Sam Bourne/Jonathan Freedland at the Bleeding Heart

People - Books Friday, 15 February 2019

Spirited gathering as Quercus welcomes thriller writer to its list

There was plenty to talk about when Quercus hosted a lunch at the Bleeding Heart restaurant in Farringdon to welcome to its list thriller writer Sam Bourne, aka the journalist Jonathan Freedland: Brexit, Trump, potential Democrat contenders, social media, "influencers", the online battleground, literary reputations. The coffee had come before we even got started on Dan Mallory. It was the best kind of gathering, with everyone at the table joining in.

Bourne/Freedland has moved to Quercus from HarperCollins with To Kill the Truth (21 February), which md Jon Butler dubbed part two of "The Trump Trilogy", following To Kill the President. Back in 1996, the author had covered for the Guardian the David Irving trial, at which Irving had unsuccessfully sued historian Deborah Lipstadt for labelling him a Holocaust denier. The queasy feeling that Irving's testimony had induced, that truth to such a man was what he decided it was and that one could generate a cloud to obscure the documentary evidence, had returned to Freedland while observing Donald Trump, as well as Vladimir Putin and his sympathisers. What if someone decided to take these obfuscatory tactics a stage further, and to eliminate disobliging evidence? This is the idea behind the new Bourne thriller.

Guests at the lunch were Sam Leith (Spectator), Joan Smith (Sunday Times), Barry Forshaw (Guardian, FT), Karen Robinson (Sunday Times), Marcel Berlins (Times), and Jon Coates (Express). Jon Butler and his colleague Stef Bierwerth hosted.

Photo: Joan Smith, Jonathan Freedland, Barry Forshaw

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