Set in London and Vienna, it is a sweeping personal, political and ideological romance.
In the years before 1914, the world is about to change. But for those living in that age, it is not war that threatens to break out; it is revolution. Finally, the failures of the 1848 liberal revolutions in Europe will be put right. The vast, multi-national Habsburg Empire that has dominated Europe for centuries will fall, the peoples will be set free, and liberty will sweep across the continent. Finally, the heart of the British Empire will find its true home – in Washington. And, finally, there will be peace.
At the heart of events is the Wilson family: Jack, Adeline, and their two sons, Edward and Richard.
Following the long-simmering and final climactic disintegration of their parents’ marriage, the two boys soon find themselves thrown together in pre-war Vienna. And as each of them struggles to match up to the splintered ideals of their mother and father, they are confronted by all the forces and personalities of love and decay that flourish in the thousand-year empire crumbling around them.
When there are so many stones falling, and so many crushed beneath, the decision that they therefore have to make is simple and stark. In order to escape, is it best to go forward, or to go back?
Cover art by Jane Ward