Thursday, 20 September 2018

Ian R. MacLeod

Novels
Red Snow
Song of Time
The Summer Isles
The Great Wheel

 

Novels

In the aftermath of the last great battle of the American Civil War, a disillusioned Union medic stumbles across a strange figure picking amid the corpses, and his life is changed forever . . .

In the cathedral city of Strasbourg in the years before the French Revolution, a church restorer is commissioned to paint a series of portraits that chart the changing appearance of a beautiful woman over the course of her life, although the woman herself seems ageless . . .

In Prohibition-era New York, an idealistic young Marxist is catapulted into the realms of elite society, and forced to assume the identity of someone who never existed . . .

Red Snow is a novel of love and violence, ideas and dreams, and revolves around the mystery of a monster drawn from humanity’s darkest myths which still somehow survives, and thrives, and kills, in this modern age.

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Song of Time begins with an old woman discovering a half-drowned man on a Cornish beach in the furthest days of this strange century. She, once a famous concert violinist, is close to death herself — or a new kind of life she can barely contemplate. Does death still exist at all, or has finally been extinguished? And who is this strange man she’s found? Is he a figure returned from her own past, a new messiah, or an empty vessel?

Filled with love, music, death and life, and spanning the world from the prim English suburbs of Birmingham to the wild inventions of a new-Renaissance Paris to a post-apocalyptic India, Song of Time tells the story of this century, and confronts the ultimate leap into a new kind of existence, and whatever lies beyond…

 

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What would have happened if Britain and its allies had lost the Great War? From this premise, and through the compelling story of an outsider forever struggling to make sense of, or even change, the world, The Summer Isles takes a journey into the darker side of British nationalism.

Geoffrey Brook, seemingly a successful and respected history don at a venerable Oxford college, feels his whole life is a fraud. Not only did he not go to the right schools, or attend university, but he cannot even understand Latin. That, and, in a country where intolerance and bigotry has become a national rallying cry, there’s the issue of his supposedly deviant sexuality. Which, if it was discovered, would probably see him sent to a labour camp — or worse still, to the Summer Isles. It all goes back to a boy he remembers from his youth, who has now become the country’s charismatic leader. But what can he do now, in a country that seems to be on the brink of cataclysm?

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This prescient and ground-breaking novel is set in a near-future where the privileged citizens of Europe shelter behind immense physical and biotechnical barriers from a world ravaged by climate change and disease. Beyond this safe existence of harvest fairs, uncomplicated religion and high tech crops lie the overcrowded souks, teeming streets and exotic religions of the vast sprawl of the Endless City which now encompasses most of North Africa.

Father John, a doubting missionary from the futuristic yet bucolic shires of the Welsh Marches, finds he must leave his ministry and the clamour of the Endless City to search across the dangerous wastelands beyond for the source of a lethal radioactive pollutant. There, in the company of a witchwoman and a young Borderer, he confronts not only his faith but also his own past, and the near-death of Hal, his comatose brother.

 

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