The Author Peter Maughan 

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Batch Magna

('Life in that magical never-never dimension 

between land and river, England and Wales,  reality and 

wistful thinking.')


'Hurrah for Batch Magna, Humphrey and friends!' 

The Batch Magna 


("A delightful world 

of unforgettable characters")

The Cuckoos


Batch Magna

Sir Humphrey


Batch Hall


Batch Magna 


Clouds In

Summer Sky 

The Ghost 


Artemus Strange.

Love and Miss Harris
 The first in a new series

 In her room in Burton and Boxgrove, Nancy Dunn danced as Genevieve Clifford in her sleep to words that turned, in the way of dreams, into something like music. Words she had fallen asleep over in bed, her well-thumbed copy of Love and Miss Harris on her chest.
     Words, music, that in sleep had released Genevieve Clifford from the wings of the Phoenix Theatre, from the shadows Nancy Dunn had long looked on and envied from, to dance in a brilliance of lights, and the embrace of an audience like love in the velvet dark.

"A book easy to fall in love with ..."

"It is a warm, funny nostalgic novel where the vivid characters and scenery jump off the page to take us on a roller coaster of adventure. Batch Magna fans, you will love it!"

"A cast of wonderful characters bring this story of life and love to magical fruition ..." 

"A great big dollop of delight in this wonderfully entertaining novel ... Perfectly portrayed cast of characters (make for) fabulously escapist reading ..."  

"...enchanting and thoroughly entertaining in an old Ealing Comedy fashion."

"A lively fun story set in post war Britain and full of delightful quirky characters. With over 30 years crewing and stage managing for amateur theatre as being a fan of historical fiction it hit all the  right notes."

"Maughan has a great ability to make his characters live on the page ... The life of a repertory company on  tour in the 1950s is captured beautifully ..."

"Quirky, fin, and just a brilliant read. I loved it!"

"This my first book by author Peter Maughan and it will not be my last!"

"Such a great, wonderful ride, and wonderful ambiance and setting."

                     Passage to Spring

Sweetened by a tower of Norman stone, the bells of Lent, carrying on their ancient sides the names of saints and merchants, squires and parsons, thymes and prayers, rang out over the village, their peal of eight tumbling in an avalanche of iron down and across the valley, the land from hillside to hillside drowned and ringing ...
 From Peter Maughan's Critically Acclaimed



Apple Boughs

Read it here

'Under the Apple Boughs is one of the most glorious reads in English literature ...'

'A pastoral symphony ... Lyrical, descriptive, haunting at times, always beautiful.' 

'A song of seasons, a Medieval illuminated Book of Hours ... For me, the touchstone comparison is Dylan Thomas’s elegiac A Child’s Christmas in Wales ... '

   "A Lord of Time, with a fine set of whiskers ..."

“ ... he sailed at their head to dry dock, where they were dismantled and hauled across to the rail head for the journey to Shrewsbury and the home waters of the Cluny, carried there on a train pulled by an engine called Progress."


" ... the PS Batch Castle pulled away to the sound of ‘Hearts of Oak’ from the band on the quayside, the bouncy, sea-brisk notes following her out to midstream."

"By the river and with it and on it and in it. It’s brother and sister to me, and aunts and company, and food and drink. It’s my world, and I don’t want any other ..."

                    Look ...

Bill Sikes, a dog of a dog.

" ... and high above the willows a yellow moon sat as fat as butter in the shining dark with its face in the water, the river running with its light midstream as if it were dissolving there. "

"And sweet eyes bright with lust, the hares met in twilight circles and jack tumbled jill or was sent on his way by her, boxed and ringing across the maddening, doe-scented fields ..."

'You were born  with a silver spoon in your mouth and you ended up pawning it ....'

'Peter Maughan - A Writer Who Lets The Magic In.'

'Discovering Peter Maughan’s work is like having the privilege of being among the first to discover Dickens ... I stumbled onto The Cuckoos of Batch Magna, attracted by the unique title. I never had a clue that it would entirely change my opinion of modern literature. This book will not only restore your hope that great literature is still being produced, but provide you with one of the most entertaining reads in recent times ...' 
Henrietta B, Lala.

',.. Were the Faculty of Intertextual Meta-Studies to exist, and were it, per impossibile, an academic discipline rather than an unacademic indiscipline, and were it followed with any intellectual honesty, the Batch Magna Chronicles should be its classics and its sacred writings. They are “much riches in a little room.” I feel great sympathy for those who have yet to make their acquaintance; and an exasperated pity for those who choose not to do.'
Markham Shaw Pyle book reviews. USA

'The book reminds me of nothing less than a classic Ealing comedy (think 'The Titfield Thunderbolt' or 'The Maggie'), full of British eccentrics, ambitious Yanks and English countryside. The pity is that when they come to make the movie they will have to leave out Maughan's wonderfully descriptive language.'
Chris Cobb. Amazon.UK

'Escape from the madness of life for a while into the glorious, madcap eccentricity of Batch Magna, revel in its surroundings, lose yourself in its people. Wonderfully warm, gently witty, woefully wry and utterly, utterly compulsive. A delight.' 
Netgalley UK review.

'... To give a rough idea of the style, I could mention All Creatures Great and Small, Buds of May, To the Manor Born and such, but it would really do the Batch Magna books an injustice because Maughan paints with a much finer brush and a richer palette, bringing to life a large number of deliciously amusing characters that immediately feel like people we know, or would want to know.'
Blue Dolphin. 

The Cuckoos of Batch Magna

'To enter the world of Batch Magna is to lose oneself in a parallel universe.' 

'A stunningly charming tale, one that becomes part of your heart ... the work of a master of  prose with the soul of a poet ...' 
'I regard him as one of the great English writers ...'

'It has been a long time since I have found a British novel that calls to my heart...'

'It will go into the history of literature as one of the classics ...'  

'A masterpiece that is breathtaking in its scope ... 

'Ah, there is the rare writer, who, like the beloved Charles Dickens, composes a tale with such heart and an endearing gallery of quirky characters ...' 

'It belongs in every library, on every bookshelf ...' 

'One of the great lyrical writers ...'

'Even the name 'Batch Magna' seems to swirl in a pinch of star dust ...' 

'Each unique soul is vibrantly alive, and his deft pen moved them into my heart and life ...'

'It is nothing less than literary brilliance ...'

'The Cuckoos of Batch Magna is destined to become an English classic for many, many generations of readers ...' 

'A small literary masterpiece ...' 

'The descriptions of the countryside are wonderful. Peter Maughan is an artist with words. John Constable did not do better with his paintings ...' 

'Such beautiful poetry wrapped in the soft cashmere prose of a terrific story-teller of an author ...'

'A modern British comedy gem that will quickly become a classic ...'

'The Cuckoos Of Batch Magna is one of those rare literary gifts that left me in complete awe ...!' 

'Maughan writes with lyrical language of great beauty.' 

'The Cuckoos of Batch Magna is going to become one of the most beloved books of the decade ...'

'English prose at its finest ...'

'At his molten core, Maughan is a poet firmly in touch with all five of his senses ...'


The Cuckoos of Batch Magna

'You will never forget how it made you feel.'

'One day the public will look out and be astonished to learn what has been created right under their noses ... Peter Maughan has created a true English classic and I predict that it will 'suddenly' be discovered as such before very long.'
Henrietta Bellows. LaLa, St Martinville, LA, USA, Amazon review. 

'The Cuckoos of Batch Magna is reminiscent of H. E. Bates' autobiographical book, Down the River and other great literary works set on the river, both urban and rural: George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, Joyce Carey's The Horse's Mouth, Penelope Fitzgerald's Offshore, Graham Swift's Waterland, and Iain Sinclair's Downriver, for starters. In these works, as in Peter Maughan's wonderful novel, it is the unforgettable interaction between the river and the characters that remains indelible.' 

Gillian Mary Hanson, author of 'Riverbank and Seashore in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century British literature'

'Looking ahead, I can see a time when literary historians will put (Peter Maughan's) work in just such a perspective as Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows.' 

James Ellsworth, United States, Amazon Vine Voice.

'I stand by my prediction that he will be recognised as one of the great English writers ...'

Henrietta Bellows, Lala, LA USA.

'A modern British comedy gem that will quickly become a classic … Indeed, this is a book that will remind some readers of other bucolic comedy masterpieces. (The Cuckoos of Batch Magna belongs in such illustrious company!) Jerome K. Jerome’s three young boating men … Wodehouse’s unflappable and ever-resourceful valet, Jeeves, could have helped the hapless and accident-prone Bertie Wooster during one of his country rambles to this rural Eden. Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim would have felt at home here. Almost certainly Kenneth Grahame’s Ratty – who lived by and on the River, and liked nothing so much as messing around in boats … H.G. Wells’ Polly would have loved to settle down here! (Perhaps he did.) Laurie Lee, and his loving, cider-drinking Rosie, actually lived in one of the nearby valleys …! 


'... We may be reminded of the wonderful film, The Titfield Thunderbolt, Compton Mackenzie’s Whisky Galore, and classic Ealing Studio comedy films, such as The Maggie  … H.E. Bates’ The Darling Buds of May, relocated westwards, in cider country, away from the hop fields of Kent … The best books stand up to re-reading, savouring, reflecting, and remembering. The Cuckoos of Batch Magna is one of these best books!' 

Dr John Gough (Australia), Amazon review.

'An absolute joy. They don't write books like this anymore. The BBC with an American production company should snap this up and make and series of it immediately. What a sumptuous delight so eloquently written. Perfection, a gorgeous read ...'
DMR Collett (UK) Amazon review

'Ah, there is the rare writer, who, like the beloved Charles Dickens, composes a tale with such heart and an endearing gallery of characters ... where the setting is so beautifully described it is like a National Geographic photograph. There is a sacredness of place and community and tradition and yes old fashioned love of home, the river, and Wales in this wonderful novel ...'
J. S. Kelly (US) Amazon review.

'You should even read this to infants because the cadence and beauty of the words are good entries into the world of literature ... for anyone who loves the written word to miss the opportunity to read and relish this gem would be sad indeed. It will go into the history of literature as one of the classics. Give yourself a gift and read The Cuckoos of Batch Magna.'

JoyMarie Pavarini-Jaecks, Lover of the Writen Word, (USA), Amazon review.

'A masterpiece that is breathtaking in its scope ...'

Ginger D. Harman, Book Talk America.

'Absolutely stunning. At last some literary fiction worthy of being read again and again ... This is a book for those who wish to celebrate the human spirit, a dose of much needed medicine for the disturbing world around us.'

Linda A. Root (California), USA, Amazon review.

'The combination of wry British humor, gorgeously evocative description, great characters, wonderful dialog and leisurely fascinating plot is masterful … Imagine McCall Smith writing on the English-Welsh border, add soaring descriptions of meadow, river and home, build it all into chapters that end like well-made TV episodes, nicely complete and leaving you yearning for more, and you’ll get the picture …' 

Shelia Deeth, USA, Top Amazon 1000 Reviewer (Vine Voice).

'Literary perfection ... I've not encountered another writer who uses such beautiful wording. His scenery descriptions come alive as if they are a character themselves.' 

Liz Terek, (United States), Amazon review.

'The Cuckoos Of Batch Magna is one of those rare literary gifts that left me in complete awe ...!'

Kimberley Scott, (USA), Kimberley's Bookshelf. 

'It has been a long time since I have found a British novel that calls to my heart. The Cuckoos of Batch Magna  by Peter Maughan is going to become one of the most beloved books of the decade ... This is a story that will restore your weary soul.' 

Jenny Willis, (VA, United States,) Amazon review.

'In language as lilting as the waters lulling the hulls of the houseboats of Batch Magna, Peter Maughan, raconteur extraordinaire, leads us on a lyrical glide down the River Cluny through this fictional backwater of misfits—cuckoos both feathered and fleshed. Boasting an oddball cast of dysfunctional characters whose eccentricities, in true and fine English fettle, are more endearing than damning, this spicy evocation of Welsh country life is perhaps most aptly coined as 'Midsomer Murders meets Mark Twain ... ' 

 E. Llewelyn (London, UK), essayist, poet, and author of the 'Suicide Ride' series, Amazon review. 

'... There is a delicacy and precision in the manner in which this tale advances, which gives one hope for the future of the English language.'

Peter Ellson (France) Amazon review. 

'... You will never forget how it made you feel. All good stories should delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, and challenge. I was not disappointed ... I'll leave you with the words of Mark Twain, that helps express the feeling I walked away with after finishing The Cuckoos of Batch Magna: 'Such slathers of ancient friends, & such worlds of talk, & such deep enjoyment of it!'  

Mark Van Aken Williams, USA, author of 'The Burlesque of Graceless Acting' and 'The Prophet of Sorrow.'

'... The magnificent descriptions in this story enliven my every sense. For example passages like, 'Phineas felt (the rising sun) touch his face, warming it like a cow's summer breath, fragrant with flowering grasses and meadow herbs and clover. With all the scents of summer ripening in the valley, under a creamy, blue and white marbled sky' send me into a state of rapturous presence in the scene. Such passages make Batch Magna as real to me as if I'd been there in person . Peter Maughan's descriptive skills extend to people. Each unique soul is vibrantly alive, and his deft pen moved them into my heart and life.'

Sharon Lippincott, (USA), Amazon review.

'... so enchantingly and poetically told that the prose sings like the owls, larks, and rooks (and cuckoos). ... it is about a way of living. It is about a love of paddle steamers, barges, otters and all God's creatures great and small, and of Bill Sikes ... Several reviewers have compared Maughan's writing with others such as Kingsley Amis. This reviewer says it is incomparably wonderful writing which made her think of Laurence Sterne (in terms of humor and 'Learned Wit') and Thomas Hardy (in terms of class consciousness and social constraints that cripple lives). The conspiratorial villagers evoke the gentle humor of 'Waking Ned,' too.'

Leila Smith for The Kindle Book Review.

'Peter Maughan's work has been characterized as The Wind in the Willows for grown-ups.  Exactly.  Except ... there is a thoughtful, gracious yet self-effacing intelligence in his writing that is nothing less than literary brilliance.'

S. Kay Murphy, On Being Simply True book blog.

'To enter the world of Batch Magna is to lose oneself in a parallel universe where most people are fundamentally decent and kind, despite being as kooky and crazy as coots. Peter Maughan has created some endearing and charismatic characters who take on so much life and substance that you find yourself wondering what they are doing while they are off-stage, and missing them when the last page is read ... The writing is lyrical, evocative, ironic, sardonic and borderline cynical, but always imbued with a compassionate understanding of the human condition ... (it) might just restore your faith in humanity.' 

Angelica Bentley (Dolphin) France, A Maze of Reviews. Top Amazon 50 Reviewer.

'...  exquisitely written, it reveals an intimate connection with Nature. The sights described, the sounds, the feel of the wind and the tricks that the latter can play when the sun shines, all combined with an unerringly accurate understanding of the Anglo-Welsh psyche, form an outstandingly evocative and sometimes rib-ticklingly funny gem of a composition in the tradition of  Three Men in a Boat and The wind in the willows.'

Bani Sodermark, Karlstad (Sweden), Amazon Vine Voice. 

'... Peter Maughan succeeds brilliantly in combining his beautifully poetic and descriptive style with the ability to entertain that takes your breath away, leaving you on a plain of magical enchantment ... Here is an author who is highly underrated and amongst the best I have ever read.' 

Leonie Coleman, Melbourne, Australia. 

 '... Inevitable comparisons to other authors are a good thing. It's like the old Sonny & Cher song 'The Beat Goes On' in that good writing, like rock and roll, will never die. So if I compare Peter Maughan to Alexander McCall Smith, know that I have compared Alexander McCall Smith to Barbara Pym and that is the highest compliment for me to bestow!'

Clarissa Simmens (Poet in FL) United States.

'The Cuckoos of Batch Magna belongs in every library, on every bookshelf. But please don’t leave it on the shelf. Take it down and read it, often. Your mind and soul will thank you ...' 

J. G. Hughes,  JmarkAfghans book blog.

The Cuckoos of Batch Magna

Amazon.UK & Amazon.US

Welcome to Batch Magna

'Batch Magna denizens, a collection of terminally quirky, charmingly potty, elegantly eccentric, unique characters who celebrate the joys of living in a special place half in Wales, half in England ... 'Amazon Reviewer.

Welcome to Batch Magna, a village in the borderlands of the Welsh Marches, where England turns into Wales and Wales back into England around the next bend, in a river valley lost among its ancient wooded hillsides and twisting high-banked lanes on a road to nowhere in particular, and in no particular hurry to get there.
A valley lotus-eater Phineas Cook tumbled into like Alice, as he came to think of it, when on his way years before to nowhere in particular himself, and is still there, still taking time off from the world on the river. And where eccentrics such as Jasmine Roberts, a Welsh psychic with a special rate for pets, and Lt-Commander Cunningham, with a glass eye for each day of the week, painted with scenes from famous British naval victories and landscapes that speak of England, have also found a berth. 
All living aboard converted paddle steamers that had once plied the home waters of the River Cluny and the Severn, and before that the Thames. The water gypsies, as they are disparagingly called by Mr Pugh, village shopkeeper and rigid Nonconformist, who counts the empties and marks with scandalized eye the other goings on there, especially in summer, and especially on Phineas Cook’s boat, when his brazen parade of doxies turns the place into another Sodom and Gomorrah.   
 And it’s the home also of Miss Wyndham, village spinster and true crime enthusiast, genteel collector of mass murderers, stranglers, poisoners, fatal wielders of blunt instruments, and homicidal amorists. 
 And of course the squire of Batch Magna and this March, the 9th baronet Sir Humphrey Franklin T Strange, or Humph, as he likes to be called. An amiable, overweight short-order cook from the Bronx with a taste for Hawaiian shirts and torpedo cigars, whose life, touched like a wand with the ancient law of entailment, turned into a movie, when a great uncle he hadn’t known he’d had died in a place he’d never heard of. He even got the girl - the right girl - in the end. The start of the real wealth he found there, found as if it had been waiting for him. 
And viewing it then, through eyes of near enchantment, it seemed to him that in this place anything was possible, anything might happen. And does ...                          

Welcome To The Other World Of Batch Magna. 

What are those blue remembered hills, 

What spires, what farms are those? 

That is the land of lost content, 

I see it shining plain. 

The happy highways where I went 

And cannot come again.  

A. E. Houseman's A Shropshire Lad.