The Man Behind The Glass

Greg Howes

Synopsis

The Man Behind The Glass, front

“The Man Behind The Glass is based around a character called Septimus Blackwood, a Victorian photographer with a difference. The story is set in London’s East end in the year 1860 . It is predominantly a mystery adventure story, based on uncovering the hidden secrets of life and death and a quest for a missing legacy buried deep amongst the forgotten rivers and cellars beneath old London.

It is also a race against time, Septimus not only finds himself competing against the tide,he is also at odds with the twin evils of Joseph Bazalgette’s new sewage system and the formation of what was to become known as London’s underground train network.

It takes the reader on a supernatural journey of intrigue, horror and unexpected fantastical explorations. Mid Victorian London, was a place and time unlike any other; it was a time of expansion, vision, exploration and experiment. It was also a time of great contrasts, in wealth, health and opportunities. This intriguing voyage of discovery combined with the highly satirical characters found therein takes you to the edge of your seat and beyond…

The Man Behind The Glass is currently available as an e-Book

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Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting!14 Dec 2014

This is a fabulous novel – a perfect read for dark, frosty evenings. It is full of vivid description and mournful prose (...the mighty Thames, the great gateway to the world, catalyst of so many dreams and ideas … this murky cluttered seaway was the centre of the known world. Sure there were other great ports in Europe, but they were merely arteries to feed the great vibrant pumping heart of this British Empire.) (… dancers … mournfully waltzing their way through the dense mounds of rubble … the room was suffocating in its own indignant restlessness … its former grandeur seemed little more than a gold-gilted teardrop, embedded within the sodden fabric of its soul.) The intrigue, ghostly encounters, dark humour and historical facts are all riveting.

I was transported to the foggy, murky alleys, waterways and circuses of Victorian London, where I met a babble of misfits and miscreants: some of them charming in a way that melts your heart (little Pigeon and the Snake Girl); some of them wickedly witty and risible (the Rumbtuckles) and others downright menacing (John the Chemist has a very alarming secret!) The bizarre things Septimus does with photographs will both amaze and disturb you, and the haunting journeys through the underground tunnels of London, with their literal and metaphorical twists and turns, will have you on the edge of your seat. I couldn’t put it down and would highly recommend losing yourself in it too!

Miss M. Rawlinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic !!!20 Dec 2014

A fantastic read, taking you on a journey to the mid 1800's in London. The protagonist, Septimus Blackwood, has a plan to go to the underbelly of the city; the ancient tunnels that traverse under ground, to explore his family's history and thus to gather some ancient artifacts that he needs to further his experiments in his photography laboratory. Here he takes photographs of all kinds of people, utilizing this newly emerging science with the alchemy of materials and secret formulas, taking his models' pictures and capturing them, literally, as it turns out. The outcome of these journeys and the team he gathers to go with him are wildly imaginative and wonderfully entertaining. The writer has a masterful way of describing his characters and their exploits, taking the reader along on a journey, first above ground and then down below, discovering what may be the secrets to life and death and the interim between… truly a great novel!

William Bethnay
5.0 out of 5 stars Through a glass darkly…27 Dec 2014

Bubbling with intrigue. dripping with gothic nuance, overflowing with wonderful characters and fizzing with the filth of 19th Century London…

you will never look at a photographic portrait in the same way again…

I loved it… can you tell? !

Claire Dean

About the Author

Greg Howes is a genealogist, writer and historical researcher based in Carmarthenshire, South West Wales, UK. Greg has lived in Carmarthenshire for the last twenty five years, though originates from Thame in Oxfordshire, England, UK.

Greg’s work as a researcher has seen him present (and research for) family history programmes on television for both the BBC and ITV channels. He has taught family history (and horticulture, in his younger days) and featured on national and local radio stations answering questions and giving advice on family history and the historical landscape.

He has written many articles for various magazines on subjects as diverse as local history, dating and archiving old photographs, and the history of woodland and ancient trees in the landscape.

“The Man Behind the Glass novel is based around a character called Septimus Blackwood, a Victorian photographer with a difference. The story is set in London’s East end in the year 1860. It is predominantly a mystery adventure story, based on uncovering the hidden secrets of life and death and a quest for a missing legacy buried deep amongst the forgotten rivers and cellars beneath old London. It is also a race against time, Septimus not only finds himself competing against the tide, he is also at odds with the twin evils of Joseph Bazalgette’s new sewage system and the formation of what was to become known as London’s underground train network.

It takes the reader on a supernatural journey of intrigue, horror and unexpected fantastical explorations. Mid Victorian London, was a place and time unlike any other; it was a time of expansion, vision, exploration and experiment. It was also a time of great contrasts, in wealth, health and opportunities. This intriguing voyage of discovery combined with the highly satirical characters found therein takes you to the edge of your seat and beyond...

The idea for the novel was conceived in part when the author’s mother Jennie Howes asked members of the family to write a short ghostly/supernatural tale for Christmas Eve 2007, little did she, or indeed the author know what kind of a monster idea it would turn out to be. As a family history researcher Greg spent much of his time trawling through the 19th century so a book seemed a fitting companion to the research. Another source of inspiration came way back in 1968 when he was taken to see the newly released film Oliver Twist the musical at the tender age of four in London. Greg’s grandparents both lived in the centre of London at that time and he expected to see Fagin or the artful dodger around every corner, it remains today one of his favourite films.

Greg’s other great passion is photographic art and design. He has recently released a book featuring some of his work entitled, The Dark Room, which includes fifty (mainly) black and white images of his designs.

His other pastimes include walking, watching motorcycle speedway and reading. His favourite authors include - Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur Machen, Peter Ackroyd, David Gemell, Jack London, Charles Dickens, Bernard Cornwall, Algernon Blackwood, Henry Mayhew, Mary Stewart, Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Oliver Rackham, Marion Zimmer Bradley, H.P Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, Sheridan La Fanu and Conn Iggulden.

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Greg Howes
37 Alan Road Llandeilo Carmarthenshire Wales SA19 6HU

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