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The Revolution in Tanner’s Lane

Mark Rutherford

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The year is 1814, and the newly married Zachariah Coleman is restless. An ardent Dissenter, the tensions in his deeply held religious convictions are coming to the surface. A convinced Republican, his political commitments are leading him into conflict. And while he longs to love his young wife, he begins to fear he cannot. In due course, Zachariah becomes involved with the march of Blanketeers that left Manchester for London in 1817, but which quickly ended in disaster. Zachariah himself flees, his life changed forever.

Once this story plays itself out, the narrative moves on twenty years to the next generation, and to the sleepy town of Cowfold where, again, the winds of political and religious change are blowing. Zachariah, now resident in London, has friends in the village. Their story begins to echo Zachariah’s own, albeit on a different scale, and with different contours and consequences.

The Revolution in Tanner’s Lane is the third novel by Mark Rutherford, the pen name of William Hale White. His writing career developed relatively late in his life: he published his first novel at the age of fifty while working as a parliamentary reporter. He published his novels in such secret that his own family was not aware of them—which was his intention, as the novels were deeply autobiographical, and he wished to avoid associating his fiction with his family.

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