Books with conflict at the heart

Readers searching for books about conflict expect at least two opposing sides. That’s the starting point. The battle could be physical - the fight in the pub or the playground or the horrors of full-scale war. The clash of individuals, gangs, countries and cultures, is central to the development of the story. In other tales of strife, the conflict is emotional, maybe a family setting between parents and children, siblings, married couples and lovers.  Then there is the person divided with themself, experiencing inner turmoil; in a workplace, a school, a community. And some books track conflict on a huge scale – the conflict between people and nature or between human and divine. Wherever the setting and whatever the subject matter, the essence of these stories is the conflict – you want to know how it pans out, who gets to win, or lose, will there be reconciliation or resolution? In this selection you will find  amongst the personal tragedies, there is hint of something lighter, a bit stranger, of a world beyond our own. Plenty to choose from – so pick the struggle that works best for you.

Search books by Character & Plot

The Trespass

Barbara Ewing

The Dream of the Celt

Mario Vargas Llosa


Patrick Flanery

Losing It

Ranjit Bolt

An Experiment in Compassion

Des Dillon

Small Country

Gaël Faye

The Underground

Hamid Ismailov

Homage to a Firing Squad

Tariq Goddard

Underground Time

Delphine de Vigan

The Tryst

Monique Roffey

First Love, Second Chance

Colin Shindler

Cold Skin

Albert Sanchez Pinol

The Clothes on Their Backs

Linda Grant

Under the Udala Trees

Chinelo Okparanta

The Light Between Oceans

M L Stedman

Sharp Objects

Gillian Flynn

Dark Vision

Debbie Johnson

The Guard

Peter Terrin

Kissing England

Sean Thomas

My Best Friend Has Issues

Laura Marney

Under the Frangipani

Mia Couto

Black Moses

Alain Mabanckou

Treason Keep

Jennifer Fallon

The Democrat

Olly Wyatt

Love and Vertigo

Hsu-Ming Teo

Eve Out of Her Ruins

Ananda Devi

Ghost Moth

Michele Forbes

Story of a Marriage

Geir Gulliksen

The Crooked Maid

Dan Vyleta

The Axeman's Jazz

Ray Celestin

To My Daughter in France

Stephanie and Barbara Keating


Claire Tristram

Death of a Monk

Alon Hilu


Chuck Palahniuk


Annaleese Jochems

Foreign Gods, Inc

Okey Ndibe

Terror Firma

Matthew Thomas

The Last Vampire

Whitley Strieber

The Old Romantic

Louise Dean

The Glasgow Coma Scale

Neil D A Stewart


Sergios Gakas

The Bone Readers

Jacob Ross

The Island of Lost Souls

Martyn Bedford

If You're Reading This I'm Already Dead

Andrew Nicoll


Mark Merlis


G W Kent

Night Visits

Ron Butlin

The Guilty One

Lisa Ballantyne

Shake Off

Mischa Hiller

Basket of Deplorables

Tom Rachman