The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small
By: Neil Jordan
Publication Date: February 2021
The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small by Neil Jordan
Signed book plates available to order
Longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
‘It would begin with the burning mail coaches, my Citizen told me. And end with the citadel of freedom set up inside the castle gates. And I had a ticket for the playhouse for once. No more rapping at the stage door or hiding in the flies. So I took my time dressing that night while Julie attended to the lady and her child.
I had best be well appointed, for the curtain call or the advent of freedom, whichever happened first. But there was the problem of choice. Mine was limited to those well-worn Leinster duds, a greatcoat and some collarless shirts … And then I saw the case of his own clothes, which I had dragged all the way from Leinster House. I thought, he wouldn’t mind me wearing his. On this night of all nights.’
From multi- award-winning author and director Neil Jordan comes a new and stunning work of fiction, The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small. Blending the drama of real events with Jordan’s inimitable storytelling ability, this work spotlights a long-forgotten chapter in Ireland’s history.
The tale is related by Lord Edward Fitzgerald’s manservant Tony Small, a runaway slave who rescued Lord Edward after the Battle of Eutaw Springs during the American War of Independence. While the details of Lord Edward’s life are well-documented, very little is known of Tony Small, who, in this gripping narrative, examines the ironies of empire, captivity and freedom. Small, who knows too well the consequences of rebellion and resistance, reflects on Lord Edward’s journey from being a loyal servant of the British Empire to becoming a 1798 rebellion leader.
This story is populated with a brimming cast of characters, from Molly, who works as a maid in Leinster House, to Lord Edward’s lover Elizabeth Sheridan, her husband, playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Camden. The action moves from the Carolinas, to London, to Dublin, to the chaos of revolutionary Paris, and back to Ireland for its inevitable, tragic conclusion.
Jordan’s deft approach to The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small makes for a riveting parable of empire.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Neil Jordan is an Irish film director, screenwriter and author. His first book, Night in Tunisia, won a Somerset Maugham Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize (1979). He was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature (1981), the Irish PEN Award (2004), and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award for Shade (2005) and Mistaken (2011), which also received the 2011 Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year. His films include Angel (1982), the Academy Award-winning The Crying Game (1992), Michael Collins (1996) and The Butcher Boy (1997).
PRAISE FOR NEIL JORDAN
‘Jordan’s films divide roughly between the fantastical and the realist … His novels likewise, [and] he is at his most powerful when these two strands are most tightly interwoven … [a] beautifully judged blend of the ordinary and the uncanny.’ FINTAN O’TOOLE
‘Irish fiction needed a cohesively great novel, pulsing with darkness, intelligence and revelation. Here it is.’ EILEEN BATTERSBY, IRISH TIMES on Mistaken
‘There isn’t a false note anywhere in [Mistaken], either in terms of fidelity to place and memory or of insight into character.’ IRISH INDEPENDENT
‘It is an expertly spun ballad defined by themes of belonging, illusion and, fundamentally, fidelity.’ RTE
‘Jordan gives Tony an affectionately acerbic perspective. … [There are] many dramatic episodes in Fitzgerald’s short but wildly eventful life … Jordan has a wonderfully varied cast to work with.’ ALIDA BECKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES
‘A thrillingly written, gripping tale that revisits many of Jordan’s lifelong preoccupations with class, Irishness and sexuality to powerful moving effect.’ THE GUARDIAN
‘An enthralling and stirring chronicle … an expertly spun ballad defined by themes of belonging, illusion and, fundamentally, fidelity.’ ADAM MATTHEWS, RTÉ CULTURE
‘One of Ireland’s greatest, if ever-so-slightly unsung, novelists.’ PAT CARTY, HOT PRESS
‘Jordan’s prose is lyrical and his recreation of the period is rich in atmosphere … the power and beauty of words is a touchstone: Jordan has reclaimed a little-known story from Irish history, and given it new life.’ BOOKS IRELAND
‘His skill as a visual storyteller can be felt from the first page of this novel, and he wears his research lightly, galloping along with great drama and humanity … Jordan is a writer of uncommon talent. … [Written] with added cinematic pace and irresistible lyrical beauty.’ EDEL COFFEY, IRISH TIMES
‘Jordan creates an evocative sense of time and place, particularly the streets of Dublin.’ THE SUNDAY TIMES
‘Panoramic … Jordan possesses the knack of using detail to bring history to life.’ IRISH INDEPENDENT
‘A beautiful work, laid out like a Dublin street ballad … Jordan’s rich imagination soars.’ ANNE CUNNINGHAM, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT
‘This is a wonderful novel oblique and sensitive to his characters as real people, historical figures and is true to their times and its complications. Rarely has a historical novel worn its mastery of its subject so lightly.’ GOODREADS
‘Neil Jordan is a masterful writer.’ GOODREADS
|216 × 136 mm