It is 1847, northern England, and Charles Weightman has been given the unenviable task of overseeing the flooding of the Forge Valley and evicting its lingering inhabitants. Weightman is heartily resented by these locals, and he himself is increasingly unconvinced both of the wisdom of his appointment and of the integrity and motives of the company men who posted him there. He finds some solace, however, in his enigmatic neighbour, Mary Latimer. Caring for her mad sister, Mary is also an outsider, and a companionship develops between the two of them which offers them both some comfort and support in their mutual isolation. As winter closes steadily in and as the waters begin to rise in the Forge Valley, it becomes increasingly evident that the man-made deluge cannot be avoided; not by the locals desperate to save their homes, nor by the reluctant agent of their destruction, Weightman himself. In a masterful new novel, Edric captures powerful human emotions with grace and precision. The hauntingly resonant backdrop to this story of David and Goliath marks Edric's dramatic return to historical literary fiction.
Robert Edric was born in 1956. His novels include Winter Garden (1985 James Tait Black Prize winner), A New Ice Age (1986 runner-up for the Guardian Fiction Prize), A Lunar Eclipse, The Earth Made of Glass, Elysium, In Desolate Heaven, The Sword Cabinet, The Book of the Heathen (shortlisted for the 2001 WH Smith Literary Award) and Peacetime (longlisted for the Booker Prize 2002). Cradle Song and Siren Song are the first books in the Song Cycle Trilogy, the final book, Swan Song, is now available from Doubleday.