The London Satyr
It is the summer of 1891 and London is simmering under an oppressive heat wave. The air is thick with tension and sexual repression. But another wave is about to rock the capital –one of morality- as Wheeler and the puritans of his London Vigilance Committee seek out perversion and aberrant behaviour in all its forms.
Charles Webster, an impoverished photographer working for famed actor-manager Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre, has been sucked into a shadowy underworld of pornographers and prostitutes, corralled under the sinister leadership of master pornographer, Marlowe, to whom Webster illicitly provides theatrical costumes for their pornographic shoots.
But knowledge of this enterprise has somehow reached the Lyceum’s upright theatre manager, Stoker, who suspects Webster’s involvement. As the net appears to tighten around Marlowe and his cohorts, a member of the aristocracy is accused of killing a child prostitute, and public outrage sweeps the capital. All the while Webster is becoming increasingly estranged from his wife who, grieving for the loss of their daughter, with the connivance of the surviving daughter, becomes consumed by spiritualism and her perceived destiny as a professional medium.
The London Satyr is a brilliant summoning of the last decade of Victorian England. At a time when public morality has never been more extreme and superstition never more prevalent, below the surface swirls a fetid current of amorality and exploitation.
“A potent brew... The ending is a masterstroke of the ironic and macabre.” The Daily Mail
“Sharply written, wholly engrossing... not just an Edric novel, but the Edric novel.” The Guardian
“Place, time and atmosphere are conjured with impeccable lightness of touch.” The Spectator
UK / Doubleday