Neil follows the rise of Clan Stewart to become Scotland’s Royal dynasty. It’s the blood soaked tale of a bitter family feud. In a vicious contest, using clan power to plot, manoeuvre and murder their way to power, the story culminates with the dramatic assassination of King James I below a tennis court in Perth, 1437. Neil traces this family feud through clan combat, royal romances and spectacular Renaissance courts to the brutal torture and execution of the last rival Stewart, Walter Atholl, when the king’s widowed Queen Joan wreaks a terrible revenge for his treachery.
D-Day suffers a last minute postponement when the weather over the Channel deteriorates. For Allied Supreme Commander General Eisenhower these are moments of extreme anxiety. Many of his men will be experiencing combat for the first time, and there is much that could go wrong. When meteorologists promise Eisenhower a brief window of improved weather, he takes the gamble and orders the invasion to proceed. Airborne divisions lead the way, parachuting into the darkness over Normandy. Shortly after dawn landing craft approach the coast. At Omaha Beach the Germans are waiting for them. The carnage that follows is described here with vivid personal testimony from both sides.
Simon discovers surprises in Istanbul as it rose to become the imperial capital and Islam's most powerful city. Visiting the great mosques and palaces built by the Ottoman emperors, he tells the stories behind them - of royal concubines, murderous bodyguards and sultans both the powerful and the depraved. He shows how the Christians, Muslims and Jews of the city once co-existed before the waves of nationalist rebellions brought the Ottoman empire to its knees. In the 20th century the ancient capital was once more transformed by the new secular vision of Ataturk.