A TWISTING Victorian yarn set against the mysterious backdrop of a failed yet monumental engineering plan is the latest work of a successful Frinton writer.

After attempting to write a 2,000 word newspaper piece on revered 19th century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Robert Wallace realised there was just too much material to limit the story to such a length.

“He is one of the great names in engineering history,” said Robert.

“He lengthened the western rail line, designed the box tunnel – at the time the world’s longest railway tunnel – and also built the SS Great Britain, the first ironclad steamer to cross the Atlantic.

“I got to 3,000 words and I hadn’t even got to his history with Bristol – I realised it would not be possible.

“But I had become so invested in it, I found it fascinating and couldn’t let it go.”

Wallace found intrigue in Brunel’s hugely-ambitious plan to build a massive deep water harbour and pier at Portbury, linking with the railway line at Temple Meads Station.

His vision: A seamless journey from London into New York Harbour, via Bristol, on one single ticket.

Robert said: “It was an extraordinary concept, massively ahead of its time.

“People would have thought he was mad.”

The plan was put in place, with a huge investment of £200,000 pumped into the project.

But it was inexplicably abandoned in 1852.

Robert’s research into the reasons behind the plan’s demise led him to release there was great drama to be unearthed in the story.

These secrets and mysteries form the ingredients for Brunel’s Vision: One Single Ticket, a Victorian drama set in and around Bristol.

Combining fact and fiction, the novel fuses real people and real places with invented characters and narrative.

“It has been described as a Victorian detective drama,” said Rob.

“It’s got a lot of great historical facts mixed with some really interesting fictional characters – fiction based on fact.

His books are available on Amazon, with One Single Ticket also available to buy from Caxton Books, in Connaught Avenue, Frinton.