Cassandra is an Oxford don; Julia, her sister, a bestselling novelist. They share a set of disturbing memories of a strange childhood game and of Simon, the handsome young neighbour who loved them both. Years later Simon re-enters their lives via a television programme on snakes and intrudes into their uneasy compromise of mutual antagonism and distrust. The old, wild emotions surge back, demanding and urgent, and this time the game is played out to a fatal finish.
A.S. Byatt is a novelist, short-story writer and critic of international renown. Her novels include Possession (winner of the Booker Prize 1990), the Frederica Quartet and The Children's Book, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. She was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999, and was awarded the Erasmus Prize 2016 for her `inspiring contribution to life writing' and the Pak Kyongni Prize 2017. In 2018 she received the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award.