Mark Alder: Son of the Morning: (Review)

Author:

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Mark Alder AKA Mark Barrowcliffe AKA MD Lachlan. (Bio from Goodreads)

Mark Alder & MD Lachlan are pen names – created after Mark Barrowcliffe, author of works such as Girlfriend 44 and Lucky Dog, felt himself irresistibly drawn back to fantasy after writing his Dungeons and Dragons memoir The Elfish Gene.

Wolfsangel might surprise readers of Mark’s other work. He’s always been noted for his comic writing (‘Wickedly funny’ – New York Post, ‘Painfully funny’ – The Bookseller) but Wolfsangel marks a sharp departure of content and style.

The book is a historical fantasy/horror hybrid that reflects Mark’s childhood reading on the occult and witchcraft. ‘If it makes you laugh, I’ve done something wrong’ says Mark.

The MD in MD Lachlan stands for Mark Daniel – Mark’s real name. He went with initials instead of a name because, as so often in his life, he didn’t really think things through. Now he attends publishing events where people don’t know what to call him. He wishes he’d gone with Mark Lachlan but it’s too late now.

The comic Steve Martin was once told by Johnny Carson ‘You will use everything you know’. Wolfsangel, for Mark, bears that out.

Book Description

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Meet Hal Romsey Priest, sorcerer, assassin A good man Who fights for the Devil It’s 1337. Genoese mercenaries under the French are harrying the channel ports and Edward III is powerless to stop them. He’s bankrupt, up to his ears in debt to Florentine bankers. He can’t hope to defend his lands in France, which are subject to a vicious scorched earth policy pursued by the French king. Hal Romsey is a sixteen year old boy, frightened and intimidated by exalted company. But he is a Luciferist – a visionary and a disciple of the devil. He has one of the keys to Hell, and knows how to use it. Hell is willing to ally with England – and thus begins a story that will shake the thrones of medieval Europe and see angels and demons fighting for the future of England and France. Son of the Morning will provide readers with politics, intrigue and massed ranks of soldiers battering against each other, while angels and demons stalk the battlefield and hell comes to earth.

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Mark Alder: Son of the Morning: (Review)

Imagine taking the 100 years’ war and setting it in a different world, a parallel world. Some might say…its been done: Game of Thrones? Ok that’s a concept I concede. But game of thrones is a fantasy setting. Son of the Morning takes and uses the real history, it encompasses the main players of the Day, the likes of Edwards (Black Prince), Joan of Arc, John the blind, Henry V and so many many more. Throw in the odd revolting peasant, a spot of black death and you have a fairly miserable period in history. What Mark does to this is a touch of writing genius, he throws into the mix religion…But that’s a central part of Medieval Europe I hear you cry! But so much more so if the Angels and Devils that were so much a part of the lives of these superstitious people were real .

Churches and relics were imbued with angels, the more powerful the angle for example the more gilded and beautiful the church. The problems in a mortal world though come to the fore when both sides have “God on their side” who in fact does, the Hosts of Angels start to become unresponsive and the great and powerful men of Europe start wonder if God has abandoned them and if they need to look to darker powers for aid.

Now comes the real genius behind the story: All is not what it seems, God may not be the good all-knowing being we are led to believe, Lucifer is not the devil incarnate. The whole hierarchy as we understand it between Heaven and Hell is based on lies. ‘God’ created nothing but the barren wastes of Hell. When God in his jealousy saw the Paradise that Lucifer had created in his rage he imprisoned Lucifer in Hell and bound mankind up in a system of arbitrary rules and sins that demanded worship of him alone. These sins are so wide reaching that only a tiny minority can ever hope to avoid the fires of Hell.

Woven into this extremely rich tapestry of imagination and history, are battles worthy of any great swords and sandals novel and the dark imagination worthy of Dante. But Mark doesn’t just stick at the high level, the writing goes down to the detail of the clothing, the sounds, the sights and the smells of the time, this is no tale of polished knights, this is medieval and grimy. It is also riddled with wry sardonic humour, and outright laugh out loud moments.

This book should appeal to those who love great writing, fans of Historical fiction, fantasy, supernatural tales… it should appeal to anyone who loves books, because this is writing at its best.

(Parm)

Other Books

Girlfriend 44 (2000)
Infidelity for First-time Fathers (2001)
Lucky Dog (2004)
Girlfriend 44Infidelity for First-time FathersLucky Dog
The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange(2007)
Mr Wrong (2008)
The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up StrangeMr Wrong
Craw Trilogy
1. Wolfsangel (2010)
2. Fenrir (2011)
3. Lord of Slaughter (2012)
WolfsangelFenrirLord of Slaughter
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