A stunning historical novel by the bestselling author of THE LONG FIRM.
Paris, 1903. Major-General Sir Hector Macdonald, one of the greatest heroes of the British Empire, is facing ruin in a shocking homosexual scandal when he meets the notorious occultist, Aleister Crowley. As they set out into the night on a wild journey through the sinful city, the story of Macdonald s tragedy begins to unfold with startling revelations both for the General and the aspiring magician.
In a tale that ranges from the battlefields of Sudan to the backstreets of Edinburgh, Jake Arnott brings alive a fascinating, forgotten figure of history, and a world trembling on the brink of a brutal new era. Black magic, Baden-Powell and Islamic revolution are just some of the ingredients in this bold and exhilarating novel, which explores imperialism, sexuality and the very nature of belief with an immediacy that resonates into the present.
Brilliantly expansive and original - Daily Mirror
A consummate performance...a virtuoso work of near history, with the occasional in-joke thrown in for good measure...immensely enjoyable - Guardian
One of the many pleasures of this skilful book is the maintenance of suspense...Arnott does not ask us to choose between [Crowley and Macdonald] - but much of the moral force of this excellent book lies in his demonstration that there is, nonetheless, a choice to be made. - Independent
A great read, full of compassion, humour and riveting detail. - Sunday Express
Arnott's great leap forward...Macdonald's predicament is sympathetically examined and Crowley's monstrous drive is brilliantly rendered...it is his best [novel] - The Herald
Arnott is clearly having fun here...So to combine that with how the necessity to be good - to be a hero - can be as suffocating a pressure as battling with occultist demons makes The Devil's Paintbrush a fine book - Metro
Jake Arnott was born in 1961, and lives in London. He is the author of THE LONG FIRM, published by Sceptre in 1999 and subsequently made into an acclaimed BBC TV series. His second novel, HE KILLS COPPERS, was also made into a series by Channel 4. He has since published the novels TRUECRIME, JOHNNY COME HOME, THE DEVIL'S PAINTBRUSH and THE HOUSE OF RUMOUR.