James Miranda Barry

by Patricia Duncker


At the turn of the nineteenth century, ten-year-old James Miranda Barry enrolled as a medical student in Edinburgh, the start of a glorious career as a military surgeon. Across the Empire, Barry achieved fame not only as a brilliant physician, but also a legendary duellist and a celebrated social figure. But James Miranda Barry was also a woman. Her greatest achievement of all had been to 'pass' for a man for more than fifty years. Patricia Duncker's novel tells Barry's story for the first time, in a richly inventive and entertaining tale of dark family secrets, adultery, questioned paternity and colonial history. It confirms her rare talent as a writer of profound ideas and immense storytelling power. 'A miracle of a book that is richly atmospheric and gains the murky excitement of a Victorian thriller ' Sunday Times 'A marvellous work . . . superbly imagined and flamboyantly written' Beryl Bainbridge

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