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'The plot crackles like thin ice with dread and suspense' Mail on Sunday

The setting is Berlin. Into this divided city, wrenched between East and West, between past and present; comes twenty-five-year-old Leonard Marnham, assigned to a British-American surveillance team. Though only a pawn in an international plot that is never fully revealed to him, Leonard uses his secret work to escape the bonds of his ordinary life - and to lose his unwanted innocence. The promise of his new life begins to be fulfilled as Leonard becomes a crucial part of the surveillance team, while simultaneously being initiated into a new world of love and sex by Maria, a beautiful young German woman. It is a promise that turns to horror in the course of one terrible evening - a night when Leonard Marnham learns just how much of his innocence he's willing to shed.

Reviews

It's the most tightly plotted of Ian McEwan's novels, and to argue properly for its excellence would involve showing how the political and emotional themes are inseparable from its narrative ingenuity, the patterns of revelation and about-turn which mark its final pages.

Jonathan Coe, Guardian

The sheer cleverness of the book is dazzling, and only fully to be appreciated as you turn the last page: but then cleverness is a real virtue here, the best guide possible to the questionable territory between innocence and whatever comes after

London Review of Books

To call The Innocent a spy novel would be like calling Lord of the Flies a boy's adventure yarn - the plot crackles like thin ice with dread and suspense - it ensure McEwan's major status

Sunday Times

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099277095

    October 2, 1998

    Vintage

    240 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781409089995

    July 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    240 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Ian McEwan

Nutshell
On Chesil Beach (Vintage Summer)
The Children Act
Sweet Tooth
First Love, Last Rites
Solar
For You
On Chesil Beach
Saturday
Rose Blanche
Atonement
Amsterdam
Black Dogs
Enduring Love
The Child In Time
The Cement Garden
In Between the Sheets
The Comfort Of Strangers
The Daydreamer

Recommendations

The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Best Laid Plans
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Fool Me Once
Private Delhi
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Voyager
Swing Time
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Girls
The Mistress
The Bone Collection
Cold Blood
Fifty Shades Darker
Colombiano
The Trip of a Lifetime