The late 18th century. When the Byronic Harry Peake is disfigured in a tragic accident, he and his daughter, Martha, are forced to move from the wild coasts of Cornwall to the dank strects of London. Here they live in a rough hewn harmony until Harry's tortured soul grows dangerously unruly, forcing Martha to flee - first to the asylum of an English nobleman, then to the rebellion soaked shores of America. Finally it appears Martha might find real contentment, but can she change the course of her own tragic destiny? Martha Peake is an utterly gripping, beautifully written and haunting masterwork.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
"It is a black art, the writing is history, is it not?" So begins Patrick McGrath's gripping novel, Martha Peake, that takes the reader back into the heady revolutionary days of London and America in the 1770s. The story begins in the early 19th century, with the young Ambrose Tree paying a visit to his dying uncle William, Lord of the forbidding Drogo Hall, former residence of "the great anatomist Lord Drogo". Assuming that he is to inherit his uncle's estate, Ambrose instead finds himself drawn into his uncle's extraordinary story of Harry Peake and his headstrong young daughter, Martha Peake.
Harry, "to whom Nature in her folly gave the soul of a smuggler, and the tongue of a poet", is a Cornish smuggler, horrifically mutilated in a fire that kills his wife and disperses his children. Only the brave little Martha stands by her father, and follows him to London, where he becomes the "Cripplegate Monster". Harry recites his poetry and displays his hideously deformed body in the taverns and stews of London's underworld, but soon comes to the apparently sinister attentions of Lord Drogo, who "wanted him for his Museum of Anatomy". As father and daughter are inextricably drawn into Drogo's world, Harry turns to drink, catastrophically abusing Martha and sending her fleeing to America, where she becomes tragically embroiled in the struggle for independence from England. However, as the novel reaches its shocking climax, Ambrose gradually realises that the fate of both father and daughter is much closer to home than he can ever imagine.
Martha Peake is a wonderful story of "sacrifice and abomination and heroism and resolve and victory", a compelling and intelligent novel in the best 19th-century tradition of Dickens, whose literary ghost haunts the pages as powerfully as that of the memorable figure of Harry Peake and his tragic daughter. --Jerry BrottonFrom the Publisher:
Praise for 'Martha Peake' by Patrick McGrath:
‘A fine, rich, theatrical experience, the pleasure of which deepens with repetition’ –Evening Standard
‘Martha Peake’s great achievement is to encompass both the minute details and grand dreams of life, showing how out of the two we spin our stories." Guardian
"..Enormously enjoyable.." Daily Telegraph
"Beautifully precise and elegant prose" Sunday Times
"This wonderful novel novel has the diversity and strength of a morality play" The Observer
‘No-one writes a dark epiphany like McGrath’ – Scotland on Sunday
‘Fluent, beautifully structured, and with an allusiveness that enriches rather than swamps the excitement of the plot’ –Literary review
‘Martha Peake is a resounding celebration of the story at its darkest’ –Irish Times
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0140291393
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0140291393 We guarantee all of our items - customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Bookseller Inventory # TM-0140291393
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0140291393