Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Random Things Tours: The Black Prince by Adam Roberts

The Black Prince
Adam Roberts
Pages: 310 (Hardback)
Source: Publisher
Publisher Unbound (4th October 2018)

A kaleidoscopic historical novel based on unpublished material by Anthony Burgess, from the prize-winning author Adam Roberts

‘I’m working on a novel intended to express the feel of England in Edward III’s time ... The fourteenth century of my novel will be mainly evoked in terms of smell and visceral feelings, and it will carry an undertone of general disgust rather than hey-nonny nostalgia’ – Anthony Burgess, Paris Review, 1973

The Black Prince is a brutal historical tale of chivalry, religious belief, obsession, siege and bloody warfare. From disorientating depictions of medieval battles to court intrigues and betrayals, the campaigns of Edward II, the Black Prince, are brought to vivid life by an author in complete control of the novel as a way of making us look at history with fresh eyes, all while staying true to the linguistic pyrotechnics and narrative verve of Burgess’s best work.

Brings to light unpublished material from one of the twentieth century’s literary titans, author of A Clockwork Orange, Inside Mr Enderby and Earthly Powers;

Adam Roberts has worked with the full cooperation of the Burgess Foundation.

Roberts is a celebrated novelist in his own right: Jack Glass (2012) won the British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel and 2015’s The Thing Itself was described by the Guardian as ‘a dazzling philosophical adventure’. Widespread review coverage is expected and the author will be available for events.

For fans of Paul Kingsnorth's The Wake, Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers, His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

My Thoughts:
My advanced readers copy of Adam Roberts visceral, extremely brutal and bloody book recanting the life of medieval King Edward didn’t arrive in time for me to finish before my scheduled tour slot. Currently 90 pages in I am able to admit that initially it wasn’t an easily immersive book for me.

 ‘The Black Prince’ is ambitiously different with a unique writing style and several narratives relayed through a medium of diverse voices. Sections are in the third person narrative while other accounts are verbalised in the present tense. Newsreels, ‘camera eye’, and prose inserts all add a modernistic and unusual element to the mix. To begin with, I confess I found it rather confusing but with perseverance I am delighted and thrilled to admit that with speedy polemic swing, I now absolutely love the ingenuity of its distinctive style, and unique (art)form of historical storytelling.  I would not be at all surprised if it wasn’t amongst the nominations (and a worthy contender) for one, or even more prestigious book awards!

Brutal, bold, magnificently majestic, ‘The Black Prince’ promises to be a compulsive read for anyone interested in a sensory experience encountering gruesome bloody battle scenes, witness abhorrent behaviour towards victims as ‘spoils of war’, imagine the miserable harsh reality of men, women and children living (surviving), and dying during this brutal medieval period in history, all from a safe distance and comfort and safety of their modern environment.

A more in-depth review will follow at a later date upon completion of reading. In the meantime do read what other bloggers on the tour have to say about this remarkable book. Please stay with us for the duration of the tour.

Thank you to Ann Cater for inviting me to take part in the ‘Random Things Tour’, and to Unbound publishers for sending me a complementary ARC of the book to take part in the tour. I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to read it before the planned publication date of, Thursday, 4th October 2018.