Is there anything more satisfying than a brilliant plot twist? A truly great one can make a work of fiction unforgettable, turning everything that you thought you knew upside down. Sometimes they’re achieved through an unreliable narrator, others by a string of red herrings that trick you into reaching the wrong conclusion.

In crime thrillers, part of the fun is trying to work out how the story will end, with the knowledge that you are likely to be tripped up before the resolution. But the best plot twists in literature are when you least expect them, whether it’s the discovery of Mr Rochester’s lunatic wife in Jane Eyre, or the heartbreaking truth that is revealed in Ian McEwan’s Atonement.

Click through the gallery to see our 18 favourite literary plot twists. There are, of course, major spoilers – you’ve been warned!

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