Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Dunbar by Edward St. Aubryn

Henry Dunbar should be a happy man.  He created a massive media empire over which he ruled for many years, a feared and influential man.  So how has he ended up in Meadowmeade, a sanatorium for the very wealthy but a prison nonetheless?  It's amazing how little it took to strip Henry of his empire.  Take two greedy daughters, Megan and Abby.  Once they recruited Henry's personal physician to give him drugs to disorient his mind, things escalated rapidly, ending in Henry's total loss of freedom and access to funds.  He has one more daughter, Florence, but Henry pushed her aside a while back when she refused to get caught up in the battles of the business, opting instead to move to a remote location and live with her husband and children.

But Henry has a plan.  He's been hiding his medicine for a while now instead of taking it and his mind is getting clearer.  Along with his best friend in the clinic, he plans to escape and then take back his empire.  The initial phase goes well and they escape, but the friend opts to return, leaving Henry to push onward into the fog and mountain passes of the rural England landscape.  Can a man in his condition survive?  Who will find him, his two older daughters or his younger one who has forgiven him everything?

Hogarth Publishing has undertaken having authors rewrite Shakespeare's plays in a more modern setting.  This title is the rewrite of King Lear and as that title was, is full of drama and tragedy.  It ponders the question of what is really important in life, titles and money and fulfilling work or family and love?  Henry is not a positive main character although there is much to admire in him.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

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