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From former British barrister John Burdett comes a psychosexual novel in the tradition of Damage and Presumed Innocent. At the heart of A Personal History of Thirst is an ill-fated love triangle where all hunger for something and are willing to risk everything to get it, blurring th eboundaries between right and wrong and love and hate to do so. Thirst tells a gripping tale of murder,r evenge, infidelity, ambition, and deception that keeps shocking until the stunning courtroom climax. Ambitious London lawyer James Knight, a propserous solciitor, has denied his lower-class background and carefully molded his publci image in order to climb the social and professional ladder of the British legal system. He will soon "take silk"—become a Queen's counsel barrister, the highest rank a alwyer can obtain.
More than decade earlier, however, James had lived on the fringe of acceptable society and rigid British ethics during his years at university, experimenting with sex and drugs in a passionate love affair with a stunning and brilliant American named Daisy Smith.
James's life takes an unexpected turn early in his career when he meets a client—an accused thief named Oliver Thirst—for a drink and a chat in a pub. Although they could not be more different, James is drawn to Thirst's high intelligence and wit. Soon their illicit friendship develops into a dark and erotic ménage á trois with Daisy at the center.
Now, eleven years later, one is dead and two are suspected of murder. The murder investigation at the center of this impossible-to-put-down novel uncovers the bizarre love story between the barrister, the American, and the thief. And, in the end, A Personal History of Thirst answers the question: What happens when genuine love becomes mixed with perverse obsession?
Former lawyer Burdett's first novel cleverly exploits a love triangle to highlight the mordant ironies of the British class system. Couched in terms of psychological intrigue, this three-part thriller uncovers deception involving ambitious James Knight, a defender turned prosecutor; Oliver Thirst, his former client; and Daisy Smith, an Anglomaniac American. In the first part, Daisy is charged with Oliver's murder. The second part is a flashback to the late 1970s, which establishes and develops the dark triangle. James, Oliver and Daisy all seek escape from their respective places in society. James, not being of blue-blood public-school stock, feels an outsider in the legal ranks even as he rises to the verge of receiving silks as a Queen's Counsel. That's when Oliver, trying to polish his native intelligence with schooling in order to escape the streets, reenters his life. Though it's unethical to continue contact with a former client, not to mention socially inadvisable to step down the class ladder for tea, James does so because of a secret in his own past. Meanwhile, Daisy is trying to erase the memory of a brutally abusive father while her British mother moves towards a devastating end. A convoluted strategem fabricated to free Daisy hides several sinister truths as the final battle of wits ensues in Daisy's trial, which consumes much of the third and most compelling-and funny-part of the novel. As legal machinations and revelations of cunning duplicity mount, Burdett drives his sharp-eyed amorality tale to its startling conclusion.