Sebastian Faulks is known for some of the most brilliant fiction of the past 50 years, but in this book he has taken the more difficult challenge of writing three biographies, which could have been as dry as dust, and turning them into a work as rich and thrilling as any piece of fiction. His subjects are simply remarkable people, often unlikeable and always tragic. He finds unexpected links among them and muses on whether the causes of their tragedies are related to the English societal structures of their times. The result is an immensely satisfying narrative. Highly recommended.