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Croeso

Diolch am edrych dros y wefan.

Of hoffech wybod mwy am fy ngwaith, croeso

i chi gysylltu. 

 
 
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“A mighty read this, I feel bereft now that I’ve finished it, always a sign of a writer who can fascinate and engross the reader over 500 pages or so. This novel has at its heart the Chilean civil war – who knew? Not me. It is also inspired by the life and exploits of the author’s great great uncle, a Welsh lad who ran away to sea and became the captain of a steamship carrying mail and cargo up and down the Chilean coast in the latter years of the 19th Century.

Forced to turn his ship over to the government side in the insurrection he then carried troops and ammunition, facing all the usual moral quandaries of loyalty and betrayal amongst his colleagues and shipmates as well as the horrors of engagement. Other strands of the story are deftly woven in to the complex tapestry of events and provide richness and increased understanding of the pressures involved. Parliamentary questions are asked about the danger to British commercial interests in Chilean minerals and an English journalist dispatched by The Times to report on the rebellion finds that the ‘facts’ required by his editor do not match up to the facts he finds on the ground in Valparaiso.

I found this a totally satisfying novel, full of history told with a light hand and with the spark of adventure, with credible characters and a sure touch with the setting of an important Chilean port in the late 1800s. A cracker!”

— the Walter Scott Prize Academy Recommends
 

You can also order My Beautiful Imperial directly from the publisher, at www.victorinapress.com

Gallwch archebu My Beautiful Imperial yn syth o'r cyhoeddwr, ar www.victorinapress.com

 
 

’My Beautiful Imperial’ is a wonderfully epic story of friendship, unfulfilled love, human tragedy, war and Latin American politics that grips from the very beginning. It’s an exhilarating journey from the poorest parts of rural Wales to the Houses of Parliament at the height of imperialist Victorian London, from Australia as a new immigrant destination to Buenos Aires, from the perils of crossing the Andes to busy Valparaiso harbour and beyond.

The book is based on actual events that tore Chile apart at the end of the 19th century and were in part fuelled by British colonialism and the influence of powerful economic interests in London attempting to keep a grip on the lucrative trade in nitrates.

It vividly recounts the adventures at sea of Lewis’s great-great uncle yet also manages to skilfully interweave a narration of the social lives of poor farmers living around the Cardigan Bay area of Wales, the change and improvement in women’s rights and the complexities of Chilean politics at the turn of the century.

This exciting debut from a highly promising author finds a happy counterpart in a new small independent publisher founded by the Chilean poet, activist and academic Consuelo Rivera Fuentes.

A must-read.
— Leo Boix, journalist and poet

Read Leo Boix's full review here

Rhiannon Lewis’s novel, ‘My Beautiful Imperial’, is a masterly mixture of grippingly suspenseful historical adventure and character study set amid the political upheaval of nineteenth-century Chile. It is admirably researched - but the facts are introduced tactfully and tastefully. We are swept along not just by the action but by the dialogue, which bristles right from the start - and more than anything else, by the central figure of Davy Davies, the Welsh sailor caught up in the Chilean revolution.

Davies is an utterly memorable creation, erupting with believable life. (The image of him prancing around the room naked in a malaria-fuelled delirium will live long in the memory.) Davies’ doubts, foibles and passions become ours, and the innocence of his love affair with the unhappily married Estella is almost unbearably affecting, at times. But the secondary characters are almost equally vibrant, because Lewis has the enormous gift of summing up a person in a single, telling line: Estella’s husband, Laurence, for example, makes every caring remark sound like a rebuke. We ourselves genuinely care about Davies’ friends and colleagues and share his distaste his appallingly spiteful, embittered superior, Walker.

In its ability to enthral us at every moment, ‘My Beautiful Imperial’ has the cohesive perfection of a great Hollywood movie like Casablanca. Indeed, the spontaneous singing of Welsh songs on board the Imperial as the ship faces possible annihilation is as poignant a scene, in its way, as the memorable moment the refugees burst into a chant of the Marseillaise in that legendary film.
— Adam Feinstein, journalist and author of the acclaimed biography, 'Neruda'.
‘Skilfully blending fact and fiction, drama and tragedy, Rhiannon Lewis has produced an absorbing novel of depth and complexity. The unusual backdrop of the Chilean Civil War adds both colour and adventure as accidental hero Davy finds himself a very long way from his Welsh home. Highly recommended!’
— Catherine Hanley, historian and author of the Edwin Weaver medieval mysteries
‘This is a breathtaking story in terms of ingenuity, and based on fact, placing us in the 19th century and taking us from Wales to Chile. The descriptions of Welsh rural life and Chile are captivating, but above all the depictions of the gleaming boat and its passengers are wonderfully portrayed.’
— Historical Novels Review
‘Powerful and well written. It is a meaty read, one that will satisfy lovers of action stories
and historical fiction alike.’
— Reader for the Literature Wales Critical Service
‘The material is fresh – I can’t think of anyone writing about these particular historical events in fiction.’
— Michael Langan, author of 'Colour is a Shadow'
‘Very readable, engrossing. Terrific!’
— Karl French, author, editor and reader at TLC
 

PRAISE FOR SHORT STORIES

The Jugs Stay with the Dresser
(Winner, Frome Festival Short Story Competition)

Rhiannon Lewis’s ‘The Jugs Stay with the Dresser’ was the stand-out entry for me in this year’s Frome Festival Short Story Competition. A vivid, poignant story of a young wife in 60s rural Wales who finds her voice and discovers an unlikely ally along the way. Beautifully written with plenty of sweet to balance the bitter, it will stay with me for a long time.

— Laura Wilkinson, judge and author of 'Skin Deep'
Gabriel’s Halo
(1st prize winner, Writers’ Forum Magazine, November 2016)
There are so many good descriptive passages that it was hard to pick a few as illustrations. This is a story brimming with good things all the way through. I love the ending which reverberates with hope. We don’t have too much to worry about as long as Oswald and Gabriel are still on the job.
— Lorraine Mace, Head Judge, Writers' Forum Magazine