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Christopher Priest

The Separation by Christopher Priest

The Separation

by Christopher Priest

Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and BSFA Award for best novel of 2002.

"There are now four great novels of World War II in the literature of the fantastic: one is a prophecy, Swastika Night (1937) by Katharine Burdekin writing as Murray Constantine; and three are alternate histories: Sarban's The Sound of his Horn (1952), Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle (1962) and Christopher Priest's The Separation (2002)."

John Clute, SF Weekly

Chrisopher Priest's most recent novel The Separation is a re-examination of the early years of World War II through the story of two young men, identical twins, drawn into the conflict. Complex personal and moral issues separate them. Both men are destined to become victims of the war, one a pacifist, his brother a warrior. The reader is drawn steadily into the maze, betrayed both by history and memory.

Reading in a War, an informally annotated bibliography of The Separation, with comments about the research material consulted, as well as a discussion of the current theories about the enigma of Rudolf Hess is available on Christopher Priest's web site in the Essays, reviews, etc. section.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this subtle, unsettling alternative WWII history from British author Priest (The Prestige), Jack Sawyer is an RAF bomber pilot who encourages his government to distrust the peace proposal offered by renegade Nazi Rudolph Hess. At the same time, perhaps, Jack's identical twin brother, Joe, is a pacifist Red Cross staffer aiding peace negotiations with a German delegation headed by Hess. Jack's actions help shape the events we remember; Joe's lead to a truce between Germany and Britain in 1941 that results in a disturbingly familiar postwar world. Convincingly detailed diaries, scraps of published texts, declassified transcripts and more baffle a historian who tries to reconcile different realities. The brothers themselves recognize the uncertainty of motives and actions; Joe in particular struggles to believe that he's making a better future even though he realizes how much it costs him personally. Many alternative history novels are bloodless extrapolations from mountains of daNick Gevers, Locus.ta, but this one quietly builds characters you care about—then leaves their dilemmas unresolved as they try to believe that what they have done is "right." (December)

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"This is a sophisticated, thought-provoking novel that takes alternative history to a whole new level."
– Terry Windling, Year's Best Fantasy & Horror: Sixteenth Edition
"A carefully crafted, intricately plotted, and extremely engrossing novel."
– Gavriel David Rosenfeld, World Hitler Never Made: Alternate History and the Memory of Nazism
"...masterfully conceived and written, thoughtful, audacious, a stab to the heart of historical appearances."
– Nick Gevers, Locus.Magazine

Cover Design by Robert Garcia

A limited number of autographed copies are available to individuals who order directly with Pathway Book Services. Orders through Amazon and other vendors will receive the unsigned edition.

Order from PathwayHardcover • ISBN 1-882968-33-6 • $25.00 USD

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updated 17 February 2007