Haworth, West Yorkshire, 1848.
Branwell Bronte - unexhibited artist, unacknowledged writer, sacked railwayman, disgraced tutor and spurned lover - finds himself unhappily back in Haworth Parsonage, to face the disappointment of his father and his three sisters, the scale of whose own pseudonymous successes is only just becoming apparent.
With his health failing rapidly, his aspirations abandoned and his once loyal circle of friends shrinking fast, Branwell resorts to a world of secrets, conspiracies and endlessly imagined betrayals. But his spiral of self-destruction only accelerates the sense of his destiny to be a bystander looking across at greatness, and the madness which that realisation will bring...
Robert Edric was born in 1956. His novels include Winter Garden (James Tait Black Prize winner 1986), A New Ice Age (runner-up for the Guardian Fiction Prize 1986), The Book of the Heathen (winner of the WH Smith LIterary Award 2000), Peacetime (longlisted for the Booker Prize 2002), Gathering the Water (longlisted for the Booker Prize 2006) and In Zodiac Light (shortlisted for the Dublin Impac Prize 2010). His most recent novel is The Monster's Lament. He lives in Yorkshire.