We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

‘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?

Reviews

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
A virtuoso performance from a writer of quite prodigious gifts: an astonishingly accomplished first novel
Glenn Patterson
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
A novel of big ideas that flows, and reads, like a dream. Solid yet sinuous, and very satisfying
Gavin Corbett
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
This is an intricate and densely allusive novel . . . It marks the arrival of a considerable talent
Guardian