The Great Level
A ‘magical, haunting’ (Philippa Gregory) novel of a tragic love affair in a threatened world
In 1649, Jan Brunt, a Dutchman, arrives in England to work on draining and developing the Great Level, an expanse of marsh in the heart of the fen country. It is here he meets Eliza, whose love overturns his ordered vision and whose act of resistance forces him to see the world differently.
Jan flees to the New World, where the spirit of avarice is raging and his skills as an engineer are prized. Then one spring morning a boy delivers a note that prompts him to remember the fens, and confront all that was lost there.
‘The most beautiful historical novel you’ll read all year… Extraordinary’
‘Richly involving… The story of a strange and passionate relationship’
‘If you want to be utterly transported to another time, another place, read The Great Level. A haunting depiction of love and difference’
"Stella Tillyard has done that magical thing - combined solid historical research with an ethereal sense of the past. Her New Amsterdam in America is as wonderfully realised as the shifting world of the Fens in England. It's a haunting book with characters who stay with the reader as their lives unfold like a sea mist" -- Philippa Gregory "The Great Level proves worth the seven-year wait... This is an impressive piece of work, rich in historical detail and human insight" -- Nick Rennison * Sunday Times * "Rousing and heroic... this is a novel of large vision and careful detail... [Tillyard] paddles her coracle deep into little-known channels and conjure atmospheres as thick as still summer air over the meres... Richly involving... The story of a strange and passionate relationship" -- Alexandra Harris * Guardian * "Historian Stella Tillyard's first fictional outing, Tides of War, earned her a 2012 Orange Prize nomination. Her second novel similarly showcases her skills as a chronicler of period and place... Fans of Rose Tremain will find much to admire in Tillyard's richly detailed and atmospheric romance" -- Stephanie Cross * Daily Mail * "There is much to love in The Great Level - Tillyard writes with great authority...and the book has the smack of authenticity. The passages that Eliza narrates...are wonderful" -- Antonia Senior * The Times *
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