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The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781405550246

Price: £21.99

ON SALE: 6th October 2022

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Historical Fiction

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PICKED FOR THE TIMES BIGGEST BOOKS FOR AUTUMN 2022



‘Absolutely loving this . . . A great storyteller and a fabulous actor. Well done, sir!’ DAVID HAREWOOD, actor and author of Maybe I Don’t Belong Here

‘Phenomenal! Highly recommended’ MALORIE BLACKMAN, author of Noughts and Crosses

‘Sings with the words of a man who survives his struggles, and expresses himself through music, language and love’ GRETCHEN GERZINA, author, historian and academic

Meet Charles Ignatius Sancho: his extraordinary story, hidden for three hundred years, is about to be told.

I had little right to live, born on a slave ship where my parents both died. But I survived, and indeed, you might say I did more…

It’s 1746 and Georgian London is not a safe place for a young Black man, especially one who has escaped slavery. After the twinkling lights in the Fleet Street coffee shops are blown out and the great houses have closed their doors for the night, Sancho must dodge slave catchers and worse. The man he hoped would help – a kindly duke who taught him to write – is dying. Sancho is desperate and utterly alone.

So how does Charles Ignatius Sancho meet the King, write and play highly acclaimed music, become the first Black person to vote in Britain and lead the fight to end slavery?

It’s time for him to tell his story, one that begins on a tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, and ends at the very centre of London life. And through it all, he must ask: born amongst death, how much can you achieve in one short life?

From one of Britain’s best-loved actors, Paterson Joseph, comes an utterly captivating and haunting historical novel, telling the true story of a Great Black Briton. Fans of Bridgerton, Hamilton, Jessie Burton and The Confessions of Frannie Langton will adore being led into the heart of Black Georgian London.

‘An absolutely thrilling, throat-catching wonder of a historical novel. I read with alternating fascination, dread, hilarity, admiration, sorrow and triumph for a full life rendered with such animation, brilliance and understanding. Told in wonderful prose and with dazzling energy and brilliant panache. Hugely recommended.’ Stephen Fry

‘I so admire Joseph’s verbal imagination which seems to effortlessly bridge the gap between our time and Sancho’s. In a huge, warm, real voice, Joseph makes us look at a past world from another perspective. It’s terrific.’ Dame Harriet Walter, acclaimed actor

Elegant, moving and vital. What Paterson Joseph does – what every writer of historical fiction yearns to do – is make history fall away so that in every moment we are immersed in a lived life. A stunning debut.’ Jess Kidd, author of Things in Jars

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Reviews

An absolute masterpiece of a debut. Both brutal and brilliant, this is a novel that gets right under your skin - historical fiction at its best!
Susan Stokes-Chapman, bestselling author of Pandora
By far and away the funniest, cleverest, most profoundly satisfying book I've read this year. This one's going to win prizes or I'll eat a shoe.
Natasha Pulley
Elegant, moving and vital, that this book is the product of a deep interest and long study of one man's life and times is evident. But what Paterson Joseph does - what every writer of historical fiction yearns to do - is make history fall away so that in every moment we are immersed in a lived life. A stunning debut.
Jess Kidd
Absolutely loving this . . . A great storyteller and a fabulous actor. Well done, sir!
David Harewood
Powerful, searing, thrilling, important, this brilliant book of sympathetic imagination takes us into the heart and soul of the courage and spirit of Ignatius Sancho. Gripping, painful, it is both the story of one man and a continent, a story of stolen lives and shocking cruelty, a whole world told through a life. Paterson Joseph brilliantly brings the eighteenth century, the man and his the world to life and tells a story that will hold fast to your heart and not let go.
Kate Williams
I love the man. He is a genius, The Secret Diaries are groundbreaking and beautiful, as is the author for whom this is a lifelong passion. Climb into this glass bottomed boat, for the time of your life as you float into the mind of Ignatius Sancho. Bravo Paterson Joseph you genius: More Secret Diaries please.
Lemn Sissay
I hugely enjoyed it! The voice is stunning, I loved the whole project of creating this literary portrait capturing the peaks and valleys of a vastly varied life - and I loved, too, how he really brought Charles Ignatius Sancho to life as such a three-dimensional, flawed person. I feel very lucky to have been able to read it six months early, and will be recommending it to everyone I know!
Naomi Ishiguro
I so admire Joseph's verbal imagination which seems to effortlessly bridge the gap between our time and Sancho's. In a huge, warm, real voice, Joseph makes us look at a past world from another perspective. It's terrific.
Harriet Walter
With his intriguing novel The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho, Paterson Joseph has fully inhabited the important eighteenth-century figure of Sancho. Taking the known facts of Sancho's life as a slave-born man who became known to both the black and white communities of London, from nobility to working class, Joseph breathes vivid life into the first black man to cast a vote in the England, but whose family ranked higher in his heart than any others in his life. The novel sings with the words of a man who survives his struggles, and expresses himself through music, language, and love.
Gretchen Gerzina
An absolutely thrilling, throat-catching wonder of a historical novel. I read with alternating fascination, dread, hilarity, admiration, sorrow and triumph for a full life rendered with such animation, brilliance and understanding. Told in wonderful prose and with dazzling energy and brilliant panache. Hugely recommended
Stephen Fry
This is a compelling account of a fascinating life, written with adventure, wit and flair. Charles Ignatius Sancho has properly come to life in these pages.
Jeffrey Boakye