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The Fall of the House of Byron

The Fall of the House of Byron

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Newstead Abbey was one of the most prosperous and fashionable aristocratic homes in England. It was the abode of William the 4th Baron Byron – a popular and successful composer and artist – and his teenage wife Frances. But only a few decades later, at the end of the century, the building had become a crumbling and ill-cared-for ruin. The 4th Baron and most of his relatives had died, leaving the incumbent owner, William the 5th Baron Byron (the ‘Wicked Lord’), lying on his deathbed alongside his last remaining servant and amidst a thriving population of crickets.

This was the home that a small, pudgy boy of ten from Aberdeen – who the world would later come to know as Lord Byron, the Romantic poet, soldier, and adventurer – would inherit in 1798. His family, he would come to learn, had in recent decades become known for almost unfathomable levels of scandal and impropriety, from elopement, murder, and kidnapping to adultery, coercion, and thrilling near-death naval experiences. Just as it had shocked the society of Georgian London, the story of the Byrons, and the folklore of their outlandish scandal, would his influence his life and poetry for posterity.

The Fall of the House of Byron follows the fates of Lord Byron’s ancestors over three generations in a drama that begins in rural Nottinghamshire and plays out in the gentlemans’ clubs of Georgian London, amid tempests on far-flung seas, and in the glamour of pre-revolutionary France. A compelling story of a prominent and controversial characters, it is a sumptuous family portrait, and an electrifying work of social history.

(P) 2020 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
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Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General / Biography: Literary

On Sale: 16th April 2020

Price: £25

ISBN-13: 9781529358506

Reviews

A story of sex and scandal, but also of the fragility of life, the unyielding passion of the human heart, and the oppressive weight of the past. From the first to the last, the ghosts of the Byrons call out to us through Brand's evocative prose. Magnificent.
Rebecca Rideal
Revelatory and readable, Brand opens up the story of Byron's inheritance, a legacy that will be the making and unmaking of him. A fascinating, gripping work
Guinevere Glasfurd, author, The Words in My Hand