The 19th century was a time of great social change. People used the new railways and steamships to expand their horizons and visit modern wonders of the world such as the Great Exhibition at the newly built "Crystal Palace”.
Brunel was a driving force behind this transformation. He was the Elon Musk or Steve Jobs of his era, and like them he was charismatic, visionary and controversial. He alienated many of his peers, lost his investor's money and drove his suppliers bankrupt, but he also created some of the most iconic Victorian masterpieces such as the SS Great Britain, the Great Western Railway and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Iron Will is told through the eyes of Brunel's assistant, Bennett, who joins Brunel just as Brunel's career takes off when he is appointed chief engineer for the Great Western Railway, at the tender age of 27. At first he is in awe of his new master, but soon he begins to wonder whether the sacrifices are worth all the effort as they face fierce resistance from the northern lobby (promoting the interests of Liverpool over Bristol) and the pressure begins to tell on a young and inexperienced Brunel.
“Fantastic........ brings to life the age of steam and one of the great characters of the Victorian era” Imogen Robertson, co-author of King of Kings with Wilbur Smith
“Story rattles along at a great pace” Broo Doherty, DHH Literary