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The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre

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Winner of the CWA International Dagger 2016.

October 1918: the war on the Western Front is all but over. Desperate for one last chance of promotion, the ambitious Lieutenant Henri d'Aulnay Pradelle sends two scouts over the top, and secretly shoots them in the back to incite his men to heroic action once more. And so is set in motion a series of devastating events that will inextricably bind together the fates and fortunes of Pradelle and the two soldiers who witness his crime: Albert Maillard and douard Pricourt...The Prix-Goncourt winning masterpiece by the writer who brought you Alex, Irne and Camille.

If you like Pierre Lemaitre you might also like to read books by Robert Goddard, Stieg Larsson and Camilla Lackberg.


The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre

Back in civilian life, Albert and douard struggle to adjust to a society whose reverence for its dead cannot quite match its resentment for those who survived. But the two soldiers conspire to enact an audacious form of revenge against the country that abandoned them to penury and despair, with a scheme to swindle the whole of France on an epic scale. Meanwhile, believing her brother killed in action, douard's sister Madeleine has married Pradelle, who is running a little scam of his own...


'The vast sweep of the novel and its array of extraordinary secondary characters have attracted comparisons with the works of Balzac. Moving, angry, intelligent - and compulsive' -- Marcel Berlins The Times

'A big, swirling tale that itself reads like a 19th-century novel ... thick with detail, immersing the reader in its elaborately bleak world' -- Sarah Lyall New York Times

'This book is thick with detail, immersing the reader in its elaborately bleak world ... an irresistible story' -- Patricia Wall New York Times

'Exceptionally powerful examination of the aftermath of war and of the people whose lives were washed away in its wake' -- Nick Rennison Sunday Times

'Lemaitre's novel is a rare synthesis of the tragic and the comic - a masterclass in nail-biting suspense ... Frank Wynne is a superb translator who captures the rude exuberance of the original French' -- Edward Wilson Independent

'Lemaitre's deadpan ironic tone is beautifully caught by his regular translator Frank Wynne. A kind of Ealing comedy with a bruised but still beating heart, this is the most purely enjoyable book I've read this year' -- Jake Kerridge Sunday Express

About the Author

Pierre Lemaitre

Pierre Lemaitre was born in Paris in 1956. He worked for many years as a teacher of literature and now devotes his time to writing novels and screenplays. In 2013 he was awarded the Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary award, for Au revoir la-haut. Frank Wynne is a translator from French and Spanish. His translations include works by Michel Houellebecq, Marcelo Figueras's IFFP-shortlisted Kamchatka and Alex by Pierre Lemaitre.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st November 2015


Pierre Lemaitre

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MacLehose Press an imprint of Quercus Publishing


464 pages


Crime / Mystery
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Crime & mystery
Fiction in translation



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