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Unknown Gormenghast book discovered

15th January 2010

A new novel in Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast series has been discovered in an attic.

The Daily Telegraph revealed that Peake's granddaughter found a copy of the 210-page Titus Awakes in the attic of her south London home.

Handwritten in four exercise books, the manuscript was crafted by the author's wife Maeve and based on notes he made before his death from Parkinson's disease in 1968.

The writer's son, Sebastian Peake, told the newspaper: 'Following his death, my mother decided to see whether she could continue the Titus story that my father was not able to finish before he was totally incapacitated.'

Often erroneously referred to as a trilogy, the Gormenghast series comprises three books - Titus Groan, Gormenghast and Titus Alone - but Peake intended to write further instalments chronicling the protagonist's life.

Sebastian speculated that his mother wrote Titus Awakes as a cathartic exercise after Peake's death and because she was so involved with his earlier writings.

In addition to writing the Gormenghast series, Peake illustrated several books, including editions of Treasure Island, Through the Looking Glass and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

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