May 1944: dawn in the Bay of Biscay. A U-boat lies crippled on the seabed. Within earshot of the warship that sank her, a solitary survivor breaks the surface. Injured, in shock, hypothermic, his life-vest torn, he cries out for help.
The captain is on the bridge and brings his binoculars to bear.
The order he gives sets off a train of consequences reaching down through the landscape of post-war, post-colonial Britain, changing not only his own life and the lives of his men, but those of civilians ashore and of children yet unborn.
Spanning seventy years, set in England and in Nigeria during the Biafran crisis, this is a sweeping, compulsive story about conscience and selfishness and the far-reaching damage that cruelty can do.
Extent: 125,200 words (about 417 conventional pages)
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Published November 11, 2013
Literature & Fiction.