A new psychological thriller set in Victorian Great Yarmouth and the Broads launched at the Time and Tide Museum this week. Here, Charles Reader, author of The Faces of the Fiend of Breydon, explains the inspiration behind it
The Faces of the Fiend of Breydon by Norfolk author, Charles Reader, is a tale of fear, obsession, passion, greed, folly, and death, played out against a vast backdrop of marsh and sky – empty, but for distant, shadowy forms. This psychological thriller, primarily set in Victorian Great Yarmouth and the Broads, was shortlisted out of an entry of 13,500 in WH Smith’s Raw Talent competition back in 2002 and is published for the first time in paperback by Norwich publisher Paul Dickson, 21 years later.
Charles Reader, who lives in East Norfolk, explains: ‘In 1961, my family came to live near Halvergate marshes. I was just two years old and so, as I grew up, this landscape was home. In later life I often returned to stay with my parents – yet each time I did so, I realised that more of the old Norfolk speech and ways I’d grown up with had disappeared and were in danger of being forgotten. So, I began writing about this area, using my childhood memories and conversations with our oldest neighbours. This eventually resulted in my novel, The Faces of the Fiend of Breydon.’
For protagonist John Sayer – wildfowler, sailor, and naturalist – the wilderness of his East Anglian home should be a paradise. But for John Sayer – thief, and bringer of death to many – the same wilderness is haunted by his nemesis. It follows him around the marshes and rivers in many guises – and chases him across the open oceans, around the fetid streets of Rio de Janeiro and back through the dark alleys of old Yarmouth. He knows this demon will eventually catch up. Then it will drop all its masks for the final reckoning.
Charles, who read English Literature at University College London and went on to teach English in the UK, Kuwait and Germany, adds: ‘It was a great boost to me to reach the final six of WH Smith’s Raw Talent competition back in 2002 and it is now a great pleasure to see my book in print, published by Paul Dickson Books.’
The Faces of the Fiend of Breydon by Charles Reader, is published by Paul Dickson Books (£12). Visit pauldicksonbooks.co.uk. The book is also on sale at Allthingsnorfolk.com and Amazon.
Featured image of Charles Reader, by Paul Dickson