The stunning sequel to the 1992 Booker-winning Sacred Hunger
Barry Unsworth was born in 1930 in Durham. He was the author of many novels, including Pascali's Island, which was shortlisted for the 1980 Booker Prize; Stone Virgin (1985); Sacred Hunger, which was joint winner of the 1992 Booker Prize; Morality Play, which was shortlisted for the 1995 Booker Prize; Losing Nelson (1999); The Songs of the King (2002); The Ruby in Her Navel (2006); Land of Marvels (2009); and The Quality of Mercy (2011), which was shortlisted for The Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. Barry Unsworth died in 2012. Barry Unsworth was born in 1930 in a mining village in Durham, and he attended Stockton-on-Tees Grammar School and Manchester University. He has spent a number of years in the Eastern Mediterranean area and has taught English in Athens and Istanbul. He now lives in Italy. His first novel, The Partnership, was published in 1966. This was followed by The Greeks Have a Word for It (1967); The Hide (1970); Mooncranker's Gift, which received the Heinemann Award for 1973; Pascali's Island, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1980 and has been filmed; Stone Virgin (1985); Sugar and Rum (1990); The Rage of the Vulture (1991); Sacred Hunger, which was joint winner of the 1992 Booker Prize; Morality Play, which was shortlisted for the 1995 Booker Prize; After Hannibal, Losing Nelson and The Songs of the Kings. The Ruby In Her Navel is his most recent novel. Many of his books are published by Penguin. Barry Unsworth is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Here, immediately, you know that you are in the hands of a master .
. . There are several strands to the novel, interwoven with rare
artistry and assurance . . . Barry Unsworth does all this. The
Quality of Mercy is the work of one who is both artist and
craftsman. There is not a page without interest, not a sentence
that rings false. It is gripping and moving, a novel about justice
which is worthy of that theme. In short, it is a tremendous
achievement, as good as anything this great novelist has written.
-- Allan Massie * Scotsman *
He is a historical novelist of a reliably old-fashioned sort: the writer who offers a plausible recreation of a bygone age and animates it with people whose motivations are consistent with the tenor of their time . . . the fact that his characters never turn into moral ciphers is one of his greatest strengths. [The Quality of Mercy] has all these qualities in spades -- DJ Taylor * Independent *
The big theme is power . . . Unsworth's 18th-century setting finds a correspondingly 18th-century feel in the fabric of his story: it is deeply sentimental, at time robustly comic . . . a silkily written potboiler, wonderfully well-realised, entirely engrossing. -- Sam Leith * Financial Times *
Has all its predecessor's power to shock. This novel is immediately involving and immensely readable and may even be better than the [Booker-winning] earlier book. -- John Harding * Daily Mail *
This gripping novel . . . stands alone as yet another example of the author's extraordinary ability to turn dry history into dramatic narrative . . . With so much happening on the page that is dramatic and plot-based - the many different narrative threads eventually tie together in an entirely satisfying fashion - it could be easy to overlook the instances of quiet psychological transformation that give this novel its particular power. -- Christopher Potter * Sunday Times *