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