I'd read that David Baddiel is not just a comic but is also an extremely talented writer and here's the proof. The Secret Purposes is really commendable as it is a meticulously-researched historical novel that's also an enjoyable, lucid read. Baddiel also very cleverly uses a very small cast of characters to say big things about cultural identity and how that impacts on political decisions. I'm from the Isle of Man and I was extremely impressed with the way that he uses a single Manx character to sum up, accurately in my experience, the attitude that the Manx had (and still have) to outsiders. There's also a great twist towards the end of the book that really stays with you and which has relevance way beyond the time in history that it is set in. I won't spoil the book and say what it is! Saying all that, this book's not "high literature" and I mean that as a positive comment: it's a really good read, pure and simple. I doubt that anyone's going to be studying it for English A Level but I can see it being made into a very good film.