A self-confessed forger, thief, and petty criminal, William Palmer was also a surgeon and a racehorse owner who allegedly poisoned friends and family. Based on a real trial from 1856, Robert Graves presents Palmer’s side of the story, deeply flawed but ultimately not beyond redemption.
A self-confessed forger, cheat, thief, and petty criminal, William Palmer was also a surgeon and a racehorse owner during the Victorian era who doped horses, fixed races, philandered unapologetically, and generally behaved as an all-around rogue. But the crime for which he was condemned was altogether more serious: poisoning numerous members of his family as well as a close friend. Based on the historic trial of a man characterized as a sociopath and a serial killer, Robert Graves tells the story from the defendant’s point of view, the story of a man who was deeply flawed but ultimately not beyond redemption.
Based on a historical trial held in 1856, Robert Graves’ novel is brimming with humor, emotion, and social commentary. Told through the eyes of both friends and enemies, Palmer comes to life as a not-unsympathetic antihero.
Robert Graves (1895-1985) was an English novelist, poet, and translator of Classical Greek and Roman literature, and one of the most prominent English writers of the 20th century. He was an extremely prolific writer, who published more than 140 novels and collections of poetry. In addition to novels and poetry, he published groundbreaking analysis of Greek mythology, as well as memoir. Graves is best known for his historical novels, which include I, Claudius, Claudius, the God, The Golden Fleece, King Jesus, and Count Belisarius. Robert Graves served in combat in World War I and was gravely wounded at the Battle of the Somme. Following his recovery, he wrote several works of war poetry as well as a memoir of his time in combat, entitled Goodbye to All That. In 1934, Robert Graves was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his historical novels dealing with the Roman Emperor Claudius.
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