Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Now for a commercial break


My novel In the Falcon's Claw is back in a beautiful U. S. paper edition from Cowley/Rowman & Littlefield.
(From flap copy) It is the year 998 A.D., two years before what much of Christian Europe believes will be the year of the Apocalypse. Strengthened by the devotion of a fearful and superstitious populace, the Church is seeking to harness a decaying Holy Roman Empire by asserting its absolute authority in interpreting the will of God. So Aileran, abbot of a now-abandoned island monastery off the coast of Ireland, a man once believed to be a saint, is called to account for heresy. His accuser is his best friend, Gerbert, the charismatic fellow monk who first introduced Aileran to literature and geometry, to the pleasures of the flesh and perhaps to sin; Gerbert, now known as Pope Sylvester II.

Alone in self-exile, racked with pride, guilt and despair, Aileran struggles to make sense of the events that have led him to this pass. He recalls his idyllic childhood, which ended in violence; his education and adventures in the most renowned monasteries and courts of the age; and above all, his passionate and troubled relationship with the woman Melisande, who changed everything. Eventually Aileran will have to come off his beautiful and desolate island to stand trial and to confront Gerbert and the woman he failed in love. But before the year 1000 dawns, one heretic at least will have to die.
Los Angeles Times: Moving... memorable... a richly poetic book about beauty and destiny, at once compelling and complex.

Le Figaro Litteraire: A novel of never-ending pleasure... superbly innovative...a work of rare and irreverent intelligence.

And here, Aileran and Melisande read from a medieval bestiary and improvise upon it. In those days, every animal had a metaphorical meaning:

"I am the bird Ercinee," said Melisande. "My skin shines so brightly that I illuminate the overcast day. You will find me by the glow of my desire."

I am Hyrcus, I answered, the He-goat, buring for your sex. Adamant would melt in my hand.

"I am Catus, who pursues the mouse. I catch it in my mouth."

I am Talpa. the blind mole, who burrows in the hollows of the earth. I nibble at the roots.

"I am Apis, who draws nectar from the flower. See the silver drop. I lay up honey in my comb. See how industrious I am, how agreeable."

I am Salamandra, who prevails against fire. I live in the heat of the blaze without being burned. I extinguish the fire, yet I am not consumed.

"I am Turtur, the Turtledove. I love my first love only. I enfold him with my wings."

I am Grus, the Crane. I am never tired. I will watch you as you sleep.