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The Great Swindle

The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre
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The year is 1918, the war on the Western Front all but over. An ambitious officer, Lieutenant Henry D'Aulnay-Pradelle, sends two soldiers over the top and then surreptitiously shoots them in the back to incite his men to attack the German lines.

When another of D'Aulnay-Pradelle's soldiers, Albert Maillard, reaches the bodies and discovers how they died, the lieutenant shoves him into a shell hole to silence him. Albert is rescued by fellow soldier, the artist Edouard PĂ©ricourt, who takes a bullet in the face. The war ends and both men recover, but Edouard is permanently disfigured, and fakes his death to prevent his family from seeing him as a cripple. In gratitude for Edouard's rescue, Albert becomes the injured man's companion and caregiver.

Finding that the postwar gratitude for the soldiers' service is nothing more than lip-service to an empty idea, the two men scramble to survive, ultimately devising a scam to take money for never-to-be-built war memorials from small towns. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Pradelle has married Edouard's sister Madeline and is running a scam of his own that involves the exhumation of war victims.

In this sorrowful, heart-searching novel, the interwoven lives of these three men create a tapestry of the human condition as seen through the lens of war, revealing brutality and compassion, heroism and cowardice, in equal measure.
Quercus; September 2015
ISBN 9781623659073
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Title: The Great Swindle
Author: Pierre Lemaitre
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Bill Beverly wins two CWA Daggers - The Bookseller
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 02:19:15 -0700
Bill Beverly wins two CWA DaggersThe BooksellerThe final two prizes were the international award, given every year to crime ...
'The Great Swindle', by Pierre Lemaitre - Financial Times
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 08:52:09 -0800
'The Great Swindle', by Pierre LemaitreFinancial TimesPierre Lemaitre's engrossing novel The Great Swindle, 2013 ...
Book review: The Great Swindle is fine tale of deception amid devastation - The National
Thu, 12 Nov 2015 00:21:12 -0800
The NationalBook review: The Great Swindle is fine tale of deception amid devastationThe NationalOpening in October 1918 in ...
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