Nothing But Culture: What's Simon Mayo's debut novel Mad Blood Stirring about?

Radio presenter Simon Mayo is about to release his first full novel, Mad Blood Stirring. Critics are already impressed, so what’s it all about?

815: The war is over but for the inmates at Dartmoor Prison, peace - like home - is still a long way away.

On the eve of the year 1815, the captured sailors of the Eagle arrive at Dartmoor prison; bedraggled, exhausted, sustained only by a rumour heard along the way.

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Joe Hill thought he’d left the conflict behind but it is clear there is a different type of battle here. As he announces the news of the end of the war, the guards bristle and the inmates stir. The powder keg was fixed to blow and Joe has just lit the fuse.

Elizabeth Shortland, the Governor’s wife, looks out at the unsettled crowd. The peace means the end is near, that she needn’t be here for ever. But suddenly, she cannot bear the thought of leaving.

Inspired by true events, Mad Blood Stirring is a story of hope and freedom, of loss and suffering. It is a story about how sometimes, in our darkest hour, it can be the most unlikely of things that see us through.

Pre-order here.