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  • Published: 9 August 2018
  • ISBN: 9781473526310
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 448

A Ladder to the Sky

Maurice Swift is an aspiring novelist struggling to come up with the story that will make his name, and he doesn't care where that story comes from. Even if he has to beg, borrow, steal or worse, he will make it to the top. Whatever the cost...

'A deliciously dark tale of ambition' Observer
'Gripping ... chilling and darkly comic tale of unrelenting ambition' Daily Express

You've heard the old proverb about ambition, that it's like setting a ladder to the sky. It can lead to a long and painful fall.

If you look hard enough, you will find stories pretty much anywhere. They don't even have to be your own. Or so would-be-novelist Maurice Swift decides early on in his career.

A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated author Erich Ackerman gives Maurice an opportunity. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell; whether or not he should is another matter.

Once Maurice has made his name, he finds himself in need of a fresh idea. He doesn't care where he finds it, as long as it helps him rise to the top. Stories will make him famous, but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse.

This is a novel about ambition.

What readers are saying:
***** 'A breath-taking story of dangerous infatuation and sociopathic ambition'
***** 'A beautifully written, genre defying novel that I couldn't help gobbling up in a couple of days.'
***** 'Dark comic humour ... fascinating and gripping storytelling.'

  • Published: 9 August 2018
  • ISBN: 9781473526310
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 448

About the author

John Boyne

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. He is the author of eleven novels for adults, six for younger readers and a collection of short stories. Perhaps best known for his 2006 multi-award-winning book The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, John’s other novels, notably The Absolutist and A History of Loneliness, have been widely praised and are international bestsellers. Most recently, The Heart's Invisible Furies was a Richard & Judy Bookclub word-of-mouth bestseller, and A Ladder to the Sky was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award in association with Listowel Writers’ Week.

His novels are published in over fifty languages.

Also by John Boyne

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Praise for A Ladder to the Sky

A deliciously dark tale of ambition, seduction and literary theft . . . compelling and terrifying, powerful and intensely unsettling. In Maurice Swift, Boyne has given us an unforgettable protagonist, dangerous and irresistible in equal measure. The result is an ingeniously conceived novel that confirms Boyne as one of the most assured writers of his generation.

Hannah Beckerman, Observer

Maurice Swift, the novelist protagonist of John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky, is a bookish version of Patricia Highsmith’s psychopathic antihero Tom Ripley.

The Times

A dark morality tale in the mould of Patricia Highsmith . . . consistently intriguing

Daily Mail

Everything the wonderful Irish novelist John Boyne writes is special . . . a highly entertaining read

Jake Kerridge, S Magazine, Sunday Express

Gripping . . . John Boyne is a master storyteller and fans will doubtless be captivated by this chilling and darkly comic tale of unrelenting ambition

Daily Express

Boyne delivers a perfect balance of pace and detail to keep you gripped throughout

i Newspaper

Maurice Swift is a literary Tom Ripley . . . a first-class page turner


It charts the rise of Maurice Swift, as cold and manipulative a character as you’re likely to meet this year . . . the story takes an ever darkening series of twists and turns


‘A Ladder to the Sky is endlessness inventive and wickedly funny. Boyne’s irredeemable antihero holds up a brutally well lit mirror to every writer who has ever wondered what they need to do to do that little better...’

Patrick Gale, Author of A Place Called Winter

Beware reading this in public: Boyne’s prose inspires such a collision of laughing and wincing that you’re likely to seem a little unbalanced

Washington Post

Maliciously witty, erudite and ingeniously constructed


Clever, chilling and beautifully paced, a study of inner corrosion that Patricia Highsmith could not have done better

The Times