A Fascinating Voyage of Discovery: Kate Furnivall on Researching her New Novel, The Guardian of Lies

A Fascinating Voyage of Discovery: Kate Furnivall on Researching her New Novel, The Guardian of Lies

About the author

Kate Furnivall is the author of eight novels, including the international bestseller The Russian Concubine. She lives in Devon. 

You can read more about Kate and her books on her website.

Buy a copy of The Guardian of Lies here // Read our review of The Guardian of Lies here

Words // Kate Furnivall

Researching The Guardian of Lies was a fascinating voyage of discovery. The story is set mainly in the Camargue, the unique and spectacular marshlands of the Rhône delta in the south of France. To spend time there was a privilege and a delight.

I always start my research for a new novel by digging deep into reference books about the political and geographical landscape of the country. I also love to find diaries and memoirs of the period and I launch myself into the goldmine that is YouTube in search of old film footage and photographs. Then the time came for me to get my feet dirty by trekking the Camargue’s dusty trails myself.

The gateway to the Camargue is the town of Arles. That is where I chose to stay – in its Place du Forum. The name says it all. It is one of the oldest and loveliest places in all France, bristling with ancient Roman architecture and with mediaeval town-walls so vast they robbed me of all sense of scale. The sun-soaked streets are narrow and they rustle with the whisper of secrets behind the green shutters.

But the beating heart of the Camargue lies in its wild black bulls and untamed white horses that roam the flat and marshy landscape. I intended that they would also lie at the heart of my story, so I needed to feel their heat, to smell their sweat. Under the guidance of Gilles, one of the gardians, the stockmen who watch over the herds, I spent a day on a bull farm and swung up on to one of the sturdy white horses. I tucked my feet into the long stirrups, my heart pounding in my chest, and rode the trails of the salt-scented marshes. At sunset I watched thousands of flamingos take to the air on rose-tipped wings and I felt strongly the fierce bond that held the gardians in thrall to this bewitching region. I too was falling under its spell.

In sharp contrast to this unhurried existence where wine and livestock dictate the pace of life, I also had to research the high-powered American aircraft that were stationed at the nuclear airbase in 1953. A visit to the impressive American Air Museum at Duxford, UK, was invaluable.

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                      Synopsis

                      Discover a brilliant story of love, danger, courage and betrayal, from the internationally bestselling author of The Survivors.1953, the South of France. The fragile peace between the West and Soviet Russia hangs on a knife edge. And one family has been torn apart by secrets and conflicting allegiances.Eloïse Caussade is a courageous young Frenchwoman, raised on a bull farm near Arles in the Camargue. She idolises her older brother, André, and when he leaves to become an Intelligence Officer working for the CIA in Paris to help protect France, she soon follows him. Having exchanged the strict confines of her father's farm for a life of freedom in Paris, her world comes alive.But everything changes when André is injured - a direct result of Eloise's actions. Unable to work, André returns to his father’s farm, but Eloïse’s sense of guilt and responsibility for his injuries sets her on the trail of the person who attempted to kill him.Eloïse finds her hometown in a state of unrest and conflict. Those who are angry at the construction of the American airbase nearby, with its lethal nuclear armaments, confront those who support it, and anger flares into violence, stirred up by Soviet agents. Throughout all this unrest, Eloïse is still relentlessly hunting down the man who betrayed her brother and his country, and she is learning to look at those she loves and at herself with different eyes. She no longer knows who she can trust. Who is working for Soviet Intelligence and who is not? And what side do her own family lie on?  
                      Kate Furnivall
                      About the author

                      Kate Furnivall

                      Kate Furnivall is the author of eight novels, including the international bestseller The Russian Concubine. She has travelled widely, giving her an insight into how different cultures function which has proved invaluable when writing her novels.

                      Books by Kate Furnivall

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