Spain - 1808 to 1813 - where Revolution collides with Reaction, a British Army with a French; the Spain of Goya, where ignorant armies clash and from under them all comes the voice of Joseph: by birth European, by education enlightened, and living in Salamanca which suffered a new invasion every six months and saw one of Wellington's greatest battles. From the moment in early childhood when Joseph hurls a stone at a playmate and makes an evil enemy for life, to the last page when he climbs a hill in North Spain accompanied by a donkey, a giantess, and a new-born babe, and blunders into a battle, he takes the reader by the elbow and hurries him 'will he or will he not' across the terrible years that saw the birth of our own times. Racy, picaresque, but with an underlying seriousness, JOSEPH is a panoramic novel of the Spanish Penisular War, revealing as Goya did its grotesqueries and ironies as well as its horrifying waste of life. Rathbone's wit, sensitivity and confident grasp of the subject are superbly matched to this brilliant historical scene. JOSEPH has never before been published in paperback.
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(200mm x 120mm x 38mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
'Though scarcely Ten years old I had made a mortal enemy and enjoyed the tender caresses of the opposite sex'. A line from the beginning of an account of his life's adventures that the self styled 3rd Viscount Basham addresses to the Duke of Wellington in an attempt to back-up a claim that the Duke is under an obligation to him. This hilarious tale is the sobject of Julian Rathbone's picaresque novel - fiction so skilfully woven with historical fact that we almost believe that Joseph 'Viscount Bosham', born of a half English catholic priest and an Italian brothel keeper in the turbulent Spain of the Peninsula Wars, is a historical figure. Linguist, courier, pimp and mercenary Jo survives on his wits turning battles, brothels and witchcraft to his own advantage, although he suffers appalling setbacks in the process. An inventive and entertaining romp across an admirably researched historical canvas that was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1979. Now published for the first time in paperback. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Julian Rathbone
Julian Rathbone was the author of many highly-acclaimed novels. Two of which (KING FISHER LIVES and JOSEPH) were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He died in February 2008.