Top Five Fiction Books to Read This Year


by Ariel Robinson

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017 is back and promises to be the most exciting one ever. Over 160 incredible authors will be featuring at this year’s literary extravaganza with an exciting line-up of sessions, workshops and panels. The largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Middle East will bring people of all ages together to promote a love of reading and writing.

If you’re as excited for the Festival as we are and looking for a Festival book to curl up with, we’ve got the top five fiction books to read. Let’s dive in!

Mr Gandys Grand Tour by Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is well known for his appearances on TV as much-loved British gardener and broadcaster on shows such as The Chelsea Flower Show. As a gardening journalist, he has written more than 50 books on the subject, alongside autobiographies and novels that have made the Sunday Times bestseller list. His first try at writing fiction in 2001 was Only Dad, about a family whose lives change over night on a family vacation to Tuscany.

His most recent novel is Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour where the story follows the life of Timothy Gandy. When Gandy’s wife suddenly passes away, he finds himself at a loose end and decides to embark on a lifetime’s ambition – a Grand Tour. He sets off, following in the footsteps of the aristocrats of the eighteenth century. On his return, he realises that his outlook on life has changed.

It’s an inspiring feel good book that may motivate others in the same position as the quintessentially British character or for those who are feeling a bit lost.

Don’t miss Alan Titchmarsh at this year’s Festival! He will be talking about the struggle of having a green finger in a desert climate and his varied career throughout his life.

Alan Titchmarsh’s Festival sessions:

Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer is one of the bestselling authors of our time and has sold more than 250 million books in over 30 languages. He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (19 times), short stories (four times) and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries). His latest novel This Was A Man is the seventh and final volume of the Clifton Chronicles.

Published in 1979, Kane and Abel is one of Archer’s most successful novels. Born on the same day on opposite sides of the world, Kane and Abel are brought together by fate and battle for the success and triumph that only one of them can have. Archer tells the story from parallel worlds where their two paths cross and the ending holds an incredible surprise.

At the Festival, Archer will be sharing his top secrets to being a successful writer and how he has managed his many achievements. His delightfully entertaining anecdotes are not to be missed. Oh, and Archer promises to give away some clues to his next character.

Jeffrey Archer’s Festival sessions:

The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury

Lebanese author Raymond Khoury will be heading to this year’s Festival and we can’t wait! Khoury began as a screenwriter in Hollywood and worked on TV series such as Spooks and Waking The Dead, which won an International Emmy.

The Last Templar is Khoury’s debut novel and his most successful one. It was also turned into a graphic novel and a mini TV series. Set in AD 1291, The Last Templar opens with a young Templar knight, his mentor, and a handful of others escaping to the sea carrying a mysterious chest. The plot involves a deadly game of cat and mouse with ruthless killers as the protagonists race across three continents to recover the lost secret of the Templars.

Don’t forget to buy your tickets for Khoury’s sessions where he’ll be talking about screenwriting as a book writer and how he’s mastered pace and plot on the page.

Raymond Khoury’s Festival sessions:

Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs is a novelist, a TV producer for hit American crime show, Bones, and a forensic anthropologist. Her first book, Déjà Dead, became a New York Times bestseller, a Sunday Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis award for best first novel. Her 19 book-long series featuring Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist, is based on the author’s life.

The Bone Collection is her latest featuring Temperance Brennan, a collection of pulse-pounding short stories including the untold story of Dr Brennan’s first case! The Bone Collection presents Reichs’ trademark artistry as she reveals how her heroine became a forensic anthropologist in the first place.

The collection is rounded out with three other page-turning stories that take Brennan from the low country of the Florida Everglades, where she makes a grisly discovery in the stomach of an eighteen-foot Burmese python, to the heights of Mount Everest, where a frozen corpse is unearthed. No matter where she goes, Brennan’s cases make for the most gripping reading. Perfect for fans of thrillers and crime fiction, this is definitely the book to read.

Kathy Reichs will be at the Festival discussing how to make a successful screen adaptation and, for the first time, will be talking about solving crimes and uncovering mysteries.

Kathy Reichs’ Festival sessions:

The Bourne Enigma by Eric Van Lustbader

American author Eric Van Lustbader has written over 35 bestselling novels including The Ninja, in which he introduced hero Nicholas Linnear, Any Minute Now, The Testament and The Fallen. Van Lustbader is also the founding member of the International Thriller Writers.

In 2004, he was chosen by the estate of the late Robert Ludlum to continue the Jason Bourne novels. So far, he has written ten additions to the well-known series, The Bourne Enigma being the latest. Jason Bourne receives a message from a fellow spymaster about a ‘crippling disaster’ that could destroy the world. Bourne only has four days to find out what it is and how to stop it. The novel sees the spy travelling across the world, including the Middle East, where he discovers the astonishing truth.

A fast-paced novel and an intense addition to the series, this is a great book for fans of action.

Eric Van Lustbader will be discussing his internationally-acclaimed books, what makes a gripping read, how sci-fi and fantasy has grown across cultures and continuing the legacy of a writer.

Eric Van Lustbader’s Festival sessions:

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be held from 3-11 March at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. Tickets can be purchased on the Festival website ( and at Magrudy’s stores.

And don’t forget… The journey begins here!