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Ill Will by Michael Stewart

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March 2018 Book of the Month

I am William Lee: brute; liar, and graveside thief. But you will know me by another name.

A fiery, emphatic and intense glimpse into the missing years of Heathcliff. Leaving Wuthering Heights and naming himself William Lee, Heathcliff travels through the north of England, revenge forming on his mind. If you haven’t read ‘Wuthering Heights’ there is no need to look away, this could be the entrance to that fascinating world. I do feel you need to be aware that obscenities crop up, in fact sometimes litter the pages, and while this may put people off, I would advise looking beyond the surface to what lies beneath. The book opens with anger and deep rooted pain, William’s thoughts flare into being, the searing honesty and heat almost made me flinch. Michael Stewart allows William’s innermost being to spill onto the pages, William is so matter of fact about pain and suffering, about the world around him, the stark reality of the times seared their way onto my soul. And then there are the descriptions, the beautiful, eloquent descriptions of the countryside, the rural life, the old words. While rage, hurt and confusion swirl in a maelstrom of emotion, tenderness, love, and compassion lie waiting, biding their time. Yes ‘Ill Will’ is provocative, it is a disturbing, striking read, yet also strangely beautiful, and personally, I loved it. ~ Liz Robinson

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Sue Packer - 'Through humour, horror and violence follow the rollicking adventure of two young rogues seeking answers, fortune and revenge!'
  • Charlotte Walker - 'A fantastic novel filled with revenge and reminiscing that I couldn't wait to read and find our what happened. Although not for the faint hearted when it comes to the language used.'
  • Josie Barton - 'Forced out of his home, at Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff travels across Northern England, searching for clues to his past, on a journey filled with darkness, danger and deceit.'
  • Helen Precious - 'Hitch a ride with Heathcliff as he journey's into his past to find hope for the future. Blood, anger, deceit and passion leap from the pages in a likeable romp through the North of England.'
  • Jo Marie - 'Ill Will tells the story of Heathcliff's adventures during his 3 year absence from Wuthering Heights. Any fans of the original should definitely consider reading this.'
  • Alison Greenacre - 'A very dark interpretation of the missing years of Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights.'
  • Jennifer Flanagan - 'Where do I start with this book? I originally put myself off reading it because I'm not a fan of the classics. I'm so glad I persevered!!!' 


Ill Will by Michael Stewart

I am William Lee: brute; liar, and graveside thief. But you will know me by another name. Heathcliff has left Wuthering Heights, and is travelling across the moors to Liverpool in search of his past. Along the way, he saves Emily, the foul-mouthed daughter of a Highwayman, from a whipping, and the pair journey on together. Roaming from graveyard to graveyard, making a living from Emily's apparent ability to commune with the dead, the pair lie, cheat and scheme their way across the North of England. And towards the terrible misdeeds - and untold riches - that will one day send Heathcliff home to Wuthering Heights.

About the Author

Michael Stewart is a multi-award winning writer, born and brought up in Salford, who moved to Yorkshire in 1995 and is now based in Bradford. He has written several full length stage plays, one of which, Karry Owky, was joint winner of the King's Cross Award for New Writing. His debut novel, King Crow, was published in January 2011. It won the Guardian's Not-the-Booker Award and has been selected as a recommended read for World Book Night. He works as a is senior lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Huddersfield, where he is the director of the Huddersfield Literature Festival.

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Book Info

Publication date

22nd March 2018


Michael Stewart

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HQ an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


336 pages


Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
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Romantic Fiction

Historical fiction
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