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Authors: Martina Cole

The Life

BOOK: The Life
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The Life
Martina Cole
Headline Hb (2012)

The most authentic novel of gangster family life ever written, from the No. 1 bestselling author. The Bailey brothers are gangsters determined to make their mark in the world. Peter and Daniel are chalk and cheese in many ways - Peter's calm exterior belies his ruthless nature, while Daniel's penchant for spectacular violence is legendary - but together they are unstoppable. From the late seventies they rule London's East End and, when their sons join the business, it seems that no one can touch the powerful Baileys. Although it's never easy at the top; there is always someone waiting to take you down - sometimes even those closest to you...Lena Bailey is determined to shield her youngest child Tania from the Life. But when a terrible tragedy occurs, Tania's eyes are opened to their world in a way that forces her to make an irrevocable choice that will determine her future. Martina Cole's gritty and gripping new novel is an unflinching portrait of a family torn apart by violence and betrayal, but ultimately bound by loyalty, by blood, and by a burning desire for revenge...It is a story of the Life, told as only Martina Cole can.

About the Author

Martina Cole is the No. 1 bestselling author of eighteen hugely successful novels. Her hard-hitting, uncompromising and haunting writing makes for an incredible read, and sales of her books now stand at over ten million copies. She is the person who dares to tell it like it really is.

Copyright © 2012 Martina Cole

The right of Martina Cole to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, with prior permission in writing of the publishers or, in the case of reprographic production, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency.

First published as an Ebook by Headline Publishing Group in 2012

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The lyrics acknowledgements constitute an extension of this copyright page.

Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from the British Library

eISBN 978 0 7553 7560 8

An Hachette UK Company
338 Euston Road
London NW1 3BH


Title Page

Copyright Page

About the Author

Also By



Book One

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Forty

Book Two

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Chapter Forty-Seven

Chapter Forty-Eight

Chapter Forty-Nine

Chapter Fifty

Chapter Fifty-One

Chapter Fifty-Two

Chapter Fifty-Three

Chapter Fifty-Four

Chapter Fifty-Five

Chapter Fifty-Six

Chapter Fifty-Seven

Chapter Fifty-Eight

Chapter Fifty-Nine

Chapter Sixty

Chapter Sixty-One

Chapter Sixty-Two

Chapter Sixty-Three

Chapter Sixty-Four

Chapter Sixty-Five

Chapter Sixty-Six

Chapter Sixty-Seven

Chapter Sixty-Eight

Chapter Sixty-Nine

Chapter Seventy

Chapter Seventy-One

Chapter Seventy-Two

Chapter Seventy-Three

Chapter Seventy-Four

Chapter Seventy-Five

Chapter Seventy-Six

Chapter Seventy-Seven

Chapter Seventy-Eight

Chapter Seventy-Nine

Chapter Eighty

Chapter Eighty-One

Chapter Eighty-Two

Chapter Eighty-Three

Chapter Eighty-Four

Book Three

Chapter Eighty-Five

Chapter Eighty-Six

Chapter Eighty-Seven

Chapter Eighty-Eight

Chapter Eighty-Nine

Chapter Ninety

Chapter Ninety-One

Chapter Ninety-Two

Chapter Ninety-Three

Chapter Ninety-Four

Chapter Ninety-Five

Chapter Ninety-Six

Chapter Ninety-Seven

Chapter Ninety-Eight

Chapter Ninety-Nine

Chapter One Hundred

Chapter One Hundred and One

Chapter One Hundred and Two

Chapter One Hundred and Three

Chapter One Hundred and Four

Chapter One Hundred and Five

Chapter One Hundred and Six

Chapter One Hundred and Seven

Chapter One Hundred and Eight

Chapter One Hundred and Nine

Chapter One Hundred and Ten

Chapter One Hundred and Eleven

Chapter One Hundred and Twelve

Chapter One Hundred and Thirteen

Chapter One Hundred and Fourteen

Chapter One Hundred and Fifteen

Chapter One Hundred and Sixteen

Chapter One Hundred and Seventeen

Chapter One Hundred and Eighteen

Chapter One Hundred and Nineteen

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-One

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Two

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Three

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Four

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Five

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Six

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Seven

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Eight

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Nine

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-One

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Two

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Three

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Four

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Five

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Six

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Seven

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Eight

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Nine

Chapter One Hundred and Forty

Chapter One Hundred and Forty-One

Chapter One Hundred and Forty-Two

Chapter One Hundred and Forty-Three

Chapter One Hundred and Forty-Four

Chapter One Hundred and Forty-Five

Chapter One Hundred and Forty-Six

Chapter One Hundred and Forty-Seven

Chapter One Hundred and Forty-Eight


Chapter One Hundred and Forty-Nine

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty-One

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty-Two

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty-Three

Lyrics Acknowledgements

Martina Cole is the No. 1 bestselling author of eighteen hugely successful novels. Her most recent novel,
The Faithless
, was a No. 1 bestseller.
The Family
went straight to No. 1 on the
Sunday Times
hardback bestseller list and was the bestselling hardback adult fiction title of 2010 as well as being a No. 1 bestseller in paperback. It is currently being adapted for television following the huge success of
The Take
The Runaway
on Sky One.
Two Women
The Graft
have been adapted for the stage; both were highly acclaimed when performed at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, which will also stage
Dangerous Lady
later this year – celebrating twenty years since Martina’s debut novel was published.
Martina Cole is a phenomenon. Her hard-hitting, uncompromising and haunting writing makes for an incredible read, and sales of her books now stand at over ten million copies. She is the person who dares to tell it like it really is.

By Martina Cole and available from Headline

Dangerous Lady

The Ladykiller

Goodnight Lady

The Jump

The Runaway

Two Women



Maura’s Game

The Know

The Graft

The Take



The Business

Hard Girls

The Family

The Faithless

The Life


After books, my big love is music. As I’m writing of a night time, I listen to the sounds of the eras I am writing about. It’s a perfect way to get into the characters’ minds and, as everyone knows, a certain record can transport you back to a particular moment in time. If I hear ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’ by Slade, I can remember with stunning clarity one of my oldest friends, Graham Petherick, air-guitaring to it as a crowd of us watched his silhouette through his bathroom window! When I listen to ‘Woke Up This Morning’ by Alabama 3, I can see my daughter Freddie Mary and my grandson Lewis, both four years old at the time, singing along to it as we travelled down to my caravan in Eastbourne. Wonderful memories, captured in time by music. Music can do that to you, bring back a memory and make you smile even on your saddest of days. After I buried my mum, I played Bowie, and even in my grief I had to smile as I remembered her asking me to turn up ‘Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide’ on my record player; she loved that song, she loved Bowie. She died in the early eighties, eight months after my father’s death, and I still miss them both very much.

As I wrote
The Life
, I listened to a lot of Alabama 3 – one of my favourite bands of all time – and I have used their lyrics in this book. They are the band I listen to most these days. I have seen them live, and they are a really visual band, whose music seems to encompass the thoughts of many different generations. I look forward to seeing them again soon. I was very lucky to be asked to be a part of their latest album,
Shoplifting For Jesus
, and I am now pretending to be a recording artist! Thanks, guys, especially Ian Gough and Larry Love.

BOOK: The Life
13.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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