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book cover of Protagonists


A novel by


She was red-haired, beautiful and passionate, but she had the essential innocence and trust of the good, the born victim.

'What's your real name, Roy? Tell it to me so the baby at least may know who his mother should have married.'


He lied to her, took her splendid body, used her shamelessly, until she became pregnant and refused an abortion.

'I told her. She went very pale. She knew now that she had surrendered her everything to someone she didn't know at all.'


To him this was more than a murder - it was a hideous, personal outrage.

'First the girl and her baby,' he thought. 'Then her parents, her friends, all victims of the one act of destruction ... He needed to kill girls to make him feel good.'

Barlow tells this story from the point of view of the three principal characters. The analysis of the interplay of goodness and evil makes this a clever novel, inspiring pity, terror and a good deal of admiration for the Author's neat yet compelling style, never losing suspense along the way.

Praise for The Protagonists

'Impressive! Deeply perceptive study of a crime of passion. Distinguished, poignant and memorable'
Boston Globe

'White-Hot, Compelling!'
Washington Post

'A classic piece of detection and understanding of humanity'
Manchester Evening Standard

'This is a masterly study of humanity under the strain of violent emotion' Birmingham Mail

'We have to welcome a careful and painstaking talent'
Sunday Times

'A high voltage of interest'
New York Herald Tribune

'The anatomy of a crime brilliantly articulated'
Sheffield Telegraph

'Passion, violence and retribution, suspense and superb storytelling!'
Los Angeles Times


Used availability for James Barlow's Protagonists

Paperback Editions

June 1968 : UK Paperback

Title: Protagonists
Author(s): James Barlow
ISBN: 0-330-02068-4 / 978-0-330-02068-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Macmillan
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

November 2013 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: The Protagonists
Author(s): James Barlow
Publisher: Peach Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA