Three Hours


BEST BOOKS of 2020 in the Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Times, Stylist, Red, Good Housekeeping

Thriller of the month in the Times & Sunday Times; a Sunday Times must read

‘Superb’ Kate Mosse
‘ASTONISHING. Powerful, terrifying, heartbreaking’ Emma Flint
‘One of the most exhilarating reading experiences I’ve ever had’ Emma Healey
‘A stunner of a book. Staggeringly good’ Jane Fallon
‘SO gripping, intelligent, timely, affecting and moving’ Marian Keyes

Three Hours Intersperses scenes of breath-sucking tension with stirring meditations on human nature . . . Immensely satisfying as an action-driven thriller, but its real resonance lies in exploring the mysteries of human consciousness . . .’ Sara Collins – Guardian

‘A brilliant literary thriller…reminiscent of both Greek tragedy and Shakespeare’ – Sunday Times

‘The immediacy of Rosamund Lupton’s writing is extraordinary; she shifts from character to character so that it takes time for the full horror of the situation to unfold . . . Three Hours is much more than a nail-biting thriller; it is a disquisition on values: of love and hate, of sacrifice for others, of risk-taking and courage, of community rather than self, of tolerance versus brainwashed extremism’ The Times

‘A novel that you live rather than merely read’Telegraph

‘It’s early days but this could be one of the thrillers of the new decade. If you read only one thriller this year; make it this one: it is that good’Daily Mail

To find out more about Three Hours, visit the Penguin website here.


Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. From the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.


‘Exceptional’ Kate Hamer
‘Propulsively plotted’ Emma Donoghue
‘Humane and brave’ William Landay
‘Incredible’ Elizabeth Brooks
‘A tour de force’ Gillian McAllister
‘Simply stunning’ Dinah Jefferies
‘Phenomenal’ Fiona Mitchell
‘Brilliant’ Jenny Quintana
‘Mind blowing’ Francesca Jakobi

Publication date