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MERCIA'S TAKE by Daniel Wiles
The industrial revolution is in full swing. A new century looms. Michael works down the coal pit in a small West Midlands town. His muscles ache. He coughs black gunk. Life is shit. There’s no hope for him, his wife or their son. That is until Michael knocks a chunk of gold from the seam. Along with his mate Cain, he hides it away and brings it to the surface. His future is made. Then Cain disappears. As does the gold. Fucked if Michael will let him get away with it.
Mercia’s Take is a brutally brilliant riff on the classic working class gothic. A hope that borders on dogged desperation runs strong beneath the unforgiving reality of Michael’s circumstances only to be kicked out of him at every turn. Wiles proves himself a master of the form, tightly controlling the action, spinning it through a regional vernacular that takes a bit of getting used to but makes for an authentic, immersive read. In lesser hands, it could have been an emotionally manipulative rip-off. Instead, Wiles has fashioned a powerful morality tale with a deep social conscience and enduring relevance that owes more to Steinbeck than McCarthy. Read it!
Mercia’s Take by Daniel Wiles
Swift Press, 2022