Clifford Beal

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
Has anyone here read Clifford Beal's Gideon's Angel from Solaris?

By all accounts it's a kind of cross-over between historical fiction (the English Civil War) and horror - as the book jacket says:

1653: Two plots to kill Cromwell.
One - to restore the king.
The other to set the devil on the throne

The reason I ask is because I've just got a press release from Solaris which provides a sample from a prequel which is about to be released - The Raven's Banquet.

And it has a wonderful sense of language and character, and attention to detail, I've not seen in a novel for a long time.

Here's the opening paragraph of that book:

Yesterday they came for me.
Five horsemen pounded up the lane at a fast trot, scattering the pigs that rooted at the roadside. All in buff and blackened harness, they reined in and dismounted right in front of me. I had seen their likes before: troopers of Generals Cromwell and Ireton. And it was their New Model Army that had wreaked havoc among us only days gone by upon the field at Naseby. It was also plain to me that I was the object of their intent.

Not bad, but then here's the opening of the next chapter:

Like two knocked-out teeth, the dice capered across the pitted table top and bounced off the mate's jack of beer. A great cry went up all around as the master of the Artemis won another throw and marked the slate in his favour. I reached forward to retrieve the dice - a bit too hastily - and the captian's hand lashed out and gripped my wrist like a serpent.
"Not so fast, there. I got another toss of them bones before you, Master Treadwell."

To me it certainly offers a lot of promise at the start - I just hope it doesn't disappoint later on, as I think I'm going to have to add these to my Christmas list. :)

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