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Martha Peake: A Novel of the Revolution Paperback – 5 Jul 2001

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Paperback, 5 Jul 2001
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New edition edition (5 July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140291393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670891283
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,886,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

"It is a black art, the writing is history, is it not?" So begins Patrick McGrath's gripping novel, Martha Peake, that takes the reader back into the heady revolutionary days of London and America in the 1770s. The story begins in the early 19th century, with the young Ambrose Tree paying a visit to his dying uncle William, Lord of the forbidding Drogo Hall, former residence of "the great anatomist Lord Drogo". Assuming that he is to inherit his uncle's estate, Ambrose instead finds himself drawn into his uncle's extraordinary story of Harry Peake and his headstrong young daughter, Martha Peake.

Harry, "to whom Nature in her folly gave the soul of a smuggler, and the tongue of a poet", is a Cornish smuggler, horrifically mutilated in a fire that kills his wife and disperses his children. Only the brave little Martha stands by her father, and follows him to London, where he becomes the "Cripplegate Monster". Harry recites his poetry and displays his hideously deformed body in the taverns and stews of London's underworld, but soon comes to the apparently sinister attentions of Lord Drogo, who "wanted him for his Museum of Anatomy". As father and daughter are inextricably drawn into Drogo's world, Harry turns to drink, catastrophically abusing Martha and sending her fleeing to America, where she becomes tragically embroiled in the struggle for independence from England. However, as the novel reaches its shocking climax, Ambrose gradually realises that the fate of both father and daughter is much closer to home than he can ever imagine.

Martha Peake is a wonderful story of "sacrifice and abomination and heroism and resolve and victory", a compelling and intelligent novel in the best 19th-century tradition of Dickens, whose literary ghost haunts the pages as powerfully as that of the memorable figure of Harry Peake and his tragic daughter. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"An uncommon storyteller . . . . McGrath demonstrates his trademark ability to probe the layers of the human psyche." -"San Francisco Chronicle
""Unputdownable." -"The Washington Post
""A sweeping mytho-historical novel par excellence . . . ." -"Minneapolis Star Tribune
"["Martha Peake"] has rare qualities of power and urgency. . . . [Readers] are carried along by the eloquence and the energy and the brilliantly managed narrative pace." -"The New York Times Book Review" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3.0 out of 5 stars
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on 13 September 2000
Format: Hardcover
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on 28 August 2007
Format: Paperback
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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