Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Guest Review: Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

Darren from Bart's Bookshelf says:

The quality of Marcus Sedgwickís writing, sort-of crept up on me.

About eighteen months ago, I had read and enjoyed, his first novel, Floodland, and while I had liked it, it hadn't blown me away.

However, by the time I had devoured, The Book of Dead Days and Dark Flight Down, via Witch Hill and The Foreshadowing a few months later, I was as regular visitors to my site can attest, a huge fan.

Only now, I can't tell you exactly when exactly I became one, it seems now that I always have been.

There, are many things that make his writing stand out for me; from his ability to weave a tale so rich in atmosphere it is almost tangible, to his impeccable research, which adds a level of realism to even the strangest of situations.

I can't say enough good things about his depiction of Venice, it is without doubt a brilliant piece of writing, as with very few words, Sedgwick manages to create a richly detailed setting, and I say it, every time I review one of his books, but he is a master at creating atmosphere. You are there, every single step of the way, with the fog lapping around your ankles.


– From my review of, Sedgwick's: The Kiss of Death.

His books are not only vastly enjoyable and always a magical experience to read, but with sophisticated conflicts and relationships expertly woven into the prose they also encourage us, to think, and his latest novel, Revolver, is certainly no exception to this.

Book Cover of Revolver by Marcus SedgwickIt will come as no surprise to most of you, but the book blogging community is filled with many fantastic people and when one of them, the very wonderful Nikki (aka @stormfilled on Twitter) knew she was meeting Mr Sedgwick a couple of months ago, she immediately thought of me, and made sure a signed copy soon arrived through my letterbox. :)

The action in it, begins many miles north of the Arctic Circle in a tiny, little place, called Giron.

The year is 1910, and Sig, a young teenage boy, has been left alone in his family's remote and isolated home.

Along with Sig, is the body of his father, who earlier that morning, had an accident whilst trying to cross the frozen lake their property sits on the edge of, and died out on the exposed surface.

While he is waiting on the return of his sister and step-mother, from the nearby town where the pair have travelled to arrange someone to collect his fatherís corpse; a stranger arrives at their home, asking to see his father.

The story then switches back and forth between showing us bits of his father's life some years previously, and back in Sig's home where there is an ever growing sense of threat and danger as the stranger forces his way in, demanding to settle some outstanding business.

It is revealed that the man has been chasing Sig's family for over 10 years, and now with his fathers corpse lying on the table between the two of them, the stranger insists that as Sig is now the man of the house, the responsibility to settle his fathers debts, now lies with him.

As his desperation grows, Sig comes to the belief that the only means of escape, lies with an old Colt revolver that he knows is hidden in their storeroom

When Sig's father had bought the old second-hand revolver to protect his young family in the remote and desolate wilds of Canadian gold-rush towns, when they were first settling there, he can have had no idea the significance it would have many years later.

I defy anybody to read this and not shiver! And I'm not just referring to the tension, Sedgwick slowly builds towards. No, I'm talking about his perfect descriptions of the cold, harsh, landscapes that lie in the Arctic Circle. You'll want to keep a hot pot of tea or coffee and a blanket nearby whist reading them. :)

At it heart, this is a moral tale about whether it's right to use a gun, and for what purpose, and even in the end, how. Yet, even though it is about Sig's moral choice, Sedgwick never attempts to moralise on either side of the argument.

Impeccably researched and wonderfully written, with this one, Sedgwick continues to be one of my favourite writers of recent years.

***

I met Darren from Bart's Bookshelf through him commenting on MFB. I popped over to his blog after he commented on the previous Marcus Sedgwick posts and immediately fell in love with his blog. Here was a kindred spirit, someone who enjoyed reading and books and chatting to authors and telling the world about it.

I gathered courage and asked him to write something for MFB's Author of the Month and he agreed, responding with the remarkable musing and review above.

Thanks very much Darren - I am so glad to see that there are fanboys and fangirls out there who match my own levels of geekness!

3 comments:

Yunaleska said...

Oooh another fun one for the TBR pile. I haven't heard of Sedgwick before, will definitely check out his work.

Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf said...

Okay, I'm blushing now!

It was a pleasure to write something for your Marcus Sedgwick month. I'm always more than happy to spread the word about his greatness! :)

Steve Feasey said...

I read a proof copy of this book a little while back, and can only concur: it's a great read.