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The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars Hardcover – 13 Jan 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (13 Jan. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765324776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765324771
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.9 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 708,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The greatest writer of post-Tolkien British fantasy."
--Michael Chabon, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Yiddish Policemens Union" "I owe a lot to Moorcock, as does fantasy at large. If you haven't read his books, you're missing something grand."
--Brandon Sanderson, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Way of Kings"
"Moorcock changed the field single-handedly: he's a giant. He has kept me entertained, shocked, and fascinated for as long as I have been reading."
--Tad Williams, "New York Times" bestselling author of the Otherland series
"The vast, tragic symbols by which Mr. Moorcock continually illuminates the metaphysical quest of his hero are a measure of the author's remarkable talents."
--J.G. Ballard
"A giant of fantasy." --Kirkus Reviews
"A giant in the history of science fiction and fantasy--and mainstream literature." --"The Guardian
"
"[His stories] are the spells that first drew me into Moorcock's luminous and captivating webs." --Alan Moore, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Watchmen" and "V For Vendetta"

The greatest writer of post-Tolkien British fantasy. "Michael Chabon, New York Times bestselling author of The Yiddish Policemens Union"

I owe a lot to Moorcock, as does fantasy at large. If you haven't read his books, you're missing something grand. "Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Way of Kings"

Moorcock changed the field single-handedly: he's a giant. He has kept me entertained, shocked, and fascinated for as long as I have been reading. "Tad Williams, New York Times bestselling author of the Otherland series"

The vast, tragic symbols by which Mr. Moorcock continually illuminates the metaphysical quest of his hero are a measure of the author's remarkable talents. "J.G. Ballard"

A giant of fantasy. "Kirkus Reviews"

A giant in the history of science fiction and fantasy--and mainstream literature. "The Guardian"

[His stories] are the spells that first drew me into Moorcock's luminous and captivating webs. "Alan Moore, New York Times bestselling author of Watchmen and V For Vendetta""

Book Description

The grand master of fantasy returns to London and the fantastical for his first independent novel in almost ten years! --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Whispering Swarm is partly a thinly-fictionalised memoir of Michael Moorcock's life in the 1950s and 60s--Moorcock as editor of Tarzan Adventures, scripter of other English boys' comics, journalist; the creation of Elric, the editorship of new Worlds, the coming of Jerry Cornelius; making music with Hawkwind and the Deep Fix; his first marriage, children.
Moorcock lived a creatively fertile life at a fascinating time for western society and culture, and in London he was in the thick of it. He had a deeply personal vision of a new type of popular fiction, to some extent shared by Barry Bayley, JG Ballard and others, but without Moorcock's commitment to editing and supporting New Worlds magazine it may not have become a reality. This success was not won without some personal cost. His account of those days would in itself be enough for a substantial book.
Then there is the fantasy element. The teenage Michael discovers a doorway into Alsacia, a timeless remnant of old London, where characters from different centuries--some apparently real, others definitely fictional--mingle, drink, romance and philosophise.
Here too he finds the Sanctuary of the White Friars, based on a real mediaeval Carmelite monastery, demolished by Henry VIII. The real Alsacia, the area around the monastery's remnants, became one of London's many thieves' warrens, offering sanctuary of a different kind. Michael's Alsacia retains both these aspects and a lot more besides.
There he falls in love with an exciting young highwaywoman. He is shown a new model of the cosmos, incorporating elements of his familiar (to us readers) Multiverse, in mind-expanding visions with something of the psychedelic trip about them.
For these and other reasons he is drawn back to Alsacia for long periods.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I urge you one and all to buy this book and read it without delay. Michael Moorcock, I'm his long and distinguished career, has written many fine books, but this may be his finest ever. The first of a trilolgy, part autobiography, part fantasy, it's not exactly like anything I have ever read. Profoundly philosophical, mystical and thrilling, it blends all of these strands into a towering edifice. Stumbling into Alsacia, a lost place in London where time and fiction blends, Moorcock uses this as a metaphor for the exploration of reality and imagination, and for a kind of wonderful recapitulation of his long life and many works, and in the process delivers a deeply magical adventure. If you read it as a novel it will thrill you; if you read it as a metaphysical adventure, it will make you think; if you read it as metafiction it will keep you enthralled. But if you read only one book this year it should be this one. And, as a rider, Alsacia was, or is, a real place, thought it is hidden today.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't like to review books I don't fully enjoy, particularly those by someone who I have appreciated in the past. This book is on the borderline and I admit there was much to enjoy. However the blending of fantasy fiction with biography cast a cloud over both genres. One of the downsides of this is that by writing about his own life while casting himself as an action hero it made the central character appear more pleased with himself than is I think the case. I suspect I will be in the minority and I'm glad I read it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Glorious. Not only to have a new Moorcock I remember when you had to wait ten weeks for a new one, not ten years :-)], but to have one that proves he has not lost his touch. Indeed, this work, whilst it has its roots firmly in all that we know of Moorcock's work, it spreads a whole new canopy to the multiversal forest. This is Moorcock as Geoffrey of Monmouth, creating a history of himself and his times that is as much myth as it is reality, with no way of knowing just where the borderline stands. Real, familiar, and wholly fictional characters, places and events weave in and out of one another in a London that owes as much to the vision in our heads as it does to the city you'll find on the ground. And that is, perhaps, one of the points of the book - that we all build mythologies about ourselves, our lives, the events we have lived through. Some of those in this book I have shared. I even knew some of the real people. And I am certainly familiar with the fictional characters, familiar enough to know they also inhabit my world in that misty place where myth and reality interact.

The writing is, as ever, sharp and the pen sketches are vivid. The book itself looks good. I cannot wait for the subsequent volumes. It is a worthy addition to Moorcock's canon.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fascinating blend of Michael's writing in different genres. It's helpful, if not expected, that the reader is already familiar with his previous work. I enjoyed the autobiographical aspect of the book, although whilst brutally honest there is sometimes a tendency to ramble! In classic Moorcock style the characters are totally believable and his power of description draws you in. The themes of the book are explored across time and space but we end up with a book that is very relevant for today! A brilliant read for Moorcock fans!
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Format: Hardcover
Stories are at the heart of all cultures and religions and forms of ethnic and social identity. We live by stories, rarely thinking how we can change them and invent our own. Michael Moorcock is a master story-teller – he was expelled from school for keeping the other boys awake at night with his tales. He began work at sixteen and has made a living writing stories with over a hundred books to his credit. At the ripe age of seventy-five he tells his own story in The Whispering Swarm, but does it in a very unusual way.
The book tells of a young man called Michael Moorcock and his relationship with the world of the imagination. Michael’s story has a lot in common with the “real Michael Moorcock,” but there are differences in the details to remind us this is a work of fiction. Michael grows up in wartime London where the ruins of bombed houses are ideal playgrounds. He has visions, but it is never clear if these are delusions. He begins to write stories in fanzines and becomes the editor of Tarzan Adventures at sixteen, going on to write scripts for scores of comics. He plays guitar with a rock band, Hawkwind, and becomes part of the Swinging Sixties cultural scene in London.
Everything changes when he meets a Cistercian monk who shows him a door leading into Alsacia, a sanctuary in the heart of the city between Fleet Street and the Thames. Moorcock goes into a tavern and meets cowboys and highwaymen he has been writing about. In the beginning he assumes they are actors from a film studio until he meets a young woman, Moll Midnight, and falls in love.
Whenever he leaves for normal life in a busy city he hears voices in his head, the Whispering Swarm. The voices give him peace whenever he returns to Alsacia and learns how the sanctuary can move between the centuries.
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