Incendiary: A Novel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: June 2012
Duration: 6 hours 41 minutes
A distraught woman writes a letter to Osama bin Laden after her four-year-old son and her husband are killed in a massive suicide bomb attack at a soccer match in London. In an emotionally raw voice alive with grief, compassion, and startling humor, she tries to convince Osama to abandon his terror campaign by revealing to him the desperate sadness-"I am a woman built on the wreckage of myself"-and the broken heart of a working-class life blown apart.
But the bombing is only the beginning. While security measures transform London into a virtual occupied territory, the narrator, too, finds herself under siege. At first she gains strength by fighting back, taking a civilian job with the police to aid the antiterrorist effort. But when she becomes involved with an upper-class couple, she is drawn into a psychological maelstrom of guilt, ambition, and cynicism that erodes her faith in the society she's working to defend. And when a new bomb threat sends the city into a deadly panic ("It was a panic like the darkest dream and the more people ran out onto the streets the bigger the panic got like a monster made of human beings") she is pushed to acts of unfathomable desperation-perhaps her only chance for survival.
A surreal vision made brilliantly, viscerally powerful and undeniable, 'Incendiary' is Chris Cleave's stunning first novel.