“Why do you love him whom the world hates so?”

Christopher Marlowe, Edward II

In the spring of 1593, playwright and former spy Christopher Marlowe receives an unwelcome visit from his one-time mentor Richard Baines, a spy who knows all of Marlowe’s secrets and is hell-bent on his destruction. Soon after, Marlowe is arrested on charges of treason, heresy, and sodomy, all of which are punishable by death. He is released on bail with the help of Thomas Walsingham, a man he presumes to be his friend, but who has in fact hired the infamous assassin Robin Poley to take care of Marlowe, fearing his own sins may come to light. Now, with the queen’s spies, the vengeful Baines, and the double-crossing Poley closing in, Marlowe’s last friend in the world is Ingram Frizer, a total stranger who is obsessed with his plays, and who will, within ten days’ time, become first Marlowe’s lover, and then his killer.

“A wonderfully vivid and edgy piece of storytelling, the kind of brilliant writing that rescues historical fiction from the museum.”

Joseph O’Connor, Author of Star of the Sea and Shadowplay

Researched over more than a decade and steeped in the language of the Tudor era, Lightborne is about outsiders caught in a relentless cycle of bloodshed and betrayal. At its heart is Marlowe, a twenty-first century man trapped in a sixteenth-century world: queer, radical, heretical; demonized and vilified. How far will he go to escape the brutality of his times?

A “roaring, racing drama of a novel, which all of us at Atlantic believe is sure to be regarded as one of the great debuts of the year.”

Karen Duffy, associate publisher Atlantic Books UK

Atlantic Books snaps up ‘transfixing’ historical debut novel Lightborne – The Bookseller

Read the first chapter, originally published in Embark: A Literary Journal for Novelists.

Represented by Brian Langan, Storyline Literary Agency