Synopses & Reviews
In the twilight years of Communist East Germany, Bruno Krug, author of a single world-famous novel written twenty years earlier, falls for Theresa Aden, a music student from the West. But Theresa has also caught the eye of a cocky young scriptwriter who delights in satirizing Krug’s work.
Asked to appraise a mysterious manuscript, Bruno is disturbed to find that the author is none other than his rival. Disconcertingly, the book is good—very good. But there is hope for the older man: the unwelcome masterpiece is dangerously political. Krug decides that if his affair with Theresa is to prove more than a fling, he must employ a small deception. But in the Workers’ and Peasants’ State, knowing the deceiver from the deceived, the betrayer from the betrayed, isn’t just difficult: it is a matter of life and death. Now the celebrated author and secret Stasi informer is ready to confess…
The Valley of Unknowing is both a moving and entertaining love story and a seductive thriller, one that pits the past against the future, commerce against creativity, and art against life.
"Sington's newest (after The Einstein Girl), set in late-1980s East Germany, is a complex tale of artistic aspirations, romantic jealousies, and theft. Bruno Krug, a middle-aged plumber, is also the author of the acclaimed The Orphans of Neustadt, published 20 years earlier. When his editor asks him to review the manuscript of screenwriter Wolfgang Richter's first novel, The Valley of Unknowing, Bruno is astonished to discover that Valley reads like the sequel to Orphans he was never able to write. Meanwhile, Bruno falls in love with Theresa Aden, an Austrian violin player who is also in a relationship with Wolfgang. After the screenwriter dies under suspicious circumstances, Bruno claims full credit for Valley and dupes Theresa into smuggling it out of the country. She pseudonymously publishes it as Survivors, and the book garners international praise. As her star rises in the West, an insecure Bruno attempts to defect to marry her, but his bold literary theft and the vexing complications of the subterfuge prove too heavy a burden. Fans of Philip Kerr will appreciate the historical accuracy and intrigue of this Cold War era literary thriller." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"In the Valley of Unknowing... British writer Phillip Sington has managed something quite remarkable: a flawless, gripping and penetrating depiction of life in the former East Germany, wrapped up as a literary thriller, in every sense of the expression." < b=""> Peter Millar <>
"A remarkable novel, the first in English to give us a nuanced portrait of life in Communist East Germany, its absurdity, its menace, and its pervasive sense of betrayal." Joseph Kanon, author of The Good German
" is simply superb: affecting but never melodramatic, literary but never less than thrilling. Though Krug is self-pitying, he wins our sympathy...His story, like the manuscript he grudgingly admire, is 'truthfully, tenderly drawn.'" David Evans
"Philip Sington has managed something quite remarkable...a flawless, gripping and penetrating depiction of life in the former East Germany, wrapped up as a literary thriller...His feeling for not just time and place, but atmosphere and way of life is perfect in a way that no other Western writer, not even John le Carré, has achieved." Financial Times
"Remarkable...Superbly anchored in place and time...[A] brilliant, evocative and accurate novel."-- (London)
“Remarkable. . . . Superbly anchored in place and time. . . . [A] brilliant, evocative and accurate novel.”—The Times (London)
“Remarkable…Superbly anchored in place and time…[A] brilliant, evocative and accurate novel.”—The Times (London)
About the Author
Philip Sington worked as a business journalist and magazine editor for nine years. His novels include Zoia's Gold and The Einstein Girl. He lives in London.