‘A compelling historical novel about a remarkable man’ – Lady Wedgwood
It is Thursday, 16th October 1834. Thousands of spectators are on the streets of London. Balconies are crammed with people eager to see the astounding spectacle of the Houses of Parliament being consumed by fire.
The eminent architect Charles Barry returns to London aboard a packed stagecoach determined to win the commission to rebuild Parliament. To do so he exploits a brilliant young designer, Augustus Pugin, and his genius for Gothic design.
Pugin has a vision to transform society through his Gothic architecture. Royalty, craftsmen, and leading industrialists, join him in his quest. Pugin’s designs are adored across the Empire but his arduous work for Barry is destroying his health.
Driven by jealousy and ambition, and unwilling to share credit for the Palace of Westminster, Barry schemes to get Pugin out of England. The resulting journey across Italy gives Pugin the final ingredient he needs to make the Houses of Parliament truly iconic.
After a series of failed romantic relationships, Pugin meets Jane; they fall in love and marry.
To showcase his work to the world, Pugin is persuaded to create the main stand at the Crystal Palace, but this project combined with the never ending demands of Barry, leaves him mentally exhausted.
Jane has been looking after Pugin’s eight children but now she must rescue him from the terrors of the public lunatic asylum.