In the summer of 1952, Joyce and Charlie Savigear are waiting on a railway platform in the quiet English countryside. The siblings have just been released from borstal to start a new life as apprentices at Leventree, an architecture practice with a difference.
The architects who’ve chosen them are Florence and Arthur Mayhood, a married couple motivated to give young offenders second chances. At first, they seem to offer the Savigears a steady path to happiness. But when a menacing figure from Joyce’s past comes knocking, they are lured back to the world they left behind. Will the Mayhoods’ goodwill be enough to steer their young apprentices away from danger, or will the darkness of their past catch up with them?
"Wood is a seriously talented writer, able to enter the minds of his characters with eerie precision. THE YOUNG ACCOMPLICE is an involving tale of revenge and responsibility, which, while it devastates, also tells us that new lives can be built among the ashes." - Financial Times
“Benjamin Wood shows his skill with this brooding tale of rural unease… It’s only by sustaining his characters so well that Wood can make us miss them when they’re gone, and so THE YOUNG ACCOMPLICE shows the difference between a book that slides down the surface of things, and one that digs it claws into you and sticks there.” - The Times
“Benjamin Wood is the literary world’s best kept secret — but that’s about to change… Wood is wonderful on the intricacies of love and architecture as a means of enriching people’s lives. It’s a novel that feels as if it has been imagined with slow and tender care — and I suspect it will be cherished by readers for a long time.” - The Sunday Times
"As a portrait of youthful mistakes and adult blindness, THE YOUNG ACCOMPLICE is both tender and cutting..." - The Guardian
"With deceptive ease, the books weaves elements of crime, mystery, love story and coming of age . . . a well-wrought novel whose pleasure is in each careful scene, moment and sentence." - Irish Times
"Benjamin Wood is a beautiful writer and this is his best novel yet, both gripping and unputdownable. Like people in Thomas Hardy, his characters surge from the page, and the mystery unfolds with a sureness seldom seen in contemporary British fiction." - Andrew O’Hagan
"Benjamin Wood’s tender fourth novel is about nature and idealism, but it also examines responsibility and the fragility of aspiration." - New Statesman
"THE YOUNG ACCOMPLICE is finely constructed, with themes of wrongdoing and innocence woven naturally into the action. Benjamin Wood’s attention to detail, his smooth writing style and his strong beliefs give the novel an unusual dignity." - TLS
"Benjamin Wood knows how to generate tension, makes lively characters you can see and hear, and writes about rural England in a sensitive, considered way that doesn't stray into the nostalgic. A huge talent." - Hilary Mantel
"Benjamin Wood is building a sublime body of work. This masterful, suspenseful novel is his best yet. It swallows you up. I love it." - David Whitehouse
"Wood's daring narrative decisions show he hasn't lost the old spark, but has just added to it with his new repertoire." - The Critic
'What a writer' - Richard Osman