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  • Published: 1 June 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407084169
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 496

The Blasphemer


Shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Novel Award, an astonishing, ambitious and masterful new novel, with echoes of Birdsong, that reads at the pace of a thriller.

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. Andalready 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?

  • Published: 1 June 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407084169
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 496

About the author

Nigel Farndale

Nigel Farndale is the author of The Blasphemer, which was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Novel Award. His previous books include Haw-Haw: The Tragedy of William and Margaret Joyce, which was shortlisted for the 2005 Whitbread Biography Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He was born and raised in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives on the Hampshire-Sussex border with his wife and their three sons.

Also by Nigel Farndale

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Praise for The Blasphemer

A great achievement...To take on the First World War as so very many have done and make it fresh is remarkable.

Melvyn Bragg

Does suspense exceptionally well, and it's a book that won't leave your fingernails intact...a terrifically exciting and thought-provoking must-read

John Harding, Daily Mail

This perfectly constructed drama explores the moralities around unconditional love and self-preservation. And it also weaves an intricate story of redemption starting in the trenches at Passchendaele and continuing till Britain's current terror threat...storytelling at its best.

News of the World

A fine novel; strange and unforgettable.

Kate Saunders, The Times

Ignites with an energy that should ensure short-listing in the next Man Booker Prize....Farndale's evocation of trench warfare surpasses Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong...Of the book's many accomplishments perhaps the strongest is the writing itself. Exquisite and luminous...Farndale gives a master class in the power of literature to illuminate the physical world and the human soul.

The Australian

Love, cowardice and redemption are the themes that stalk Farndale's beautifully intelligent tale.

Daily Mirror

Profound, moving and compelling. A beautifully composed novel.

Emily Maitlis

A beguiling and resonant novel of ideas. The action is vivid and absorbing...although this intergenerational family drama is plotted like a thriller, it's also a novel of ideas, throwing light on the strange dance between religion and science.

Cameron Woodhead, Melbourne Age

Beautiful...Farndale's elegant prose, his storytelling ability and the wise tolerance with which he views...his characters lend his exhilarating novel a tenderly redemptive afterimage.

Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph

It makes exhilarating reading, all the better for its satirical edge.

The Tablet

Love, terrorism, plane crashes, Passchendaele, religious visions... The highest compliment one can pay Farndale... is that the material is so well marshalled that the narrative unfurls without strain....beautifully done.

Mail on Sunday

Philosophically ambitious and deftly crafted, Nigel Farndale's novel has one leg planted in the trenches of the First World War and the other placed sure-footedly in the present...perspicacious observations of human behaviour... beautiful.

Country Life

A constantly engaging and witty novel from a tremendously clever writer.


Plausiby drawn....strong central characters, interesting subplots and well-sketched minor characters.


As idiosyncratic as it is ambitious...given shape and purpose by a true literary craftsman. The book both keeps you reading and makes you think.

Sally Cousins, Sunday Telegraph

I drank in Nigel Farndale's The Blasphemer in huge lungfuls, and mourned it when it was finished. For anyone who loved Saturday, Atonement or Birdsong, this is the generational novel at its best.

Mail on Sunday

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