Maurice Swift is an aspiring novelist struggling to come up with the story that will make his name, and he doesn't care where that story comes from. Even if he has to beg, borrow, steal or worse, he will make it to the top. Whatever the cost...
'A deliciously dark tale of ambition, seduction and literary theft . . . an ingeniously conceived novel that confirms Boyne as one of the most assured writers of his generation.' Hannah Beckerman, Observer
You’ve heard the old proverb about ambition, that it’s like setting a ladder to the sky. It can lead to a long and painful fall.
If you look hard enough, you will find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be-novelist Maurice Swift decides early on in his career.
A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated author Erich Ackerman gives Maurice an opportunity. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell; whether or not he should is another matter.
Once Maurice has made his name, he finds himself in need of a fresh idea. He doesn’t care where he finds it, as long as it helps him rise to the top. Stories will make him famous, but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse.
This is a novel about ambition.
'Maurice Swift, the novelist protagonist of John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky, is a bookish version of Patricia Highsmith’s psychopathic antihero Tom Ripley' The Times
'A dark morality tale in the mould of Patricia Highsmith . . . consistently intriguing' Daily Mail
“A deliciously dark tale of ambition, seduction and literary theft . . . compelling and terrifying, powerful and intensely unsettling. In Maurice Swift, Boyne has given us an unforgettable protagonist, dangerous and irresistible in equal measure. The result is an ingeniously conceived novel that confirms Boyne as one of the most assured writers of his generation.”
Hannah Beckerman, Observer
“Maurice Swift, the novelist protagonist of John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky, is a bookish version of Patricia Highsmith’s psychopathic antihero Tom Ripley.”
“A dark morality tale in the mould of Patricia Highsmith . . . consistently intriguing”
“Everything the wonderful Irish novelist John Boyne writes is special . . . a highly entertaining read”
Jake Kerridge, S Magazine, Sunday Express
“Gripping . . . John Boyne is a master storyteller and fans will doubtless be captivated by this chilling and darkly comic tale of unrelenting ambition”
“Boyne delivers a perfect balance of pace and detail to keep you gripped throughout”
“Maurice Swift is a literary Tom Ripley . . . a first-class page turner”
“It charts the rise of Maurice Swift, as cold and manipulative a character as you’re likely to meet this year . . . the story takes an ever darkening series of twists and turns”
“‘A Ladder to the Sky is endlessness inventive and wickedly funny. Boyne’s irredeemable antihero holds up a brutally well lit mirror to every writer who has ever wondered what they need to do to do that little better...’”
Patrick Gale, Author of A Place Called Winter
“Clever, chilling and beautifully paced, a study of inner corrosion that Patricia Highsmith could not have done better”
“Beware reading this in public: Boyne’s prose inspires such a collision of laughing and wincing that you’re likely to seem a little unbalanced”
“Maliciously witty, erudite and ingeniously constructed”