City of Secrets

Stewart O'Nan

RRP: £8.99

6 July 2017

Published by Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760293505

RRP: £12.99

3 November 2016

Published by Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760293482

RRP: £6.99

1 January 2017

Published by Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781952533709

In 1945, with no homes to return to, Jewish refugees set out for Palestine in their tens of thousands.

City of Secrets follows one survivor, Brand, as he tries to regain himself after losing everyone he’s ever loved. Now driving a taxi provided – like his new identity – by the underground, he navigates the twisting streets of Jerusalem as well as the overlapping, sometimes deadly loyalties of the resistance. Alone, haunted by memories, he tries to become again the man he was before the war – honest, strong, capable of moral choice.

He falls in love with Eva, a fellow survivor and member of his cell, reclaims his faith, and commits himself to the revolution, accepting secret missions that grow more and more dangerous even as he begins to suspect he’s being used by their cell’s dashing leader, Asher. By the time Brand understands the truth, it’s too late, and the tragedy that ensues changes history.

A noirish, deeply felt novel of intrigue and identity written in O’Nan’s trademark lucent style, City of Secrets asks how both despair and faith can lead us astray, and what happens when, with the noblest intentions, we join movements beyond our control.


This short book packs a heavy of the best novels I have read this year.
Literary Review

[A] simple, quiet story, told with emotional depth and elegance.
The Times

A sharply written and atmospheric rendering of life in the Jewish underground in post-war Jerusalem.
Jewish Chronicle

I've been a Stewart O'Nan fan since his very first novel, and never more so than with his latest. In City of Secrets, O'Nan takes his mastery of language and depth of character in a fresh direction: a richly nuanced suspense novel, set in an immensely intriguing post-war Jerusalem. A remarkable book.Chris Pavone

Stewart O'Nan's City of Secrets will keep you up all night reading - what a beautifully crafted novel.Alan Furst

City of Secrets is, by inclination and design, quiet and finite, but its impact is deceptively large because O'Nan has something that can't be taught to a writer - and can indeed be unlearned by talented writers: the gift of authenticity. You'll rarely catch O'Nan being an author. You'll simply feel his story rolling past you, in the manner of an old Peugeot.
Washington Post

Enthralling... a clear-eyed and unsentimental look at an astonishing slice of history.
Seattle Times

Finely wrought and morally complex, O'Nan's considerable story-telling powers are masterfully deployed here. With deft strokes, he evokes the tensions and tragedies of Mandate Jerusalem, riven then as now by the fault lines of community and conscience.Geraldine Brooks

To Stewart O'Nan's 15 previous, omniform novels we can now add the excellent City of Secrets, a little jewel, ­wonderfully sparse, moody and uneasy, reminiscent of the delicious, frayed-­collar noir of le Carré's The Spy Who Came In From the Cold.
New York Times Book Review