Based loosely on the life of the fifth duke of Portland, this is the story of an eccentric Victorian aristocrat who becomes increasingly frustrated by his own failing body and bewildered by the world around him.
He commissions the construction of a labyrinth of tunnels and slowly retreats into them.
But as his body fails so a childhood memory gains power and clarity and he is haunted by the ghost of a young boy to such a degree that the duke finally feels his only option is to tunnel back to the source of his pain.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award and winner of the Royal Society of Authors’ First Novel Award.
‘Soaked through with originality and expertly written: tragicomic fiction with the most endearingly sympathetic of anti-heroes.’ The Times
‘The narrative structure is immaculate, the characterization superb, the prose so polished you can see your face in it.’ Daily Telegraph