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.
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
Compulsive, stylish and gripping
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
From John Boyne to Jan Carson, here are four books the Penguin Ireland team can’t wait to start reading this Spring.
John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky tells a timely tale of the lies, ambition and manipulation of a ruthless writer with great talent but no imagination. Maurice Swift, a would-be author who befriends an older novelist to further his career is the main character. Here, John Boyne introduces an extract by explaining his motivation.