An ambitious, engrossing and multi-layered debut novel.
'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?
One of the most exciting novels I've read in recent years. Michael Hughes writes like a brilliant cross between David Mitchell and Hilary Mantel. What begins with a dizzying variety of voices, in a bewildering set of times, comes together at the end into a powerful, haunting meditation on history, poetry and love - Toby Litt
A stylish and exciting novel with an intimate tale that spans centuries, and a captivating cast who help navigate the readers through a vivid range of settings - Bookbag
A fascinating chimera of a novel, hallucinatory and compelling - Jo Baker
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 - Guardian
It's hard to believe that Michael Hughes' The Countenance Divine is his first novel . . . a deft and ambitious debut . . . The time-hopping narrative and interconnectedness of all things draws easy comparison with David Mitchell, the master of interweaving narratives, but Hughes is equally up to the task . . . He also slips deftly between realism and magic realism reminiscent of Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black, which shows an incredibly assured touch for a debut novelist - Stylist
A novel of big ideas that flows, and reads, like a dream. Solid yet sinuous, and very satisfying - Gavin Corbett