A brilliant new historical novel by the acclaimed author of THE TEMPLE OF OPTIMISM.
Thomas Gage is a happy man. He has a fine house in Norfolk, two delightful children, a wife who brought with her a nice income from her father's paint firm, a Waterloo medal (he fought in the battle when he was nineteen), and a painting on show at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Then, a few months after Thomas Gage's fiftieth birthday, Julius Gooby enters his life. Mr Gooby is a man of the future, manager of the proposed North Norfolk Railway from Norwich to Cromer, and the route of the railway crosses Gage's land. With the railway comes tragedy, and Thomas Gage's life begins to unravel until, at the end, medal on his chest, he travels to London to watch the Duke of Wellington's funeral and to take his revenge. In Thomas Gage James Fleming has fashioned another historical fiction of the very first rank, a portrait of a good man undone by grief, by others' greed and, ultimately, by progress.
“This Norfolk idyll of 150 years ago is so delightful, so skilful in its mixture of historical detail, mild social satire and Norwich School landscaping that it makes the reader increasingly anxious-Well fashioned, well characterised, wryly and suavely written - and very welcome”
“Well-researched and very readable, Thomas Gage bears comparison with the Victorian classics it ambitiously imitates”
Times Literary Review
“There are fine set pieces-and the period is as well-painted as is possible in modern fiction”
“Fleming's subtle characterisation and beguiling descriptions of pre-industrial England make the poignancy of subsequent events all the sharper. This sensitive exploration of a man's mind and how market forces impinge on it offers further proof that Fleming is engaged in challenging the conventions of [this] genre”