Peter Moore is a writer and journalist who has worked in Madrid and London. Born in Staffordshire in the early eighties, he read history and sociology at Durham University where he was arts editor of the student newspaper, Palatinate. He lives in London and teaches creative writing at City University.
Peter’s interest is historical conflict and the rapidly changing society of the early nineteenth century. His first book, Damn His Blood, is a reconstruction of a double murder in rural Worcestershire at the height of the Napoleonic Wars and was published Chatto in June 2012. Peter’s second book is The Weather Experiment, the story of the discovery of the science of weather forecasts, and was published in May 2015 by Chatto (Random House) in the UK, becoming an instant Sunday Times bestseller, and by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux in North America.
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THE WEATHER EXPERIMENT: THE PIONEERS WHO SOUGHT TO SEE THE FUTURE
In 1865 a broken Admiral Robert FitzRoy locked himself in his dressing room and cut his throat. His grand meteorological project had failed. Yet only a decade later, Fitzroy’s storm warning system and ‘forecasts’ would return, the model for what we use today.
In an age when a storm at sea was evidence of God’s great wrath, nineteenth-century meteorologists had to fight against convention and religious dogma. But buoyed by the achievements of the Enlightenment a generation of mavericks set out to explain the secrets of the atmosphere and learned to predict the future. Among them were Luke Howard, the first to classify the clouds, Francis Beaufort who quantified the winds, James Glaisher, who explored the upper atmosphere in a hydrogen balloon, Samuel Morse whose electric telegraph gave scientists the means by which to transmit weather warnings, and FitzRoy himself, master sailor, scientific pioneer and founder of the MET Office.
Reputations were built and shattered. Fractious debates raged over decades between scientists from London to Galway, Boston to Paris. Explaining the atmosphere was one thing, but predicting what it was going to do seemed a step too far. In 1854, when a politician suggested to the Commons that Londoners might soon know the weather twenty-four hours in advance, the House roared with laughter.
Peter Moore’s exhilarating account navigates treacherous seas, rough winds and uncovers the obsession that drove these men to great invention and greater understanding.
PUBLICATION DATE: 5th May 2015
DAMN HIS BLOOD: BEING A TRUE AND DETAILED HISTORY OF THE MOST BARBAROUS AND INHUMANE MURDER AT ODDINGLEY AND THE QUICK AND AWFUL RETRIBUTION
‘Damn him!’ he swore. ‘There is no more harm in shooting him than a mad dog!’
The brutal murder of the Reverend George Parker in the rural village of Oddingley on Midsummer’s Day in 1806 – shot and beaten to death, his body set on fire and left smouldering in his own glebe field – gripped everyone from the Home Secretary in London to newspapermen across the country. It was a strange and stubborn case. The investigation lasted twenty-four years and involved inquests, judges and coroners, each more determined than the last to solve Oddingley’s most gruesome crime – or crimes, as it turned out.
Damn His Blood is a fascinating glimpse into English rural life at the beginning of the nineteenth century, so often epitomised by the civilised drawing rooms of Jane Austen or the rural idylls of Constable. England was exhausted and nervous: dogged by Pitt’s war taxes, mounting inflation and the lingering threat of a French invasion, violence was rife, particularly in rural communities where outsiders were regarded with deep suspicion.
With a cast of characters straight out of Hardy, Damn His Blood is a nail-biting true story of brutality, greed and ruthlessness which brings an elusive society vividly back to life.
PUBLICATION DATE: 21 June 2012