THIS WAS my second book. I will never again write one as good. It’s the story of a fleshy, middle-
The period is 1850, the setting Norfolk, on England’s eastern seaboard. The railways are pushing into the countryside. Thomas detests them. The old ways and a slow pace are what he loves. It is his misfortune that his wife’s land is the only ground suitable for miles around for bridging a river. This brings Thomas into contact with the modern era in the form of Julius Gooby, the railway promoter. Gooby has to have this ground and this ground only for his railway scheme to succeed. He persuades Thomas’s lawyer to join him. One thing leads to another, one disaster to the next.
Thomas Gage is my favourite. His plight would waken me at three or four in the morning. I really felt for this man. The blurb-
© 2014 James Fleming -
The most heartfelt review I had came from “A Customer”. It appears on Amazon. I have no idea who the writer is.
‘Gage is wonderous, more please, Mr Fleming. This is the best work of historical fiction I have ever read. One is immediately captivated by the daily life of Gage, farmer, artist and ex-
What the papers said...
‘Thomas’s sorry diminution...is handled with great skill, as is the subtextual tension between red-
(John Spurling in The Sunday Times)
‘The overriding impression is of a fertile imagination combining with a wealth of detailed knowledge to produce a work of considerable power.’
(Jem Poster in The Guardian)
‘Historical fiction got a shot in the arm when James Fleming began publishing...it is marvellous.’
(The Independent on Sunday)
‘A puritanical view insists the novel must deal only with the contemporary world. Well, goodbye War and Peace and Middlemarch. The value of an imagined past is that the novelist can make an extended metaphor for our time and show that our lives, like our forebears’, are every moment laying mines and traps into the future...Fleming’s experiment works very well indeed.’
(William Palmer in The Independent)
‘A personal tragedy that is as intricate and resounding as the prose that evokes it...Fleming’s subtle characterisation and beguiling descriptions of pre-
(“LP” in The Daily Telegraph)
‘Either Fleming is a brilliant historical novelist or he has travelled back in time, taking notes, spying on Gage, his family, friends and enemies to create this utterly convincing nineteenth-
(Sue Baker in Publishing News, who made it her Book of the Month.)
‘A bleak, gripping story, which has all the pessimism of a latterday Thomas Hardy. One of Fleming’s strongest cards is his ability to surprise -
(Peter Kelley in the Eastern Daily Press)
‘Fleming is best of all, though, at the moments of stress and elation....’
(Eric Anderson in The Spectator)
“One detects the hand of a master” The Sunday Telegraph