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  • Published: 21 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9781787460966
  • Imprint: Arrow
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $22.99

The Second Sleep

the Sunday Times #1 bestselling novel

The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Munich, An Officer and A Spy and Fatherland

THE LATEST NOVEL FROM ROBERT HARRIS: chosen as a Book of the Year by The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, and Express

'One word: wonderful. Two words: compulsive reading. Three words: buy it tomorrow. Four words: tonight, if possible.' STEPHEN KING
'A thoroughly absorbing, page-turning narrative.' SUNDAY TIMES'Genuinely thrilling.' DAILY TELEGRAPH
_____________________________________Dusk is gathering as a young priest, Christopher Fairfax, rides across a silent land.

It's a crime to be out after dark, and Fairfax knows he must arrive at his destination - a remote village in the wilds of Exmoor - before night falls and curfew is imposed.

He's lost and he's becoming anxious as he slowly picks his way across a countryside strewn with the ancient artefacts of a civilisation that seems to have ended in cataclysm.

What Fairfax cannot know is that, in the days and weeks to come, everything he believes in will be tested to destruction, as he uncovers a secret that is as dangerous as it is terrifying ...
'[Harris] takes us on a thrilling ride while serving up serious food for thought.' SUNDAY EXPRESS

'A truly surprising future-history thriller. Fabulous, really.' EVENING STANDARD
'The book's real power lies in its between-the-lines warning that our embrace of the internet represents some kind of sleepwalk into oblivion. It's a provocative, tub-thumping sci-fi of which H. G. Wells might have been proud.' DAILY MAIL
'Harris' latest work intelligently warps historical fiction and tackles issues of religion, science and the apocalypse in the process. As he flexes his imagination, you will be left pondering as often as you are page-turning.' HERALD
'A brilliantly imaginative thriller' READER'S DIGEST
#1 Bestseller in the UK, Sunday Times, September 2019

  • Published: 21 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9781787460966
  • Imprint: Arrow
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Robert Harris

Robert Harris is the author of thirteen bestselling novels: the Cicero Trilogy - Imperium, Lustrum and Dictator - Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, The Ghost, The Fear Index, An Officer and a Spy, which won four prizes including the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, Conclave, Munich and The Second Sleep. Several of his books have been filmed, including The Ghost, which was directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into forty languages and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in West Berkshire with his wife, Gill Hornby. His next book, V2, is coming out in autumn 2020.

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Praise for The Second Sleep

A thoroughly absorbing, page-turning narrative in which the author, with his customary storytelling skills, pulls us ever deeper into the imaginative world he has created. It [also] poses challenging questions about the meaning of the past, the idea of progress and the stability of civilisation. It is a fine addition to Harris’s diverse body of work.

Nick Rennison, Sunday Times

A return to the type of high-concept novel that made his name . . . [T]he writing is elegant and pacy. The characters are fleshed out and the plot zips along.

Antonia Senior, The Times

A truly surprising future-history thriller. Fabulous, really.

David Sexton, Evening Standard

Harris is rightly praised as the master of the intelligent thriller. Genuinely thrilling, wonderfully conceived and entirely without preaching, it probes the nature of history, of collective memory and forgetting, and exposes the fragility of modern civilisation.

Harry Sidebottom, Daily Telegraph, 5 stars *****

Harris's bleak imagined world issues a clarion call to the present, urging us to recognise the value of progress, the importance of woolly concepts like liberalism and the rule of law, and all the other ideals we’ve spent generations fighting for yet seem prepared to sacrifice on the altar of populism. For make no mistake, this novel [is] very much about the here and now . . . Harris is a master of plotting and, in elegant, understated third-person prose, he ratchets the tension ever upwards . . . this is nothing if not a page-turner.

Alex Preston, Observer

Reading Robert Harris’s historical thrillers feels like attending a Simon Schama lecture on a roller-coaster – you come away with a new perspective on history while feeling dizzy with excitement . . . In The Second Sleep he takes us on a thrilling ride while serving up serious food for thought . . . I doubt there is a living writer who is better at simultaneously making readers’ adrenaline pump while their brains whirr.

Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express, 4 stars ****

When Harris is at his best — and here he is — he writes with a skill and ingenuity that few other novelists can match. In this case, the usual page turning pleasures are joined by something else: a sense that, through his historical-futuristic setting, Harris has found a unique vantage point to comment on the present . . . This is a novel that not only makes you smile at its author’s brilliance, but induces a shiver of dread at how real it all seems.

Financial Times

With a story of forbidden love joining larger themes, this vividly imagined, brilliantly clever novel is – as you’d expect from the author of Fatherland and Archangel an absolutely class act.

Deirdre O’Brien, Sunday Mirror

Harris . . . is a fearless writer. The Second Sleep races along at breakneck speed. The prose is pure, elegant, never tricky and his imagination knows no bounds.

Daily Express

It is a strange premise for a thriller, but Robert Harris is such a wily old hand that it is a pleasure to accompany him on his time travels.

Mail on Sunday

Harris takes you on a thrilling ride while serving up serious food for thought.

Daily Mirror

Harris has contrived to do something rather brilliant and new. He has put us at the heart of the mystery.


It’s a provocative, tub-thumping sci-fi of which H. G. Wells might have been proud.

Daily Mail

As he flexes the ample muscle of his imagination, you will be left pondering as often as you are page-turning.

i paper

Harris weaves a smart, intriguing story that cements his reputation as, in the words of the cover, 'master of the intelligent thriller'. He's that perfect combination of equally fine writer and storyteller; the narrative is satisfying and the prose is evocative. The world of The Second Sleep is plausible and richly imagined.

Darragh McManus, Irish Independent

A wholly convincing alternative world in which a few brave heretics are determined to uncover the truth. The result is a brilliantly imaginative thriller.


It's hard not to credit Harris's writing, no matter when and where it is set, with some sort of sidelong prescience.

Irish Times

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