Missionaries

Phil Klay

People told me I'd never understand sex until I'd done it, never understand combat until I'd been in it, never understand life itself until I was a father. But when the day arrived for each of those things, I didn't find myself with any new wisdom. Just a girl I thought I loved.
Missionaries by Phil Klay (Hardback ISBN 9781838852313) book cover

Available as Hardback, eBook, Downloadable audio, Paperback

An astonishing novel about the moral cost of war, from the author of the National Book Award-winning Redeployment

‘Expansive, explosive and epic’ Marlon James
‘A courageous book’ New York Times Book Review

A BARACK OBAMA BOOK OF THE YEAR

Neither Mason, a US Special Forces medic, nor Lisette, a foreign correspondent, has emerged from America’s long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unscathed. Yet, for them, war still exerts a terrible draw – the noble calling, the camaraderie, the life-and-death stakes. Where else in the world can such a person go?

All roads lead to Colombia, where the US has partnered with the local government to stamp out a vicious civil war and keep the predatory narco gangs at bay. Mason is ready for the good war, and Lisette is more than ready to cover it.

A novel of extraordinary suspense, Missionaries is an astonishment whose unsparing drama is infused with a rare wisdom about the human heart.


“[A] sweeping, searing, wrenching and wise addition to the great literature of America’s postwar imperialism”
guardian, Book Of The Day

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“If Redeployment was about what happened when we ship wars abroad, then Missionaries is what happens when war comes roaring right back. Expansive, explosive, and epic”
Marlon James

“Wrenching and insightful”
new Yorker

Missionaries has a sweep and incisiveness to it I had almost forgotten novels were capable of. I haven’t been so gripped by a book in years. It is immensely smart and far-seeing, and utterly unsparing. Extraordinary”
Garth Greenwell

“By means of a well-oiled plot, complex characters and adrenaline-fuelled action, Klay opens our eyes to the globalised nature of modern conflict”
the Times


Phil Klay

Phil Klay is a veteran of the US Marine Corps. He served in Iraq during the surge and subsequently received an MFA from Hunter College. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker and Granta. He is co-host of the Manifesto! podcast and is the author of Redeployment, which was a New York Times bestseller and won the National Book Award for Fiction, the John Leonard Award and the Warwick Prize. Missionaries is his first novel.

@PhilKlay | philklay.com