Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster whose first novel, For Want of a Nail, was published in 1965. His novels since include The Maid of Buttermere, The Soldier's Return, A Son of War, Credo and Now is the Time, which won the Parliamentary Book Award for fiction in 2016. His books have also been awarded the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the WHSmith Literary Award, and have been longlisted three times for the Booker Prize (including the Lost Man Booker Prize). He has also written several works of non-fiction, including The Adventure of English and The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.
In this fascinating, haunting evocation of two people aflame with passion and love of learning, Melvyn Bragg dramatises the struggle to find consolation in faith - Daily MailThe 12th-Century love story of the brilliant scholar Heloise and radical philosopher Peter Abelard has long endured, and here Bragg recreates their tragic tale for a modern audience. It's an atmospheric, thought-provoking retelling. - Mail on SundayA fictionalised account of legendary star-crossed lovers unfolds in tandem with the struggles of its author . . . it all comes together in a rich tapestry of devotion. - ObserverWhat is distinctive about Bragg's approach is his emphasis on the intellectual content of the learned lovers' affair. In Pope's poem, Eloise makes just one reference to Abelard's "adored ideas". Here they are central , and so are hers. - Sunday TimesBragg has mastered his sources, chiefly the letters of Abelard and Heloise and Abelard's autobiographicalHistoria Calamitaturn. By the pen of Arthur the novelist, Bragg with his own flair and perceptive imagination tells their story . . . Bragg's ability to live inside the minds of these two mighty philosophical and theological intellectuals. He understands their agonies, their manipulation . . . and persecution . . . Bragg writes his version of this life-long love with ease and confidence. It is a pleasure to read; and to be reminded of Chaucer's fastidious Prioress whose shining gold brooch declares: "Amor vincit omnia." - SpectatorBragg brilliantly re-imagines the legendary love story of Heloise and Abelard, uniting the Middle Ages and today in this thrilling novel. - Antonia FraserMelvyn Bragg brings a fascinated attention to the moral complexities of a love story we all thought we knew, but perhaps did not understand well enough. His compassion for Abelard and Heloise makes brilliantly real and present to us their anguished journey from erotic excess towards the mystical sublime. - Rose TremainA tour de force - a moving, poignant, compelling tale, wonderfully told. I have never read such true and compellingly depicted accounts of sexual desire and encounter, and Paris, both medieval and modern, comes vividly before one. - A.C. Grayling