In a prison in Occupied France one in every ten men is to be shot. The prisoners draw lots among themselves - and for rich lawyer Louis Chavel it seems that his whole life has been leading up to an agonising and crucial failure of nerve. Hysterical with panic, fear, and a sense of injustice, he offers to barter everything he owns for someone to take his place.
Graham Greene wrote The Tenth Man in 1944, when he was under a two-year contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the manuscript lay forgotten in MGM's archives until 1983. It was published two years later with an introduction by the author.
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Greene was a past master of the psychological thriller and this was no exception - Observer
A masterpiece - tapped out in the lean, sharp prose that film work taught Greene to perfect - Sunday Times
All of the Greene hallmarks are there: pace, ingenuity, a sense of profundities suggested but never insisted upon - Sunday Telegraph
Typically full of psychological obsession and tricks of perspective, this short story plays games with the concepts of identity and freedom. Threaded through with paranoiac attempts to be sure of time, life, and death, the story ends with impenetrable paradox; with a tragedy and a travesty, a revenge and a redressal, truth and the ultimate lie - The Times
Graham Greene was born in 1904. On coming down from Balliol College, Oxford, he worked for four years as sub-editor on The Times. He established his reputation with his fourth novel, Stamboul Train. In 1935 he made a journey across Liberia, described in Journey Without Maps, and on his return was appointed film critic of the Spectator. In 1926 he had been received into the Roman Catholic Church and visited Mexico in 1938 to report on the religious persecution there. As a result he wrote The Lawless Roads and, later, his famous novel The Power and the Glory. Brighton Rock was published in 1938 and in 1940 he became literary editor of the Spectator. The next year he undertook work for the Foreign Office and was stationed in Sierra Leone from 1941 to 1943. This later produced the novel The Heart of the Matter, set in West Africa.
As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography - A Sort of Life, Ways of Escape and A World of My Own (published posthumously) - two of biography and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews, some of which appear in the collections Reflections and Mornings in the Dark. Many of his novels and short stories have been filmed and The Third Man was written as a film treatment. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.