THE GALLOWS POLE by Benjamin Myers chosen as a fiction highlight for 2017 by The Guardian and The Observer. The novel is also the recipient of the Roger Deakin Award.
'Isaw them. Stag-headed men dancing at on the moor at midnight, nostrils flaredand steam rising…'
An England divided. From his remote moorland home, David Hartley assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history. They are the Cragg Vale Coiners and their business is 'clipping' – the forging of coins, a treasonous offence punishable by death.
A charismatic leader, Hartley cares for the poor and uses violence and intimidation against his opponents. He is also prone to self-delusion and strange visions of mythical creatures. When excise officer William Deighton vows to bring down the Coiners and one of their own becomes turncoat, Hartley's empire begins to crumble. With the industrial age set to change the face of England forever, the fate of his empire is under threat.
Forensically assembled from historical accounts and legal documents, THE GALLOWS POLE is a true story of resistance that combines poetry, landscape, crime and historical fiction, whose themes continue to resonate. Here is a rarely-told alternative history of the North.
'THE GALLOWS POLE may well turn out to be 2017's His Bloody Project. It's a windswept, brutal tale of eighteenth-century Yorkshire told in starkly beautiful prose.' -- Alex Preston, The Guardian
'Terrific: illuminating, gripping and deeply rooted in its setting. The description of a popular uprising against the rich establishment has many links with our current political climate that makes it thought-provoking and vital.' -- Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun
'Myers' captivating tale of the Cragg Vale Coiners is as wild and full of life – in all its beauty and brutality - as stags on the Yorkshire moors.' -- Wyl Menmuir, author of the Booker-nominated The Many