I was too long on land, that’s what was wrong with me.
1800, Bethlem Hospital for the Insane. James Norris, an American Marine is without his ship and without his freedom. After a violent incident, Norris is moved to solitary confinement, his body chained to a stake for fourteen years, his mind shackled to its own tragedies; the commission he never took; the brother he lost; the friend he rescued but who then betrayed him; the lover who lied to him; the life that could have been his.
An intricate and compelling first person narrative that elegantly shifts between focus scene, recollection, dream and vision, that finally all fuse together in the mind of James Norris, a man with a love for potent sea images, cool yet lyrical and sensual prose, a cat called Davey and the unfaithful Ruth.
Inspired by the true story of James Norris, an American Marine who was ‘riveted alive in iron and for many years confined, in that state, by chains twelve inches long to an upright massive bar in a cell in Bethlem’ for 14 years.