After returning from a trip to Brunei, Anthony Burgess, initially believing he has only a year to live, begins to write - novels, film scripts, television series, articles. It is the life of a man desperate to earn a living through the written word. He finds at first that writing brings little success, and later that success, and the obligations it brings, interfere with his writing - especially of fiction. There were vast Hollywood projects destined never to be made, novels the critics snarled at, journalism that scandalised the morally scrupulous.
There is the éclat of A Clockwork Orange (and the consequent calls for Burgess to comment on violent atrocities), the huge success - after a long barren period - of Earthly Powers. There is a terrifying first marriage, his description of which is both painful and funny. His second marriage - and the discovery that he has a four-year-old son - changes his life dramatically, and he and Liana escape to the Mediterranean, for an increasingly European life. With this marriage comes the triumphant rebirth of sex, creative energy and travel - to America, to Australia and all over Europe.