From the bestselling author of Sister comes an electrifying, pulse-racing new novel that takes us deep into the heart of what it means to be human. Set around a school shooting in rural Somerset, this powerful literary thriller explores humanity's capacity for courage, love and redemption in the face of terror.

Three Hours is the perfect book club pick, exploring a range of issues, from extremism and terror, to love and relationships. We've pulled together some questions, alongside some some great quotations from the book chosen by Lupton, to kick start your bookclub meeting.

Warning: Contains spoilers

‘She wonders for a moment how many stories are playing out here simultaneously, connected by time and place’ – Rose

The novel uses numerous points of view including Matthew Marr, Hannah, Rafi, Basi, Beth, and Rose. What was your experience of reading a novel with many different points of view? Did you find it enriched the story? Was there a particular character or story that you related to? 

’It was as if the gunman has taken control of time and stretched it’ - Neil

‘Rose has often been under time pressure in her career, but time has always been digital before, not seconds as grains of sand running through an hour glass.’ 

What do you think of a novel being set over only three hours? Did it intensify the reading experience for you? Do you think the teachers and students trapped inside the school experience time differently to the police outside the school? 

‘Another shot. Hannah was pulling him inside the library, she must have waited by the door; a habit of waiting by doors. Brave girl. Why didn’t he know about this courage of his students?- Matthew

‘Camille’s colleagues say that she’s sensitive and artistic; their surveillance footage shows that she is also brave and indefatigable.’

Do you think that the novel is primarily about terror or about courage? And are the two linked? Do you think that the author challenges the idea of young people as ‘snowflakes’? Was there any instance of courage that particularly resonated with you? 

‘She’d had no idea then of the love she had for Jamie, had assumed it was possessive, grasping, but the make-up of her love is not like that at all ‘– Beth 

‘when she thinks about Rafi Bukhari she wonders what kind of parent she’ll be’ – Rose 

What kinds of love are there in the book? Was there a particular relationship that moved you? Which did you think was the stronger driver in the book, the hatred of the terrorists, or the love of the victims?

‘..the present was the floor you trod on, all fine and oblivious, and then – BAM! a hole – and you fell down into the past.’ Rafi 

What did you think of Rafi’s relationship with his brother? Do you think that Rafi and Basi are central to the story? Do you think they are fully part of their new community?

Three Hours is out in paperback 29 October 2020.

  • Three Hours

  • <h2>THREE HOURS TO SAVE THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE</h2>
    A TOP 10 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
    A BEST BOOK OF 2020 IN THE SUNDAY TIMES, TIMES, GUARDIAN, STYLIST, RED AND GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
    A TIMES & SUNDAY TIMES THRILLER OF THE MONTH
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege.

    Pupils and teachers barricade themselves into classrooms, the library, the theatre. The headmaster lies wounded in the library, unable to help his trapped students and staff. Outside, a police psychiatrist must identify the gunmen, while parents gather desperate for news.

    In three intense hours, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and save the people they love.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    WHAT EVERYONE'S SAYING ABOUT THREE HOURS

    'If you read only one thriller this year; make it this one: it is that good' DAILY MAIL

    'Superb' KATE MOSSE

    'It's beautifully, elegantly written, SO gripping, intelligent, timely, affecting and moving' MARIAN KEYES

    'A brilliant literary thriller... moving, masterly' SUNDAY TIMES

    'Kept us on the edge of our seats from start to finish' INDEPENDENT

    'Brilliant' LEE CHILD

    'A novel that you live rather than merely read' DAILY TELEGRAPH

    'Amazing' DAVINA MCCALL

    'An electrifying, pulse-racing novel' RED

    'Wow! This is a stunner of a book, staggeringly good' JANE FALLON

    'An emotionally devastating and beautifully observed literary thriller' OBSERVER

    'Astonishing, powerful, terrifying, heartbreaking' EMMA FLINT

    'Three Hours intersperses scenes of breath-sucking tension with stirring meditations on human nature' SARA COLLINS, GUARDIAN

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