Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Legend Is Born

I mentioned the other day, while chatting about Jane Casey’s forthcoming YA tome HOW TO FALL, that a couple of other high profile Irish crime writers would be publishing YA titles in 2013. And lo! No sooner had the piece gone up on the blog than notice arrived of Alex Barclay’s latest offering, CURSE OF KINGS: THE TRIALS OF OLAND BORN (HarperCollins Children’s Books). Quoth the blurb elves:
In the tone of The Hobbit, comes the first thrilling story in an epic fantasy adventure, from a major new voice. Fourteen-year-old Oland Born lives in dark times, in a world ruled by evil tyrant, Vilius Ren. Vilius and his fearsome, bloodthirsty army have wrecked the prosperous kingdom of Decresian, once ruled by good King Micah. Oland himself has been kept as Vilius’s servant in grim Castle Derrington, and he knows little about his past – or why Vilius keeps such a sharp, close eye on him. One night, Oland finds a letter addressed to him, from the long-dead king. No sooner has he read the message than a mysterious stranger tries to kidnap him. Oland runs, the dead king’s warning ringing in his ears. If Oland is to live he must restore the shattered kingdom. This is his quest. This is his curse. Let the trials of Oland Born begin . . . The setting is a hugely atmospheric fantasy world of medieval castles, Romanesque games arenas, supernatural forests and harsh seas. Terrifying hybrid creatures and monsters abound – and Oland’s greatest ally is a girl called Delphi who has dark secrets of her own.
  Sounds intriguing, I have to say - but then I’m biased, being something of a fiend for myth and legend. Anyway, CURSE OF KINGS will be published on January 31st, just in time to pull us all out of the New Year blues. No pressure, Alex …

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