I wrote a review for Goodreads back in January 2011 for Nigel Farndale’s novel The Blasphemer. Overall I loved it, but you’ll see that I did have some niggles, mainly around the modern story line. However, others plainly loved it too, because the book was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Novel Award and (perhaps an even greater accolade?) was selected for the Richard and Judy Bookclub. But I had absolutely no such reservations about this one – it absolutely blew me away.
The structure is broadly similar – a modern story and a wartime one, running side-by-side but not in strictly alternating chapters. The opening is striking – two naked young men, in a hotel room overlooking Piccadilly Circus, one an English pilot officer (Charles Northcote), the other a German artist (Anselm). The year is 1939, and their night is ended by the arrival of two RAF police officers. The story then moves to the present day – Kandahar province, present day, and an English man (Edward Northcote) released after over eleven years in captivity.
My thanks to netgalley and Transworld for the advance reading e-copy. The Kindle edition and hardback were published in June 2013 – the paperback edition will follow in February 2014. For more information, visit Nigel Farndale’s website.