by David Nokes
A harmless joke thrown in after one glass of wine too many triggers a series of revengeful plots, grotesque confrontations and literary hoaxes.
World experts on Madoc, one of the greatest eighteenth-century poets, are gathering for a celebratory conference in Wales, in a solitary building run by a religious sect advocating chastity and purity of mind.
It's a world populated by shady, repressed and unscrupulous academics, whose only means of salvation appears to be through the discovery of an unknown page from the life and works of a dead writer; but when a whole new canto from Madoc's masterpiece appears out of the blue and is presented at the conference - the heat is on. The result can only be further literary disaster.
David Nokes' witty and sharp black comedy adds a new page to the long English tradition of social satire, in tones strongly reminiscent of Swift and Pope.
Publication date: 01/06/2005