From the critically acclaimed author ofThe Earth Shall Weep, a haunting first novel set in Victorian England, as inventive and multi-faceted as the oil paintings of J.M.W. Turner, the elusive genius who lies at the novel's heart. When Walter Hartright - the sheltered, upright character from Wilkie Collins's classic mystery novel - is commissioned to write a biography of England's great Romantic landscape artist, J.M.W. Turner, he discovers the "dark clue" hidden deep within the artist's brilliant paintings. Obsessed with reconstructing a life that is shrouded in mystery and steeped in rumour, Walter seeks helps from a Dickensian assemblage of the lowest and highest elements of society - the visionary John Ruskin, the haughty aristocrats, the desperate and the criminal. Soon enough, Walter uncovers evidence of unspeakable depravity, but can it be believed? Can the truth behind Turner's myth possibly be freed from a tangled, rapidly expanding web of conspiracy? A string of breathtakingly dramatic incidents sends Walter into a harrowing downward spiral from which only his loving and capable sister-in-law, Marian Halcombe, can hope to rescue him. James Wilson's first book,The Earth Shall Weep, established him as a groundbreaking historian and evocative storyteller. His debut novel plumbs the myth of creative genius, offering not only a fast-moving historical thriller, but also a startling commentary on the problems of seeking truth and recording history. In the tradition of John Fowles'sThe French Lieutenant's Womanand Charles Palliser'sThe Quincunx,The Dark Clueis a masterful fiction debut from one of the original voices of our time.