It’s 1866 and out of the dusty frontier town of Wagga Wagga arises a cause célèbre which sets Victorian England alight – the likes of which have never been seen before or since.
A tale so preposterous that its veracity is still debated today.
Tom Castro – known by his enemies as Arthur Orton - an obese, toothless butcher who lives in a slab-hut with his illiterate wife and children, suddenly comes forward and claims he is the rightful Baronet of Tichborne Park, Hampshire, and head one of England’s oldest noble Catholic families.
Incredibly, the Baronet’s mother agrees.
So sets in train a delicious journey that takes our unlikely nobleman on a rollercoaster ride of fame, glory, prison and penury, unleashes the Tichborne Curse, disturbs Queen Victoria, delights Mark Twain, immortalises our Claimant in wax at Madame Tussauds, and strikes at the very heart of the English class system.
And at the end of a tumultuous life, a strange posthumous victory left some still asking the question that had consumed a generation: Was he baronet, or butcher?
About the Author
Paul Terry is a journalist who has worked in newspapers, television, radio and on-line news for 30 years.