Mercia’s Take

Daniel Wiles

1870s, the Black Country.

Michael is a miner. But it’s no life for a man.

Michael exhausts himself working two jobs, to send his son Luke to school, so he won’t have to be a miner too.

Down the pit one day, he finds a seam of gold. If he gets it out, he can save his own life, and Luke’s.

But his workmate has other ideas…

Mercia’s Take summons an England in the heat of the industrial revolution, and the lives it took to make it. Gripping, powerful and intense, it is the debut of an astonishing new talent.

First published:
February 3, 2022


Reviews for Mercia’s Take

‘Read this novel and marvel at its language, dark and gleaming as obsidian. Daniel Wiles channels the Southern Gothic into the vernacular of the Black Country and unearths from the past a tale of desperation that speaks to our current damnation. A striking debut‘ – Paul Lynch

Energy and passion fuels this harsh and beautiful first novel; Daniel Wiles connects us viscerally to the past we have buried the history we choose to ignore‘ – Hilary Mantel

Feverishly compulsive … Narrated with spectacular economy, in a thudding, rhythmic staccato studded with local vernacular, the book deftly folds themes of pride, masculinity and ecological ruin into its central story: the visceral vengeance quest that ensues after a fellow miner makes off with Michael’s life-changing haul of gold’ – The Observer, 10 best debut novelists of 2022

Unsettling and heart-wrenching, this debut marks Wiles as a formidable talent‘ – Antonia Senior, The Times


Daniel Wiles

Daniel Wiles is from Walsall in the West Midlands. He recently completed the Prose MA at UEA, where he was the recipient of the Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship. Mercia’s Take is his first novel.