The Iron Towns. Once the furnace heart of industrial England, now the valley is home only to fading dreams. Twenty years ago, Liam, Dee Dee, Goldie and Mark had life stretching ahead of them: dreams of stardom, young marriages, money in their pockets. None of them can undo what made it all unravel. Now Liam is playing out the end of a modest career at Irontown FC. As the club limps towards relegation and liquidation, Liam's mind turns to history - and the past weighs heavily in the Iron Towns. The old steelworks rust, apple trees grow up through the abandoned factory floors and the land is haunted again by legends of the ancient kingdom of Mercia: Saxon princes, witches on the Heath, older myths creeping back to the edge of consciousness. But it is more recent legends that fill Liam's mind: the great footballers tattooed across his body, images of famous cup finals, moments etched in the collective memory ...could redemption, greatness even, still wait for Liam and his friends, here among the crumbling estates and old dockyards?
Anthony Cartwright was born in Dudley in 1973. His first novel The Afterglow won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for several other literary prizes; his second novel Heartland was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and was adapted for BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime; his third novel How I Killed Margaret Thatcher was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and was a Fiction Uncovered 2013 selection. His collaborative novel with Gianluca Favetto, Il giorno perduto (The Lost Day), was published in Italy in 2015. He worked as an English teacher in schools in London and the Midlands for over ten years and is currently a First Story writer-in-residence at two schools. He lives in London with his wife and son.
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