Worn out by drinking and womanising, the heart of 50-year-old academic Patrick is about to give out. In its place is transplanted the lusty young heart of a teenager, Drew Beamish, killed in a motorcycle accident.
From the start, Patrick is unconvinced of the rightness of his new life. Can Drew’s consciousness somehow impinge on his own? He senses he is not quite the same person and intrigued by his anonymous donor, he sets about discovering who Drew Beamish was and the nature of the forbidden love he had embarked upon before his untimely death.
He finds that Drew was the descendant of one of the celebrated local Littleport rioters in 1816; that he had been expelled from school, and that he had loved birds.
Set in the rural Cambridgeshire fens, this is a tender and thoughtful novel which explores some fundamental questions about identity and the symbolism of the heart.