The Gallows Poleby Benjamin Myers
THE GALLOWS POLE by Benjamin Myers chosen as a fiction highlight for 2017 by The Guardian and The Observer. The novel is also the recipient of the Roger Deakin Award.
‘Isaw them. Stag-headed men dancing at on the moor at midnight, nostrils flaredand steam rising…’
An England divided. From his remote moorland home, David Hartley assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history. They are the Cragg Vale Coiners and their business is ‘clipping’ – the forging of coins, a treasonous offence punishable by death.
A charismatic leader, Hartley cares for the poor and uses violence and intimidation against his opponents. He is also prone to self-delusion and strange visions of mythical creatures. When excise officer William Deighton vows to bring down the Coiners and one of their own becomes turncoat, Hartley’s empire begins to crumble. With the industrial age set to change the face of England forever, the fate of his empire is under threat.
Forensically assembled from historical accounts and legal documents, THE GALLOWS POLE is a true story of resistance that combines poetry, landscape, crime and historical fiction, whose themes continue to resonate. Here is a rarely-told alternative history of the North.