It is 1981 and while Britain enjoys the full impact of Thatcherism, Cosmo Flute, a brilliant and dissolute young painter, and his friend Ruben Fortuna, a street-wise Argentinian photographer, flee to the Greek island of Crete to indulge in alternating spells of painting, drinking, and some really Deep Hanging Out. Much of their leisure time is spent in local bistro The Unspeakable, where waiter Igbar Zoff serves squid, pig’s testicles and dodgy wine to the local loafers, and sows confusion in the minds of unsuspecting customers with his improbable tales. Events turn serious when Cosmo and Ruben accidentally witness secret US military activity on the island and are drawn into a shadowy world of espionage and counter-espionage. When Cosmo becomes involved with a young woman who carries an explosive secret, the fallout will propel Cosmo and Ruben through the death throes of the Cold War, and Crete’s bloody history of sacrifice and betrayal, to a stunning climax amid the running of the bulls in Pamplona.
‘Gwyn captures the languid confidence of youth, privilege and artistic ambition playing out in the sunshine, and this inevitably brings to mind Alan Hollinghurst’s Line of Beauty. Meanwhile, the adventures have something of John Fowles’ classic The Magus about them.’ Alex Hemingsley, The London Paper.
‘A rich, dark and beautiful novel . . .’ The Western Mail
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