The Knot

The Knot

Jane Borodale

Pub date
William Collins
A4 159x240mm
448 pages
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Book Overview

From the author of the Orange New Writers shortlisted THE BOOK OF FIRES

1565. Across Europe, a new era of natural science is dawning. In a remote, damp corner of Somerset, an unlikely pioneer is working to change the course of English botany. Passionate, private, meticulous – Henry Lyte has begun to neglect his other responsibilities in the pursuit of knowledge. This has happened before, with disastrous results.

Married again after the tragic death of his first wife Anys, Henry tries to forget the past, absorbed by his scholarly translation of a Dutch ‘Herbal’ and by the intricate herb garden he is planting, with a Knot at its heart.

Yet beneath the surface he is uneasy, and as the garden begins to flourish, old family troubles start to worm their way up towards the light. Here, on the edge of the fertile wetlands that his new wife Frances fears so much, Henry is accustomed to the peril of flood.

But when the unexpected death of his father unleashes the malevolence of his stepmother Joan Young, he is not prepared for this new threat that could destroy everything he has come to love…

About the author

Jane Borodale studied site-specific sculpture at Wimbledon School of Art. She was recently Leverhulme writer-in-residence at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex. Her first novel, The Book of Fires, was shortlisted for the Orange New Writers Prize, and she lives in the West Country with her husband and two children.


  • ‘This is a perfect book for the green-fingered reader…Borodale excels for the detail of her research while telling an evocative story.’ Historical Novels Society
  • ‘Time flew as I was transported back to the Somerset Levels in the mid-sixteenth century … Jane Borodale exhibits a breathtaking knowledge of all things rural and horticultural, as well as embedding history within her narrative … There are great swathes of beautiful description … pitch-perfect’ Dovegreyreader blog
  • Praise for Jane Borodale’s first novel, THE BOOK OF FIRES:
  • ‘Jane Borodale displays a deft touch in this very pleasing story’ MAUREEN WALLER, Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Borodale’s refreshingly original approach and engaging style makes ‘The Book of Fires’ a welcome addition to the historical fiction genre’Yorkshire Evening Post
  • ‘A dark atmospheric novel from a fantastic new voice in fiction’Bury Free Press, Book of the Week
  • ‘This author’s debut excels in it’s portrayal of the lot of the 18th-century underclass, of the development of the dark art of pyrotechny and of the swift and usually harsh treatment ofthose whose sole crime was that of poverty… this ‘Book of Fireworks’ really works and it sparkles along at a fizzingly glorious pace. Literary pyrotechnics on a grand scale’Lady