“Dizzyingly wonderful . . . a perfectly constructed work of fiction, with audacious twists . . . Collins plays her own game here with perfect skill.” — The Times (UK)
An intricate and utterly spellbinding literary epic brimming with enchantment, mystery, and dark secrets from the highly acclaimed author of the #1 international bestseller The Binding.
If your life was based on a lie, would you risk it all to tell the truth?
At Montverre, an ancient and elite academy hidden high in the mountains, society’s best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu—the great game—an arcane and mysterious competition that combines music, art, math, poetry, and philosophy. Léo Martin once excelled at Montverre but lost his passion for scholarly pursuits after a violent tragedy. He turned to politics instead and became a rising star in the ruling party, until a small act of conscience cost him his career. Now he has been exiled back to Montverre, his fate uncertain.
But this rarified world of learning Léo once loved is not the same place he remembers. Once the exclusive bastion of men, Montverre’s most prestigious post is now held by a woman: Claire Dryden, also known as the Magister Ludi, the head of the great game. At first, Léo feels an odd attraction to the magister—a mysterious, eerily familiar connection—though he’s sure they’ve never met before.
As the legendary Midsummer Game approaches—the climax of the academy’s year—long-buried secrets rise to the surface and centuries-old traditions are shockingly overturned.
A highly imaginative and intricately crafted literary epic, The Betrayals confirms Bridget Collins as one of the most inventive and exquisite new voices in speculative fiction.
About the Author
Bridget Collins trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art after reading English at King’s College, Cambridge. She is the author of seven acclaimed books for young adults and has had two plays produced, one at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Binding is her first adult novel. She lives in Kent, United Kingdom.
"A surreal epic."
— Popsugar on The Betrayals, 25 New May Book Releases That Deserve a Place on Your Kindle
"The reader is in for a treat: all these mysteries converge in shocking, suspenseful ways. By the time the novel draws to a close, the weave of the story and the tight net of a powerful rivals-to-lovers romance will have captured the reader in their web."
— Booklist on The Betrayals
“Dizzyingly wonderful . . . Collins summons a Gormenghast-esque richness of place and people . . . a perfectly constructed work of fiction, with audacious twists that clumsier hands would fumble, and irresistibly moving emotional beats. . . . Nabokov called fiction a ‘game of worlds,’ and Collins plays her own game here with perfect skill.”
— Sarah Ditum, The Times (UK) on The Betrayals
"Another sumptuous act of imaginative world-building. . . . If you’re looking for an absorbing, transporting work of fiction—and why would you not be?—The Betrayals is just the thing . . . settle in, and enjoy getting lost in this captivating book."
— The Observer (UK) on The Betrayals
"Ingenious . . . Collins’s story holds everything up its sleeve for as long as possible."
— The Guardian (UK) on The Betrayals
"Brilliant . . . a captivating, imaginative tale."
— Woman & Home (UK) on The Betrayals
"A unique, unexpected and beautifully unsettling story . . . gorgeously beguiling and totally addictive."
— Joanna Glen, author of The Other Half of Augusta Hope, on The Betrayals
"More lavish magical escapism from the unit-shifting author of The Binding."
— Irish Independent (Ireland) on The Betrayals
"She’s done it again: this is another triumph from the incomparable imagination of Bridget Collins. The Betrayals sinks its teeth into you and won’t let you go. It’s a mesmerising, intimate and ambitious story about art, love and what it means to be human. If you loved The Binding, you’ll adore The Betrayals."
— Erin Kelly, internationally bestselling author of He Said/She Said, on The Betrayals
"It’s just beautiful —written with such elegance and poise. What I love about Bridget's books is her ability to write the most magical worlds of escapism and yet anchor those worlds very much in today."
— Joanna Cannon, internationally bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, on The Betrayals
“The Betrayals is a beautiful dystopian romance about coming of age as an artist and the love affair artistic collaboration can be, while also being an acute political novel about the fate of spiritual values in a totalitarian system. A rich delight."
— Sandra Newman, author The Heavens and The Country of Ice Cream Star, on The Betrayals
“The Binding is a dark chocolate slice of cake with a surprising, satisfying seam of raspberry running through it. It is a rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped inside them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding.”
— Tracy Chevalier, bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, on The Binding
“The Binding held me captive from the start and refused to set me free. It’s a beautifully crafted tale of dark magic and forbidden passion, where unspeakable cruelty is ultimately defeated by enduring love. Breathtaking!”
— Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things, on The Binding
“Pure magic. The kind of immersive storytelling that makes you forget your own name. I wish I had written it.”
— Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said, on The Binding
“Truly spellbinding... Many readers of The Binding will simply sink gratefully into the pleasures of its pages, because, like all great fables, it also functions as transporting romance.”
— The Guardian on The Binding
“More of an experience than a book, written with such grace and wisdom. Utterly brilliant.”
— Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, on The Binding
“An original concept, beautifully written. Collins’ prose is spellbinding.”
— Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions, on The Binding
“A captivating fantasy novel with forbidden love at its heart.”
— Good Housekeeping (UK) on The Binding
“A moving, spellbinding book with a powerful love story at its heart and one of the best twists I’ve read in a long time. I fell into and inhabited and loved it. Such a deeply enjoyable and nourishing novel.”
— Sandra Newman, author of The Heavens, on The Binding
“Intriguing, thought-provoking and heartbreaking … what a gorgeous book.”
— Stella Duffy on The Binding
“What an astounding book … something entirely of its own. Brilliant concept, truly extraordinary writing and a killer plot.”
— Anna Mazzola, author of The Unseeing, on The Binding
“Beguiling and mysterious … dark and atmospheric … The Binding is the kind of novel that practically demands fireside reading.”
— The Herald (Glasgow) on The Binding
“Intense, immersive. . . . A stirring, highly original piece of storytelling and world-making.”
— Sunday Times (London)
“A real treat . . . gothic, imaginative and dark.”
— The Times (London)
“Using evocative language to express a lovingly told tale of lost memories, Collins wraps her story of a passionate, forbidden relationship in mystery and magic.”
“The Binding is an imaginative, thought-provoking tale of how—for better and worse—moments can define who we become.”
— BookPage on The Binding
“Bookbinders capture souls in this fantasy’s bleak Dickensian world. The novel’s most horrifying victim is the starving mother who doesn’t recognize her children because she had to sell her memories of them.”
— New York Times, New Books We Recommend This Week, on The Binding
"Enjoyable . . . at its heart, it’s about people and learning to forgive yourself as well as others."
— Girly Book Club on The Betrayals