The Descent of the Lyre is a novel about music, myth and violence set between Bulgaria and Paris in the early nineteenth century.
The book was listed as a Bookseller’s Choice for August 2012 in The Bookseller magazine, and was shortlisted for the 2013 East Midlands Book Award. Available in paperback, hardback and ebook formats.
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This is a book that is memorable for all the right reasons. The story is gripping and highly original, and it is beautifully writtenLouis de Bernières
It is the early nineteenth century, and the Bulgarian village of Gela, the legendary home of Orpheus, is suffering under the heavy taxation and arbitrary justice of Ottoman rule. When his bride-to-be is abducted the night before his wedding, Ivan Gelski takes to the hills and turns to banditry to seek revenge. But a chance encounter with a travelling guitarist, and the bloodshed that follows, set him on a musical journey through fame, martyrdom and legend. This reinvention of the tale of Orpheus, plunges the reader into the music and folklore of Bulgaria, in a parable about storytelling, sainthood and myth-making.
The Descent of the Lyre is published by Roman Books in the UK and USA, and is also available in Bulgarian translation. I researched The Descent of the Lyre in Bulgaria between 2005 and 2007, making three trips in all. On my final journey to Bulgaria, I was funded by the UK arts council to undertake the research. I took my guitar with me and headed overland to Bulgaria, by train and by bus, to explore the sites associated with the ancient myths of Orpheus.
The Descent of the Lyre draws on my life-long love of the classical guitar, an instrument that I have played from an early age.