In prose that is darkly humorous and alive with detail, Valiant Gentlemen reimagines the lives and intimate friendships of humanitarian and Irish patriot Roger Casement; his closest friend, Herbert Ward; and Ward’s extraordinary wife, the Argentinian-American heiress Sarita Sanford. Valiant Gentlemen takes the reader on an intimate journey, from Ward and Casement’s misadventurous youth in the Congo—where, among other things, they bore witness to an Irish whiskey heir’s taste for cannibalism—to Ward’s marriage to Sarita and their flourishing family life in France.
- Casement joined the British Foreign Service in 1892 and won international acclaim for exposing the horrors inflicted by European powers on the native peoples of the Congo.
- On the evidence of so-called “black diaries” obtained by the British government, he was also condemned as a homosexual.
- The novel’s first seventy pages are particularly taut. Covering little more than a year from 1886, they convey the sense of time stalled and of men losing their bearings.
“On the evidence of so-called “black diaries” obtained by the British government, he was also condemned as a homosexual.”