The Sacred Combe
by Thomas Maloney

The Sacred Combe

Scribe UK

Aged twenty-five, London banker Samuel Browne wakes one day to discovers his wife has left him suddenly. He must start again, and alone. Chancing upon an elliptical job advert tucked inside a second-hand book from Charing Cross Road, he quits his job and travels deep into the English countryside to begin work in the library of a remote manor house. But what is the purpose of the seemingly hopeless task set for Sam in the house’s ancient library? What is the secret of the unused room? And where does a life lose its way or gain its meaning?

Praise from the Desmond Elliott Prize

“This debut is a bibliographer’s delight as well as a philosopher’s forum and a naturalist’s guide. More, a salve for the panicked reader’s soul, as it was for its narrator. Samuel Browne calls his story ‘my brief treatise on flight’, a perfect analogy. His flight is internal, of the spirit, but it brings its own turbulence, specifically from the story of the mountaineering Sam Comberbache, whose traumatic life and death signal a family secret as seismic as Browne’s is cerebral. Here, Maloney whips up a revelatory storm, ingeniously insinuating emotional ferment beneath the serenity of his script.”

About the Author

Thomas Maloney was born in Kent in 1979, grew up in South East London, and studied physics at university. He is a competent but unexceptional mountaineer and an astigmatic birdwatcher. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife, daughter and kayak.