Ned Maddstone has it all. He's handsome and talented; he has the love of a beautiful woman and in 1980, he stands at the brink of a glittering future. He rounds off an outstanding public school career with a sailing trip to Scotland, which is where his fortunes enter a terrifying tailspin. Determined to honour the dying wish of his sailing instructor, Ned returns to London, where the schemes of jealous classmates catapult him into a 10-year nightmare. Confined to a solitary Hell, believed dead by all those who loved him, Ned transforms from a terminally nice guy into a creature bent on revenge, a revenge both satisfying and apocalyptic.
Few writers can deliver so much in one package, but here Stephen Fry combines a riotous satire of the privileged classes with elements of the darkest thrillers. While the plot bounces from the sublime to the surreal, his characters remain acutely real. Ned's classmates, slow-witted hedonist Rufus Cade, and the Machiavellian climber Ashley Barson-Garland--who is aroused by the sight of straw boaters--are masterful creations. This novel has nothing to do with tennis, and everything to do with the cruel logic of Fate. Game, set and match to Mr Fry. - - Matthew Baylis
"A Count of Monte Cristo for the dot.com generation...whatever Stephen Fry does, he has it -- that rare, unlearnable quality. When he speaks, you listen. When he writes, you read." -- "Literary Review""Stylish...written up with zest and humour...a page-turner and full of fun." -- "Spectator""A revenge tragedy for our times." -- "The Times""A taut thriller...a talent for terror and suspense-writing." -- "Sunday Telegraph""From the Paperback edition."