Everyone Brave is Forgiven

EveryoneBrave_HBK_hr[2].jpgThe new Chris Cleave novel is coming in April 2016 in the UK, Ireland, Australia & NZ, and May 2016 in the US and Canada. (Pre-order here.)

When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’s be a marvellous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect children her country would rather forget.

Tome, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passions, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War – daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.


21 thoughts on “Everyone Brave is Forgiven”

  1. Hi Chris,
    Hello from Sydney, Australia. I am waiting patiently for your new novel Everyone Brave is Forgiven to arrive in April. I hope you will tour, once again, in Sydney. You are always welcome! Good luck.

    1. Thank you Michael – that’s such a kind message & I would like nothing more than to return! I *think* if I’m lucky then I will get to visit in September. Trying to wrestle the dates into shape at the moment & will let you know if & when it’s looking set. In the meantime all good wishes to you & thanks for your kind words. All best, CC

  2. Chris,
    Finally a new book. Can’t wait from Canada. How long before we are able to get it? I’ve read all your books and love how you write. Please write faster. :)
    I look forward to finally reading your new one.

    1. To Julie Wilcock – thank you – what a kind message – I like “please write faster”! “Everyone Brave” will be out in Canada on 3rd May. If you’re interested in author events I’ll be touring there from May 15th-20th (will post the events here when I have details). Thanks again, and I hope you’ll enjoy the new book – CC

      1. Hi Chris,
        I so enjoyed each one of your books. I just missed seeing you in Seattle so am hoping that you will make it to Vancouver. Definitely will preorder Everyone Brave.

  3. Chris, as I just woke up wandering if a new Chris Cleave novel could be on its way, I just learned there is. Will EBIF be released in The Netherlands as well? If not, I’ll be standing in your garden, hallway and parking lot till you sell me a copy yourself. Love all your work, with Gold as most surprisingly gripping. A big thanks and appreciation from your Dutch fans. Ramon Cyrus

    1. To Ramon Cyrus – ha ha, that’s great to hear – thank you! (Terms & conditions apply – please do not actually stand in my garden as it might freak out the neighbours a bit). Yes, I’m delighted to say that Everyone Brave will be published in The Netherlands by my longstanding and excellent publisher, Prometheus. I loved your message, I’m grateful to you for reading my books, and I really hope you’ll enjoy the new one! All best – CC

  4. Dear Mr. Cleave,
    I received Everyone Brave is Forgiven through NetGalley and read it last week. I have been deeply moved and am rather haunted by the scenes and characters.

    Because the experiences of the characters were inspired by your grandparents’ experiences I have thought it had to be devastating to put Mary and Tom and Alastair and Hilda through such horrors. What was it like for you as a writer to put these lovely young people in harm’s way?

    I also think it so interesting that instead of idealizing the British people, which is what we usually see in America, you show the smallness of mind in the rich, the country folk who won’t take in imperfect or different children, blatant racism, and the bureaucracy that evacuated the zoo animals before the schoolchildren.

    I expect someday the book will be made into a movie. I fear that people won’t read the book first and the movie will become a war romance and scenes like Mary’s near drowning, or Simonson’s tasting the jam, will lose their impact.

    Best wishes, Nancy

    1. To Nancy – Thank you very much for reading Everyone Brave and for your thoughtful & interesting message. Yes, it was an intense experience to write it. In fact in my early versions I gave the characters the real names of my family members, before changing them in the later drafts. This was an important rule I made for myself if I was going to write a wartime book – it forced me to remember in every line that the people of that generation were and are real, and loved, and that they exist as human beings and not just as ciphers to play out some notion of bravery. I think that approach also let me get past some of the layers of nostalgia that have turned our collective idea of the war into false memory in some respects. I didn’t want the novel to be polemic or iconoclastic, but I did want it to be emotionally honest, which meant navigating issues of race and social inequality that are more often redacted. I think it’s a more compelling story for that. To your point about an eventual movie – it’s a long story and would certainly need to be radically cut. That can sometimes be done very well if the filmmaker selects one strand of the story to tell, rather than attempting to squeeze the whole quart into a pint pot. I always think that’s a good problem to have – far better than the alternative of having a two-hour feature film to fill, and nothing to say in it! Thanks again for reading the book & for your interesting reflections on it. All best – CC

  5. Hello Mr. Cleave

    I’ve read a ton of books in my lifetime, of all genres. I’ve been moved by many of them. But never have I read something as powerful and as analytical of the human condition as your novel ‘Gold’. ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ by Katherine Paterson and ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodi Picoult come close to the level of excellence you have achieved in your writing. I consider myself lucky to have come across this book, while searching for books on Olympic athletes and the Olympics, which is also a passion of mine.
    Please continue to write like this. You are a force of good in this world, in these dark and desperate times. thank you.

    1. To Lashlane Cooray – thank you, what a kind message. I’m glad you liked ‘Gold’. It hasn’t been as popular as my other novels but I still have a soft spot for it. It was my first novel written in the third person and I think that at certain moments – if you’ll forgive the cycling analogy – you can see that it still has its training wheels on. But I do try to push myself further into human psychology with each novel, and I like that about ‘Gold’. Despite its faults it still feels to me like an honest exploration of that great dilemma at the heart of all of us: what will we choose, friendship or success, when we really can’t have both? Thanks again for your generous message – you sound like someone who makes good choices. All best – CC

  6. Hi Chris,

    I would just like to say, out of every work I have read by a writer (and I am an English student so I have read an awful lot!), your style and imaginative plots have to be applauded. In my eyes, you’re one of the greats, and a favourite writer of mine. Incendiary still haunts me.


    1. To Charlotte Maher – thanks enormously for your kind verdict on my work. I don’t know if I deserve it, but I’m certainly delighted to have it! It means a lot to me – and calms my nerves a little when I sit down to write. All good wishes to you – CC

  7. Hi Chris,
    My name is Cindy. I am in the United States. Your book has been on my book shelf for years, but I am not quite sure how I acquired it. I picked it up last week and I just finished it this morning. It was a great read and I shared it on my Facebook page for others to read and enjoy. I love that you have included a reading group guide! I look forward to reading more of your work.


  8. Dear Chris,

    I am a member of the amazon vine programme and a top reviewer (125 today) with many years of reading and reviewing books behind me. I was offered a copy of Everyone Brave by the vine list and have just finished it. Such a substantial book requires some mulling over in order to do it justice in my review. As I was reading a proof copy I wanted to get in touch before writing. I wonder how much will be altered in the published copy. I realise that for the writing to stay in character throughout 1939 to 1942 required much research and an ear for howlers. The only one I picked up was the use of the word ‘disc’ for what I am sure would have been gramophone record, and the unreality around standing men drinks for stuff when your wallet had apparently just been stolen. (page 175 of my red copy). Also the perhaps intended twice use of the sound of coal being tumbled into the purdonium… Don’t think I am being picky but things do sometimes jump out! Otherwise all is admirable, the way you have brought in Malta lifts the story out of the ordinary and introduces fresh meat what otherwise might look like old boiled ones or should I say tea leaves! It would be great to hear back, Kind Regards, Katharine Kirby (65 brought up in SE London, played on bombsites, knew about peasoupers…)

    1. Hi Katharine,
      Thank you very much indeed for reading Everyone Brave, and for reviewing it. I really appreciate that you’ve taken the time to get in touch, too. I’m glad you didn’t find too many clangers. I did a lot of research, as you correctly intuit, but some anachronisms will always get through. Between me and my various publishers, we picked up a couple of dozen errors in between the proof copy, which is the version you have, and what will be the final text. My greatest embarrassment was my use of the modern Waterloo Bridge in the year before it was actually completed – thankfully, my excellent proof reader picked that up. Thank you very much for flagging “gramophone disc” vs “gramophone record”. I do have some early contemporary references to “disc”, but I will now go back and try to find the point at which the use of “disc” became widespread. If necessary I will go back to the text and fix it. Where I will gratefully agree with you is that Alistair shouldn’t pay for drinks after his wallet is gone – thank you, I will fix that! I’m glad you enjoyed the book and I’m grateful for your very kind & helpful comments. All best – CC

  9. I have chosen Little Bee for my book club to read but they are having trouble sourcing it in England. I was given it by my Aunt and have since passed it on to someone else. I LOVED it so much and am really keen for us to read and discuss it. Could you tell me where I can get four copies asap!!!

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Alexandra, with any luck you’ll be able to find LITTLE BEE in any good bookshop in England, where it will appear under its alternative title of THE OTHER HAND. Thank you for your kind words about the novel, and thanks for picking it for your book club. I hope everyone will enjoy it! All best – CC

  10. I picked up ‘Gold’ from a book exchange in the Iguana Perdida, a lovely hostel at Lago Atitlan in Guatemala. Written inside the book was “Read this, it’s going to struck holes in your soul and then fill them”. I was intrigued. That book was the first book ever that gave me the feeling of not wanting to stop reading but at the same time not being able to read any further. The suspense, the emotional grip the book had on me was unreal. An incredible experience reading it. Safe to say, you are my new favourite author. I’m looking at ‘The Other Hand’ at this moment and I’m definitely going to pick this book up as well!

    Cheers, keep on doing the good work :)!

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