McNaughten by Sian Busby
The winter of 1843 is one of bitter strife for England. The nation is on the brink of ruin and revolution, the government struggling to stand firm against the rising chaos.
Out of this apocalyptic landscape emerges a young Scotsman, Daniel McNaughten. He has been on a journey, a descent into his own despair, mirroring the tribulations of society at large. His journey will end in London, with the death of an apparently innocent man. One freezing day in January, he takes a shot at the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary, Edward Drummond, as he makes his way to Downing Street. The incident rocks the nation.
Has the assassin perhaps mistaken Mr. Drummond for the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel? And who is this McNaughten? A dangerous political radical – possibly the agent of an entire network of revolutionaries – or a religious fanatic? Is he a lunatic, or merely a victim of the collective madness that surrounds him?
Sian Busby’s debut novel is a breathtaking feat of historical scholarship, which takes you to the heart of the Victorian soul. As Daniel McNaughten goes on trial, the dark forces lying beneath the surface of society threaten to break loose and overturn the very order of things. Suddenly, the nation’s sanity seems to be hanging on the destiny of one hapless individual. The verdict against him will change English law forever.