On Wednesday 22nd March, The Books That Built Me is delighted to welcome best-selling author and screenwriter Jake Arnott to The Devonshire Club to talk about the six books that have inspired his writing and to discuss his latest novel, The Fatal Tree, a beguiling, inventive novel set in the criminal underworld of the 18th century, inspired by the true story of Edgworth Bess and her lover and partner in crime, Jack Sheppard.
Jake Arnott burst onto the literary scene with his debut novel The Long Firm, which sold more than a quarter of a million copies and was later a highly acclaimed drama series for the BBC. His successive novels quickly established his reputation as a writer of great talent, unafraid to take risks, crafting highly original tales in which, as the Guardian wrote, “his fictional (or more accurately, factional) characters bristle with authenticity.” Arnott’s most recent novel, The House of Rumour, was a dark, inventive story structured around the Tarot Arcana, which deftly balanced the pacy enjoyment of a thriller with bigger questions about what it means to be human, taking in cults, espionage, science fiction, Rudolf Hess and the Bloomsbury literary scene of the thirties.
The Fatal Tree is every bit as ambitious; its clever blend of fact and fiction conjures a seamy, riveting, Hogarthian world of thieves dens, brothels, molly-houses, vermin-infested prisons and coffee-houses, and I can’t wait to talk to Arnott about how he created such a compelling world.
Please note that Jake Arnott’s Books That Built Me is on a Wednesday and is also in a new venue, The Devonshire Club, which is barely a stone’s throw from the birthplace of The Fatal Tree’s Jack Sheppard, but more practically, it’s less than five minutes walk from Liverpool Street Tube station.
The Devonshire Club combines the chic, relaxed glamour of a Mayfair club with discerning elegance of the city. The brainchild of the people behind The Arts Club and Home House, the Club occupies an appropriately contextual 18th Century former East India Company warehouse and a large Georgian townhouse, yet the interior is as modern as you might expect from a writer like Arnott, and oozes the kind of sybaritic environment you’ve come to expect from The Books That Built Me.