Monday 8 February 2021

The Betrayals by Bridget Collins @Br1getCollins @BoroughPress #TheBetrayals #BookReview


At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters.
Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before.
Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies.  And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls…

The Betrayals by Bridget Collins was published in hardback by The Borough Press on 12 November 2020, the paperback will be published in December this year. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Montverre is an exclusive and celebrated academy in the mountains. It’s the place where ‘the grand jeu’ is taught and the brightest of students create the most complex and convoluted editions of what has become the national game.

Leo Martin was once a student of Montverre and has returned in disgrace after an unsuccessful stint as a politician. 

Claire Dryden is the first female Magister Ludi – the highest position at Montverre.

Claire is unhappy about the return of Leo to what has become her home, and Leo himself recognises something about Claire that feels like a connection, although he knows that this is their first meeting. 

Set in a fictional European city in the 1930s, The Betrayals is an intriguing and beautifully written mix of gothic mystery and historical fiction. Whilst the idea of the grand jeu is a complex and often complicated one, the author excels in her construction of the story.

Both Leo and Claire have many secrets to hide and as the tension builds towards the highlight of the Montverre year; the Midsummer Game, both of them are desperate to ensure that their past lives stay hidden.

Told over two time lines, this is a story that took me out of my usual reading comfort zone but one that thrilled me. The secrets are cleverly and slowly exposed, and slot together like a jigsaw puzzle towards the unexpected and stunning ending. 

Bridget Collins was born in 1981 in Kent, England. She always wanted to be an actor, and trained at
the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art after studying English at King's College, Cambridge, but after she graduated from drama school she found herself starting to write a novel as a way to distract herself when she wasn't working - and discovered that she loved it... Her first published novel, The Traitor Game, won the Branford Boase Award and was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Since then she has published six more novels for teenagers. The Binding, her first adult novel, was published in January 2019 and went straight to no. 2 in the Sunday Times bestseller list.

Although she doesn't act professionally any more - writing having taken centre stage - she is a keen amateur actor. She also loves bookbinding, running, arguing, napping and eating good food (not in that order), almost as much as she loves reading.

Twitter @Br1dgetCollins

Photo: copyright Symon Hamer

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