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Voice of the Fire Paperback – 10 Oct 1996


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Paperback, 10 Oct 1996
£134.64 £21.78


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (10 Oct. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057505249X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575052499
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,519,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
A-hind of hill, ways off to sun-set-down, is sky come like as fire, and walk I up in way of this, all hard of breath, where is grass colding on l's feet and wetting they. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Nov. 1998
Format: Paperback
Stateside: I read this bk a year ago after going to byzantine, preInternet, non-amazonuk lenghts to aquire a copy and it was well worth the long, tortuous wait. Moore is best known as the writer of several "graphic novels" ie long form comic books, including the recently concluded FROM HELL, an amazingly atmospheric tale about Whitechapel, London's occult and mythic psycho-architecture (with a nod to Ackroyd's HAWKSMOOR), and Jack the Ripper. FROM HELL joins MAUS as the "recent" twin pinacle achevements of what the comic book medium can accomplish when unfettered from its plascental spandex origins. This is Moore's first novel, and it has the same complexity and interconnectedness that his previous (and current) comics work displays. He's a great storyteller in any medium, it seems. VOICE OF THE FIRE is a "songline" of ten or so chapters, all set in the author's hometown of Northhampton from the stone age to the present day. It's a wildly impressive "shamanic" evocation of history - it really takes you away to other times, places, and most strikingly, other voices. The first chapter, "spoken" by a stone age half wit in a hypnotically inverted invented grammar, is worth the price of the admission on its own. Alluring, absorbing and at times, alarming...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Liam W. Smith on 13 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm a Northampton resident and Alan Moore is, in fact, an old friend of my dad's, so I speak from knowledge when I say that only Alan could have dmade Northampton this interesting. It's engrossing and intellegent and nicely wierd.
That said, the language is sometimes a little dense and he does let the wierd run away with him sometimes. It's not his best and I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't read at least one of his more accessable books to get his style, but it is an excellent book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JasonS on 19 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having enjoyed Alan Moore's writing from the glory days of 2000AD onward, I was intrigued to discover he had actually written a complete novel. Some of the Amazon reviewers gave me pause before purchase, but I have to say I'm glad I did.

The book is a collection of linked short stories, set in or around Moore's hometown of Northampton and spanning a period between the Stone age and the late 1990s. Moore presents a great variety of memorable characters, including a simple-minded cave-boy, a Roman official, a pair of witches and a deeply untrustworthy underwear salesman. The brilliance of Moore's writing is that each of these characters has a very distinct voice and Moore seems to have an ear for idiom and syntax that makes each tale feel as though it really is a product of the time it's set in.

As others have commented above, the first tale 'Hob's Hog', is written in a difficult, first person present tense style, which, although absolutely necessary for the character, is a little heavy going. Stick with it though, because the book as a whole is a wonder to read and I certainly will be doing so again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Jan. 1999
Format: Paperback
Having long been an admirer of Alan Moore's graphic novel work I read Voice of the Fire with anticipation. Anyone familiar with his early work will find this book very rewarding as he uses the same style and structure of his other writing but for some reason it seems richer for being in a novel form. The language used in the book begins in a basic form of English and is as close as you can imagine to real language being used through the various periods of time.A great book and a thought provoking read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By alex kovzhun on 5 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
I have to admit - Alan Moore is one of my favorite writers. In Voice of the Fire, it seems to me that he's off to prove, that he is as a "serious" writer.
Well, after "From Hell" even the most hard-nosed square intellectuals won't object to his status! Anyway, the Voice of the Fire is a truly masterful piece of work, but as a third novel it'll work much better. As a first, it's far too warped an introduction to Moore's prose.
Voice of the Fire begins in language that is devilishly clever - maybe even too clever. As it progresses, and we move through time a bit, the writing becomes clearer and the reader can appreciate some of Moore's great poetic language.
The story's great, but one has to dig a bit to find it in a fine, sometimes too fine prose.
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Format: Paperback
As a bona-fide fan of Alan Moore's comics work I was really looking forward to seeing what the maestro could do with pure prose, and he doesn't dissapoint. Each of the twelve chapters in Voice of the Fire concerns a different individual at different eras of time within or near what will eventually become Northampton. Seperated by hundreds (sometimes thousands) of years apiece, the characters neverthless end up subtly linked to one another in surprising ways, and a strong supernatural current undercuts most of these chapters. November bonfires, angel language, spectral black dogs, severed heads and lame feet; these motifs occur again and again in ways that often end badly for our protagonists. Despite a total page time of no more than two or three pages, the black dogs are an incredibly sinister presence throughout and work really well to tie the disparate elements together, as well as providing Moore with his rather serendipitous ending.

My favourite elements (besides the occasional cameos by previous, and sometimes future, characters in the chapters of others) was the very faithful tailoring of the language in each chapter to the character concerned. I think this put a lot of people off the book on initial publication as the first (and longest) chapter is the idiosyncratic story of a mildly retarded hunter-gatherer at the end of the Stone Age; he experiences everything in the present tense with little understanding of past or future and doesn’t make any distinction between dreams and reality; and his limited understanding and vocabulary often fail him when he encounters something new for the first time.
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