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Bold As Love (GOLLANCZ S.F.) [Paperback]

Gwyneth Jones
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 May 2002 GOLLANCZ S.F.

Three extraordinary people in some most extraordinary times:

It's Dissolution Summer and as the United Kingdom prepares to break up into separate nations, the Counterculturals have gathered for a festival where everything's allowed. Among them is a talented little brat called Fiorinda, rock and roll princess by birth, searching for her father, the legendary Rufus O'Niall.

Instead, she finds Ax Preston, the softly spoken guitarman with bizarre delusions about saving the country from the dark ages. Together with Sage Pender, techno-wizard king of the lads, they join the pop-icon team that's supposed to make the government look cool.

Rock Legends. True Romance. A stunning fantasy about England.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New edition edition (9 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057507292X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575072923
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,052,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gwyneth Jones, born in Manchester UK, 14th February 1952, is the author of many novels for teenagers, fantasy, horror and thrillers, using the name Ann Halam, and several highly regarded sf and fantasy novels for adults. Her critical essays and reviews are collected in Deconstructing The Starships, 1999 and Imagination/Space 2009. Among other honours she's won two World Fantasy awards, the Children of the Night award, the Philip K Dick award, the BSFA award and the Pilgrim award for Science Fiction criticism. Several of her novels have been nominated for the Arthur C Clarke award, the latest was Spirit in 2010. She keeps a blog (intermittent) at and lives in Brighton with her husband, son, two cats called Ginger and Milo, and five goldfish.Hobbies include cooking, gardening, playing with her websites and staring out of the window.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Bold As Love is technically a science fiction novel, set as it is in a near future of political collapse and technological development, and yet it sprawls over the border between SF and fantasy. Ax is a rock musician conscripted by the government of post-Union England to consider the future and co-opt the counter-culture. He stays on to run things when the disgusting character, Pigsty, massacres his way to power, and Ax gradually becomes the much-loved centre of power and policy. Part of what keeps him ahead of events is a brain implant with all the information a benevolent despot might need; part is his fey lover Fiorinda and his best friend Sage, who is in love with Fiorinda and not sure of his exact feelings for Ax. These three are almost a latter-day Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot... a fact that does not bode well for the second volume.

Jones' picture of a world falling apart at the seams--with its worryingly coherent portrayal of a competent dictator--is one of the more impressive things she has done; and Fiorinda with her conscience and angst-ridden past is a passionately lovable heroine. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A stunning fantasy of an England that may yet be and a Once and Future King.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The sun was setting in a flood of scarlet and gold as a small white van cruised to a halt on the Caversham Road. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent near future novel 3 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bold as Love is a sort of SF/Fantasy vision of a near future England.

It's set in a time where the counter-cultural movement has gained a lot of ground (this is mostly alluded to) whilst the United Kingdom is dissolved. As the title "Bold As Love" implies, this novel is indebted to rock music. The government of the new England decides that it needs to cosy up to the more powerful counter-cultural movement; there seem to be a number of reasons for this. Again, these are quite often, rather than explicitly told alluded to.

The novel has a large number of themes and ideas in it; it is also a good literary piece of SF.

It is clearly set in a time where there has been a breakdown (but in absolutely no way complete; people still live their lives in a way that we'd recognise) due to environmental crisis - predominantly energy crisis, I think. Like I say, though, this is never, explicitly, told. This leads to the growing importance of the environmental and counter-cultural movements, which leads to rock stars being invited to government. These make up most of the main characters in the novel.

There are many things that I liked about Jones' novel. Firstly, it's character driven, and these characters are well drawn. Though there are some people that are worse than others, even the "good" characters are far from perfect, they have problems and make choices that they don't agree with because they are politically the correct thing to do.

The mainstreaming of the environmental movement in the novel is handled well, too. It's portrayed as being multi-layed with people who are interested in treating the surroundings better, through to some people who hold questionable views on science or unfortunate views on Englishness.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars worthy winner of the Clarke award 21 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This is a superb book. (I actually read its sequel, Castles Made of Sand, first, as it was in our local library; read that in one sitting and went out and bought this the next day.) It's set in a recognisably near-future England, where devolution for Scotalnd and Wales is just about to become independence, anti-capitalists and the lunatic fringe of the environmental movement have grown from a minor nuisance to a serious threat to society, and a government even more devoted to focus groups than Tony Blair has decided that the best way to tackle the problem is to instigate a Counter-Cultural Think Tank to give it street cred. Add to this a double-cross which leaves most of the said Think Tank dead, and an armed uprising by Islamic militants in Yorkshire, and you have all the ingredients of a total social collapse - which Ax Preston, brilliant guitarist and committed, driven social idealist ("I don't want to be a politician, I want to be a leader") is determined to avoid. His allies are rock stars, his methods range from a small shooting war through rock festivals to religious conversion, and the whole thing is played out over some of the most historically resonant bits of the English landscape.
The real strengths of the book are the writing, which is magnificent, and the characterisation of the three principal actors, Ax, Fiorinda and Sage Pender, which is deep, subtle and brilliantly drawn. (Though I do think the portait of Ax the strategist - super-competent, driven, frighteningly prepared to sacrifice anything for the greater good - needs the balance that we get with Ax the lover (decidedly more human, actually *making mistakes*) in Castles.) The evocation of England - people, history, landscape and myth - is also beautifully done.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a festival novel 31 Aug 2002
Though this novel is a fantasy, the fact that its author is Gwyneth Jones means that we have a book here with a conscience. Bold As Love works because its author, already known for her strengths of characterisation and originality of setting, has decided to take the festi culture that she knows as her backdrop. The whole thing has enough twists and turns to keep it moving, enough heart to make it feel real, and enough SF interest to keep the reader thinking.
Quite rightly, it has won the 2002 Arthur C. Clarke Award. Recommended to all readers who love a novel with: ingenuity, originality, readability, great one-liners, oddness, social comment, horrible bits (thankfully not too many, but the author is a bit of a social realist, if I could borrow that term from Blackadder), strange bits, moving bits... I could go on, but there really are alots of bits to this multi-faceted novel.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Imagine an England where pop stars slaughter excess cattle for the TV cameras, and refugees are greeted with music festivals!
Bold as Love is a surefire contender for this year's Clarke award; and for others, too, whether sf or mainstream. Joyously written, this compelling novel represents a major change of direction for Gwyneth Jones (albeit one presaged, in part, in KAIROS and such 'Ann Halam' novels as The Fear Man and The Powerhouse). Blending intimate technologies and magical energies, 'shit venues and flashes of genius', near-future possibilities and a mythic past, indie music and funky, chaotic revolution, Jones delivers a weird new future, just a heartbeat away. And she does so more convincingly even than Bruce Sterling or William Gibson--largely because of her stunning sense of place, both physical and cultural, and of history and duration. Take a step to one side (the left, of course) and this is a hopeful vision of here-and-now, steeped in the matter of England and rooted in a timely evocation of Britain's essential diversity. With Bold as Love, Jones has joined the small number--the very small number--of fantasists (Mieville, Noon, Shiner, Waldrop) to write well about popular music. Among its many accomplishments, the novel perfectly captures and fondly ironises the romanticism and cynicism, idealism and solipsism of rock culture, the counterculture and science fiction, too.
If there are any TV producers out there with a little courage and imagination, and who are fed up with the endless cycle of costume dramas and regional cops, they should drop everything and snap up the option to adapt Bold as Love today.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars "Jesus, Lenin and Trotsky," he muttered, "Is this England?"
This is England, but not as we know it. The Counter-Cultural forces are at work and have de-stabalised the political system to the point where the government have formed a... Read more
Published on 16 May 2012 by Eileen Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
A tour de force of faith, politics, technology, magic, hummanity and england as it's never before been seen. Highly recommend this book, and the rest of the series.
Published on 27 Sep 2011 by Tasha
2.0 out of 5 stars Implausible and unengaging
Gwyneth Jones writes beautifully at times, but I couldn't get interested in this book for four reasons.

Firstly, I wasn't interested in the characters. Read more
Published on 18 Aug 2011 by Aquilonian
5.0 out of 5 stars Wait Until Tomorrow...
Gwyneth Jones is one of those authors it has taken me far too long to get around to. This, the first of a series set in an England in the immediate aftermath of the dissolution of... Read more
Published on 14 Dec 2009 by P. Perry
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the recommendation
I was looking for a new fantasy series to get my teeth into and Gwyneth Jones name was given to me by a colleague at work. I bought this book and read it in one sitting. Read more
Published on 15 July 2007 by Ink Monkey
5.0 out of 5 stars Blazed (like a bonfire)
I love this book. "Bold As Love" is not fantasy, it's not sci-fi, it's the world around us with a rock and roll twist, treated in a way that manages to be incredibly harsh and yet... Read more
Published on 15 Dec 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Brassed Off
This is very odd. I'd read the extract of the novel published in InterZone before this book's publication, and it seemed pretty good. Read more
Published on 26 July 2004 by M. Buckley
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold as Love
As a big fantasy fan, I don't normally like "near future" or alternative present stuff, but this book and the next two in the series really blew me away. Read more
Published on 31 May 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brief (and quite gushy - sorry bout that!) review
This is one of the best series of books i have ever read. The tone and images Jones created are just so recognisably British that I felt a, previously unheard of, patriotic twinge... Read more
Published on 29 May 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold and brilliant
Bold As Love was recommended by a friend, and I was doubtful. In my experience fantasy and sf writers tend to fall down badly when they tackle contemporary culture, and an award is... Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2002 by David Calder
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