A novel

eBook - 2018
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From the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The English Patient: a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.
In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself—shadowed and luminous at once—we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings' mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn't know and understand in that time, and it is this journey—through facts, recollection, and imagination—that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart


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Apr 27, 2021

Good book.

Barrie_Teen_Lists Mar 24, 2021


Warlight is a story that takes place in post-WW2, 1945 United Kingdom. Nathaniel is a 14-year-old boy who is left with his sister, Rachel to live with a strange man named ‘The Moth’ after both parents leave them to go to Singapore for a year. The Moth would invite people into their house including a man nicknamed the Darter. Nathaniel learns that the Darter illegally imports Greyhounds into England that are used for the primary purpose of hound racing and he decides to help him during the summer months. Flash forward to 1959, Nathaniel is accepted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the U.K to participate in the censorship of post-WW2 espionage missions so that they are not released to the public, known as the Silent Correction. He takes the job so he could discover more about who his mother was. He learns about what his mother did during the Cold War as well as learn more about who the Darter really is and what he did.

What I liked about the book was the relationship that Nathaniel and the Darter had when Nathaniel was working with him. The Darter told him stories about his adventures ferrying dogs from France across the English Channel into the U.K. Nathaniel learning about his mother’s past was also interesting and makes you think why she would risk her life to save her children. As well as why did Nathaniel not spend time with his sister after he got back from the U.S from boarding school, considering he knew about her career in theatre and could have visited anytime, making you believe that he cared more about learning of the past instead of focusing on the present.

The major problem I found with the book was that the structure of the plot was set up in a strange way that was hard to follow, jumping from one point to another too quickly for myself to follow, making it very distracting and hard to comprehend what was happening at times. It is recommended to read the book in a small-time frame to fully grasp everything that is happening.

Warlight is a book that delves into how people lived and thought after the end of the Second World War. A time full of censorship and questioning about why things happen but never fully getting the answers you want. About how war can tear a family apart, even after the war is over. If you enjoy learning about the motives of why censorship happens and how it impacts people’s lives, then this would be a good book. Otherwise, if you are a slower reader and need more time to interpret the messages of a book, Warlight may not have been my favourite book, but if you enjoy learning about motivations behind why people do what they do, it is a fairly good book to read.

Feb 20, 2021

Book Club book

Feb 06, 2021

I second what JamesMallory said. Although the writing can be quite beautiful I found the story boring. I too resisted the urge to scan forward, and kept hoping to be proven wrong. I wasn’t. If you do not feel enthralled by the first 100 pages, put this one to rest. You’re not missing anything.

Feb 05, 2021

What an awful book. The writing is beautiful, but the first half of the book is just a rambling incoherence of a childhood life of two siblings that are left by their parents and seem to enter the world of a bunch of random criminals. Meanwhile their parents have left, supposedly to enter British Intelligence (or perhaps a mental institution -- it isn't clear) and the two kids flounder, enticed into what are clearly illegal activities. Then abruptly the mother returns, and the second half of the book supposedly contains the key to what went on. But by this point I simply didn't care any more, and resisted the urge to quickly scan the rest of the book to find out the resolution. Three stars because the writing is so good. The author clearly can do much better than this. Much, much better.

mko123 Jan 19, 2021

I listened to the audio and felt like i was right there, in shadowy post-war London, being told an elaborate secret. This would make a good film noir movie, full of characters you want to know but cannot quite grasp.

Oct 25, 2020

A gentle and fascinating look at post war London, at the ongoing spying activities seen through the eyes of a teenager who has been abandoned by his mother as she keeps fighting this silent and little known of war.

Sep 25, 2020

Karen Lieneke Recommendation

Sep 18, 2020

This is not my usual cup of tea (I'd rather read history than historical novels), but this grabbed me from the start. So much intrigue, so many teasers. It read so well that I even resisted the temptation (rarely resisted!) to peek at the ending. And what an ending. Especially since the town of Gakova is mentioned; it has a tragic role in my family's history.

Aug 06, 2020

One critic says this is his best novel since "The English Patient." Not having read it, I can't speak to that, but this is beautifully written, character-driven fiction.

The narrator/protagonist is a wounded soul whose enigmatic mother abandons him and his sister for four years during World War II. He subsequently seeks to reconstruct his mother's past and heal his fractured psyche, succeeding quite well in the first task but not too much in the second.

This is only a summary and, of course, does not do full justice to the story.

I definitely recommend this.

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Jan 27, 2019

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Jul 24, 2018

SZorn thinks this title is suitable for 20 years and over


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Feb 20, 2021

Rec Nancy Chapel. (Typical!) Author of English Patient. 1945 In London, teenage brother & sister left by parents.
Apparently espionage business. Beautifully written. Some reviews say too rambling


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Oct 18, 2019

"I used often to lie awake/ through the whole night,/ and wish for a large pearl" (274).


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