There was another war, some 150 years ago, which was unpopular at home -- the death rate shocking, the military strategy confused -- and the first on which the media had a major influence. The Street Philosopher -- the nineteenth-century term for a society writer, a gossip columnist -- captures this scene brilliantly. Ambitious young journalist Thomas Kitson arrives at the battlefields of the Crimea as the London Courier's man on the ground. It is a dangerous place, full of the worst horrors of war but Kitson is determined to make his mark. Under the tutelage of his hard-bitten Irish boss Cracknell, and assisted by artist Robert Styles, he sets about exposing the incompetence of the army generals. Two years later, as Sebastopol burns, Thomas returns to England under mysterious circumstances. Desperate to forget the atrocities of the Crimea, he takes a job as a 'street philosopher', a society writer reporting on the gossip of the day. But on the eve of the great Art Treasures Exhibition, as Manchester prepares to welcome Queen Victoria, Thomas's past returns to haunt him in the most horrifying way...
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
About the author
Matthew Plampin was born in 1975 and grew up in Essex. He read English and History of Art at the University of Birmingham and then completed a PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. He now lectures on nineteenth-century art and architecture. This is his first novel.
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