An incredible book, Cordell's writing is enthrallingly beautiful, with some absolutely breathtaking sentences and paragraphs, which, when combined with the engrossing storyline of the trials and struggles of the 19th century working class make the novel an unquestionable classic of modern literature.
By turns, intensely moving, heart-rendingly tragic and deeply funny. It is stirringly patriotic without a hint of nationalism, deeply moving toward the plight of the working class, without idealising socialist revolution or regime. Meticulously researched, his description of the march on the Westgate is so phenomenally accurate that, as a native to the area, I could fully envisage that small square in the centre of Newport thronged with desperately naive and idealistic men, heading to the stories heartbreaking finish.
A book that transcends all genres and attempts at classification, and alone, reason enough to learn to read at all.