The Man Who Lived Twice tells the remarkable story of a nineteenth century British anti-hero. Colonel George St Leger Grenfell was the black sheep in one of Cornwall's most illustrious families. His wild speculations in Paris bankrupted his father and drove his brothers and sisters out of their home. Wanted for fraud in France and mosque desecration in Morocco, Grenfell became a soldier of fortune, a mercenary who fought in innumerable campaigns all over the world, always with conspicuous gallantry. He charged with the Light Brigade at Balaclava, defended the bullet-strewn barricades in the Indian Mutiny, hacked his way through the Chinese Opium War and helped Garibaldi to liberate Italy. Sailing to America to fight in their Civil War, `Ole St Lege' became a legend to the gullible hillbillies under his command.
As massive armies collided and one hair-raising cavalry charge followed another, this complex man fell in love with a beautiful spy and came to realise that he could no longer run away from his past. In what was to become a spiritual odyssey, Grenfell met the men and women who made, marred and mythologised the American century: the business tycoons and social reformers as well as the Lincoln conspirators and back-shooting gunslingers. Although seemingly indestructible - in one military skirmish he was shot eleven times without serious injury - Grenfell had to endure long years in prison before his luck finally changed. The Man Who Lived Twice describes a personal search for redemption set against the emergence of the United States as a world power.
David Taylor is an author who has previously written for The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. He has also had a varied career in television, including working as a reporter for the BBC's Panorama and a series producer for Great Railway Journeys.