In London, any time soon, a bomb maker goes to work, with a fierce, Spartan creed to deliver destruction. Someone buried so deep in everyday life, no one can guess their moves.
For a man adrift in a job he can't do, with a boss out to get him, the bombs are more than distraction. They are the path to a new life. As order collapses,and the state, paralysed, looks dangerously weak, Robert Millman clings to the only strength he knows: his obsession with Terri, a bright young woman who seems to offer a way back to his young days, when he still had chances. But as Millman gets sucked deeper and deeper in to a radical underworld, he is forced to confront a violence that leaves nothing untouched, a violence from within.
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Mark's first published short story, Up West, appeared in Writers' Forum in 1999. Since then, Mark has had many short stories published, in commercial magazines and through competition anthologies.
His first self published novel, After Work, was produced in 2001, followed in 2002 by a collection of short pieces, Blue Sunday Stories.
In 2005 Mark published the well-regarded cult novel Claire, a bittersweet dissection of a doomed relationship, with its unforgettable heroine.
Readers' Review said of Claire: 'The progress of the relationship is told in language that is sometimes harshly colloquial and at other times lyrical. The imagery used is often memorable... The cover suggests the "distance" that Claire maintains, and the impression that we are voyeurs.'
Mark's first commercially published novel was The Canal in 2008, furthering his reputation as one of the most original voices around today.
The Canal tells of intrusions of past and future on the present, of a need to make peace with memories when the only way out is to run. It is set in Kings Cross, in tribute to a once-feral fringe of London, now fenced off, sold and buried. Said Shaun Levin of Chroma magazine: 'Mark Wagstaff has a way of telling a story that is uniquely his own. Every so often the language soars and becomes as surprising as the best of poetry; it catches you off guard, and is all the more thrilling for that. It's a gritty, violent, and unsafe world - and always seen through the prism of Wagstaff's poetic, controlled and compassionate prose'.
Mark's new novel In Sparta will be available in spring 2009.
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