The Book of the Needle - Matthew Francis

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In 1660, with Charles II newly restored to the throne, Arise Evans, Welsh tailor, prophet and one-time best-selling author, sits down in his Blackfriars home to write a new book. But to his publisher’s dismay, it is not in the genre in which he has had success. Arise has, throughout the era of the Civil War and Commonwealth, been prophesying disaster for the country if the monarchy is not restored; now it has been, he feels his prophesying days are over – the future, as he says, has already happened.

Arise, a real historical character from Merionethshire, came from that fascinating period of 20-odd years when the world turned upside down, when kings and bishops were executed, women could become preachers and a tailor like Arise, asserting the gift of visions and prophecy, could meet and speak with the mighty of the land and be taken seriously by them.

Though he is very much, and very believably, of his own time, he is continually coming close to us, suffering the same minor embarrassments. After reading this novel, I felt I knew Arise, and the characters in whose orbit he moves, very well. I also cared about them. …Readers [will] be informed, entertained and fascinated by him and his world. - Sheenagh Pugh

Author biography