Spain – 1808 to 1813 – where Revolution collides with Reaction, a British Army with a French; the Spain of Goya, where ignorant armies clash and from under them all comes the voice of Joseph: by birth European, by education enlightened, and living in Salamanca which suffered a new invasion every six months and saw one of Wellington’s greatest battles. From the moment in early childhood when Joseph hurls a stone at a playmate and makes an evil enemy for life, to the last page when he climbs a hill in North Spain accompanied by a donkey, a giantess, and a new-born babe, and blunders into a battle, he takes the reader by the elbow and hurries him ‘will he or will he not’ across the terrible years that saw the birth of our own times.
Racy, picaresque, but with an underlying seriousness, JOSEPH is a panoramic novel of the Spanish Penisular War, revealing as Goya did its grotesqueries and ironies as well as its horrifying waste of life. Rathbone’s wit, sensitivity and confident grasp of the subject are superbly matched to this brilliant historical scene.
JOSEPH has never before been published in paperback.