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  • Published: 1 June 2012
  • ISBN: 9780552775403
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $22.99

The Absolutist

The dazzling new novel from the bestselling author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.

September 1919: Twenty-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a clutch of letters to Marian Bancroft. Tristan fought alongside Marian's brother Will during the Great War. They trained together. They fought together.

But in 1917, Will laid down his guns on the battlefield and declared himself a conscientious objector, an act which has brought shame and dishonour on the Bancroft family.

The letters, however, are not the real reason for Tristan's visit. He holds a secret deep within him. One that he is desperate to unburden himself of to Marian, if he can only find the courage. Whatever happens, this meeting will change his life – forever.

  • Published: 1 June 2012
  • ISBN: 9780552775403
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

John Boyne

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. He is the author of eleven novels for adults, six for younger readers and a collection of short stories. Perhaps best known for his 2006 multi-award-winning book The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, John’s other novels, notably The Absolutist and A History of Loneliness, have been widely praised and are international bestsellers. Most recently, The Heart's Invisible Furies was a Richard & Judy Bookclub word-of-mouth bestseller, and A Ladder to the Sky was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award in association with Listowel Writers’ Week.

His novels are published in over fifty languages.

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Praise for The Absolutist

A wonderful, sad, tender book

Colm Toibin

Extraordinary... The narrative is by turns surprising and tragic in equal measure while its troubling conclusion will stay with readers long after they've closed the book

Carlo Gebler

Powerful, poignant and beautifully written. This will become a classic war novel


John Boyne brings a completely fresh eye to the most important stories. He guides us through the realm of history and makes the journey substantial, poignant and real. He is one of the great craftsmen in contemporary literature

Colum McCann

A fiercely interrogative novel that asks not just what it means to be a man but also what it means to be a human being in the extreme circumstances of war

Irish Times

A superb evocation of the Great War and its very human effects

Choice Magazine

Compulsive, stylish and gripping

Reader's Digest

Boyne's fluid writing and strong characterisation brings the story to life and delivers a strong, unexpected emotional punch at the end

Edinburgh Evening News

There is an old-fashioned feeling to this readable and well-written novel


Boyne skillfully draws a thread through from sexual to moral to social shame... he tells a good story

Irish Independent

Boyne's twinning of the subjects of homosexuality and conscientious objection is inspired


A really enjoyable, if rather sad, read, full of historical and human interest

Irish Sunday Independent