Book Club Topics

Have you been reading an R. David book with your book club? Click the title below to reveal topics for discussion.


  • Discuss the author’s portrayal of childhood and innocence. Is it convincing?
  • How compelling is Huw as a character?
  • Discuss Huw’s relationship with Gwen, his mother.
  • What other facets are there to Gwen other than a grieving mother?
  • Why do you think Sergeant Phillips behaves like he does? Is he a copper’s copper or a bully or something more?
  • Was Jean’s breakdown convincing?
  • How do you feel about what happened to Alan? Do you think he is guilty?
  • Discuss Mr Tanner’s role.
  • Discuss Reverend Elwiss’ role. Is he really a man of faith or a self-righteous poseur? 
  • Discuss the spiritual themes in the book. Are these integral to the unspoken bonds that bind the community together? 
  • Is there a distinction between the spiritual and the supernatural or are they the same?
  • Why was Bryn attacked?
  • Discuss the relationship between Bryn and Laura.
  • Why do you think Roy was a suspect?
  • What role does Eve play? Is she well-meaning or selfish? Why do you think Eve ran away with Aled? Was she right to take him?
  • Are Herald Andrew and Protheroe caricatures? What part do they play in revealing the other characters’ possible motives?
  • How important are Dewi and Brenda as counterpoints to Sergeant Phillips?
  • How do you feel about Alan and Gwen’s affair? Can it be justified or excused?
  • Discuss the relationship between Ellis Maynard and Detective Jeffries and, specifically, the individual parts they play: is Maynard just a drunken thug and is Jeffries only a weak facsimile of Sergeant Phillips?
  • What does the character of Gwyn the Milk represent? 
  • What minor characters stand out (such as Lloyd, Laura’s father or the neurosurgeon at the hospital who treats Bryn) and, if they do, why? 
  • Discuss the impact of the landscape, natural and industrial, on the novel as a whole. How distinctive is its ‘Welshness’ and time it is set in?