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Photo taken from outside our Merlin Unwin Books office – it could only happen in Ludlow!
Since the beginning of the year we've been hard at work getting our 2018 colour books ready. The authors and photographers are working closely with us on the final adjustments as we send the books to press.
Among the new books we will be publishing are:
Feathers – The Game Larder by Jose Souto & Steve Lee (£25) is published 2 August 2018
This modern collection of game bird recipes is brought to us by Jose Souto and 22 other game aficionado professional chefs, all lavishly illustrated with sumptuous photographs by Steve Lee. This sister volume to the successful Venison, The Game Larder, will be launched at The Game Fair, Ragley Hall, 27-29 July, where Jose will be demonstrating his famous game bird cookery skills in The Field Kitchen Theatre, and pre-publication signed copies will be available.
Horse Games: One Man’s Search for the Tribal Horse Contests of Asia and Africa
by Bob Thompson (£20) is published 6 September 2018
Author and former Horse Guards officer Bob Thompson travels to some of the world’s most remote places to fulfil his passion for seeing, while they still remain, the last vestiges of the skills of the war horse. From the buzhashi horsemen in Afghanistan and Mongolia to the dancing horses of Mali and the mounted Oromo spearmen of Ethiopia, Bob tracks down gilgit polo, visits the Ethiopian national stud, watches cirit and tent-pegging. His journey takes him to such exotic places as Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Iran and Pakistan and Mongolia.
We've added four of our fishing titles to our list of e-books and they will be available for download in April. For full details click here:
Our author of The Hare and later, The Rabbit, Jill Mason has a feature on rabbits in the April edition of BBC Countryfile magazine. The article is about the curious history of Britain's rabbits and how they have shaped our landscape and lives – much of which is taken from her book The Rabbit.
Rabbits and hares are very much a part of our countryside, not only the landscape but also our myths and legends. Boxing hares will be seen in the fields from this month onwards, as a female fights off the unwanted attentions of a buck (see photo above from The Hare).
As we approach Easter, have you ever wondered what 'Easter bunnies' have to do with Easter? In pre-Christian times, Eostre was the pagan goddess of spring and was said to lay an egg (a symbol of fertility) but before it could be reborn, the hare had to die. It was therefore hunted and sacrificed at the vernal equinox, 21 March. Christianity retained the symbolism of this festival, but made its mark by changing the ‘pagan’ hare to a rabbit and hence the often slightly confusing Easter bunny and Easter eggs of today.
Whether you live in the town or the countryside, you're never far from an ancient rabbit warren. To discover the nearest one to you and to learn everything worth knowing about rabbits, The Rabbit by Jill Mason is on special offer from now until the end of April. This beautiful full-colour, large format hardback normally retails at £20 but you can buy it through our website for just £14 plus p&p!
From A Shropshire Lad by A E Housman (£20). Photo by Gareth Thomas
The Sun at noon to higher air,
Unharnessing the silver Pair
That late before his chariot swam,
Rides on the gold wool of the Ram.
So braver notes the storm-cock sings
To start the rusted wheel of things,
And brutes in field and brutes in pen
Leap that the world goes round again.
The boys are up the woods with day
To fetch the daffodils away,
And home at noonday from the hills
They bring no dearth of daffodils.
Afield for palms the girls repair,
And sure enough the palms are there,
And each will find by hedge or pond
Her waving silver-tufted wand.
In farm and field through all the shire
The eye beholds the heart’s desire;
Ah, let not only mine be vain,
For lovers should be loved again.
Aaron Silverman, President of SCB Distributors who distribute our books in the USA, is a big fan of Jose Souto's Venison – the game larder. Aaron recently bought a venison loin and made this feast using several recipes from the book: Venison cooked in a spiced salt crust, blueberry compote, braised chicory, potatoes colcannon and a salad of shaved beets, radishes, orange slices and brussel sprouts!
While Jose Souto is putting the finishing touches to his feathered game recipes for Feathers – the Game Larder (published August 2018), here is a delicious one from his best-seller Venison, the Game Larder, to keep you going through the winter.
GT – A Flyfisher's Guide to Giant Trevally as been reviewed by Steve Collis in the February issue of The Angling Report, USA. Steve says: 'This comprehensive and very usable guide contains pretty much all the information an angler intent on catching these most intimidating of fish could want. I cannot recommend this book enough. A note of caution though: GT fishing is profoundly addictive (believe me I know). So if you buy this book, which I highly recommend you do, you are very likely to develop a lifetime habit!'
You can subscribe to The Angling Report here where you can read the review in full!
Freddie the Merlin Unwin Books office dog isn't allowed on the sofa – he thinks this is a compromise.
If you have a new puppy, you will benefit from expert Fiona Baird’s no nonsense advice in her pocket book Training Your Puppy (£9.99pb/£7.99ebook). She’s very clear on how to train your puppy to come back, especially on why you MUST NEVER CHASE THEM. Here’s her advice on how to get your puppy to come back inside after you’ve left him in the garden.
Pike are in peak condition this month. New converts to fishing for pike on the fly might like to try Dominic Garnett’s recommendation: the Frost Bite. He recommends an 8 weight fly line for this small-water, canals and drains offering. He says, ‘It has a bit of everything: some light and some dark; some flash and a bright target point. The black deer hair ensures that it sinks very slowly which is ideal for those shallow, weedy, pike-infested waters where lures continually snag.'
Photos, recipe and instructions from Flyfishing for Coarse Fish (£20)
PD Hart Davis will delight fans of her mystery The Stalking Party with her recently-delivered new thriller, set this time on a series of pheasant shoots. A labyrinthine plot involving the conflicting interests of different shooting cartels, villagers, local politics and illicit sexual liaisons, this thriller needs a good shooting title. Any suggestions? If your title is chosen, you will receive a signed copy of the book, which will be published in September this year. Please email your suggestions to: email@example.com The deadline is 10 March 2018.
On the subject of pheasants, this one made it to the end of the game season and to celebrate had the cheek to come to the Merlin Unwin Books bird-feeder to fill its crop with bird-seed!
One of the many sea trout that Jonathan White, author of Nymphing – the new way, is catching on heavy-duty nymphs in Argentina at the moment. His biggest is 17lb!
The perfect ‘thank you’ gift for friends and family – and one for yourself!
Get ready to enjoy all of Britain and Ireland’s wild flowers throughout the year as you walk through the countryside. Over 1,000 wild flowers are beautifully painted and named in the month they will appear, in this jewel-like hard-back.
Wild Flowers of Britain retails at £8.99 plus p&p but throughout February if you BUY TWO COPIES through our website we'll send you a THIRD COPY FREE!
Sphagnum moss (also peat or bog moss) has a spectacular capacity to absorb blood, is antiseptic, and easy to collect and transport. These properties made it a superb battlefield or foraging medicine; if you are cut while outdoors, yarrow or any astringent will stop bleeding and sphagnum can be the dressing.
The doctors and the nurses
Look North with eager eyes,
And call on us to send them
The dressing that they prize.
No other is its equal –
In modest bulk it goes
Until it meets the gaping wound
Where the red life blood flows,
Then spreading, swelling in its might
It checks the fatal loss,
And kills the germ, and heals the hurt
– The kindly Sphagnum Moss.
– Mrs A M Smith, a member of the Edinburgh War Dressings Supply organisation, 1917
This and hundreds of other cures are in Wayside Medicine (£16.99) by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal which is now available in the US as Backyard Medicine for All (Skyhorse Publishing).