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The Betrayals

by Bridget Collins

It seems to me that you either LOVED Bridget Collins’s first book, The Binding or you HATED it – there appeared to be no sitting on the fence!  I loved it and I love the new one, The Betrayals as well.  Its not nearly as dark but it’s mysterious and secretive with a fabulous dose of simmering sexual tension…  

If everything in your life was based on a lie, would you risk it all to tell the truth?

Set in a Hogwarts-like academy high up in the mountains, scholars are trained in the grand jeu.  Leo Martin was once a top student at Montverre.  Now he returns in disgrace, his political career in tatters, exiled to his old place of learning which has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office.  When Leo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection although he’s sure they’ve never met before….

There’s a game, but it isn’t a game. In the world invented by Bridget Collins for this dizzyingly wonderful novel, the “grand jeu” is a national pastime (although which nation is never stated), practised at its most refined by a priestly caste of “magisters”, who also educate the next generation of players. The university of the grand jeu is a high, secluded castle called Montverre — a place of cavernous halls and mysterious corridors, strange cries and creeping shadows — where scholars adopt a life of strict tradition. Outside, an authoritarian government is scheming to control the grand jeu for its own vicious purposes.
– The London Times

It’s a jeu d’esprit, an exuberant melange of genres that includes fantasy, gothic, fable, political allegory, romance, mystery and scholastic parody… Collins’s story holds everything up its sleeve for as long as possible, with a final twist that you may or not see coming, but the real game is that played by the author with and against the reader. –  The Guardian

“The sexual tension simmers until you can practically feel the steam rising from the pages” -The Observer

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