In 17th-century Valladolid, Spain's new capital, Miguel Cervantes is busy writing his comic novel, Don Quixote. Issued in instalments, it is fast making him the most popular author in the country, when three potential disasters strike: Cervantes discovers that there is a real Don Quixote, just like the character he thought he'd invented; a jealous poet concocts a scheme involving one of the novel's other characters in order to make Cervantes a laughing stock; and he falls in love with a beautiful, widowed but unavailable Duchess. Many duels, misunderstandings, politicking and betrayals later, Don Quixote himself comes to Cervantes' rescue. A wonderful evocation of Spain in the 17th century peopled with a cast of Chaucerian characters, this is a comedy in the mediaeval sense of the word.
Julian Branston was born in 1956 on a sugar cane plantation in South America but grew up in London. As a teenager he began performing poetry readings in venues that included the Cutty Sark and the high security wing of Wormwood Scrubs, as well as on local radio and television, and in 1976 Sheldon Press published a book of his poems, Storyteller. Having worked in a variety of jobs after leaving university, he is now a business analyst and technical writer, and divides his time between California and London.