The Countenance Divine
By Michael Hughes
An ambitious, engrossing and multi-layered debut novel
'Michael Hughes writes like a brilliant cross between David Mitchell and Hilary Mantel' Toby Litt
In 1999 a programmer is trying to fix the millennium bug, but can't shake the sense he's been chosen for something.
In 1888 five women are brutally murdered in the East End by a troubled young man in thrall to a mysterious master.
In 1777 an apprentice engraver called William Blake has a defining spiritual experience; thirteen years later this vision returns.
And in 1666 poet and revolutionary John Milton completes the epic for which he will be remembered centuries later.
But where does the feeling come from that the world is about to end?
Michael Hughes was born and raised in Keady, Northern Ireland, and now lives in London. He attended St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh, and read English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He trained in theatre at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris, and has worked for many years as an actor, under the professional name Michael Colgan. He studied creative writing at Royal Holloway, and at London Metropolitan University, where he also taught. The Countenance Divine is his first novel.
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- Publication date:
06 Apr 2017
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The Countenance Divine is never less than superbly stimulating. It is a debut of high ambition that marks the arrival of a considerable talent — Guardian
An intriguing broth of a first novel . . . The author swoops between four centuries with considerable chutzpah . . . Hughes is thoroughly in control of his material — The Times
Sumptuous . . . A gloriously extravagant novel. Strange yet compelling — Irish Examiner
Wonderfully ambitious . . . There is real pleasure to be derived from Hughes's imagination, especially his instinct for tactile description . . . a novel of the spirit made flesh, pulsating with blood and guts — Times Literary Supplement
Michael Hughes writes like a brilliant cross between David Mitchell and Hilary Mantel — Toby Litt
A fascinating chimera of a novel, hallucinatory and compelling — Jo Baker
The Countenance Divine moves effortlessly from deadpan humour and visceral demotic to the soaring language of the visionary. An ambitious and persuasive debut — Rupert Thomson
A virtuoso performance from a writer of quite prodigious gifts: an astonishingly accomplished first novel — Glenn Patterson
A strange, witty and dazzlingly clever fable on art, ambition and morality — Sarah Perry, Guardian
A novel of big ideas that flows, and reads, like a dream. Solid yet sinuous, and very satisfying — Gavin Corbett
This is an intricate and densely allusive novel . . . It marks the arrival of a considerable talent — Guardian