The man lying awake in the dark hotel room was named Romain Thomas Mariani and he was the world’s sixty-third-best road racing cyclist.
Later today he had to ride one hundred and ninety-six kilometres and beat Hans Banquo, Herr Wunderschön, Hansi the Conqueror, the cyclist ranked sixty-two places above him, by one minute and fifty-one seconds.
If he did that, two tall beautiful women in short dresses and high heels would kiss his gaunt cheeks and then help him into a silver jersey, a crowd would clap, and he would be the winner of L’Essence du Tour, the last and hardest one-week stage race in the professional cycling calendar. He would be ranked the world’s twelfth-best rider, and for the first time in a number of years, be truly happy.
It looks like twenty-seven-year old Eastern European pro Romain Mariani is finally about to become the rider he always knew he could be.
Titles, money, fame – they’re all right there.
Then life comes apart.
Determined to put it back together, Mariani, haunted by spectres from the past and driven by his own dark needs and obsessions, enters a shadowy world that brings into question everything he knows about himself and his sport.
With a cast list including a drug-dealing doctor with a Jesus complex and plastic covers on his sofas, a tribe of forest people who run a bizarre black market, and Golgotha, a mythical omnivorous blue-eyed hog, Consumed is a gothic-flavoured novel about the joy and suffering of cycling, insatiable appetites and how quickly dreams can become nightmares.