Bronte's Inferno by Ewan Lawrie. Out Now!


I'm very pleased to announce that our very own Ewan Lawrie's new novel Bronte's Inferno is available to order now!


Publish and Be Damned

The narrator is a frustrated novelist, published just twice, under different pseudonyms. Living hand to mouth on what little work he can get as a proof-reader and occasional editor, he lives on the edge of Brontë country in a small town in the Calder Valley. When approached by the mysterious Editor-in-Chief, our hero is offered the deal of an eternal lifetime.

A cavalcade of characters parades through the pages as though they actually belonged there, in this biting satire. The life of an unsuccessful writer writ, if not large, certainly in exceedingly broad strokes.

Here's a review by Celticman:

Writers create versions of themselves on the page. Ewan Lawrie is a better version of myself on ABCtales. I read Bronte’s Inferno in one go. I couldn’t decide whether Bronte’s Inferno with a veiled reference to the Bronte sisters and the mystical worlds they created with their brother was also a satirical play on the great English novel. Or a pastiche of the great Russian and Soviet writer, who was actually from Ukraine, Mikhail Bulgakov and his satirical take on 1930s Stalinism, with a bit of help from the devil. Certainly the devil is here, Editor-in-Chief, offering the narrator a contract many of us writers would sign, sight unseen, promising fifteen seconds of fame (it used to be 15 minutes, but post Andy Warhol has since been scaled back). We also have the overly familiar black cat with an unwholesome liking for hard booze. Charon, ferryman of the underworld, provides a Rolls Royce and later a more inauspicious car to take our narrator to sign the contract which will end his life as he knows it. Charon is a woman, a mishmash of Hella the witch and Suzi Quatro who can pick up a knucklehead with one hand and show him ‘devil great drive’, especially in a shitty London pub.  

Ewan Lawrie’s Gibbous House trilogies are perhaps his best-known works, despite largely falling off the end of the world of publishing and ignored. A feeling many of us know too well. The plotting of the Master and Margarita injects a bit of whimsy, a bit of magic into Bronte’s Inferno. Not the Harry Potter kind, but perhaps more E. L. Doctorow’s dictum: ‘Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go’.  

The parallels are legion. Master (as in Margarita) is an unknown Ukrainian writer. His novel about another writer, Pontius Pilate. His mea culpa about his limited understanding and meetings with Jesus Christ isn’t panned, directly. Worse, his manuscript is rejected, largely sight unseen. He is locked up in the loony bin. The best place for any writers that has a messianic complex and believes they can make a living from writing.

The world-weary narrator of Bronte’s Inferno feeds on the same reality and displacement. Locked in a life, before his house burns down of a familiar routine of nothingness. To paraphrase, Victor Hugo, ‘Worlds trapped in a person’ who is of no interest to others. He finds enough energy to castigate his readers for failing to have noticed Moffatt’s triple murders and identity theft on the wrong side of the Atlantic in a place I once visited. Pay attention, the narrator of Bronte’s Inferno reminds readers, like a sharp-beaked teacher.  

  Devils remain who they are, no matter the dishonourific titles of Editor-in-Chief, or the appearance of an uncertain humanity. Woland magics a grand ball in Moscow in which the living meet with the dead. Writing confronts questions of identity, especially when ghost-writing celebrity non-fiction. The Editor-in-Chief has the final say. What way would you go? Read on. Write on. is external)





From one messaianic writer locked up in a looney bin to another - this book is a work of genius