The Birthday Present

The Birthday Present

by Barbara Vine, Ruth Rendell
4.2 10


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The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine, Ruth Rendell

Ivor Tesham is a handsome, single, young member of Parliament whose political star is on the rise. When he meets a woman in a chance encounter–a beautiful, leggy, married woman named Hebe–the two become lovers obsessed with their trysts, spiced up by what the newspapers like to call “adventure sex.”

It’s the dress-up and role-play that inspire Ivor to create a surprise birthday present for his beloved that involves a curbside kidnapping. It’s all intended as mock-dangerous foreplay, but then things take a dark turn.

After things go horribly wrong, Ivor begins to receive anonymous letters that reveal astonishingly specific details about the affair and its aftermath. Somehow he must keep his role from being uncovered–and his political future from being destroyed by scandal.

Like a heretic on the inquisitor’s rack, Ivor is not to be spared the exquisitely slow and tortuous unfolding of events, as hints, nuances, and small revelations lay his darkest secrets hideously bare for all the world to see.

The Birthday Present is a deft, insightful, and compulsively readable exploration of obsessive desire–and the dark twists of fate that can shake the lives of even those most insulated by privilege, sophistication, and power.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307460479
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 03/02/2010
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 634,030
Product dimensions: 5.28(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Barbara Vine is the author of such acclaimed novels as A Dark-Adapted EyeAnna's BookGrasshopper, and The Blood Doctor. She has won many awards for literary accomplishment, including three Edgar Awards and four Gold Daggers.

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The Birthday Present 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Curle up under the tree, tears of anger beggining to fill her eyes. "Why Foxtail? I have tried to prove my loyalty ever since i joined... but instead she chose Foxtail...."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A really good read. The narrator was sympathetic, the plot was unique. The characters were very well developed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
annadawn More than 1 year ago
Barbara Vine -- the novelist Ruth Rendell's literary alter ego -- is one of my favorite authors. While the Rendell opus leans toward more standard detective style mystery (still great), the Vine work is more psychological, mystery unfolding more in the realm of human motivation and brokenness (she deals particiularly well with the ambiguities of sexual desire) than in back-alleys and police notebooks. I always nab her new work as soon as it comes out. (And unlike P.D. James, who seems to have fallen into a formulaic rut as she has moved into her "Dame" life, Vine/Rendell stays fresh. Probably because she's Labour, not Tory.)
Anonymous 10 months ago
Ran in and killed the bears before dissapearing.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
"Oh Vinetail. I know that you have tried so hard to prove your loyalty and you have! I just think that well we need someone who doesnt necassarily always want to jump into battle." She looked slightly hurt as she curled by Vinetail. "Please dont e abgry at me. I do what I think to be right. Believe me its hard to be leader. So many choices."