Translated by Rosamond Lehmann with illustrations by Jean Cocteau.
"Terrors they are, these lads of the Lycee Condorcet, and no mistake - the terrors of the Fifth . . . where the tenebrous instincts of childhood still predominate . . ."
At home, Paul shares a private world with his sister Elizabeth, a world from which parents are tacitly excluded. Their room is where the Game is played, the Game being their own bizarre version of life. All that they do outside is effectively controlled by the rules of the Game.
Elisabeth might be the dutiful daughter tending their sick, prematurely aged mother: Paul might be under the spell of his fellow student Dargelos, and then of a hapless friend of his sister's - but unfortunately what the rules of the Game prescribe is that two children must die . . .