If the Invader Comes

Derek Beaven

A critically acclaimed, Booker long-listed novel that is reminiscent of Pat Barker’s ‘Regeneration Trilogy’.

Clarice Pike and Vic Warren are from completely different backgrounds. An impossible affair has already driven them thousands of miles apart. 1939 finds Clarice in Malaya where her father is an obscure company doctor, and Vic in East London, an unemployed shipwright badly married to Phylis, Clarice’s cousin. As their feelings conspire to draw the lovers back together, the world erupts with a terrible violence. It is the relentlessness of male brutality that forces Vic to grope towards what real manhood might be.

‘If the Invader Comes’ combines themes from Derek Beaven’s previously acclaimed ‘Newton’s Niece’ and ‘Acts of Mutiny’ to portray a wartime England where human relationships are threatened as much from within the family as from occupied Europe. Exciting, moving and ultimately optimistic, Derek Beaven’s new novel represents a daring leap in British fiction.

Reviews of If the Invader Comes

    • ‘Offers reminders of Graham Greene’s “The End of the Affair”…[A] powerful, sharply conceived novel.’ The Times
    • ‘The novel’s chief strength derives from a psychological delicacy: a file of scrupulously observed temperaments, ground down by circumstance, expressing themselves in dialogue pitched just on the right side of fracture. Beaven excels, too, in descriptions of physical sensation…All the abilities shown in his excellent second novel, “Acts of Mutiny”, are well to the fore.’ D.J. Taylor, Independent
    • ‘This is the kind of fiction we like…Beaven imagines the war background so completely that you almost forget what actually happened…[he] shows it as clear as a Vermeer mirror.’ David Robertson, Scotsman
    • ‘Large, deft, prickly and ambitious. Beaven weaves a highly convincing and alarming picture of a country sinking into a state of war. You believe in everything Beaven tells you because his work practically explodes with narrative assurance.’ Julie Myerson, Guardian