On the first page, a headmaster is shot then moved out of harm’s way by two pupils. But this is not the fast-moving story of an American school siege. No. This is set in rural Somerset and the school is isolated. The junior school is close to the sea, the infants are in the pottery studio in the middle of a wood, there are teenagers rehearsing Macbeth in the theatre. Everything plays out in slow motion in the silent snow-covered school, as parents wait to hear news of their loved ones. Love is the thread that runs through the book: the headmaster’s love for the two Syrian boys he rescued from “The jungle” in Calais, Rafi and his young brother Basi; Rafi’s love for his brother and for his girlfriend, Hannah; parents love for their children. While just three hours pass, the tension slowly builds and we learn who is behind the attack and why. The book is beautifully written and although it is a gripping thriller, there are many layers to the story as it unfolds.