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Against the Machine

Against the Machine


By Brian Van Norman

At war against Napoleon near bankrupt English mill-masters experiment with a new factory system acquiring machines to replace men. A young worker leads the Luddites attacking mills and smashing machines. With increased assaults and even murder North England feels the grip of terrorism. Government agents attempt to suppress the rebellion. In 1812 there are more British troops in North England than fighting Napoleon in Europe. Against the Machine relates the story of the diverse characters caught in this conflict. It unveils the rank exploitation which marked the Industrial Revolution. Timely, intense and reflective of another, technological revolution: our own.


Guernica Editions (Essential Prose Series)


412 pages |

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No book could be more timely. As concern grows daily about the impact of technology on the planet, Brian Van Norman traces the origins of the first organised resistance to machinery during the infancy of the Industrial Revolution in England. His evocation of the Luddite movement in its Yorkshire heartland is vivid and inspiring. The passing of an old way of life before the Juggernaut of economic progress is portrayed through a convincing cast of characters aligned on both sides of what the writer accurately depicts as naked class war...Van Norman succeeds in representing their fears of a rapidly changing world beyond their control and the doomed path their attempted resistance has forced them along...Jane Austen meets Quentin Tarantino.

Alan Brooke

In muscular language, earthy and poetic, Van Norman evokes the beauty and harshness of the Yorkshire Moors in a manner vivid for any reader.Amanda Hale

Against the Machine: Luddites challenged my preconception of historical fiction novels and has emerged triumphant. Brian Van Norman has, without doubt, opened my eyes to a genre that hitherto I was predisposed to overlook. It is a skilfully crafted saga based closely upon events and people in Yorkshire, England, in 1812, full of twists and turns. Right from the first line, “It was snowing indoors.” it grabs your attention and won’t let go.

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About the author

Once a teacher, theatre director and adjudicator, Brian left those worlds to travel with his wife, Susan, and take up writing as a full time pursuit. He has journeyed to every continent and sailed nearly every sea on the planet. With past awards in playwriting and short stories Brian turned his hand to historical novels.