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  • Published: 1 May 2013
  • ISBN: 9780099578789
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $22.99

Sweet Tooth

Re-jacketed in stunning new series style, Sweet Tooth is a story of love and espionage in 1970s Britain from Booker prize-winning, Sunday Times-bestselling Ian McEwan.

The year is 1972, the Cold War is far from over and Serena Frome, in her final year at Cambridge, is being groomed for MI5. Sent on Operation Sweet Tooth - a highly secret undercover mission - she meets Tom Haley, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? And who is inventing whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage - trust no one.

  • Published: 1 May 2013
  • ISBN: 9780099578789
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is the critically acclaimed author of seventeen books. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; The Cement Garden; Enduring Love; Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize; Atonement; Saturday; On Chesil Beach; Solar; Sweet Tooth; The Children Act; Nutshell; and Machines Like Me, which was a number-one bestseller. Atonement, Enduring Love, The Children Act and On Chesil Beach have all been adapted for the big screen.

Also by Ian McEwan

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Praise for Sweet Tooth

Riveting... Delicious... Gripping


Highly entertaining

John Lanchester, Guardian Books of the Year

A web of spying, subterfuge, deceit and betrayal... Acute, witty...winningly cunning

Sunday Times

Gloriously readable and, at times, wickedly funny

Irish Times

Sublime...impressive...rich and enjoyable

Financial Times

A brilliant portrayal of 1970s Britain at its absolute worst… But it's also a gripping spy novel with some characteristic McEwan twists toward the end

Mail on Sunday

Sweet Tooth takes the expectations and tropes of the Cold War thriller and ratchets up the suspense, while turning it into something else... A well-crafted pleasure to read, its smooth prose and slippery intelligence sliding down like cream


Playful, comic... This is a great big Russian doll of a novel, and in its construction – deft, tight, exhilaratingly immaculate – is a huge part of its pleasure...exerts a keen emotional pull


McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love, and the invented self


Fans of Ian McEwan should rejoice with the arrival of this novel... An extraordinary, irresistible work of fiction

Sunday Business Post

One of the most hotly anticipated novels of the year...it’s brilliant

Sunday Business Post

I loved it. It reminded me of his most successful novel, Atonement

Harpers Bazaar Online

Ian McEwan proves he’s still the master penman with his twelfth novel


Enthralling, beguiling and totally addictive from the first page to the last… McEwan’s sense of time and place is authentic with his trademark attention to details of the social history of the period

Bristol Magazine

McEwan’s prose is controlled, his observation forensic as ever... McEwan carries us with irresistible momentum to a surprise ending

Maggie Ferguson, Intelligent Life


Evening Standard ES Magazine

Full of ideas

Claire Allfree, Metro



Fans of Ian McEwan should rejoice with this arrival of this novel, because Sweet Tooth is McEwan's finest work since 2001's Atonement

Kevin Power, Sunday Business Post

Given McEwan’s ability to make riveting fiction out of English politics (not easy), it would be hard to imagine anyone better equipped to write such a story... Delicious... Gripping

James Lasdun, Guardian

His assumption of a female persona is pitch-perfect

Michael Arditti, Daily Mail

Had McEwan, through Serena’s benefit of hindsight in narrating her life, planted the clues? Let every reader have the pleasure of finding out

Ion Trewin, Sunday Express

An artful game of distortion... Clever handling

Anthony Quinn, Mail on Sunday

A curious piece of autobiographical fiction

David Sexton, Evening Standard

A wisecracking thriller hightailing between love and betrayal, with serious counter-espionage credentials thrown in... This is ultimately a book about writing, wordplay and knowingness

Catherine Taylor, Sunday Telegraph

No contemporary novelist is more enthralled by what goes on inside the human skull than Ian McEwan... Sweet Tooth, which juxtaposes contrasting casts of mind, reminds you that, as well as intelligence, the intelligence service fascinates McEwan... Always excellent at conjuring up places and periods on the cusp of dramatic change... McEwan atmospherically resurrects the strife-ridden Britain of 1972 -73... Similarities and contrasts between the mentality and mind games of the secret service and those of the creative writer are increasingly brought to the fore. Doubling back and forth across genre boundaries, Sweet Tooth takes risks: narrative loiterings and twists whose purpose isn’t at first apparent, a payoff that is long delayed. But – ideally read more than once – this acute, witty novel is a winningly cunning addition to McEwan’s fictional surveys of intelligence

Peter Kemp, Sunday Time

Must read... Intrigue, love and mutual betrayal by a master of the art

The Lady

The great thing about McEwan is that, despite his success, he continues to work hard, producing ever more accessible and entertaining stories

Henry Sutton, Daily Mirror

Carefully researched

John Scarlett, Daily Telegraph

McEwan, as always, presents an engaging narrator... The plot is fantastic... McEwan plays with the readers expectations, and surpasses them all with a fabulous ending that makes me itch to re-read this superb novel all over again. Sweet Tooth marks another triumph for a brilliant British author


A pleasing, tricksy beast with a subsumed sense of metatextuality likely to be pleasing to his fans


Adroitly done...highly diverting

D.J. Taylor, Literary Review

A triumphant shedding of genre limitations

Adam Mars-Jones, London Review of Books

This most cunning of authors entertains and manipulates his readers. Sweet Tooth is a masterclass in the art of fiction

Paul Sidey, Book Oxygen

Ian McEwan is getting better and better… Supremely tense, intellectually sharp, and honed as hell

William Leith, Evening Standard

McEwan’ssmoothly contrived thriller hightails between love and betrayal, with serious counter-espionage credentials thrown in

Sunday Telegraph Seven

An expertly crafted thriller written with a bucketload of suspense and wit

Hannah Britt, Daily Express

As richly textured as anything Ian McEwan has written


Brilliantly cunning… It’s a story of love, betrayal and duplicity, with the most startling deception reserved for the final pages

Mail on Sunday (You)

Playful, clever, knowing and full of stories

Absolutely Chelsea

Supremely tense, intellectually sharp, and honed as hell

William Leith, Scotsman

Beyond virtuoso twists and turns, McEwan lays out the foreign landscape of 40 years ago – from smoky pubs to fuming punditry – with wry, affectionate panache

Boyd Tonkin

Tricksy, but satisfying

Justin Cartwright, Observer

The sense of narrative purpose exerts its pull from the first

John Mullan, Guardian

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