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What to expect

From the Costa Award-winning author Hilary McKay, comes a moving World War II story of family and friendship on opposite sides of a devastating conflict. The Swallows’ Flight is the stunning companion novel to The Skylarks’ War.

‘It’s not necessary to have read The Skylarks’ War (though many beloved characters make reappearances) to be instantly and joyfully lost in this evocative, moving novel, showing McKay at the very top of her game.’ – Imogen Russell-Williams, The Guardian

‘Funny, poignant, wise and emotional. Full of achingly real characters (and also an excellent dog) . . . I eked out the final pages, not wanting it to end.’ – Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

Erik and Hans are German boys. Ruby and Kate are English girls. They grow up in worlds that would never meet, until war tumbles their lives together.

Then one September afternoon there are choices to be made.

How is courage lost, and found?
Who is really the enemy?
And what does friendship truly mean, in the middle of a war?
Meanwhile Rupert and Clarry work secretly for peace – and a brighter future for them all . . .

‘. . . a resounding success. . . McKay refuses to dumb down the history, writing with such clarity and understanding that you can’t fail to be caught up in the cares of her loveable cast.’ – Alex O’Connell, The Times Book of the Week

‘McKay is a glutinously atmospheric writer, and this dense, action-packed saga – written during lockdown – is every bit as satisfying as its predecessor.’ Emily Bearn, The Telegraph

‘Separately and together, The Skylarks’ War and The Swallows’ Flight are pinnacles of children’s literature.’ –Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times Book of the Week

‘Meticulously researched, intelligent, warm and witty — this is McKay at her peerless peak.’ Sally Morris, The Daily Mail

Critics Review

  • Hilary McKay’s The Swallows’ Flight is a triumph. The beautiful clarity of her storytelling is masterful and she deserves every prize going. I admire it very much

    Philip Pullman
  • ‘An incredible, clever, compassionate story from one of our very finest writers’

    Emma Carroll
  • A novel possibly even better than its predecessor: funny, poignant, wise and emotional

    The Bookseller
  • A wonderful story full of big, wonderful characters – more than a book about war – a story about our common humanity, which feels like both a hug and a fierce warning.

    Natasha Farrant on The Swallows' Flight
  • action-packed [and] every bit as satisfying as its predecessor.

  • The sort of simple, humane storytelling we all need right now . . . a treat

    Sally Nicholls

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