“Haunting, seminal, bleak, iconic, furied . . . it’s a necessary novel, vital even . . .”—The Observer
In taut and gripping prose that often feels like the relentless text of a surveillance report, GB84 tells the story of the British coal miner’s strike of 1984—including the actual bombings, riots and protests that brought the country to the brink of civil war.
Called by its author “fiction based on fact,” the book depicts a real-life 1984 more violently dystopian than even Orwell imagined. Slowly starving strikers find themselves pitted against a prime minister—Margaret Thatcher—determined to crush them . . . a police force willing to use infiltration and violence to achieve her will . . . and equally hungry scabs who need a job . . .
Mixing real events and characters with the voices of the increasingly desperate strikers, the book becomes a stirring saga of courage against overwhelmingly sinister forces, and paints a searing and haunting portrait of events that changed the course of British history.
“Peace is known more for his Red Riding Quartet, but, to my mind, this retronymic dystopia is his best book. Originally released in 2004 — twenty years, obviously, after 1984 — and set in Thatcherite England, the novel is an epic political hothouse and construction of genius that is, if anything, grossly underrated.”
—Flavorwire, 50 Best Independent Fiction and Poetry Books of 2014
“It’s history as noir in the style of James Ellroy, political and compelling.”
—Brooklyn Magazine, Eight Books to Read in November
“This is a big book about one of the most important struggles in British history… As a novelistic rendering of history, GB84 is first rate.”
—Barnes and Noble Review
“A behemoth of British fiction.”
—Flavorwire, Must-Reads for November 2014
“A curious, intense, formally innovative thriller from the Herman Melville of soccer fiction.”
—WORD Bookstores, Books of the Week, on Largehearted Boy
“A conspiracy thriller laced with apocalyptic poetry.”
“The writing is clever, terse, incisive… This mammoth conspiracy tale is a thriller daubed with horror.”
“Superb . . . He has turned the whole episode into a gripping thriller, with no detriment to documentary realis… GB84 is a bold mixture of thriller, monologue, theatre script, chants, slogans, crime story, sexual subplot and documentary fiction… This is an epic novel…a crowded, ambitious, quick-moving novel, and as such is the literary equal of the epic events it commemorates.”
“A violently original novel.”
—Times Literary Supplement
“The book is so compelling… Peace’s terse, urgent sentences are perfectly suited to depicting a large-scale confrontation. The tactics and resources of both sides, their histories, their mindsets, the likely battlefields—all are vividly laid out in little more than a few paragraphs. Alliteration and repetition establish a marching rhythm like massing pickets or policemen… Only a rare political novel manages that.”
—London Review of Books
November Picks, Entomology of a Bookworm