As with all good stories the tale of the Sisters of Mercy can be told in three acts. First emerging from the early eighties post-punk scene and inspired by the likes of Suicide and Joy Division, their initial raw and chaotic style would soon be developed into something more refined for their debut album but by the mid-decade egos and exhaustion had caused them to self-destruct. Eventually reforming two years later, ostensibly as a solo project, the Sisters would soon reach commercial heights previously unimagined but by the beginning of the third act they had once again reinvented themselves as a hard rock AOR project. But it is always the second act of any story that has the most gripping plot twists and dramatic character arcs as its heroes face their greatest challenges.
With the opening chapters setting the scene and serving as an introduction for its protagonists, the first act concludes with a pivotal moment in which the equilibrium is disturbed and the reluctant hero embarks on a life-changing journey. For the Sisters of Mercy that moment would come on 18 June 1985 at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London. In truth this had been a long time coming as ever since the Sisters had officially evolved into a band two years earlier with a more established line-up there had been countless power struggles, endless touring and the usual rock ‘n’ roll indulgences. By the time that their first full-length release First and Last and Always saw the light of day in the spring of 1985, after a belated recording process the group were burnt out and ready to turn on one another.
‘While we were getting stronger performances we were coming apart at the seams internally and the tour was largely joyless,’ confessed guitarist Wayne Hussey, who would quit the group to form his own outfit The Mission following the end of the appropriately titled Tune In, Turn On, Burn Out tour. Describing this era of the Sisters in his memoir Salad Daze, Hussey would look back on his strained relationship with frontman Andrew Eldritch. ‘Andrew Taylor and this is just my theory, was so innately insecure that he used whatever means he had at his disposal to help him become Andrew Eldritch, the impenetrable rock star,’ he claimed. ‘I never really met Andrew Taylor. By the time I’d joined the band the Eldritch persona was already in place; the metamorphosis from Taylor to Eldritch was complete.’
The Sisters of Mercy were formed in 1980 in the north England city of Leeds by Oxford University graduate Andrew Eldritch, who had abandoned his earlier dreams of becoming a diplomat in order to turn his attention to music through a prolific collaboration with guitarist Gary Marx. Along with a drum machine affectionately known as Doktor Avalanche and taking their name from a 1967 song from Leonard Cohen, the Sisters of Mercy made their introduction to the world with the independently released single The Damage Done, issued through Eldritch’s recently formed label Merciful Release. By the following year they had recruited bassist Craig Adams and in 1983 enjoyed minor exposure with the song Temple of Love.
I really don’t feel connected to it
Hussey would join the Sisters in 1984 and by this point the group and Eldritch in particular had become reluctant icons in the growing gothic rock scene, a label that would continue to frustrate the singer throughout his career. ‘I don’t feel responsible for that,’ he insisted in an interview with Swedish music show ZTV in 1993. ‘If I see someone like that standing at a bus stop I don’t react to it any more than I would seeing a housewife at a bus stop. I really don’t feel connected to it.’ Regardless, by the time that they entered Strawberry Studios in Stockport in the summer of 1984 to commence work on their debut album the Sisters of Mercy had become the role models for a generation of youngsters immersing themselves in the gothic subculture.
Ever since the beginning Eldritch had been the mastermind behind the Sisters, acting not only as the principal songwriter but also producer and multi-instrumentalist, while Marx was relegated to guitars and backing vocals. Yet this would begin to change with the arrival of Hussey, who had already worked as a professional musician through his association with rising new wave group Dead or Alive. Eldritch’s reign would be challenged during the recording of the album by not only Hussey but also Adams and producer David Allen, all of whom were eager to cast their own influence over the material. No longer merely a vanity project, the Sisters had grown into a legitimate group and now he was struggling with resisting outside inspiration that could compromise his personal vision. By the time the album was complete and their label were preparing for its release thoughts were already turning to its follow-up but it soon became clear that Eldritch had no interest in accepting material from any of his bandmates.
‘We’d not been enjoying it for a while but we’d resigned ourselves to sticking it out and maybe it would’ve got better,’ explained Hussey in 1986. ‘But in fact it was getting worse. I went to Hamburg for a month with Andrew to try and write songs for the second Sisters album and we came back with all my ideas rejected and Andrew’s very skeletal…We got to doing the second album and Andrew said, ‘I’m not singing any of your songs.’ That’s what it boils down to. Craig walked out of rehearsals and a day later I did. He was listening to Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and Foreigner and there was us listening to Motörhead or whatever. And it showed.’ In the years since the initial demise of Sisters Eldritch has been rather openly critical of Hussey’s songwriting abilities, both as a collaborator and later through his work with The Mission. It soon became apparent for the rest of the band that their frontman had little interest in creative output from any of his fellow musicians.
‘I never sang a lyric of Wayne’s. I never found one I could,’ he claimed to Melody Maker two years after the demise of the line-up, clearly expressing some resentment towards both Hussey and Adams. ‘The last time we actually spent any time together, at the end of the tour before the Albert Hall, we had some time playing in America and then we took a week off in Los Angeles. I went to Mexico for one day and the other two couldn’t think of anything better to do than go to Disneyland. And when I came back from Mexico a week later, having got somewhat distracted, I just thought, ‘God, what are those people whinging about, really?’ They just got so feeble. Then they said, ‘Well okay, what are we gonna do for new songs?’ And I said, ‘How about this, this and this?’ and unfortunately the first ‘this’ I cited had too many chords-per-minute and Craig said, ‘If that’s the guitar line I’m not playing it’ and walked out. That was really that. But Wayne had already become a problem because he wanted to do more of his songs and I thought they were particularly vacuous.’
With Marx having already walked from the band to launch a new project entitled Ghost Dance, the remaining members took to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall for what would become their final performance before the Sisters of Mercy were no more. The show would become legendary, with the majority of the set caught on film and released on home video as Wake but even before they played the last song of the evening Eldritch was already looking to the future. Through his own label he had begun to nurture a new group called James Ray and the Performance and having spent the last five years producing his own material he had now begun to apply his skills to other artists. But even before he had attempted to relaunch his career he heard rumours that Hussey and Adams were collaborating together once again, this time under a moniker that not only echoed their former band but also the name of their most devoted followers: The Sisterhood.
For Eldritch this was the ultimate betrayal, with the songwriter feeling that not only were his two former bandmates attempting to capitalise on the brand that he had spearheaded since the beginning but they were also referencing their former association to the Sisters of Mercy on the flyers distributed to promote their upcoming shows. Furious and determined to stop them from being allowed to record or perform under the name, he turned to several friends for assistance. Lucas Fox had first entered the industry through his brief time with Motörhead before joining the short-lived punk act Warsaw Pakt. Joining Fox in the rhythm section was Patricia Morrison, a native of Los Angeles who had originally crossed paths with the Sisters of Mercy when her own group The Gun Club had toured with them a few years earlier. Soon finding herself without a band and desperate for work she was invited to Leeds by Eldritch to join his own incarnation of The Sisterhood. The final member to join the outfit was James Ray, who had witnessed the negative impact that Hussey’s own band had on Eldritch’s frame of mind during their time together recording with the Performance.
‘Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams started playing gigs under The Sisterhood name which pissed Eldritch off,’ Ray told the fanzine Glasperlenspiel. ‘So during the recording of Mexico/Edie we made and released Giving Ground. We then spent weeks on what was to be The Sisterhood’s second single This Corrosion, but Eldritch decided that he was going to use it to kick start the Sisters Mark II. I wasn’t involved too much with the album as it was taking ages for Eldritch to formulate any concrete ideas and I wanted to be writing my own stuff. I personally think the album transpired to cash in on the sales of the single.’ Eldritch had been determined to release material under The Sisterhood banner in order to keep Hussey’s own group from performing under the same name and in order to declare his victory he would record an album of songs with Fox, Morrison and Ray, the latter performing the majority of the vocals as legal issues would force Eldritch to remain far away from the microphone. Gift, the solo album from The Sisterhood, would be released in 1986 and despite making little impact in the music industry would remain a significant milestone in the history of the Sisters of Mercy.
Despite being victorious, the drama that would surround The Sisterhood would take its toll on Eldritch, whose increasingly disillusioned opinion on the industry had not only turned him away from the tiresome routine of touring but had also exposed him to the backstabbing nature of the entertainment world. ‘We went through the corporate wars in my familiar Jonathan E-type role and we did okay,’ he would reminisce the following year. ‘A lot of untruths have been bandied about but unfortunately the way we won makes it tricky for us to explain how we won and, therefore, prove that we did. It was basically over the name; the people that are now The Mission and myself had an agreement no one would use the name when the band went its separate ways. But, after they’d been touting their demos around getting nowhere under all sorts of other names, they began to claim rights to it, which patently had to be stopped. And when they wanted to be called The Sisterhood there was nothing I could do but be The Sisterhood before them; the only way to kill that name was to use it, then kill it. I think that reflected rather badly on the name the Sisters of Mercy and it’s probably due for reinstatement for that reason if no other.’
With both incarnations of The Sisterhood coming to an end, Hussey eventually rechristened his group The Mission and entered the studio with producer Tim Palmer to record their album God’s Own Medicine. While he had been desperate to showcase his songwriting abilities he never saw himself as a frontman and had originally formed the band with the intention of merely remaining the guitarist. ‘I became the singer by default,’ he confessed to the Quietus in 2017. ‘I didn’t know if I could do it. We tried other people but couldn’t find anyone we liked. We tried some local guys in Leeds; Craig knew a couple of people. Warners, who were our label with the Sisters, they heard our initial batch of songs and didn’t think I could sing, so they gave us a list of about six people. Sal Solo from Classix Nouveaux, Peter Murphy, Gavin from The Virgin Prunes were on it.’ In a later interview with Louder he elaborated on the transition from being a band member to frontman. ‘Being in the Sisters and taking the next step gave me the confidence to take on the role of being the singer in the next band,’ he added. ‘I’m not sure I was ready for it before, although I had sung in other bands. I’d always felt more comfortable being the guitarist. Even when The Mission started I didn’t have the intention of being the singer but events overtook me.’
A lot of people get pissed off when you make records like that
Meanwhile, Eldritch had allowed his own version of The Sisterhood to collapse now that his entire purpose for the project had been fulfilled. Having become close friends with Morrison over the last five years he had already decided that whatever his next venture would be she had to be involved and yet even Eldritch wouldn’t have predicted that this collaboration would be a revival of the Sisters of Mercy. Yet with Marx, Hussey and Adams now a distant memory the sole remaining member of the original line-up was the ever-faithful Doktor Avalanche. Having left behind the distorted raw sound of their earlier releases with the polished production of First and Last and Always, the Sisters were ready to break through into the mainstream. After all, both Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Cure had enjoyed considerable airplay, while Joy Division’s successor New Order would soon reach the Top 5 in Britain with their single True Faith. For Eldritch some kind of acceptance from radio and television was not out of the question. ‘A lot of people didn’t realise that once we’d found the ability to, we’d be quite happy to make records where you could hear all the instruments and all the words and it would sound okay on the radio,’ he stated in 1985. ‘A lot of people get pissed off when you make records like that; they figure you’ve changed somehow.’
With Eldritch having already composed a track entitled This Corrorison for The Sisterhood, only to withhold the song during the recording sessions, its epic and almost operatic sound would serve as a starting point for the direction that the subsequent material would take as he began working on new material for the second Sisters of Mercy album in late 1986, ignoring the minimalistic sound of his side project in favour of a more radio friendly style that would still somehow encapsulate the emotions that the gothic rock scene had explored over the preceding years. Far removed from earlier offerings like Burn and Floorshow in favour of a crisp and multi-layered recording technique, the songs that Eldritch were developing may have risked alienating the fans that had been with them since the beginning but perhaps this was a necessary evil if they were to evolve into the band they needed to become. With the input of Morrison he began to record demos of his new songs while even composing one dedicated to his new bassist, a track that boasted arguably their finest bass riff: Lucretia My Reflection. Yet these initial recordings would be stripped bare and lacking a clear sense of direction and after numerous attempts to develop them further he finally admitted defeat and decided to reach out to an artist more associated with songwriting than producing to offer some guidance.
Jim Steinman had helped to propel Meat Loaf to superstardom after composing his breakthrough album Bat Out of Hell a decade earlier and it was the scope and commercial appeal of this record that would appeal to Eldritch. ‘Andrew was a big fan of Jim Steinman,’ revealed Larry Alexander, whose prior work as an engineer for Bon Jovi, Lita Ford and even Suicide had made him a permanent fixture of the Power Station studio in New York. ‘Andrew had been producing himself over in Manchester and he wasn’t getting anything done; he basically had a mountain of tapes. They didn’t even know what was on the tapes at that point. So his management asked me if I would go over there and help sort things out…There wasn’t such a big thing about freelance engineers back then. People would come to the Power Station because they thought the Power Station gets really good sounds.’ With Eldritch overwhelmed by the prospect of recording a professional Sisters album by himself, Alexander would travel to Stockport in an attempt to find some kind of structure from the random recordings and, more importantly, a strong selection of songs that would mark the Sisters of Mercy’s comeback in a spectacular way.
Steinman’s work on Bat Out of Hell could best be described as a rock opera, an album of epic scope with songs running up to ten minutes in length that would borrow elements from both fifties rock ‘n’ roll and the recent glam cycle of the mid-seventies. It would be this larger-than-life quality that Eldritch would desire for both This Corrosion and another track, the equally impressive Dominion/Mother Russia. For both songs Eldritch would envision some kind of choir accompanying him on the chorus, their high-pitch vocals contrasting against his own deep voice. Yet to his surprise Steinman would become even more enthusiastic about this concept and would embark on a search for a group of singers that could compliment the material. ‘We worked with Jim Steinman on This Corrosion because we wanted this big, big sound,’ Morrison explained to Britain’s Super Channel following the album’s release. ‘We asked for the Harlem Boys Choir. At first we wanted them but they read our lyrics and said no. They never gave us a reason but they didn’t think that This Corrosion was what they wanted to be singing, so Jim Steinman called the New York Choral Society who he works with and they were wonderful, they really got into it because they don’t usually do that sort of thing. And it worked really well.’
For This Corrosion the Sisters of Mercy would chose to move beyond the performance-based promo videos adopted by many rock acts of the era and into something more narrative-driven. Eldritch had originally pitched a post-apocalyptic concept to their label in which both he and Morrison would travel through a decayed landscape and requested that the filming take place in Bangkok but the executives at WEA would refuse. Instead they would be forced to work in cold and wet conditions over the course of eighteen hours in a London studio to create the end of the world look that he had conceived, taking elements from John Carpenter’s cult flick Escape from New York and even sharing a visual style with Listen Like Thieves, a 1985 video shot for the Australian rock group INXS that depicted a similar collapsed society. Despite being denied the chance to film in Thailand, This Corrosion would have a very cinematic quality and would serve as an impressive introduction to those not familiar with the group.
For Dominion, the second single that would be released from the album, they wanted something that would contrast with their previous nihilistic offering and so travelled to the ancient city of Petra in the south of Jordan to shoot a more exotic piece. Filming would take place over two days under the guidance of David Hogan, a director whose work with Bob Seger and Prince had made a suitable impression on the duo. ‘We didn’t want to make another video with fast cuts and groovy edits, we wanted to make more of a little film,’ claimed Jason Beck, the label’s art director. ‘We wanted Dominion to build into a crescendo in the same way the song does.’ Yet for Eldritch the experience was preposterous but one he recognised as a necessary evil. ‘I hated making videos,’ he admitted in 2019. ‘They’re a waste of money. I regarded them as so tangential. But it’s what the record companies swore blind they needed to sell records. So I just had fun with them. ‘Dear record company, we’ve decided that the next video, for no reason whatsoever, absolutely has to be made in Bombay.’ So, off we go to Bombay.’
This would be the location chosen for the third single, Lucretia My Reflection, his tribute to his new bassist. With Jordan having provided the colourful landscape for Dominion, the Sisters once again returned to a darker setting for their latest promo, this time collaborating with Billy Idol and Culture Club veteran Peter Sinclair in India. ‘There’s a coldness to it, a coldness to Lucretia that relates to me and that’s why we wanted a cold atmosphere,’ stated Morrison on the show Videowave. ‘And once again the opposite of what we did on Dominion. And any location would have done, it didn’t matter that we went to India but Andrew wouldn’t have done the video unless we gave him a ticket somewhere interesting. Now originally we wanted to go to Russia and that was set up because Russia is now opening up and believe it or not we were kept out…There was no political reason why we were kept out.’ Over the next few years the Soviet Union would eventually crumble and in 1989 a charity concert would be held in Moscow that would feature such rock acts as Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe and Ozzy Osbourne but just one year prior to this the Sisters of Mercy would be denied the right to shoot a music video behind the iron curtain.
While these would serve as the three principal singles, the tracklist for the album that would eventually be released under the title Floodland would ultimately consist of eight songs, with only two produced with Steinman. The remaining sessions would take place in England at both Strawberry Studios and Wool Hall in Bennington, a small village in the south west county of Somerset. The majority of the sessions for Floodland would come as a result of a collaborative effort between Eldritch and Alexander. ‘We recorded in Manchester and then we were supposed to mix in Bath but we weren’t done recording,’ recalled Alexander to Tape Op. ‘Bath is the opposite of Manchester. Bath is like sunlight, really bright, beautiful and we worked in this place called the Wool Hall. It was actually an old sheep farm. Any building that they built had to be in the style of what was already there and it was beautiful, brand new and really nice. We finished recording and then we ended up mixing in Air Studios in London.’
One aspect of the album that would cause much debate was how much involvement Morrison had during the recording sessions. Whereas Hussey and his bandmates had been official members of the Sisters of Mercy, contributing musically and influencing the direction of the group during the making of First and Last and Always, many felt that the new bassist was merely a musician-for-hire or, even worse, just a prop. Had she been allowed to give any creative input on the album and lend her musical skills to the songs? ‘I intended her to but she didn’t make the cut,’ revealed Eldritch decades later. ‘She was still a key part of the band’s visual identity in this period; on the album cover and in the videos. So I did a year of promo for the album and it was nice to have somebody to answer half the questions and look pretty. Not that I didn’t look pretty in those days.’
They don’t know I’m in the band
For her part Morrison, who was allegedly paid £300 a month for her services, accepted that she was not part of the decision making process. The Sisters of Mercy had always been the brainchild of Eldritch and after the experience of recording with The Sisterhood she was well aware that it was Eldritch who would be calling the shots. ‘If you look at the Sisters’ records, the names for what people play usually aren’t there,’ she told Melody Maker in 1988. ‘Andrew writes the songs so there’s no reason for anyone else to be featured. I was well aware of that when the album came out but what I didn’t realise was that it would confuse other people. If people haven’t seen the press we’ve done they don’t know I’m in the band. We get very complimentary letters – ‘Who’s the beautiful girl?’ – which isn’t quite the reaction we wanted.
While how far Morrison’s contributions can be felt on Floodland may be up for debate one thing that was clear was what an influence Steinman had on the album. Despite only contributing to two singles, his distinct style would serve as inspiration for the new direction that the Sisters of Mercy would take with their second album. ‘He’s really sweet, really articulate, really intelligent,’ said Eldritch of Steinman soon after its release. ‘One of the few people in this business that can really hold their own on Eldritch Boulevard. He was great to work with. A totally excessive little man. He looks like Meat Loaf’s older, more responsible brother.’ Three decades later he would return to the subject by stating, ‘Jim is very good at getting budgets for stuff that requires big budgets. And he’s very good at organising choirs, all the stuff that constitutes icing on the cake. I didn’t realise that he paid no attention to the icing on the cake until I worked with him.’
Although most remembered for the three hit singles that would be released to promote the album, all of which would enter the British Top 20, Floodland would see Eldritch experimenting with a variety of different themes and styles, from the two-part Flood, which reflected on his time living in Hamburg, to the sombre piano track 1959, a song released to radio stations following the success of Lucretia My Reflection. ‘Using a piano and a voice was quite a brave thing to do because I’m not technically a good singer,’ he admitted. ‘I didn’t set out to write a clever song, I just thought if I was my own piano player then this is what I would want to hear. But it turned out to be very, very complicated and musically sophisticated, which I thought was amazing because I’d always figured myself to be a total musical moron.’
The success of not only the singles but also the parent album Floodland would take everyone by surprise when it was finally released on 13 November 1987, two months after This Corrosion had been unleased to rave reviews. Following the demise of the Sisters of Mercy two years earlier and the subsequent battle that had ensued with The Mission over the rights to The Sisterhood, few could have imagined that they would come back stronger than ever before. Even Eldritch, the one most responsible for every triumph and tragedy the project had endured during the eighties, was overwhelmed by its success and yet despite this relented for as long as possible against the prospect of touring. Tune In, Turn On, Burn Out had almost been the death of him and the thought of going on the road to promote the album for months at a time terrified him.
Despite all the acclaim that the Sisters would receive over their release Eldritch would shock his fans when, less than two years later, he suddenly fired Morrison from the band. By this point work had begun work on developing new material for a follow-up to Floodland and with Eldritch clearly viewing his bassist as nothing more than a replaceable cog in the machine, there would soon be a conflict of interest between the two. Prior to her dismissal Morrison had been helping Eldritch to develop new songs alongside guitarist Andrew Bruhn but rumours soon began to circulate that the frontman had become annoyed after his bassist asked for a pay rise. Yet for Morrison she would also claim to be disappointed with the early sessions that would later evolve into their third and final album Vision Thing. ‘I wasn’t too thrilled with the direction the record was going in,’ she revealed to the press following the announcement that her contract had been terminated. ‘There were elements I didn’t like that could have gone either way and now that Tony James is in I want nothing to do with it. It seems obvious what’s going on…it’s scam time.’
Whether or not he is a perfectionist, an artist who refuses to compromise on his vision, or merely an egotistical control freak who is incapable of playing well with others, it would become clear by the end of the decade that Eldritch would refuse to compromise on his singular vision and that the Sisters of Mercy could only survive through one album before that incarnation unravels and its sole consistent member was forced to start again. After all, four years before Morrison was dismissed from his services Eldritch had suffered through a power struggle with his former bandmates that had resulted in the collapse of the Sisters, a rather public feud over their next project and decades of bitterness between the frontman and his former guitarist. As the eighties came to an end Eldritch had earned a reputation of being something of a bully that was unwilling to respect his colleagues as equals.
‘I was warned by just about everyone about working with Andrew,’ Morrison told Sounds prior to the release of Floodland, then naïve to the conditions she would be forced to work under during her time in the Sisters of Mercy. ‘But the simple fact is we’re just a lot alike. And having spent this much time together we’ve sort of rubbed off on each other.’ For Hussey, working with Eldritch may have boosted his profile within the industry but he too was aware that it was the frontman, not his fellow musicians, who was the public face of the band. ‘The Sisters of Mercy were a conglomerate of everything that’s gone before. I defy anyone to say they’re totally original,’ said Hussey while promoting the newly formed The Mission in 1986. ‘Andrew wanted to start making songs as himself and kill the Sisters. By doing that he would’ve come out on top because as far as most of the people were concerned the Sisters were Andrew Eldritch. Craig and I are proving that it wasn’t.’
One influence that Morrison would claim to cast over the singer was in finally convincing him to return to performing live shows. Yet while Eldritch would reluctantly take his next incarnation of the Sisters of Mercy out on tour, including an ill-fated series of shows with Public Enemy in 1991, he would remain unwilling to embrace the live experience and with Vision Thing proving to be their final studio album, the Sisters of Mercy train would finally stall by the mid-nineties. In the years since the Sisters have remained active as a live act but their tours are few and far between. He had expressed his disillusionment with the whole live routine during the promotion of Floodland. ‘I like the idea of concerts but tours?’ he revealed. ‘That’s something else. Night one you haven’t got your act together. Night two your voice is fucked. Night three you’re already going through the motions. Night four you’re trying to stand stationary and stop slavering and by night five, you’re resorting to the old you-know-what just to keep going. From then on it’s downhill all the way. It’s a hideous rollercoater ride that turns you into a beast.’
As the second act of the story comes to an end its antihero Andrew Eldritch turns his back on his latest allegiance to forge ahead into uncharted territories, leaving behind yet another broken heart as he searches, much like Faust, for the ultimate fulfilment. The chart success of Floodland had almost brought him happiness and yet he had still felt misery and alienation even as he achieved the unthinkable and transformed his creation into an unstoppable monster. The third act would see him rise once again but the stakes would not be as high and so the victory not as sweet. He had been betrayed and so wreaked vengeance without pity or restraint, only to then turn on his ally and betray them in much the same way as he had suffered. After all, any good hero must echo the flaws of their nemesis. And so we leave the story of the Sisters of Mercy where all good tales reach their dramatic peak; before the final act disappoints its reader with a convoluted and underwhelming climax. Instead, this narrative comes to its conclusion at that brief moment when its hero was on top of the world. ‘I had to fight very hard to preserve what’s mine,’ he would declare.