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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 280 > LIFE HANGS BY A THREAD

LIFE HANGS BY A THREAD

TRUE-LIFE LOOK AT GEORGIAN LONDON’S CRIMINAL UNDERWORLD HAS ECHOES OF DICKENS AND WILDE

BOOKS

BOOK OF THE MONTH

THE FATAL TREE

Jake Arnott/Sceptre

→ Drawing on historical figures, this is a seductive, cunning tale of crime, punishment and love among the thieves, prostitutes and charlatans of 1720’s London. Laced with vibrant detail and deliciously evocative period language, Arnott’s atmospheric novel is a Hogarth print come to life. It tells the tale of Jack Sheppard, apprentice-turned-house-breaker, and his lover, the notorious whore and pickpocket Edgworth Bess: the Bonnie and Clyde of their day. Together they dare to defy Jonathan Wild, the corrupt “thief-taker general” who manipulates the criminal underworld like a puppeteer. From the condemned cell at Newgate prison, Bess gives her account of how she and Jack formed the most famous criminal partnership of the Georgian age and the price they pay — looming over all criminal life is the threat of the gallows, that long shadow of the fatal tree. Bess dictates her narrative to Billy Archer, a Grub Street hack and aspiring poet, who also inhabits that other underworld of molly houses and unnameable sin. With a cast of delightfully convincing characters and lines that are reminiscent of Dickens or Wilde, Arnott has triumphantly breathed life into history — and the result is glorious. 23 February

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About Attitude

Tom Daley is on the cover of Attitude’s ‘Body’ issue, talking exclusively about his ideal physique and why he’s tired of being seen as just a body. Plus, Attitude celebrates the male form in a revealing shoot with eleven men... Our survey of over 5000 readers reveals the shocking truth about how gay men really feel about their body… Editor-in-Chief Matt Cain strips off to show exactly what magazines can do to turn a real body into a fantasy physique… Plus, Joel Dommett reveals some rather embarrassing personal details about his time in the I’m A Celebrity… jungle.
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