Thursday, 26 September 2019

A Savage Generation Unleashed

It's the 26th of September, and you know what that means?  It means that A Savage Generation, my second book with Flame Tree Press (after The Bad Neighbour) and the novel I've been working on for, I kid you not, approximately a decade, is out today.

I mean, obviously I haven't actually been working on it nonstop for a decade.  It's not War and Peace.  But it was March 2010 when I wrote the first words of what would become, via many drafts and numerous title changes and one total reimagining, A Savage Generation, and that's a level of effort I'm pretty certain I've never put into anything else ever.  Does that make this the best book I've ever written?  Of course not, it doesn't work that way; you don't craft great books by just throwing hours at them!  But it's definitely unique among everything I've done: a bit more complex and ambitious, a bit denser, and a whole lot grimmer.  That last one's probably a coincidence, but then, you can never be sure, can you?

This is perhaps a weird thing to publicly admit, but every time I look at A Savage Generation, I'm surprised by the craftsmanship there.  I don't know that it's better written than my other work, but it's certainly differently written, and it has a distinctive voice that I barely recognise as my own.  But I do think that it contains a lot of my best writing, a consequence of reaching far outside my various comfort zones and getting burned, and then slowly figuring out what was working and what wasn't and chipping out a shape that - again, uniquely among my novels - was almost unrecognisable from what I'd originally set out to create.  It's not a process I'd willingly go through again, because who wants to spend a decade getting a novel right?  But I'm glad I did it just the once, and I learned a lot in the process.

Look, I'll shut up now!  The point is, if you like my fiction, you're going to be intrigued by this one, because it's something altogether different, and also maybe something a bit less filtered.  But if you don't like my fiction (and it's weird that you'd be reading this blog post, but thanks, I guess!) then why not have another try, with a book I can guarantee you is unique among everything I've put out?

Okay, here's the blurb...
Sickness is ravaging America, driving the infected to savagery.
Petty criminal Ben Silensky is determined to get his girlfriend Carlita and son Kyle free of the quarantined city they live in, enough so to risk a foolhardy crime and then to team up with Carlita's equally desperate cop cousin Nando.  Once they're out, Nando is certain they'll find a safe haven in the prison, White Cliff, where his uncle works.  But unbeknown to him, White Cliff has already become a survivalist colony named Funland under the management of entrepreneurial convict Plan John.
In Funland itself, guard Doyle Johnson is shocked when his ex-wife abandons his son Austin into his care.  Fearing the vulnerable position he's been placed in, he recruits the help of Katherine Aaronovich, the prison's doctor.  However, Aaronovich's traumatic past has left her with vulnerabilities of her own, along with a radical theory on the nature of the epidemic that will place all their lives in jeopardy.
As the last vestiges of civilisation crumble, Funland may prove to be the safest or the most dangerous of places, depending on who comes out on top, and what can't be held together will inevitably be torn apart.
A Savage Generation is available from all good stockists of books and book-shaped objects, in e-book, paperback, and hardback formats.  The hardback is flat-out gorgeous, so that's probably the one to go for if you have the cash.  Oh, and there's an audiobook on the way, though it doesn't seem to be available quite yet.  Watch this space!

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