A gripping, multi-layered debut in the tradition of Tana French and Donna Tartt about four friends, an empty manor, and a night that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Andy believes that she has left her past far behind her. But when she gets a call from Peter’s mother to say he’s gone missing, she finds herself pulled into a search for answers.
Bored and restless after their final school exams, Andy, Peter, Em and Marcus broke into a ruined manor house nearby and quickly became friends with the boy living there. Blond, charming and on the run, David’s presence was as dangerous as it was exciting. The story of a diamond necklace, stolen from the house fifty years earlier and perhaps still lost somewhere in the grounds inspired the group to buy a replica and play at hiding it, hoping to turn up the real thing along the way. But the game grew to encompass decades of resentment, lies and a terrible betrayal.
Now, Andy’s search for Peter will unearth unimaginable secrets – and take her back to the people who still keep them.
Meticulously plotted and gorgeously written, BEFORE THE RUINS is a page-turner of the highest order about the sealed-off places in our pasts and the parts of ourselves waiting to be retrieved from them.
"Four disaffected teenagers, a deserted manor, an unlimited supply of drugs, and a cache of potentially explosive secrets. What could go right?
BEFORE THE RUINS, Victoria Gosling’s stunner of a debut novel, is rich with mystery and moral disorder. It put me in mind of Edward St. Aubyn and Donna Tart; dark, fierce, and totally addictive."
- Valerie Martin
"Engrossing, beguiling, and with an undertow of menace, BEFORE THE RUINS is a masterly debut from a richly talented author." - Sarah Waters
"I don't know the last time I enjoyed a book this much. Unbelievably tense and incredibly smart, Victoria's Gosling's story about four friends playing a truly terrifying game of cat-and-mouse in a deserted manor house is the perfect menage a trois of superb plotting, haunting characters, and gorgeous, atmospheric prose. Tana French fans will devour this." - Aimee Molloy
"Victoria Gosling has crafted a perfectly balanced literary page-turner filled with evocative detail about rural youth paired with a genuinely thrilling mystery" - Ben Fergusson
"Gosling is a stylish, sophisticated writer, and we realize that we are following Andy on what amounts to a grand scavenger hunt for the truth. Rain falls relentlessly, and the ensuing floods form an ominous backdrop to a story that becomes darker as it goes along" - The New York Times
"Gosling’s atmospheric debut takes a familiar theme – the way the things we do as teenagers reverberate in later life – but treats it with care and empathy...it’s the finely drawn characters, especially the spiky narrator Andrea, that linger in the memory." - Mail on Sunday
"Now and again I read a book that makes me SO JEALOUS of another writers talent that I get a quare metallic taste in my mouth! BEFORE THE RUINS by Victoria Gosling is Giving Me The Taste. Oh my GODDDDDDD!" - Marian Keyes