Seventeen year-old Seb is mourning his soul mate Billie, who has slipped into a coma in hospital.  He is forbidden to visit her because ‘boys like Seb need rest and balance’.  He quits school, locks himself into his room, and in himself. Then, on Christmas Eve, his desperate parents get him a real airsoft gun.

In the weeks and months that follow he loses himself in fights with his friends on the grounds of a desolate farm, also the scene of a forgotten war.

During the ruthlessly hot summer their game gets more and more grim, and realistic. Rules fade, and in Seb’s head dream and reality are barely separated. When one of Seb’s friends brings his father’s service weapon to the farm, the stakes of the game change for good.

Billy & Seb is the story about soulmateship, about work and play, but above all about the question if we are still capable of real feelings in a world that does not have to be contested anymore. 

Billy & Seb is Ivo Victoria’s masterpiece. 


* Ivo Victoria is an all-round author: in the future we will publish not only his novels and stories but also his contemplative work

* Great backlist

* Victoria publishes is a great performer and hosts a talkshow (on stage) with Rob Waumans, called Waumans & Victoria. He contributes to many newspapers, on a wide variety of subjects and is also in charge of the literary program of the biggest independent musis festival in Holland, Lowlands


Ivo Victoria (1971) also published the much-lauded novels How I never won the Tour de France for 12 year-olds (and that I’m sorry), Luckily we are powerless and Thieves of fire.  He’s working on a volume of essays and a collection of short stories.


The rifle was a relief. On Christmas Eve, caught in the hazy glow of candlelight and party decorations, father and mother looked on as young Seb held the weapon for the first time.  His bony fingers touched the shiny black metal and slid slowly over the smooth wooden grip.  On the floor was Liza, Seb’s little sister. She played with the bubble wrap that held the weapon.  Short, fiery pops jumped into the room. Seb held the weapon close to his chest, with both arms, closed his eyes and rocked it gently, like a baby.  An unreal peace descended upon on him.  He could not remember how long ago it was that he had felt so calm.

His father said: ‘He looks like he just got a puppy.’ He nudged the mother and giggled.

 Outside the rain was gushing down the windows.  As happened more often in those days, winter turned out to be an eternal autumn.  In the distance the sea wailed, the meadows and fields were floating inland.

Gaspel, where the family lived, was hidden deeply on a mile long, increasingly narrowing but diverging headland. On those days the village seemed even more distant from the stirring interior than was in fact the case.

In those days too it kept on raining incessantly. Seb laid in bed for hours, eyes open, or he would walk around in his room, slowly, as a sleepwalker, pointing the rifle at imaginary targets. Time and time again the bullets hit the exact spots and body parts he meant them to, while his skull was trembling from the shots. 


About Billie & Seb:

Billie & Seb is a career highlight for Victoria, and a totally successful one at that’ NRC Handelsblad ****

‘Ivo Victoria succeeds in building a huge arc of tension in his recognizable rounded and meandering prose. And it stays with you every single moment’ Knack ****       

‘Victoria possesses, as he showed in his earlier novels, to have an unparalleled sense of language. His sentences are well-balanced and rhythmical, his language shines’ Noordhollands Dagblad *****

Billie & Seb is a dark ‘Bildungsroman’, in which the growing up of a boy should be read as a parable about our society’ de Volkskrant ***

‘An adventure novel with an undeniably philosophical moral’ Trouw

‘Victoria has a euphonious and particularly forceful tone of voice’ HUMO ***

‘An enduring novel that became much more than a story about two peculiar teenagers’ Gazet van Antwerpen

‘Victoria has done so much more than write just another rural drama with memories about the war. The most important juxtaposition in the book turns out to be the one between seriousness and playfulness, between civilization and the purity of really saying something. Or, as a variation on that theme, war and peace. Accordingly, Victoria manages to make the temptations of violence tangible.’ De Standaard der Letteren ***

About Thieves of Fire:

‘A warm and stunning novel’ De Groene Amsterdammer

‘Lovely, flowing sentences.  An enthralling reflection about lost time’ Trouw

‘An ingeniously crafted book, rich in language and very wide-ranging’  De Morgen ****

‘Sentences you would really like to remember’ Haarlems Dagblad ****

‘A melancholy novel, that tries to save something from the rigors of time’ De Standaard der Letteren ****

 About Luckily We Are Powerless:

‘Eerily good’ De Standaard der Letteren *****

‘Read it!’ HUMO

‘Victoria is able to capture in enchanting prose the fear and desperation of modern man’ Het Parool

‘A barrage of sharp descriptions and spot-on observations’ Gazet van Antwerpen *****

‘Powerful comparisons and metaphors’ Cuttingedge.be ****


Lebowski Publishers / Oscar van Gelderen

E: oscar.vangelderen@lebowskipublishers.nl

T: + 31 6 46096823