Ian Reid’s fourth historical novel is a gripping story about the twists and turns of conscience, racial and sexual tensions, the limits of historical enquiry, and legacies of guilt and shame.
Released from Dartmoor Prison in 1889, a black man breaks back into it soon afterwards. Interned in the same gaol during World War 1, a conscientious objector seems to invite trouble and seek harsh punishment. On a modern Australian university campus, a Turkish student is mysteriously killed. The suspenseful action of A Thousand Tongues gradually reveals how these enigmas are interlinked.
“The author’s prose is always vivid and evocative, almost poetic. The dialogue, moral dilemmas and contradictions are all handled with equally exquisite expression. It’s been a long time since I came to the end of a novel and immediately wanted to read it again to uncover more of its nuances. Ian Reid is a revelation, and deserves the widest recognition as a remarkable ambassador for Australian historical fiction.” Historical Novel Review (U.K.)
“A great gathering of personality, character after character, in irreducible and fully imagined life… Ian Reid gives us the ‘life-surplus’ of history: love and journeys and work and ideas, fear and purposeful action and sometimes failure, all playing out before us in this big and beautifully balanced novel of character.” Brenda Walker, author of Reading by Moonlight