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Steeple Chasing

On sale

1st February 2024

Price: £10.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781472281951
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The Sunday Times paperback bestseller and Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month

*Featuring a brand new chapter!*

‘Never have the joys of exploring the churches and cathedrals of this country been so vividly conveyed as they are in this engaging and elegiac book.’ – New Statesman **BOOK OF THE YEAR pick 2023**

‘A delicious treat’ – Financial Times **TRAVEL BOOK OF THE YEAR pick 2023**

A charming odyssey’ The Times

‘A wonderful book; thoughtful and challenging’ – Daily Telegraph *****

A beautiful book’ – Gabriel Byrne

‘Beautiful and brilliant. I loved it’ – Fergus Butler-Gallie

From the author of A Tomb With a View – Scottish Non-Fiction book of the Year

Churches are all around us. Their steeples remain landmarks in our towns, villages and cities, even as their influence and authority has waned. They contain art and architectural wonders – one huge gallery scattered, like a handful of jewels, across these isles.

Award-winning writer Peter Ross sets out to tell their stories, and through them a story of Britain. Join him as he visits the unassuming Norfolk church which contains a disturbing secret, and London’s mighty cathedrals with their histories of fire and love. Meet cats and bats, monks and druids, angels of oak and steel.

Steeple Chasing, though it sometimes strikes an elegiac note, is a song of praise. It celebrates churches for their beauty and meaning, and for the tales they tell. It is about people as much as place, flesh and bone not just flint and stone. From the painted hells of Surrey to the holy wells of Wales, consider this a travel book . . . with bells on.

Praise for Peter Ross

‘Ross is a wonderfully evocative writer, deftly capturing a sense of place and history, while bringing a deep humanity to his subject. He has written a delightful book.’ The Guardian

‘Fascinating . . . Ross makes a likeably idiosyncratic guide and one finishes the book feeling strangely optimistic about the inevitable.’The Observer

‘The author’s humanity has acted as a beacon of light in the darkness.’ The Sunday Times

What's Inside

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Reviews

Daily Telegraph
What makes Steeple Chasing so compelling - and it is a wonderful book; thoughtful and challenging - ... is Ross's essential kindness, his unfailing empathy with the people he meets on his pilgrimage.
The Scotsman
Ross has always had a quiet charm, and it is perhaps displayed best in this book. . . it is properly interested in humanity, especially in its complexity.
The Herald
Steeple Chasing is, as you might expect from Ross, itself a beautiful object, full of delicacy and deliberation in the writing. . .a fascinating, beautifully written book full of both the strange and the terrible, but also full of grace and love.
Country Life
Beautifully observed and evocatively written.
Spectator
Reading a book is another reciprocal act: if it's good, it stays with you. Ross's readers will have his words humming through them for a long time.
Times Literary Supplement
Lovely, lyrical, whimsical, elegiac ... Ross has a gift for making you feel you're there with him, just as awed as he is.
Financial Times
His book is a delicious treat, and one that both believers and sceptics will enjoy.
Books From Scotland
Never less than fascinating.
The Times
A charming odyssey . . . in this lyrical love letter to churches Ross reminds us there is something worth saving and people who will make the effort.