Breathe

  • Author Dominick Donald
  • Narrator Martyn Ellis
  • Publisher Hodder & Stoughton
  • Run Time 18 hours and 43 minutes
  • Format Audio
  • Genre Crime and mystery fiction.

Listen to a sample

What to expect

London, 1952. Dick Bourton is not like the other probationer policemen in Notting Hill. He’s older, having fought in Europe and then Korea. And he’s no Londoner, being from Cotswold farming stock. Then there’s Anna, the exotically beautiful White Russian fiancée he has brought back to these drab streets and empty bombsites. She may as well come from a different planet.

The new copper also has a mind of his own. After an older colleague is shot by a small-time gangster they are chasing in a pea-souper fog, something nags at Bourton’s memory. He begins to make connections which his superiors don’t want to see, linking a whole series of deaths and the fogs that stop the city in its tracks.

Desperate to prove himself and his theories, Bourton fails to notice the fear which his mysterious bride is doing her best to conceal – and overcome.

Soon both Anna and Bourton are taking dangerous paths into the worst fog London has ever known…

(P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Critics Review

  • An outstanding debut . . . Donald combines historical events and fictional characters to superb effect, in a novel that deserves to win prizes.

    The Sunday Times, Crime Book of the Month
  • The combination of thriller plot with pervasive moral uncertainty reminded me at times of le Carre. Historically fascinating, too. All in all, this is one of the finest debuts I’ve read for a while.

    Andrew Taylor, author of Ashes of London
  • Remarkably accomplished . . . the most appealing, original protagonist I’ve read for some time . . . Donald’s depiction of the city’s thickening gloom is splendidly evocative . . . A very impressive debut

    Observer
  • Dominick Donald’s portrayal of the difficulties and dangers faced by Londoners is superb . . . Breathe is a hugely impressive debut.

    The Times
  • Dominick Donald is an exceptional writer. His depiction of post-war London is beautifully detailed, as are his descriptions of the lethal fogs that left the city gasping for breath. On top of that he has peopled his nail-biting story with a rich variety of characters, many of them coppers, who might easily have stepped out of a Dickens novel. Gripping to the last page, it’s a mystery unlike any other I’ve read.

    Rennie Airth
  • A brilliant book, an extraordinary mix of fiction and fact so real it will make your skin crawl. The sights, sounds, grit and desperation of postwar London hang over every step into the poisonous mysteries of the fog. Close the windows, pull up the duvet and keep the light on.

    Tom Harper

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