“A world writer”

John Linklater, Sunday Herald

“Nicholas Shakespeare is one of those writers who can do anything”

Peter Craven, Sydney Morning Herald

“One of our best and truest novelists”

The Times

“Enviably good”

Louis de Bernieres, Sunday Times

“One of the best English novelists of our time”

Allan Massie, Wall Street Journal

“The best evocation of Oxford since Brideshead

Allan Massie

Nicholas Shakespeare


Nicholas Shakespeare is the author of seven novels, including The Vision of Elena Silves (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and Betty Trask Award); The High Flyer, for which he was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, 1993; and The Dancer Upstairs, which was chosen as the Best Novel of 1997 by the American Libraries Association, and in 2001 made into a film by John Malkovich.

His non-fiction includes the critically acclaimed authorized biography of Bruce Chatwin; In Tasmania, winner of the 2007 Tasmania Book Prize; Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France; and Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Nicholas Shakespeare’s new novel The Sandpit will be published on 23rd July 2020.

The Sandpit

Nicholas Shakespeare’s new novel

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“A joy to read”
Sunday Times
“A remarkable contemporary thriller – with shades of Graham Greene and Le Carré about it – but also a profound and compelling investigation of a hugely complex human predicament. Brilliantly observed, captivatingly written, grippingly narrated – a triumph”
William Boyd
“Wonderfully well written… old school in the best possible way, with an insidious escalation of menace, and paranoia that fairly shimmers off the pages”
“Robert Harris once wrote that writing a book which was both a thriller and a literary novel is ‘a difficult trick but in my book the greatest to bring off.’ It was something Graham Greene managed at least half-a-dozen times, and Nicholas Shakespeare now does it with The Sandpit. There are echoes of Greene, also of Conrad and Le Carré. Yet these influences have been absorbed as good writers always absorb the influence of their predecessors and go beyond it to make something that is wholly their own, striking an individual note… One good test of a novel is: does it re-read? Well, I’ve now read The Sandpit twice, and I’m pretty sure I shall read it again in a few months’ time”
Allan Massie, Scotsman
“Quite simply excellent. If you're looking for something exciting and sinewy to read, this is it. There's no mistaking quality when it appears in book form"
John Simpson
“Exceptionally well written”
“A beautifully considered, subtle exploration of Englishness, of betrayal, of social change and character – elegantly and engagingly wrapped in a classic spy novel”
Rory Stewart
“A grimly absorbing literary thriller with shades of John le Carré... opens a window onto the murky world of international nuclear policy and espionage amorality”
Evening Standard
"The best novel of its kind I have read since the turn of the century"
Charles Cumming
“Shakespeare sets up the myriad pressures on his protagonist with consummate skill, keeping the reader guessing about the motives of everybody Dyer encounters. There are more than a few hints of Graham Greene and John le Carré here... In its exploration of how individual actions can have huge and unexpected ramifications, The Sandpit is an enthralling read... the theme of how ordinary individuals negotiate the pressures brought down on them by extraordinary events generates superb drama”
Literary Review
“Gripping stuff, deftly told. Yet within this nail-biting novel of suspense is another, more contemplative novel… that invites comparison to Graham Greene. Here is a fine writer, spinning suspense with the ease, patience and control of a fly-fisherman"
Cressida Connolly, The Oldie
“A paranoia-filled page turner”
Sunday Telegraph

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