The Descent of the Lyre


‘A powerful literary novel’ The Sunday Telegraph

‘A well-written, lyrical tale’ The Bookseller

‘Gripping and highly original’ Louis de Bernières

‘Masterful storytelling’ Historical Novel Review

‘Unique, timeless and enjoyable’ Left Lion Magazine

‘A highly memorable tale told simply’ Vulpes Libris

‘Really thrilling’ Radio Bulgaria

It is the early nineteenth century, and the Bulgarian village of Gela, the legendary home of Orpheus, is suffering under the heavy taxation and arbitrary justice of Ottoman rule. When his bride-to-be is abducted the night before his wedding, Ivan Gelski takes to the hills and turns to banditry to seek revenge. But a chance encounter with a travelling guitarist, and the bloodshed that follows, set him on a musical journey through fame, martyrdom and legend. In this remarkable reinvention of the tale of Orpheus, Will Buckingham plunges us into the music and folklore of Bulgaria, in a parable about storytelling, sainthood and myth-making.

Will Buckingham writes both fiction and philosophy. His books include Goat Music (2015, ROMAN Books), Cargo Fever (2007, Tindal Street Press) and Finding Our Sea-Legs (2009, Kingston University Press). He is Reader in Writing and Creativity at De Montfort University.