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The Binding

‘I wish I had written it’ Erin KellyImagine you could erase your grief.Imagine you could forget your pain.Imagine you could hide a secret.Forever.Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.THE BINDING is an unforgettable, magical novel: a boundary-defying love story and a unique literary event.

The Binding

   The Borough Press

   An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

   1 London Bridge Street

   London SE1 9GF


   Published by HarperCollinsPublishers 2019

   Copyright © Bridget Collins 2019

   Cover design by Micaela Alcaino © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2019

   Cover illustration © bilwissedition Ltd. & Co. KG / Alamy Stock Photo (background),

    (key, boarders)

   Illustrations © Andrew Davidson

   Bridget Collins asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

   A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

   This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

   All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

   Source ISBN: 9780008272111

   Ebook Edition © JANUARY 2019 ISBN: 9780008272135

   Version: 2018-12-03

   ‘The Binding is a dark chocolate slice of cake with a surprising, satisfying seam of raspberry running through it. It is a rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped in them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding’

   Tracy Chevalier

   ‘Pure magic. The kind of immersive storytelling that makes you forget your own name. I wish I had written it’

   Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said

   ‘The Binding held me captive from the start and refused to set me free. It is a beautifully crafted tale of dark magic and forbidden passion, where unspeakable cruelty is ultimately defeated by enduring love. Breathtaking!’

   Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things

   ‘An original concept, beautifully written. Collins’ prose is spellbinding’

   Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions

   ‘Intriguing, thought-provoking and heartbreaking . . . what a gorgeous book’

   Stella Duffy

   ‘What an astounding book . . . something entirely of its own. Brilliant concept, truly extraordinary writing and a killer plot’

   Anna Mazzola, author of The Unseeing

   For Nick





   Praise for The Binding


   Part One

   Chapter I

   Chapter II

   Chapter III

    Chapter IV

    Chapter V

    Chapter VI

    Chapter VII

    Chapter VIII

    Chapter IX

    Chapter X

    Chapter XI

    Part Two

    Chapter XII

    Chapter XIII

    Chapter XIV

    Chapter XV

    Chapter XVI

    Chapter XVII

    Chapter XVIII

    Chapter XIX

    Part Three

    Chapter XX

    Chapter XXI

    Chapter XXII

    Chapter XXIII

    Chapter XXIV

    Chapter XXV

    Chapter XXVI

    Chapter XXVII

    Chapter XXVIII


    About the Author

    Also by Bridget Collins

    About the Publisher