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On sale

11th May 2023

Price: £18.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529420777

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Rachel’s boyfriend Frank is different from other people. His strangeness is part of what she loves about him: his innocence, his intelligence, his passionate immersion in the music of JS Bach. As a coder, Frank sees patterns in everything, but as his theories slide further towards the irrational, Rachel becomes increasingly concerned for his wellbeing. There are people Frank knows online, people who share his view of the world and who insist he has a unique role to play. In spite of Rachel’s fears for his safety, Frank is determined to meet them face to face.

When Frank disappears, Rachel is forced to seek help in the form of Robin, a private detective who left the police force for reasons she will not reveal. Like Frank, Robin is obsessed with the music of Bach. Like Frank, she has unexplained connections with the criminal underworld of southeast London.

An obscure science fiction story from the 1950s appears to offer clues to Frank’s secret agenda, but not to where he is. As Robin and Rachel draw closer in their search for the truth, they are forced to ask themselves if Frank’s obsession with an alien war, against all logic, might have a basis in fact.

Nina Allan’s new novel is a work of the greatest imaginative power, an investigation of the human need to make connections, to find causes and effects, however fantastic. Conquest is the story of a disappearance, and of the mystery that follows.


Locus Magazine
The most experimental work yet from a boldly adventurous novelist... it both demands and rewards a more ruminative reading
Financial Times
Allan challengingly evokes a world of paranoia and delusion
Fantasy Hive
The finest author currently writing regardless of genre... (Conquest) is both beautifully written and formally experimental... a haunting, thought-provoking speculative masterpiece, a riveting demonstration of an artist in masterful control of her material.
Daily Mail
In this outstanding, beautifully controlled novel, Allen explores the smudged edges of fear and paranoia, belief and credulity, where she finds a sweet spot shimmering with truth and a strange beauty.
Formally inventive and utterly readable
In its themes of misinformation, potential microbiological Trojan horses and conspiracy, Conquest can also be read in total as a joyously fantastical and elaborate Covid-19 allegory; if so, it is surely the best book yet to emerge from the pandemic.
A truly bold and inventive piece of work. It deserves to make Nina Allan famous.
This is one of the best books I've read this year.
Scots Magazine
A powerful exploration into the human need to make connections.
TLS, Book of the Year
Bamboozingly brilliant
Guardian (Five of the best science fiction and fantasy books of 2023)
Absorbing . . . her best novel yet.