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Compelling biography of three exceptional British men
on 9 October 1998
Acclaimed novelist Sebastian Faulks (Birdsong, Charlotte Gray) turns his hand to biography with this vivid account of the brief lives of a 1920s painter, a World War II flying ace, and a Cold War spy.
Christopher Wood was a gifted but struggling artist who eked out an existence on the fringes of the glittering Paris social scene, before committing suicide at the age of 29 in 1930. Richard Hillary was a decorated war hero who returned to flying after recovering from severe injuries, only to die in an fatal air crash at 24, and Jeremy Wolfenden was a formidably intelligent and rakish Cambridge graduate who may or may not have been recruited as a spy while working in Moscow in the early 1960s; at 31, burnt-out, he died of a suspected drink and drugs overdose.
Faulks writes an intense, compassionate account of these tragically short lives; immersing the reader in each gripping yet ultimately poignant personal story, as well as sharply evoking the decade to which each of the fatal Englishmen belonged.