My Beautiful Imperial by Rhiannon Lewis


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Driven from all that matters, Davy has been sent away to sea. He must navigate a way between bullies and storms, just to survive. Against the odds, success is within reach – his first captaincy is promised and he has met Estella. But revolution erupts in Chile. Davy’s new ship, the Imperial, is commandeered, along with its crew. Amidst the terror, Davy learns to call another country home. He learns that love and friendship have no borders of their own.

The Author
Rhiannon Lewis was raised on a small farm near Cardigan on the West Wales coast. She has won prizes for her short stories, including ‘Gabriel’s Halo’ (1st prize, Writers’ Forum, November 2016) and ‘The Jugs Stay with the Dresser’ (1st prize Frome Festival Short Story Competition). Recently, in December 2017, she was awarded the Third Prize in the Hammond House, International literary Prize with her short story ‘At a Junction’.

Read Chapter 1

Recommended by the Walter Scott Prize Academy 2018 My Beautiful Imperial is a debut novel which combines historical events with fiction. It was written by Welsh author Rhiannon Lewis

Catherine Hanley, historian and author of the
Edwin Weaver medieval mysteries comments:

‘Skillfully blending fact and fiction, drama and tragedy,
Rhiannon Lewis has produced an absorbing novel of
depth and complexity. The unusual backdrop of the
Chilean Civil War adds both colour and adventure as
accidental hero Davy finds himself a very long way from
his Welsh home. Highly recommended!’

My Beautiful Imperial was published on 3rd of December 2017 by Victorina Press, a newly established independent press in the West Midlands.

The novel is available in two formats (Paperback and hardback)  from our shop, Waterstones and from Amazon. The Kindle version will be available mid August. It is also being translated into Spanish and will be launched in Chile at the end of November 2018.

Young designer (and the author’s son) Steffan Glynn created the stunning cover of My Beautiful Imperial.

Recently the novel has been longlisted by The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize

Comments (6)

  • Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes -
    My Beautiful Imperial by Rhiannon Lewis (Academy Recommends)
    “A mighty read this, I feel bereft now that I’ve finished it, always a sign of a writer who can fascinate and engross the reader over 500 pages or so. This novel has at its heart the Chilean civil war – who knew? Not me. It is also inspired by the life and exploits of the author’s great great uncle, a Welsh lad who ran away to sea and became the captain of a steamship carrying mail and cargo up and down the Chilean coast in the latter years of the 19th Century.
    Forced to turn his ship over to the government side in the insurrection he then carried troops and ammunition, facing all the usual moral quandaries of loyalty and betrayal amongst his colleagues and shipmates as well as the horrors of engagement. Other strands of the story are deftly woven in to the complex tapestry of events and provide richness and increased understanding of the pressures involved. Parliamentary questions are asked about the danger to British commercial interests in Chilean minerals and an English journalist dispatched by The Times to report on the rebellion finds that the ‘facts’ required by his editor do not match up to the facts he finds on the ground in Valparaiso.
    I found this a totally satisfying novel, full of history told with a light hand and with the spark of adventure, with credible characters and a sure touch with the setting of an important Chilean port in the late 1800s. A cracker!”

  • Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes -

    Historical Novels Review
    “This is a breathtaking story in terms of ingenuity, and based on fact, placing us in the 19thcentury and taking us from Wales to Chile. The descriptions of Welsh rural life and Chile are captivating, but above all the depictions of the gleaming boat and its passengers are wonderfully portrayed.”

  • Paloma Zozaya -

    I loved the book! It is so entertaining, poetic and touching, characters are so alive, all while educating about the Chilean civil war, which I knew nothing about. The descriptions of landscapes are breathtaking at times, I could just see the layers of lilac mountains and the snowed peaks of the Andes towering behind; the description of the first arrival in Valparaiso puts you right there so you experience the beauty … Chapeau Rhiannon Lewis!

  • Reha Tanor -

    Who is the cover designer of this book ?

  • Reha Tanor -

    May I know the cover designer of the book My Beautiful İmperial ?

    • Sophie Lloyd-Owen -

      The cover designer for My Beautiful Imperial is Stephan Glynn.

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