I have literally just finished this book, my heart is pounding, and I have tears on my face. What a read despite this not being out until January 2020, it is going in my top reads for 2019, it has to as I have read it in 2019. If anyone starts the new year with a book, make it this one, it is truly gripping, from start to finish.
Three hours, 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds that’s how long it takes, but takes what? A school in rural Somerset, a headmaster Matthew Marr who really cares about every single student in his school, it doesn’t matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, at this school you are not judged.
Matthew Marr has helped two young refugees Rafi Bulgaria and his younger brother Basi to come to England fleeing Syria, their parents dead. They are fostered by a new family in England and have started at Cliff Heights school and are settling, Basi still struggles, with certain noises, but who can blame him after what they have lived through. Rafi is in love with Hannah a 16 year old pupil.
The unthinkable happens, the school is under siege, the headmaster is wounded, and Hannah and David both 6th formers have learnt First aid and are doing the best they can. The pupils have been split, Young one stuck in a pottery shed, a group in the safest part of the school the theatre, the Headmaster with others in the library, the Deputy Head Neil Forbright alone in the headmasters office, and another group in another classroom.
The next 3 hours are the hardest that these pupils will hopefully ever have to go through, their bravery as they try to stay calm and help each other. The parents and families wait anxiously nearby for news of their children.
Detective Rose Polstein is in charge of trying to work out who is responsible, she is a Forensic Psychologist, officers DS Thandie Simmonds, DS Amal Ayari, and DC George Hail officers she has never met but will be working with throughout this siege trying to work out who and why. Simon Letwynd, Bronze Commander in charge of running his team of armed officers they have a command and control centre set up near the school.
The story is told through different viewpoints, Rafi as he remembers what it was like for him and his brother fleeing Syria, the determination he has to keep his younger brother alive, this is described in flashbacks. A mother Beth Alton, desperate to know where her son is, frantically trying to call him, with no answer, her panic, going over things going on in his life recently. The other parts are told from the characters in the different class rooms.
This really is an edge of your seat read, as you turn the pages, trying to work out who would do this. Is it an ex school teacher recently dismissed with a grudge, ex pupils recently expelled for one reason or another. I was so totally engrossed in this book from start to finish.
The characters are all relatable, believable, the bravery of some who have never had to be brave before. This is an absolute top class read.
If you like your books fast paced, engaging, thrilling, emotional. Read this book you will not be disappointed, I 100% guarantee that.
I give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ superbly written.
I would like to thank #netgalley #vikingbooks #RosamundLupton for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair, and unbiased review.