Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet and historian. He is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers, Thames: Sacred River and London: The Biography. He holds a CBE for services to literature and lives in London.
Ackroyd is a fascinating mix of a 19th-century narrative historian and modern social analyst. Elements of thisbook seem very old-fashioned and formal - in a good way. Yet the author eschews the detached third person preferred by stuffy professionals, favouring instead a more intimate you that brings the reader into the dark alleys of industrial towns to sniff the urine, vomit and suppurating sores of industrial England. Those perfect sentences are scattered throughout. -- Gerard DeGroot * The Times *