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Lost Empires

Lost Empires [Kindle Edition]

JB Priestley , Barry Cryer , Roy Hudd , David Burrill
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Product Description

Product Description

J.B. Priestley

Lost Empires


Introduced by
Barry Cryer and Roy Hudd

A huge success when first published in 1965, Lost Empires is one of the most significant novels in the later stage of J.B. Priestley’s long creative career.
Set in the last years of the England that vanished for ever after World War I, it tells the story of Richard Herncastle, an aspiring painter who travels the now-vanished music halls with his Uncle Nick, the half-lovable, half-monster, master illusionist. As they move between dingy lodging houses and decaying variety stages, Richard becomes caught in a triangle of love, temptation and sexual adventure.
Lost Empires is superbly comic and tragic, and is a richly coloured, haunting portrait of a life and people soon to change irrevocably.

“If you've read this before, embark on a return journey.
If you haven't, I envy you.”
Barry Cryer

“My favourite of his novels... a storyteller supreme,
a master of his craft.”
Roy Hudd

“Certainly one of his best… exhibits all his virtues and talents to the full.”
The Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 583 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Great Northern Books (30 Jun 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008GO54FI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #135,328 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond The Footlights 2 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This reissue, by Great Northern Books, of what is arguably J B Priestley's finest novel is a reminder of the deep feeling the author had for the period just before the First World War and for the music halls and variety theatres which flourished at that time. The story concerns Richard Herncastle, a young man from the West Riding of Yorkshire who aspires to be a painter. Trapped in a dull office job and with both of his parents dead he accepts an offer from his uncle, Nick Ollanton, to join the latter's touring theatrical troupe. He has many experiences both on and off the stage before the outbreak of war puts paid to his life in the theatre. Priestley creates a richly-detailed narrative that only The Good Companions rivals in the author's fiction. But compared with the earlier novel this is much darker in tone : raw sexuality, violence, murder, suicide, moral corruption and even the perversion of the cause of justice are all present before, against the background of a terrible war, true love triumphs between Herncastle and a young dancer and singer Nancy Ellis. This edition, which is issued in both hardback and paperback, benefits from appropriate and valuable introductory contributions from Barry Cryer, Roy Hudd and Priestley's son, Tom Priestley. There is also a brief reminiscence from John Castle, who memorably played the misanthropic Ollanton in the sumptuous and faithful 1986 Granada Television version of the novel. This is available on a 3-disc DVD box set and can be warmly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars KINDLE EDITION WARNING 23 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sorry but this a review of the Kindle edition not of the book. Given that it's being sold almost at the same price as the paperback, you'd expect it to have a table of contents so you can navigate around the book. It doesn't.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Memory Lane. 5 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this many many years ago and enjoyed it very much then. It went out of print, so I was glad to find a Kindle version. Enjoyed it rather less this time, The world and I have moved on
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Empires a joy 21 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Priestly's co,,and of the English language and his superb observation of his characters make this book a joy to read. I am now re-reading my other Priestly novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Priestley's finest in my opinion 5 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lost Empires is an engaging story told simply as the theatrical adventures of one Richard Herncastle in the year leading up to the outbreak of WW1 and his enlistment as a volunteer in the army thereafter. It is an elegant, understated farewell to the Lost Empires - the music hall "chain" of that name; to the idyllic (and not so idyllic) pre-apocalyptic world, to his own naivete and to the eccentric and occasionally sinister characters who crossed his path.

This is late Priestley, and the storytelling reflects the author's maturity, regrets and wry humour looking back on lost youth - combined with some of the swinging sixties mores to bring forward the characters with more cynicism (the men) and awareness of sexuality (the women), than perhaps would be expected of the times. As an entertaining and insightful picture of the world of 1914 in this War centenary year, it has a lot to recommend it.
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