1970: Fourteen year old Tony becomes seduced by the skinhead movement, sucked into a world of brutal racist violence and bizarre ritual. It's a milieu in which he must hide his homosexuality, in which every encounter is potentially explosively risky. 2003: James is a young TV researcher, living with his boyfriend. At a loose end, he begins to research the far right in Britain, and its secret gay membership. He becomes particularly fascinated by Nicky Crane, the leader of the movement who came out as gay before dying of AIDs in 1993. The two narrative threads of this extraordinarily assured and ambitious first novel follow Tony through the seventies, eighties and nineties, as the skinhead movement splinters and weakens, and James through a year in which he becomes dangerously immersed in his research. James starts to make contact with individuals on far right websites. He starts receiving threatening phone calls. And then the lives of these two very different heroes unforgettably intersect.
"Children of the Sun" is a work of great imaginative sympathy and range - a novel of unblinking honesty but also of deep feeling, which illuminates the surprisingly thin line that separates aggression from tenderness, and that gives us a picture of a Britain that is strange and yet utterly convincing.
Max Schaefer was born in London in 1974 and studied at Cambridge and Harvard. Children of the Sun is his first novel.