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The Betrayals

by Bridget Collins

Book Club Recommendations Books of the Month Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Modern and Contemporary Fiction Sharing Diverse Voices

LoveReading View on The Betrayals

From the author of the divinely dark The Binding and several acclaimed novels for young adults, Bridget Collins’s The Betrayals murmurs with menace and the mystery of the grand jeu, an arcane intellectual game that melds music, maths, poetry and philosophy. The novel’s world - at once familiar and strange - is conjured with crystalline clarity and populated by a cast of distinctly charismatic characters. Set in an unnamed disintegrating European country in the 1930s, the story begins when thirty-two-year-old Leo is removed from his post as Minister for Culture and exiled to his former academy, the exclusive Montverre. Here the nation’s cleverest are schooled in the art of the grand jeu, and here Leo is forced to face tragedy from his past as he forms an unsettling connection with the academy’s new female Magister Ludi. Part homage to Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, this boasts a compellingly jolting plot that will keep readers on their toes, and a delicious dénouement - it’s a delight for lovers of literary conundrums.

Find out more about Bridget Collins in our 'Putting Authors in the Picture' blog!

Joanne Owen

The Betrayals Synopsis

If everything in your life was based on a lie

Would you risk it all to tell the truth?

At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Leo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters.

Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu's highest office of Magister Ludi. When Leo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he's sure they have never met before.

Both Leo and Claire have built their lives on lies. And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls...

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The Betrayals Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

Richly imagined setting, an elusive game and the intriguing connection between two flawed and brilliantly drawn characters. Full review

Rachel Hall

A wonderful, intricately woven tale that takes you on a journey of emotions. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made me think and feel. Wonderful. Full review

Amanda O’Dwyer

Plot, setting, characters - all brilliant. Not to be missed. Full review

Ann Peet

Some books involve you - in this case I felt as if I was watching a performance. The writing is exquisite! "The Binding" was good. "The Betrayals" is phenomenal. Full review

Kathy Martin

An absorbing read about lies, love, rivalries and betrayals set in a university in a fictional European country in the 30s. Full review

Sarah Noakes

I enjoyed this reading this book. Good characters and good story lines. Full review


A rich, detailed and immersive read with a complex and mysterious game at its heart. Full review

Clare Wilkins

Stunning. Full review

Charlotte Walker

Lose yourself in this beautiful tale of a game that is more than a game... Full review

Kerry Bridges

The Betrayals is an enchanted story that isn't completely fantastical. It's beautifully written and focuses on the difficult formative years in an unusual and enigmatic learning establishment. Full review

Nicola Smith

An intriguing historical fantasy centred around scholars learning the art of an ancient game and a secret at its core that will unravel everything. This absorbing, intricately woven plot will keep readers hooked to the very end. Full review

Adrienne Kinsella

Leo Martin is exiled to Montverre where he meets Claire Dryden. There is both an instant connection and antipathy between them. However, as the year progresses secrets from their past start to catch up with them. Full review

Andrea Rayner

This is one of the most unique, fascinating and intriguing books I have read. Beautifully written with beguiling characters this is a captivating read. Full review

Juliet Butler

The Betrayals Press Reviews

Praise for THE BINDING:

'More of an experience than a book, written with such grace and wisdom. Utterly brilliant' - Joanna Cannon

'Truly spellbinding ... readers will sink gratefully into the pleasures of its pages ... Like a wonderful meal made from a few simple ingredients: the feeling in your chest when you hold someone in your arms for the first time; the sight of a host of bluebells. In recent years, the state of the world has threatened to make us forget the simple pleasures of kisses and bluebells and thick novels that tell stories of heartbreak. Here is a book to help us remember' Guardian

'Pure magic. The kind of immersive storytelling that makes you forget your own name. I wish I had written it' - Erin Kelly

'With a twisting narrative that explores humans' darkest moments and morals, Collins has created a fascinating fantasy world that evokes the atmosphere of Sarah Waters' books with a nod to Philip Pullman' - Stylist

'Spellbinding' - Tracy Chevalier

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008272166
Publication date: 12/11/2020
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008272166
Publication date: 12th November 2020
Author: Bridget Collins
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 448 pages
Genres: Book Club Recommendations, Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Diverse Voices,
Categories: Historical fiction, Classic fiction (pre c 1945),

About Bridget Collins

Bridget Collins was born in 1981 in Kent, England. She always wanted to be an actor, and trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art after studying English at King's College, Cambridge, but after she graduated from drama school she found herself starting to write a novel as a way to distract herself when she wasn't working - and discovered that she loved it... Her first published novel, The Traitor Game, won the Branford Boase Award and was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Since then she has published six more novels for teenagers. The Binding, her first adult novel, ...

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