Melmoth by Sarah Perry

Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But her sheltered life is about to change. A strange manuscript has come into her possession. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world. Condemned to walk the Earth forever, she tries to beguile the guilty and lure them away for a lifetime wandering alongside her. As the past catches up with Helen, she must choose which path to take.

This delightfully dark sounding tale from the author of The Essex Serpent is a reinvention of the 19th century gothic novel Melmoth the Wanderer, and promises to be the perfect book for this time of year when the nights start drawing in.

Release date: 2nd October

Murder by the Book by Claire Harman

Early in the morning of 6th May 1840, a footman answered the door to a panic-stricken maid from a nearby house. Her elderly master, Lord William Russell, was lying in bed with his throat cut so deeply that the head was almost severed. The whole of London, from monarch to street urchins, was gripped by the gory details of the Russell murder. Several key literary figures, including Dickens and Thackeray, were drawn into the controversy, with Lord William’s murderer claiming to have been inspired by the season’s most sensational novel.

This non-fiction book tells the true story of a literary crime and has been named as one of the Guardian’s ‘50 Biggest Books of Autumn 2018’.

Release date: 25th October

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Five Dunbar brothers are living in the perfect chaos of a house without grown-ups. Today, the father who left them has just walked right back in. He has a surprising request: Who will build a bridge with him? It is Clay, a boy tormented by a long-buried secret, who accepts. But why is Clay so broken? And why must he fulfil this extraordinary challenge?

This new book from the author of The Book Thief doesn’t sound like it will be everyone’s cup of tea, but M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans, has called it ‘a captivating book with a mighty, fearless heart… achingly moving, delightfully funny, and thoroughly uplifting’.

Release date: 11th October

XX by Angela Chadwick

When Rosie and Jules discover a ground-breaking clinical trial that enables two women to have a female baby, they jump at the chance to make history. Fear-mongering politicians are quick to latch onto the controversies surrounding the new technology and stoke the fears of the public. What will happen to the number of boys born? Is there a sinister conspiracy to eradicate men? In this toxic political climate, Jules and Rosie try to hide their baby from scrutiny. But when the news of Rosie’s pregnancy is leaked to the media, their relationship is put under a microscope.

This debut novel from Angela Chadwick sounds as intriguing as an episode of Black Mirror, and as relevant and topical as The Handmaid’s Tale.

Release date: 4th October

The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell

It is the winter of 1893, and in London the snow is falling. It is falling as Gideon Bliss seeks shelter in a Soho church, where he finds Angie Tatton lying before the altar. His one-time love at death’s door, murmuring about those she calls the Spiriters. In the morning she is gone. The snow is falling as a seamstress climbs onto a ledge above Mayfair, a mysterious message stitched into her own skin. It is falling as her employer, Lord Strythe, vanishes into the night, watched by Octavia Hillingdon, a restless society columnist who longs to uncover a story of real importance. She and Gideon will soon be drawn into the same mystery, a mystery that will lead them to what lies hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.

This is the perfect time of year to cosy up with a mystery, and Liz Nugent has said of The House on Vesper Sands ‘[it’s] like the love child of Dickens and Conan Doyle, but funnier than both’.

Release date: 18th October

The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker

Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage – in name only – to a man who can help raise her three children. As Anton struggles to adapt to the roles of husband and father, he learns of the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Despite Elisabeth’s reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows.

This novel has been billed for fans of All the Light We Cannot See and Beneath a Scarlet Sky, and promises to explore small acts of defiance in the face of great evil.

Release date: 1st October

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking

Throughout his extraordinary career, Stephen Hawking expanded our understanding of the universe and unravelled some of its grandest mysteries. But even as his theoretical work took his mind to the furthest reaches of space, Hawking always believed that science could also be used to fix the problems on our planet. And now, as we face potential catastrophic changes here on Earth – from climate change to the threat of artificial super-intelligence – Stephen Hawking turns his attention to the most urgent issues for humankind.

The last book from the late Stephen Hawking promises to tackle the universe’s biggest questions and make readers take a deeper look at where humanity is heading.

Release date: 16th October

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker

It is 1868, and a 22-year-old Bram Stoker has locked himself inside an abbey’s tower to face off against a vile and ungodly beast. His fervent prayer is that he will survive this one night – a night that will provide to be the longest of his life. Desperate to leave a record of what he has witnessed, the young man scribbles out the events that brought him to this point – and tells an extraordinary tale of childhood illness, a mysterious nanny, and stories once thought to be fables now proven true.

I love Dracula; it’s a brilliant gothic classic that remains genuinely chilling even after all these years. Dracul is written by Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, and his co-writer J.D. Barker, and is inspired by the notes Dracula’s creator left behind.

Release date: 18th October

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep. Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice – save the woman he loves, or everyone else? – while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

This is the sequel to Strange the Dreamer, a beautiful yet frustrating novel that started on an epic scale but shrunk to a clichéd love story. Nonetheless, I’m still very excited for Muse of Nightmares, as Taylor’s writing is always magical and beautiful.

Release date: 2nd October

Map of Days by Ransom Riggs

Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma and their peculiar friends are with him, doing their best to blend in with the help of ‘normalling’ lessons. But carefree days are soon interrupted by a discovery – a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe. When clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, Jacob begins to learn more about the dangerous legacy he’s inherited.

This is the fourth novel in the fantastic Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series, which uses a mix of text and original Victorian photographs to tell highly entertaining and original stories.

Release date: 2nd October