arsenal in 1569, the enigmatic Emanuele De Zante, spy-catcher and secret agent, is betrayed by his lover, imprisoned, and accused of treason. Given the chance to escape, he embarks on a trans-European odyssey that will test his loyalty and force him to question even his own identity.

Through a series of deadly political games leading all the way to the Sultan’s palace in Constantinople, De Zante and his companions spiral headfirst toward a conflict in which the great empires of the Republic of Venice and the Ottomans threaten the very foundations of civilization.

Reviews

  • Altai is a great historical thriller and the prose has all the surface glitter of the Grand Canal or the Golden Horn… For a city break in Venice, Dubrovnik or Istanbul, this is perfect read as it is.”
  • “[An] expertly crafted novel.”
  • “A triumph of swashbuckling storytelling, a historical romp.”
  • “If you loved Q; no, if you were swept away by a passion that became an addiction to that monumental novel, take a deep breath and start reading again.”
  • “After a little more conversation both Wu Mings seemed to have rekindled their interest in their old work and asked me if I understood the parallels between the historical world Altai deals with and the political situation today. I told them this wasn’t a problem for me but I quickly gave up trying to disentangle their fiction from historical fact because the two were so closely interwoven. There was a gleam in Wu Ming 1’s eye when he replied: 'That’s because we worked the fiction into tiny historical cracks.'”
  • “Skillfully written ... it is difficult not to shiver.”
  • “If you like your historical fiction with plenty of explosions and Turkish-inflected interjections, this is right up your alley.”
  • “Unspools mesmerisingly like an old Hollywood movie.”
  • “A highly compelling epic of great beauty and power.”
  • “A rich, inventive and immensely powerful book – Q is a great novel, one that tells us about ourselves and how we came to be here.”
  • “Imagine Umberto's eco knack for the swashbuckling thriller-of-ideas crossed with an artful touch of the Le Carré's – it boasts pace, colour, excitement and suspense to spare – Q works like a charm as a sordid, splendid period romp.”
  • “Unputdownable.”
  • “A great historical thriller and the prose has all the surface glitter of the Grand Canal or the Golden Horn … this is perfect.”
  • “Big and bloody and breathtaking: a crush of colour and crowds, exotic locations and war.”
  • “Their books sizzle with a kind of lefty jazz: they’re linguistically and culturally hip, historically astute, with a heart worn challengingly on the sleeve.”
  • “Fans of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, grab it now.”

Blog

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    We know how hard it is to shop for gifts for your parents, or your sister's fiancé, or that anti-social co-worker you picked for secret santa. So we've made it easy with our top picks from the Verso catalog for everyone in your life.

    Plus every title is 50% off with FREE shipping for the rest of December!

    For more inspiration check out our FREE e-book sampler with highlights from our 2014 list, including pieces from Arundhati Roy, Benjamin Kunkel, Gabriella Coleman, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Shlomo Sand, Walter Benjamin and Slavoj Žižek.

    HOW TO RADICALIZE THE BABY BOOMERS IN YOUR LIFE



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    Politics, Feminism, Philosophy, Memoir - it's all covered here in our 2014 end-of-year highlights. Don't forget, all our books are 50% off for the month of December! Get your order in early to make sure you get them in time for Christmas!

    POLITICS



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  • 2013 Highlights from Verso Books

    From scaling the very highest rooftops to political scandal through the eyes of Alexander Cockburn, we bring you our seasonal highlights for 2013.

    THE CITY / URBAN EXPLORATION



     
    Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City
    Bradley L. Garrett

    "Garrett perceives the city like no one else I know. Seen through his eyes, it is newly porous, full of “vanishing points”, “imperfect joinings” and portals – service hatches, padlocked doorways – that you wouldn't usually notice... The city's accessible space extends far down into the earth (sewers, bunkers, tunnels) and far up into the air (skyscrapers, cranes), with the street level only serving as a median altitude." – Robert Macfarlane, Guardian 

    "[Combines] erudite references (Montesquieu, Walter Benjamin) with compelling photographs of men in hoodies in strange places." – Rowan Moore, The Observer Architecture Books of the Year

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Other books by Wu Ming Translated by Shaun Whiteside