Book of the Month: Son of the Morning

20140403_100936Our book of the month for April is the mighty Son of the Morning by Mark Alder. The best way to introduce it is via an edited letter from Simon,our Associate Publisher for Gollancz, which he penned to our Geeks earlier in the year (who you’ll be hearing more from later in the month) to bring them to this epic read. The first chapter is below, and we’re be serializing it throughout the month with a giveaway to come.

Dear Reader,

RE: Son of the Morning.

Big isn’t it?

I don’t have an issue with big books (hell! I publish fantasy novels, I can’t really afford to), but I do need the story to be as long as the book. Padding is an indulgence for the author and an imposition on the reader. For all its epic size I don’t think you’ll find an ounce of padding in Mark Alder’s novel.

This massive book grew out of a single image. In my mind’s eye a gleaming  wavefront of plate-armoured angels mounted on horseback, their wings blinding white in the midst of the many chivalric colours, the blood and the mud, crash into the ranks of Edward the Third’s men-at-arms. That image, illogical, irrational, impossible, wouldn’t leave me. Now, any editor can have an idea. It takes an author to write a book. So I talked about this idea with Mark Alder. He loves history, he’s forgotten more than I ever knew and he has a real relish for research. But more importantly I know Mark can write a cracking story.

So we talked and Mark mulled it over and came back with some ideas and then he wrote this novel. And it’s an awesome piece of work. Mark has taken the facts of the Hundred Years War, the characters from history and the beliefs of the age, and has written a rip-roaring (no other word for it) historical fantasy. The religious beliefs of the time fit the idea and he brings it all to vivid and believable life. There are characters from history who would appear OTT in Game of Thrones – Mark lets them loose on the page.

And do Angels ride at men-at-arms? Mark comes up with something much, much better.

Welcome to the Hundred Years War as it should have been…

Do let us know what you think.

All the best

Simon

Read the prologue and chapter one here.

Son of the Morning is published on 17th April 2014. 

son of the morning

Simon

I find myself the Associate Publisher of Gollancz with no clear idea of how I got here but fairly sure I enjoyed the journey. There was some college, a lot of bookselling and a bit of marketing along the way but that was a long time ago. I’ve been editing since 1991. I’ve always read SF, Fantasy and Horror but I’ve always enjoyed reading other stuff as well. I’ve published other stuff too but never had as much fun doing it as I have publishing genre books. I’m very happy doing what I’m doing; to the extent that I’ve been comprehensively ruined for doing anything else. Anything else may have got off lightly. I’m definitely more Arthur Dent than I am Takeshi Kovacs. But then if anyone in publishing tells you they’re like Takeshi Kovacs they are LYING.
  • David Greybeard

    It’s a shame there’s no hardcover edition!