Sir Christopher Bland was an Anglo-Irish businessman and politician, also the former Chairman of the BBC, BT and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He died in 2017.
Christopher had a long-standing interest in the cultivation of good wines, he owns a 19th Century house that accommodates countless bottles of Bordeaux, Champagne and white Burgundy. The small vineyard near his home in Gascony, France, produces about 1,000 litres a year, and he was Chairman of Leiths School of Food and Wine.
CATHAR — Buy it here
Set in a world made familiar to readers through Kate Mosse’s great bestseller, Labyrinth, this beautiful historical novel is a saga of heroism and heartbreak, as a young Cathar believer loses his aristocratic inheritance and becomes a fugitive from the Inquisition.
During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Cathars in southwest France posed such a threat to Roman Catholicism, that the Inquisition was tasked to destroy every single one of them. Francois de Beaufort will lose the castle which is his inheritance, be horribly maimed in battle, see the woman he loves imprisoned and tortured for her faith. But he vows to fight back, to survive – and to rescue her.
“The persecution of the Cathars is a fascinating period and Bland has crafted a page-turning tale” Times Saturday Review
PUBLISHER: Apollo (Head of Zeus)
PUBLICATION DATE: 8 September 2016
ASHES IN THE WIND — Buy it here
This epic saga, interweaving the destinies of the Anglo-Irish Burkes and the Catholic Irish Sullivans, through three generations, begins in 1919 with a shocking murder and the burning of the Burkes’ ancestral castle in Kerry.
John Burke and Tomas Sullivan were friends at school. But now they find themselves on opposite sides of an armed struggle which will engulf Ireland and take both men to a day of reckoning on the battlefields of the Spanish Civil War.
Meanwhile John’s doomed love for the daughter of an IRA hardliner will send him into exile in England, knowing that somewhere, in the Ireland of his heart, is a child he may never be allowed to meet.
Not until sixty years later will the triumphant and redemptive finale of this enthralling story be played out.
“Bland’s writing is lyrical and often beautifully descriptive” Times
“He has an exceptional grasp of Irish history and a capacity of even-handedness in writing about it – not to mention a rare ability to weave numerous narrative strands together…a convincing and exciting page-turner” Independent.
“The novel is both historically enlightening and dramatically absorbing” Spectator
“It’s an engaging yarn which succeeds in finding humanity amid the bigotry and violence” Mail on Sunday
PUBLISHER: Head of Zeus
PUBLICATION DATE: 11th September 2014
RIGHTS CONTROLLED: Translation, Audio & Serial