Author(s): Simon Mayo
1815- The war is over but for the inmates at Dartmoor Prison, peace - like home - is still a long way away.
On the eve of the year 1815, the American sailors of the Eagle finally arrive at Dartmoor prison; bedraggled, exhausted but burning with hope. They've only had one thing to sustain them - a snatched whisper overheard along the way.
The war is over.
Joe Hill thought he'd left the war outside these walls but it's quickly clear that there's a different type of fight to be had within. The seven prison blocks surrounding him have been segregated; six white and one black. As his voice rings out across the courtyard, announcing the peace, the redcoat guards bristle and the inmates stir. The powder keg was already fixed to blow and Joe has just lit the fuse.
Elizabeth Shortland, wife of the Governor looks down at the swirling crowd from the window of her own personal prison. The peace means the end is near, that she needn't be here for ever. But suddenly, she cannot bear the thought of leaving.
Inspired by a true story, Mad Blood Stirring tells of a few frantic months in the suffocating atmosphere of a prison awaiting liberation. It is a story of hope and freedom, of loss and suffering. It is a story about how sometimes, in our darkest hour, it can be the most unlikely of things that see us through.
"Mad Blood Stirring is an astonishing account of an explosive piece of neglected history. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is woven through a tense prison drama that sets itself agains the epic backdrop of mighty Dartmoor. The passions unleashed in Simon Mayo's riveting account places black against white, Americans against Britons and the stirring soul of a forbidden love caught in between. It's a rapid page turner with dark humour, intellectual heft, and a gallery of deeply human characters that shake our spirits. This is a cracking novel." * Sir Kenneth Branagh *
Simon Mayo is one of Britain's best-loved and well-known radio presenters. He has worked on BBC radio since 1981 and is now the presenter of 'Drivetime' on BBC Radio 2, which features the regular 'Book Club' show. He is also the co-presenter of "Kermode and Mayo's Film Review" on BBC Radio 5 Live. In 2008, Mayo was recognized as the "radio broadcaster of the year" at the 34th annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and the "Speech Broadcaster of the Year" at the Sony Radio Academy Awards. To find out more about Simon and his ITCH books go to www.itch-books.co.uk