Saturday, 22 January 2022

The Liberators back in print

I decided to try out Print on Demand, as I like the idea of keeping back list titles alive. The Liberators was my second novel, and it came out 12 years ago. It was about a young boy, Ivo, who comes to London and finds some distinctly strange things going on. It's dark and weird and won some fans (including a girl who told me at the Young Adult Literature Convention that it was her favourite book.) 

It also deals with some of the same themes as my in print books, particularly Wildlord, which sees an older boy going off to Suffolk and encountering a mage-like figure. So I thought I'd bring it back. I hope it may find new readers.

You can buy it on Amazon here.

Monday, 3 January 2022

More Wildlord news and Happy New Year

 Eoin Colfer (whose Artemis Fowl is a classic) runs a wonderful book podcast on which he interviews children's authors. The equally excellent Jonathan Stroud was interviewed in episode 6 - and said some very kind things about Wildlord. You can hear the episode here. 

And meanwhile, Lesley Watts has chosen Wildlord as her book of the week. You can read her lovely review here.

It's a great thrill to hear from readers. With three (very different) books out in 2021, and with all the problems of lockdowns, it's been harder for new books to find their place. 

 I hope that new readers will also look back to my older books - The Double Axe and The Arrow of Apollo, as well as The Darkening Path trilogy. You can buy them all here.

Happy New Year to all!

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

The Craig Cup

The novelist and critic Amanda Craig has awarded Wildlord the Craig Cup for Most Underrated Children's Book. Her review is here on Writers Review.

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Wildlord review round up

 I've been so delighted by the response to Wildlord. It's wonderful to be reviewed - when there are so many brilliant new children's books out there, it's difficult to find space (as I know myself, from having written a thrice-yearly round up for Literary Review for over a decade.) Here's a round up of the latest.

Amanda Craig, herself a brilliant novelist, has reviewed Wildlord in the New Statesman:

Children's Books Ireland had a very kind mention of the book in their Christmas Reading Guide:

Love Reading4 Kids made Wildlord their book of the month (thank you!) and had this to say:

Culturefly had Wildlord in their Best Books for Christmas:

And finally, The Irish Times:




Thursday, 2 December 2021

Christmas Children's Books Round-up for Literary Review

As sure as eggs are eggs, here comes my 94th Children's Book Round up for that estimable organ, Literary Review. You can read it here. Featured books are:

Dark Peak by Marcus Sedgwick

The Chime Seekers by Ross Montgomery

The Red Gloves and Other Stories by Catherine Fisher

Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep by Philip Reeve

Sisters of the Lost Marsh by Lucy Strange

The Shadows of Rookhaven by Padraig Kenny

Fireborn by Aisling Fowler.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

WILDLORD book trailer


Gareth Jones has made this spooky trailer for Wildlord.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Treacle Walker by Alan Garner: review

Treacle Walker by Alan Garner

Joe, a boy living on his own in a dilapidated house, goes for an eye test. The letters don’t behave as they should, and morph into Latin (from an old alchemical text, incidentally, though Joe doesn’t know it). In Alan Garner’s numinous new book, Treacle Walker (4th Estate), time and reality shimmer with strangeness. The title refers to the name of a  rag and bone man with “green violet” eyes, who appears at Joe’s house one morning, initiating mysterious incidents. He speaks philosophically: “For at the very moment you have Now, it flees. It is gone. It is, on the instant, Then.” He also spouts strange words: “hurlothrumbo” and “lumperhomock” - characters in a play by an 18th century dancing master called Samuel Johnson, which refer directly to the supernatural. We are not in Kansas any more.

Garner’s body of work stands apart. His children’s books are like poems, spare, tense and achingly vivid, starred with poignancy, beauty and passion. Treacle Walker is set some time in the 1950s, evoked with loving, choice detail, including a comic called Knockout that becomes eerily significant. Despite this, the novel seems ageless and fable-like.

Joe must be put to the test, and when his eye gains magical powers, a dangerous force is set loose which he has to thwart. The book hauntingly employs doppelgangers, mirrors and cuckoos, whilst also creating a new kind of nature myth.
Treacle Walker shows us renewal, resurrection, and the cycles of the seasons; and it does so with an artistry and attention rarely seen in children’s literature. Those who know Garner’s work will sense another golden thread, woven into the tapestry; those who don’t will be entranced, and, with luck, led into a world of treasures.

Buy it here