Set against the backdrop of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, the Gallipoli campaign and the subsequent bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks, Birds Without Wings traces the fortunes of one small community in south-west Anatolia - a town in which Christian and Muslim lives and traditions have co-existed peacefully for centuries.
When war is declared and the outside world intrudes, the twin scourges of religion and nationalism lead to forced marches and massacres, and the peaceful fabric of life is destroyed. Birds Without Wings is a novel about the personal and political costs of war, and about love: between men and women; between friends; between those who are driven to be enemies; and between Philothei, a Christian girl of legendary beauty, and Ibrahim the Goatherd, who has courted her since infancy. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, it is an enchanting masterpiece.
Read by Hugh Bonneville.
A more ambitious novel than Captain Corelli, and a better one
A mesmerising patchwork of horror, humour and humanity
A magnificent, poetic, colossal novel... Superbly written... It is, in every sense, a sublime book
His most serious and ambitious achievement to date
Pleasurable... Like Steinbeck, de Bernières deserves praise for his imaginative sympathy
The master of historical fiction and bestselling author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin concludes his wartime trilogy with The Autumn of the Ace. Here's our handy guide to the series and what to read next.
From novels about parenting to making love last, here are some great books to read in your forties.