Meet the richly eccentric Burton family: reigned over by the steadfast matriarch Harriet and surrounded by an equally peculiar cast of characters, their exploits are narrated in alternating voices by Wag, a World War I veteran, and his nephew Jack.
But the ever-evolving London of the twentieth century is as much a character as the Burtons themselves, with the narrative taking us on a journey from the Western Front to World War II, through post-war 'civvy street' to the 1960s gangster era of the sadistic Richardson Gang, and ultimately to the political tumult of the 1970s.
Drawing on his own uncle's handwritten World War I memoir and his recollection of family stories, author Paul Sidey has created a seamless fusion of family history, fact and inspired invention.
At times funny and tender, at other times violent and dramatic, The Book of Wag is the portrait of one family as they navigate the multi-faceted landscape of the London of another time.
"Deftly told and packed with action."
"It's an utterly charming novel... I loved it. It deserves to be published, not only because it's Paul, but because it's a richly-woven tapestry of a certain time (well, times) and of another London, erudite and witty and brimming with life."
"Elegantly written, deftly constructed, and high-spirited; a cracking tale, masterfully told."
"Inventive and robust, by turns tender and violent, this is a story about family, a changing world, and how we find our place."
"Two generations of South Londoners weave between love and crime in a vivid and picaresque journey."