A World Between Us (extract) by Lydia Syson


‘You want to get back to the front.’ They all did. It had shocked Felix at first. Then, in the first quiet spell at the hospital, she’d understood.

‘I feel guilty, safe here.’

‘Not exactly safe.’ A louder explosion, not so far away that they couldn’t feel it shake the pavement. He pulled her even nearer. She felt as light as air.


‘Maybe.’ She shrugged. Everyone had picked up something of Madrid’s fatalism. He stopped and she knew he was looking at her, curiously, trying to decipher her shadowed face.

‘You like the danger, don’t you?’ he teased her, gently. ‘Admit it.’ Nat turned and took her face in his hand, stroking her cheek with his thumb, studying her as closely as the darkness allowed.

‘No, no, of course I don’t.’ Felix was almost too embarrassed to enjoy the sensation, this warm weightlessness, as if every cell in her body were gently expanding. ‘Not really.’ She tried to look away, but he wouldn’t let her. He’d seen through her.

‘A bit of you . . . ?’

‘Well, it’s exciting,’ she admitted, meeting his eyes again, at last. ‘You know it is.’

‘Life and death.’

That was it. He knew. ‘It makes you feel so alive . . .’

‘ . . . A part of things . . . ?’

‘ . . . Here and now.’


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“A mesmerising portrait of a family unravelling” THE TIMES (Best historical fiction in 2018)

“Powerful, intense and beautiful” HISTORICAL NOVEL REVIEW

“This tense, evocative, richly-imagined novel conjures the voices of a strange time and place, and makes them universal” EMMA DARWIN

“Syson brings history alive” THE OBSERVER

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