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The Great Field lies in the bend of a broad, meandering river. Bounded on three sides by water, on the fourth side it dwindles gradually into wilderness. A handful of tents are scattered far and wide across its immensity. Their flags flutter in the warm breeze, rich with the promise of halcyon days.
But more and more people are setting up camp in the lush pastures, and with each new arrival, life becomes a little more complicated. And when a large and disciplined group arrives from across the river, emotions run so high that even a surplus of milk pudding can't soothe ruffled feathers. Change is coming; change that threatens the delicate balance of power in the Great Field.
Magnus Mills's new novel takes its name from the site of a 1520 meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I of France, to improve relations between the countries as the Treaty of London deteriorated. It allegorically suggests a number of historical encounters on British soil: the coming of the Vikings, the coming of the Romans. But The Field of the Cloth of Gold sits firmly outside of time, a skillful and surreal fable dealing with ideas of ownership, empire, immigration, charisma, diplomacy, and bureaucracy. It cements Magnus Mills's status as one of the most original and beloved novelists writing today.