The Sandpit

The Sandpit

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Nicholas Shakespeare
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 'A remarkable contemporary thriller - with shades of Graham Greene and Le Carre about it - but also a profound and compelling investigation of a hugely complex human predicament. Brilliantly observed, captivatingly written, grippingly narrated - a triumph' William Boyd

When John Dyer returns to Oxford from Brazil with his young son, he doesn't expect to find them both in danger. Every day is the same. He drops Leandro at his smart prep school and walks to the library to research his new book. His time living on the edge as a foreign correspondent in Rio is over.

But the rainy streets of this English city turn out to be just as treacherous as those he used to walk in the favelas. Leandro's schoolmates are the children of influential people, among them an international banker, a Russian oligarch, an American CIA operative and a British spook. As they congregate round the sports field for the weekly football matches, the network of alliances and covert interests that spreads between these power brokers soon becomes clear to Dyer,. But it is a chance conversation with an Iranian nuclear scientist, Rustum Marvar, father of a friend of Leandro, that sets him onto a truly precarious path.

When Marvar and his son disappear, several sinister factions seem acutely interested in Marvar's groundbreaking research at the Physics Faculty, and what he might have told Dyer about it, given Dyer was the last person to see Marvar alive.

Nicholas Shakespeare was born in 1957. The son of a diplomat, much of his youth was spent in the Far East and South America. His books have been translated into twenty-two languages. They include The Vision of Elena Silves (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), SnowlegThe Dancer UpstairsInheritance, Priscilla and Six Minutes in May. He has been longlisted for the Booker Prize twice and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.