In Francis Brett Young s first Black Country novel published in , Willis, Hacket and Willis is a substantial industrial conglomerate which grew out of an ironworks, a colliery and a brickworks in the Stour Valley At the turn of the century the firm is drifting along, apparently comfortably, after doing well in several wars Walter Willis brings in a brilliant young engineer, Stafford, who develops a special steel giving hopes that it will rejuvenate the company Stafford, however, neglects his bored wife and the Willis s solitary son, Edward, also in the firm, completes a complicating triangle which causes turmoil but for the firm, one door closes and another opens The author was born less than two miles from the novel s semi rural setting and his grandfather was a director of the actual New British Ironworks on the site and lived in the big house there The fine geographical and technical descriptions are authentic and the story line is gripping


2 thoughts on “The Iron Age

  1. Dorcas Dorcas says:

    This one is so difficult to rate On the one hand, Francis Brett Young tells a story well and deserves several stars But in saying that, I didn t really enjoy this particular story he was telling.The crux of this drama is a sprawling, steel foundry very reminiscent of FBY s book White Ladies and this soot belching monster is the life and soul of Mr Willis While he has affection for his family, there is nothingimportant to him than steel and the steelworks It goes without saying This one is so difficult to rate On the one hand, Francis Brett Young tells a story well and deserves several stars But in saying that, I didn t really enjoy this particular story he was telling.The crux of this drama is a sprawling, steel foundry very reminiscent of FBY s book White Ladies and this soot belching monster is the life and soul of Mr Willis While he has affection for his family, there is nothingimportant to him than steel and the steelworks It goes without saying that the firm should be everything to Mr Willis son as well but Edward is not his father.Enter Mr Stafford Stafford is a man after Willis heart He not only, eats sleeps and breathes steel but he is working on a formula to create Titan Steel which will send common steel into obsolete uselessness With so much at stake and so much work to do, its small wonder that Stafford spares little attention on his shallow wife.But Edward doesSo now we have a love triangle set in a steelworks, right before the outbreak of WW1 The foundry is actually at the point of overreaching itself and is in danger of shutting down when there is a call to arms So while Mr Willis thanks his lucky stars for war, the armaments that he helps to create will be tearing men up overseas Men very like his sonCONTENT SEX None view spoiler there are a few kisses and an attempt at running away together but the lady s honor is never compromised hide spoiler VIOLENCE NonePROFANITY Very mildMY RATING Mild PG