Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Coming Up In 2012 #11: Black Arts by Andrew Prentice & Jonathan Weil
Back before Christmas I was sent a proof of Black Arts, a debut novel from Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil. I loved the premise so much that I dropped everything to read it, and I can tell you that it is superb. This Saturday just gone I was fortunate to be one of a number of bloggers invited to a brunch held by Random House Children's Books, and when one of the team was waxing lyrical about how good this book was I was the one sat at the back vigorously nodding my head in agreement. My review will follow nearer its April release date, so for now you will have to have you appetites whetted by the authors who very kindly agreed to take part in my Coming Up In 2012 feature:
Welcome to London.
Jack knows that London is dangerous. This is a place where government spies can make you disappear into the torture chamber, and where most crimes are punishable with death. As a child thief, he knows he’ll be lucky to live to the age of twenty.
He doesn’t know that London is crawling with invisible devils. He doesn’t know about the gruesome murder spree that is about to be unleashed. He doesn’t know that soon the most powerful man in the city will be hunting him to death.
He’ll find out, though, soon enough.
We set our story in London because it’s the city where we grew up, the city we love above all others; and because it’s an evil, twisted, magical place where anything can happen.
The original idea for the book came from a true London story:
Four men walk into a London pub and have lunch together. When the bill arrives, two of them disagree over who should pay, and one stabs the other through the eye, penetrating the brain and killing him instantly. The victim is London’s most successful and celebrated playwright – who happens to be a spy on the sly. He has also been accused of inciting riots and fomenting treason . . . not to mention the rumours of black magic and lewd sexual practices . . . The murderer is a petty conman, and one of the witnesses is the Queen’s own spymaster.
This happened in 1593 (the victim is Christopher Marlowe). We thought a place where that story could be true must be a good place for the sort of story we wanted to write – i.e. the sort of story we’ve always enjoyed reading ourselves. Black Arts is a story about death, vengeance, gold and devils. Anything can happen.