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The Air Loom Gang
by Mike Jay
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"London, the 1790s. Europe has been turned upside down by the French Revolution and the bloody Terror that followed it. Plots, counterplots and conspiracies seem to be edging England into a disastrous war with France. Operating undercover across the city is a gang of revolutionary 'terrorists' armed with a machine unlike any the world has ever seen. They call it the Air Loom." "The Air Loom works by animal magnetism, sending invisible rays to control the minds of its victims, forcing thoughts into their heads and tormenting them with unbearable agonies if they resist. The gang has control of the minds of politicians and generals and is bent on plunging France and England into war. The only man aware of the Air Loom Gang and their diabolical machine is a tea merchant from Wales called James Tilly Matthews. But Matthews is a long-term resident of the Bethlem Royal Hospital - Bedlam." "The Air Loom Gang tells James Tilly Matthews' remarkable true story. While he was incarcerated in the world's most notorious madhouse, his delusions became celebrated as the most complex and bizarre ever recorded. He remains one of the most famous cases in psychiatric history - the first man to believe that his mind was being controlled by an 'influencing machine'. But the truth of his case was even stranger than his doctors realized: many of the incredible episodes in which he claimed to have been involved were entirely real." "The Air Loom gang is a detective story set in a world bedevilled by conspiracy and paranoia, war and revolution, which shines a light into the darkest recesses of Georgian England and witnesses the convulsive birthpangs of modern psychiatry. More than just a fascinating and improbable tale and one of the most colourful case studies in the history of madness, The Air Loom Gang is a startling portrait of a society poised to break through into the modern age."--BOOK JACKET.
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