The Legacy

A Novel

The Legacy


A thrilling and addictive novel about three unlikely friends and the web of lies that unravels after one of them goes missing.

At the center of The Legacy is the story of Julia Alpers, her friend Ralph, and the beautiful and wealthy Ingrid. As students in Sydney, the bond that ties this threesome together is complex—delicate and intense, shaped by intellect, and defined by desire. When Ingrid falls in love and marries the much older and very handsome Gil Grey, she decides to leave her friends and settle in New York City, where Gil is a major player in the art world. It is here that she becomes stepmother to Gil’s teenage daughter, a former child prodigy, and begins her own work on rare, ancient texts called "curse scrolls" at Columbia University. But on the morning of September 11, 2001, she has an appointment downtown. And is never seen again.

Devastated and heartsick, Ralph sends Julia to New York to investigate Ingrid’s last days. What Julia discovers plunges her more deeply into Ingrid’s life than she could ever imagine. As Julia grows closer to unearthing the truth about Ingrid’s death, she is forced to confront her conflicted feelings about her former friend and to make a crucial decision about her own future.

Praised by international critics as an "entertaining literary thriller that skillfully describes the almost pleasurable pain of love and life denied" (The Australian), The Legacy is an utterly addictive and beautifully written novel that introduces a brilliant new voice in fiction.
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 448 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439177181 | 
  • August 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Legacy includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Kirsten Tranter. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Julia, a student at Sydney University, is struggling with her unrequited love for her best friend, Ralph, when his recently orphaned cousin Ingrid is taken into his household. Ralph falls unhappily in love with beautiful Ingrid, but Ingrid leaves Australia for New York after she comes into a large inheritance and marries the charismatic but sinister Gil Grey, an art dealer and father to child art prodigy Fleur. On September 11 she has an appointment downtown and is never seen again.

A year later, Julia Alpers travels to New York at the request of her friend Ralph to search for answers about Ingrid’s last days. As Julia moves through the worlds of art and academia, peeling away the layers of mystery surrounding Ingrid—Ralph’s cousin and their mutual friend—she finds herself drawn into a puzzling and possibly dangerous web of secrets.

Alternating between Julia, Ingrid, and Ralph’s college days in Sydney and post-9/11 New York, The Legacy is a thrilling novel about l see more

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About the Author

Kirsten Tranter
Photo by Daniel Shipp

Kirsten Tranter

Kirsten Tranter grew up in Sydney and studied English and Fine Arts at the University of Sydney. She lived in New York between 1998 and 2006, where she completed a PhD in English on Renaissance poetry at Rutgers University. She now lives in Sydney with her husband and son and is working on a second novel.