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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.

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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: 527,002 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.

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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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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 coalition with these rock stars and guitar heroes who have converged in all the usual places (Glastonbury, Reading, etc.) in order to have a good time, smoke a lot of weed and generally engage the suits in mind-enhancing dialogues. In this parallel world what solves people's dissatisfactions appears to be lots of free concerts by big name rock stars. The middle-classes are, presumably, just getting on with things in their own knitted cardigan sort of way, busy eradicating aphids in the garden and running their small businesses, because, after all, the people running the country are their children. So that's all right then.

This is so nearly wonderful that you read it hoping it can do the magic and make you believe in a world with a rock group called Pigsty and the Organs living in Buckingham Palace. But no, sadly, it doesn't quite come off. There is a lot of talking, a lot of action, not to mention the defeat of the Islamist Republic of Yorkshire, in a North Yorks Moors battle. One wishes to believe that the people of England would, for just a short period of time anyway, get off their backsides and believe in something enough to fight for it. It's hard to believe - even squeezing one's feet into Dorothy's red shoes wouldn't do it.

There are only three characters of any note in this - Ax Preston, "soft-spoken guitar man", Sage Pender, "techno-wizard king of the lads," and Firoinda, "talented rock and roll princess by birth, searching for her father, the legendary Rufus O'Niall.
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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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5 of 6 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Blazed (like a bonfire) 15 Dec 2004
By A Customer
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 optimistic at the same time. The only other sf writer who can write about music convincingly (IMO) is Jeff Noon, but to be frank, Bold As Love is an easier ride... The plot is nailbiting, because the characters are so well drawn. You feel you know these people and you are terrified that they aren't going to make it. To say more is superfluous because you have to experience this, no summary will do it justice. Castles Made of Sand is also brilliant, Midnight Lamp probably the best actual *novel* of the three, but Bold As Love is still the boss book. Intense!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent near future novel
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... Read more
Published on 3 July 2010 by R. Palmer
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
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
2.0 out of 5 stars Better than the sequel
Just to give the benefit of the doubt, I read both halves of the Sage'n'Ax'n'Fiorinda saga. The first half, Bold As Love, is better, but that's not to say it's actually... Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2002 by "stevengough"
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