In the discreet basement of a large house in north London, the complicated manoeuvres of Nelson's battles are painstakingly re-enacted by his 'dark twin', his 'land shadow'. A faithful biography, too, is being written with the secretarial assistance of the sceptical Miss Lily, who cannot always share the conviction that Nelson's acts of violence were acts of pure heroism... Barry Unsworth's astonishing new novel is a disturbing and brilliant analysis of heroism and the enduring battle between darkness and light.
'Few novelists now writing are anything like as reliably enjoyable as Barry Unsworth... There's very little the reviewer need say about his fiction, except: read it.'
David Sexton, Spectator