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Voice of the Fire [Paperback]

Alan Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 July 2009
In a story full of lust, madness, and ecstasy, we meet twelve distinctive characters that lived in the same region of central England over the span of six thousand years. Their narratives are woven together in patterns of recurring events, strange traditions, and uncanny visions. First, a cave-boy loses his mother, falls in love, and learns a deadly lesson. He is followed by an extraordinary cast of characters: a murderess who impersonates her victim, a fisherman who believes he has become a different species, a Roman emissary who realizes the bitter truth about the Empire, a crippled nun who is healed miraculously by a disturbing apparition, an old crusader whose faith is destroyed by witnessing the ultimate relic, two witches, lovers, who burn at the stake. Each interconnected tale traces a path in a journey of discovery of the secrets of the land. In the tradition of Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, Schwob's Imaginary Lives, and Borges' A Universal History of Infamy, Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell, Lost Girls) travels through history blending truth and conjecture, in a novel that is dazzling, moving, sometimes tragic, but always mesmerizing. Now available in paperback for the first time in America! With an Introduction by Neil Gaiman, a signature of full-color plates by Jose Villarrubia, and a cover design by Chip Kidd.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (14 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603090355
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603090353
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 339,100 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the good stuff... 25 Nov 1998
By A Customer
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, not his best. 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant first novel 7 Jan 1999
By A Customer
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating blend of fact and fantasy 19 Mar 2012
By JasonS
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 som again.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisitely written 22 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having only read Moore's graphic novels, I wasn't sure what to expect of a conventional novel by him. I have NOT been disappointed. His storytelling art it just as beguiling as in his graphic novels, but we also get treated to his exquisite use of language and mastery of different registers for different time periods and characters. Seriously up there with anything I have ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By The Emperor TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The first chapter was hard going but after that I found it to very well written and engrossing.
The " Roman" story and the "Spiv" stories were particularly good.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "First" novel of a great master 2 July 2002
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.
Comment | 
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Criminally underrated
Every time I go to Northampton I have a copy of Voice of the Fire somewhere on my person, in case I ever bump into Alan Moore! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jamie Frost
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible
I love Alan Moores Graphic Novels but it's a very, very long time since I haven't been able to finish a book. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Emma Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit heavy
Some quite engaging sections on top of some rambling that felt like I was ploughing through it rather than enjoying it.
Published 13 months ago by Wych
2.0 out of 5 stars Really weird
This is just weird stuff. It's well written, but coupled with the fact that Alan is a bona-fide Shaman it really puts a spin on the stories. Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2010 by Chris Morse
5.0 out of 5 stars Zarjaz
I've been reading Alan's writing since the early 80's, through his 2000AD work, and through his 'graphic novels' such as From Hell. Read more
Published on 15 Sep 2010 by Orpheus73
5.0 out of 5 stars More Moore.
I've been a fan of Alan Moore's 'comic book' writing since before I knew or cared someone was writing them, so I have been loath to try his first novel and (possibly) discover that... Read more
Published on 26 Aug 2010 by Chandito
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful
The first story to page 60 is written in an odd caveman dialect (I think that is what it is) that reminded me of Jamaican. I found it really hard to read and gave up. Read more
Published on 26 July 2009 by Robert
5.0 out of 5 stars the best book ever written
a work of brilliance. this book is a formalists dream ...it's an engrossing and terribly beautiful book, each chapter more tragic than the last. Read more
Published on 24 Jun 2002 by "deadwife15"
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