September 1919: Twenty-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a clutch of letters to Marian Bancroft. Tristan fought alongside Marian's brother Will during the Great War. They trained together. They fought together.
But in 1917, Will laid down his guns on the battlefield and declared himself a conscientious objector, an act which has brought shame and dishonour on the Bancroft family.
The letters, however, are not the real reason for Tristan's visit. He holds a secret deep within him. One that he is desperate to unburden himself of to Marian, if he can only find the courage. Whatever happens, this meeting will change his life – forever.
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Extraordinary... The narrative is by turns surprising and tragic in equal measure while its troubling conclusion will stay with readers long after they've closed the book -
Powerful, poignant and beautifully written. This will become a classic war novel - Bookseller
Compulsive, stylish and gripping - Reader's Digest
A wonderful, sad, tender book -
John Boyne brings a completely fresh eye to the most important stories. He guides us through the realm of history and makes the journey substantial, poignant and real. He is one of the great craftsmen in contemporary literature -
A superb evocation of the Great War and its very human effects - Choice Magazine
A fiercely interrogative novel that asks not just what it means to be a man but also what it means to be a human being in the extreme circumstances of war - Irish Times
Boyne's fluid writing and strong characterisation brings the story to life and delivers a strong, unexpected emotional punch at the end - Edinburgh Evening News
There is an old-fashioned feeling to this readable and well-written novel - Independent
Boyne's twinning of the subjects of homosexuality and conscientious objection is inspired - Metro
Boyne skillfully draws a thread through from sexual to moral to social shame... he tells a good story - Irish Independent
A really enjoyable, if rather sad, read, full of historical and human interest - Irish Sunday Independent
John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971 and is the author of seven novels. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas won two Irish Book Awards and the Penguin Orange Readers' Group Prize. It was shortlisted for the British Book Award and was made into a Miramax feature film. His novels are published in over 40 languages. He lives in Dublin.