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  • Published: 16 January 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448184354
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

The Lie

The enthralling Richard and Judy Book Club favourite

By the acclaimed author of A Spell of Winter and The Siege, and set during and just after the First World War, the new novel by Orange Prize-winner, Helen Dunmore.

Nominated for the Folio Prize and shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historial Fiction, and the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize.

Set during and just after the First World War, The Lie is an enthralling, heart-wrenching novel of love, memory and devastating loss by one of the UK's most acclaimed storytellers.

Cornwall, 1920, early spring.

A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family.

Behind him lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life.

Daniel has survived, but the horror and passion of the past seem more real than the quiet fields around him.

He is about to step into the unknown. But will he ever be able to escape the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie?

  • Published: 16 January 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448184354
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

About the author

Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore was an award-winning novelist, children’s author and poet who will be remembered for the depth and breadth of her fiction. Rich and intricate, yet narrated with a deceptive simplicity that made all of her work accessible and heartfelt, her writing stood out for the fluidity and lyricism of her prose, and her extraordinary ability to capture the presence of the past.

Her first novel, Zennor in Darkness, explored the events which led D. H. Lawrence to be expelled from Cornwall on suspicion of spying, and won the McKitterick Prize. Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996, and she went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller with The Siege, which was described by Antony Beevor as a ‘world-class novel’ and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize. Published in 2010, her eleventh novel, The Betrayal, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and The Lie in 2014 was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the 2015 RSL Ondaatje Prize.

Her final novel, Birdcage Walk, deals with legacy and recognition – what writers, especially women writers, can expect to leave behind them – and was described by the Observer as ‘the finest novel Helen Dunmore has written’. She died in June 2017, and in January 2018, she was posthumously awarded the Costa Prize for her volume of poetry, Inside the Wave.

Also by Helen Dunmore

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Praise for The Lie

[A] superb, timely novel of the First World War

John Sutherland, The Times

Helen Dunmore ... is a poet as well as a novelist, who is celebrated for her delicate language and acute observations. The Lie is no exception. This really is an expert novel.

Sunday Times

The bar for book of the year is set sky high by this heart wrenching tale. Daniel has survived the WWI trenches, but returns to Cornwall to find his family gone and home lost. He moves in with a childhood friend, but gets caught up in a lie that has terrible consequences. Tender, touching and totally absorbing.

Sunday Mirror

Never striking a false note, The Lie is one of those rare and arresting novels that make you think and feel with greater lucidity.

Daily Telegraph

The Lie is a tale of memory and loss delivered with quiet aplomb by one of our classiest writers ... Dunmore captures the emotional torment of her hero with tenderness and skill.

Mail on Sunday

Dunmore has brilliantly served up this past to us in a way that does not allow us to forget it


With a shocking twist in its tail, The Lie is a novel to re-read. Written with imagination, intelligence and integrity, it is both quiet and memorable. I predict it will outshine, and outlive, many another new rendition of the war to end all wars.

Country Life

An enthralling novel of love and devastating loss … Powerful storytelling.

Good Housekeeping, Book of the Month

Helen Dunmore, an author who has taken time to build up a following and gradually accumulated those much-required prize nominations, knows what she needs to make a story, and how to go about finding it. The result is a moving account of a young man's emotional life, and what brutality and death can do to it ... Dunmore has done her research and expertly so.

Scotland on Sunday

Dunmore writes with disarming simplicity and clarity. Read her novel in a single sitting in a quiet place.

The Times

Distinguished by the sensual, compact intensity of Dunmore's prose, The Lie lays bare on its local canvas the invisible wounds of a global catastrophe.


Helen Dunmore's two resources are imagination and research. She's strong on both counts...Dunmore's is a very good novel. 2014 is a very good year to read it.

The Times

Helen Dunmore has a talent for gently pulling the reader into the heads of her characters. She writes with a light but sure touch that makes you see through their eyes, smell through their nose...Visceral and elegantly plotted.

Daily Mail

The writing, even at its most harrowing, is suffused with poetry and evocative description. ‘They say the war’s over, but they’re wrong. It went too deep for that.’ THE LIE is a heart-wrenching portrait of psychological crucifixion.

Literary Review

It builds to a heart-breaking climax

Woman & Home

If you need any more proof of January's literary liveliness, imagine that you are in charge of publisher's Hutchinson. After 20 years with Penguin, Helen Dunmore (the first winner, remember, of the Orange Prize) has just signed up with you. In which month are you going to publish her new novel, The Lie? But you're probably ahead of me already…


The Lie is a fine example of Dunmore's ability to perceive the long vistas of history in which the dead remain restless...It is a book in which ghosts, perhaps, remain imaginary: but they are none the less real for that.


Orange-prize winning author Helen Dunmore explores the relationship between two First World War soldiers: Daniel, who survived, and his childhood friend Frederick, who died, plus Daniel’s ambiguous bond with Fredericks’ sister Felicia. A dark and haunting exploration of grief and guilt.

Sunday Express, Hot Books for 2014

Famed for her searing accounts of the siege of Leningrad and its aftermath, Helen Dunmore moves to England after the First World War in The Lie. She chronicles the struggle of a young man without family and homeless amid the quiet landscape of Cornwall, trying to escape his memories of trench warfare.

Daily Express

The Lie by Helen Dunmore out in January, is exceptionally good. Set in Cornwall in 1920, it centres on a man who survived the war but is still living with the burden of it.

Western News

An extraordinarily affecting novel by the ever-reliable Helen Dunmore… The flashbacks to the war – and the eventual revelation of how Frederick died – are as crunchingly powerful as you’d expect. Even so, what’s most hearbreaking about the novel is the hesitant, awkward intimacy between Daniel and Felicia. By the end, and without ever losing their vivid individuality, these two bewildered characters in rural Cornwall have somehow come to represent an entire country in a state of traumatic shock.

Reader's Digest

THE LIE is an enthralling, heart-wrenching novel of love, memory and devastating loss by one of the UK’s most acclaimed storytellers… If you only read one novel in 2014 set during WWI, this must be the one.

Absolutely West magazine

Immensely atmospheric, intensely moving story

Sainsbury's Magazine

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