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Gladstone paused for a moment, reflecting on the verdict he was about to deliver. "I have thought on this for some time," he said, "and I would say that Mr. Parnell was the most remarkable man I ever met ... He was a phenomenon. He did things quite unlike other men. He said things quite unlike other men ... I would say that he was a genius -- a genius of a most uncommon order." Dublin, March 1874: Charles Stewart Parnell, only 26 years old, speaks in public for the first time as a candidate for Ireland's Home Rule Party. Hesitant and nervous, he stumbles through his speech to the sound of booing and leaves the platform humiliated. He vows that in future he will find his voice and make it heard. Within three years of this speech, Parnell made the House of Commons unworkable; within six years he had destroyed the landlords in Ireland; and within a decade he controlled the House of Commons and put English Prime Ministers in and out of government at will. Parnell: A Novel charts the life of this most enigmatic and remarkable of men, as seen through the eyes of his loyal secretary James Harrison. From the Houses of Parliament to the blighted villages of the West of Ireland, from the courtrooms of the Royal Courts of Justice to the cells of Kilmainham Gaol, this is the story of how the character of one man could alter the fate of two nations.