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The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

One of our Debuts of the Year 2011.

One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011.

A dual narrative novel of World War I and today where two men face impossible odds. It all revolves around the possible discovery of the ending to Mahler’s unfinished symphony and the lengths an obsessed individual will go to acquire it. This contrasts with the horrors of the war in an epic novel, atmospheric with guardian angels, science, love and cowardice bound into some very human stories, highly satisfactory.

January 2011 Book of the Month.

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2010.

Costa Book Awards 2010 Judges' comment: "A novel of remarkable ambition that reads like a thriller. Strange, unforgettable and morally courageous."

The Lovereading view...

The Blasphemer is a story about conditional love, cowardice and the possibility of redemption - and what happens to a man of science when forced to question his certainties. It is a novel of rare depth, empathy and ambition that sweeps from the trenches of the First World War to the terrorist-besieged streets of London today: a novel that will speak to the head as well as the heart of any reader. He had always been scared of flying. With echoes of Birdsong it reads at the pace of a thriller.

If you like Nigel Farndale you might also like to read books by Louis de Bernieres, Sebastian Faulks and Jed Rubenfeld.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale

He had always been scared of flying. Now, the fear is real. A plane crash. The water is rising over his mouth. In his nostrils. Lungs. As Daniel gasps, he swallows; and punches at his seat-belt. Nancy, the woman he loves, is trapped in her seat. He clambers over her, pushing her face into the headrest. It is a reflex, visceral action made without rational thought...But Daniel Kennedy did it. And already we have judged him from the comfort of our own lives. Almost a hundred years earlier, Daniel's great-grandfather goes over the top at Passchendaele. A shell explodes, and he wakes up alone and lost in the hell of no-man's-land. Where are the others? Has he been left behind? And if he doesn't find his unit, is he a deserter? Love; cowardice; trust; forgiveness. How will any of us behave when we are pushed to extremes?

Browse inside this book


`This is a fine novel; strange and unforgettable.' The Times

`The writing is beautiful... Farndale's elegant prose, his storytelling ability and the wise tolerance with which he views the vagaries of... characters lend his exhilarating novel a tenderly redemptive afterimage.' The Sunday Telegraph

`He does suspense exceptionally well, and it's a book that won't leave your fingernails intact. This is a terrifically exciting and thought-provoking must-read.' The Daily Mail

`A constantly engaging and witty novel from a tremendously clever writer.' Daily Telegraph

Farndale's evocation of the minutiae of trench warfare surpasses Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong... Exquisite and luminous...a master class in the power of literature to illuminate the physical world and the human soul.' The Australian

About the Author

Nigel Farndale

Nigel Farndale is a columnist and feature writer for the Sunday Telegraph and has won a British Press Award for his interviews. He lives in London. This is his fourth book.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th January 2011


Nigel Farndale

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Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd


496 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Debuts of the Month
Historical Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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