A superb work of literary fantasy. In a truly original imagined world of breathtaking, sometimes surreal, beauty, fifty utterly alien but disarmingly human immortals lead mankind in a centuries-long war. Jant is the Messenger, one of The Circle, a cadre of fifty immortals who serve the Emperor, and the only immortal - indeed the only man alive - who can fly. The Emperor is seeking to protect mankind from the hordes of giant insects who have plagued the land for centuries, overwhelming towns with their beautiful nests, eating everything and everyone in their path. But he must also contend with the rivalries and petty squabblings of his chosen immortals. These are squabbles that will soon spill over into open civil war. Steph Swainston has written an astonishingly original literary fantasy. She writes beautifully. Her novel places her in a tradition of writing typified by Mervyn Peake, M. John Harrison and, latterly, China Mieville. This is a breathtaking debut novel of the finest quality.
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Unique among his fellow immortals and mortal folk alike, Jant Comet can fly. His talent is a gift and a curse that has earned him a place in the Castle Circle as Messenger to the Emperor San -- soaring high and free above the bloody battlefields of his world, carrying word back to his master of progress and regress in the ever-escalating conflict between man and the awful armies of giant, flesh-devouring insects.
But while Jant's duty is to remain neutral in the petty squabbles and power plays of the fifty who will neither age nor die naturally, bitter rivalries that have festered for centuries now threaten to incite a savage civil war. And Jant may be the only being alive capable of stemming the onrushing tide of destruction and the unstoppable insect infestation. For only he can gain entrance -- through extreme doses of the narcotic that owns his soul -- into a place of darkest wonders and revelations; a strange and horrific alternate reality that none but Jant Comet believes exists.
A literary triumph of the first water -- bold, stylish, and breathtakingly original -- Steph Swainston's The Year of Our War ascends like a rocket to the upper reaches of the imagination and loudly heralds the arrival of a true modern master of the fantastic.Revue de presse :
“Thoughtful, exuberant, incredibly inventive, funny but never whimsical or mannered: a blistering debut, and honest-to-God unputdownable.” (China Miéville, author of Perdido Street Station)
“Swainston’s first novel brings a bold new vision to the fantasy genre, combining classic fantasy elements with imaginative new images.” (Library Journal)
“Vibrant, colourful, tirelessly inventive and effortlessly weird, Stephanie Swainston has thrown the map away.” (M. John Harrison)
“Extraordinary…stunning…compelling…seriously new. … Swainst has considerably vivid powers of invention.” (Locus)
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