Philip Gray

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New Release

Two Storm Wood
(2022)

Three months after the Armistice, a young woman sets out across the haunted wastelands of the Western Front to learn the fate of the man she loved. 

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The Times Book of the Month

[A] splendidly realised historical thriller... Although the novel is deftly plotted and the atmosphere all distorting fog and claustrophobic dugouts, its achievement lies in Gray's finely worked portraits of the pity of war - those damaged by conflict and those who have to deal with its mind-altering consequences.

James Owen, The Times

In this poignant, intricately plotted novel, Gray succeeds in entwining two powerful tales - a love story and a hate story - in a way that, right from the shocking start, is both convincing and enthralling.

Virginia Baily, Sunday Times bestselling author of Early One Morning

Rather than tell a story of war with a soldier at its center, Philip Gray

has crafted a historical thriller in which a gutsy heroine goes searching for answers on the empty battlefields of the Western Front.... Refreshingly different.

Malcolm Forbes,

StarTribune

Newsday

Two Storm Wood has the literary class, intellectual depth, and thriller pacing of Robert Harris at his best - with an added spine-tingling aura of menace worthy of Stephen King. It's the most chilling portrayal of a historical period since Philip Kerr's novels of Nazi Berlin, yet at its core Gray's masterpiece is a heart-rending story of sacrifice, love and loyalty.

Matt Rees, Crime Writers Association award winning author of the Omar Yussef  series

A finely woven murder mystery … Well researched fiction often informs, and a strength of this novel is that it sheds light on a mostly overlooked chapter … The plot twists keep coming, but the picture it paints of physical and emotional desolation will stick with the reader long afterwards.

Becky Clark,

Soldier

I enjoyed it immensely.

Sir Trevor McDonald

Between the Covers

BBC2

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Reviews & Press

One of the most evocative thrillers I've ever read. The writing is superb – shades of Hollinghurst and Pat Barker combine in a taut, finely plotted mystery. Be warned – this dark, intelligent story is very hard to put down.  Haunting, cinematic, and utterly gripping.

David John, New York Times bestselling author of Star of the North

A quite terrifying literary thriller. The world has been waiting for a worthy successor to Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong – now Philip Gray has delivered it. This novel really is that good. The desolate, nightmarish atmosphere of the WW1 battlefields and the aftermath of more than four years of slaughter is expertly portrayed in what is both a very moving love story and fascinating mystery. A novel that will stay long in the reader’s memory after the last page is turned.

David Young, Crime Writers Association award winning author of the Stasi Child series

Immersive and eerily atmospheric, Gray’s novel delivers vivid historic detail and gripping suspense, aligning more closely with Dan Simmons’s Drood (2009) and Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow than to most WWI thrillers.

Christine Tran, Booklist (*starred review)

Powerful historical fiction and a testament to war's insanity.

Kirkus Reviews

A beautifully written thriller... The bloodlands are described in uncompromising terms, and the novel ends with a wonderful twist.

James Moran,

The Tablet

Two Storm Wood is an enthralling piece of historical crime fiction, a dark and desolate read, set in the middle of a hellish landscape, which confounds and captures the reader at every turn of the page. I found myself caring for every single character, whether they were playing a bit part or at the very centre of all the intrigue, although Amy, the little mouse who reveals her inner lioness, is the star... This is one of those books that you’re tempted to move through at speed, but instead pull on the reading brakes to relish the prose and make the experience last just that little bit longer. 

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Assured, atmospheric, and meticulously researched, Two Storm Wood sheds light on the horrors and the trauma that continued even after the Armistice. It is that most wonderful of creations -  a novel that informs while keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Abir Mukherjee, Sunday Times bestselling author of the Wyndham & Banerjee crime series

A moving love story hidden inside a harrowing and psychologically observant historical thriller... The characters, from laborers to senior officers, are complex, compelling, and relatable... The suspense skyrockets as the various plot threads converge, putting Amy in heart-pounding danger, with a stunning final twist on the very last page.

Jean Gazis,

Mystery Scene

Two Storm Wood is an impressive achievement. It sheds a powerful light on a neglected aspect of World War One history. I can’t recommend it enough.

Alan Parks, author of Bloody January, shortlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière

Intelligent, chilling murder mystery set among the wastelands of a war-ravaged France. Deftly plotted, and also a brilliant character piece, teeming with ideas about devotion, radicalism, identity, race, and the ethics of battlefields. Mightily rewarding.

Dominic Nolan, bestselling author of Past Life and Vine Street

Couldn't put this down. A thriller and romance set amidst the post-Armistice battlefields and the damaged people trying to do right by the dead. Extraordinary setting, great characters, bursting with ideas.

Dominick Donald, author of Breathe, Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year 2018

 The writing is poetic and literate, a pleasure to read as the author re-creates the haunting ... battlefields of northern France, only just beginning their recovery from the devastation of the conflict.

Douglas Kemp,

Historical Novel Society

I was completely gripped [and] read it into the wee hours. It's such a well written thriller.

Cariad Lloyd,

Between the Covers

BBC 2