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England, 1926. At St. Stephen's Academy, the students are on the verge of revolt. While the younger boys plot an insurrection, the older ones are preoccupied with sneaking out-of-bounds, thrashing each other, tearing each other's clothes off—or some combination of the three. Morgan Wilberforce, for one, can't take it any longer.
Everything Wilberforce touches turns to disaster in his desperate attempts to fight off boredom, desire, and angst. He knocks himself unconscious tackling the unattainable Spaulding on the rugby pitch, his headmaster detests him for crimes committed years ago, and even his closest friends are subjecting him to physical tortures normally reserved for juniors. When a horrific accident at the boarding school leaves him with more suffering than he could have fathomed, he finds himself utterly lost, ****** for a remedy to everything the disaster awakened. And a spiritual crisis isn't going to be solved by Victorian ******, cricket practice, canings from classmates, or fumbling with the pub-keeper's daughter.
H. S. Cross's Wilberforce is a tour de force of adolescent longing that heralds the arrival of a brilliant new novelist.