The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho

“An absolutely thrilling, throat-catching wonder of a historical novel” STEPHEN FRY

Paterson Joseph author



Published:5th Oct '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho cover

'A great storyteller and a fabulous actor. Well done, sir!' DAVID HAREWOOD

'Phenomenal! Highly recommended.' MALORIE BLACKMAN

'An absolutely thrilling, throat-catching wonder of a historical novel. Hugely recommended.' STEPHEN FRY

For fans of The Miniaturist and The Confessions of Frannie Langton comes this award-winning novel of illuminating historical fiction.

Meet Charles Ignatius Sancho: his extraordinary story, hidden for three hundred years, is about to be told.

I had little right to live, born on a slave ship where my parents both died. But I survived, and indeed, you might say I did more...

It's 1746 and Georgian London is not a safe place for a young Black man, especially one who has escaped slavery. After the twinkling lights in the Fleet Street coffee shops are blown out and the great houses have closed their doors for the night, Sancho must dodge slave catchers and worse. The man he hoped would help - a kindly duke who taught him to write - is dying. Sancho is desperate and utterly alone.

So how does Charles Ignatius Sancho meet the King, write and play highly acclaimed music, become the first Black person to vote in Britain and lead the fight to end slavery?

It's time for him to tell his story, one that begins on a tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, and ends at the very centre of London life. And through it all, he must ask: born amongst death, how much can you achieve in one short life?

"Utterly infectious." - The Times

The Times

An absolutely thrilling, throat-catching wonder of a historical novel. I read with alternating fascination, dread, hilarity, admiration, sorrow and triumph for a full life rendered with such animation, brilliance and understanding. Told in wonderful prose and with dazzling energy and brilliant panache. Hugely recommended -- Stephen Fry
Elegant, moving and vital, that this book is the product of a deep interest and long study of one man's life and times is evident. But what Paterson Joseph does - what every writer of historical fiction yearns to do - is make history fall away so that in every moment we are immersed in a lived life. A stunning debut. -- Jess Kidd
With his intriguing novel The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho, Paterson Joseph has fully inhabited the important eighteenth-century figure of Sancho. Taking the known facts of Sancho's life as a slave-born man who became known to both the black and white communities of London, from nobility to working class, Joseph breathes vivid life into the first black man to cast a vote in the England, but whose family ranked higher in his heart than any others in his life. The novel sings with the words of a man who survives his struggles, and expresses himself through music, language, and love. -- Gretchen Gerzina
I so admire Joseph's verbal imagination which seems to effortlessly bridge the gap between our time and Sancho's. In a huge, warm, real voice, Joseph makes us look at a past world from another perspective. It's terrific. -- Harriet Walter

ISBN: 9780349702377

Dimensions: 196mm x 126mm x 32mm

Weight: 340g

432 pages