1920. The Great War has been over for two years, and it has left a very different world from the Edwardian certainties of 1914. Following the death of his wife and baby and his experiences on the Western Front, Laurence Bartram has become something of a recluse. Yet death and the aftermath of the conflict continue to cast a pall over peacetime England, and when a young woman he once knew persuades him to look into events that apparently led her brother, John Emmett, to kill himself, Laurence is forced to revisit the darkest parts of the war. As Laurence unravels the connections between Captain Emmett’s suicide, a group of war poets, a bitter regimental feud and a hidden love affair, more disquieting deaths are exposed. Even at the moment Laurence begins to live again, it dawns on him that nothing is as it seems, and that even those closest to him have their secrets . . .
"If you like to kick back with some very high-class literary wallowing, this fabulously enjoyable novel has absolutely everything. Speller’s writing is gorgeous, her research immaculate and very lightly worn. Sheer bliss". (Kate Saunders, THE TIMES)
"With its portrait of a war-blighted nation, Elizabeth Speller’s gripping first novel shares territory with Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy . . . Speller offers a fast-paced literary thriller . . . This is a remarkable piece of storytelling . . . Equally impressive is Speller’s portrait of a fearful and class-ridden England after the armistice." (FINANCIAL TIMES)
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Great to find a new voice
- C. Doughty