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Utterly Dark: Saint Chyan's Story

  Many place-names in the Autumn Isles reference Saint Chyan, the 9th Century missionary who introduced Christianity to the islands. (Sundown Watch, where Utterly Dark lives, stands upon a cliff called Saint Chyan’s Head.) In an early version of the third Utterly Dark book, Utterly Dark and the Tides of Time I went into a bit more detail about who Saint Chyan was, and the truth behind his legend. His story didn't make it into the finished book, but it's part of the history of the Autumn Isles. Maybe it will come in useful one day. The Utterly Trilogy is available now from UK bookshops. Saint Chyan and the Lady of the Deep Of all the monks at his abbey, Brother Chyan was the laziest, and the least devoted. That was how he had come to be dozing by the river on the day the Northmen came. It was a sunny morning in the September of the year 834, and he should have been about his chores in the kitchen garden, but digging bean-rows was hard, and the green shade beneath the willows h
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Utterly Dark & the Tides of Time: Publication Day

Utterly Dark and the Tides of Time is published today, and I’m on my way to the Islay Book Festival, where it all began, back in 2019. Spending time on the island then reminded me that I’d been toying with the idea of writing something about an imaginary archipelago since at least my first year of art college, and I went home feeling it was probably time I got started. Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep was the result. But on the way to Islay this time, Sarah Reeve and I have stopped off on Mull, which is the place where it really all began. Because the reason I’d been toying with imaginary archipelagos for so long must have had something to do with an earlier visit to the Hebrides, back in 1977, when my parents, my sister and I camped on the shores of Loch na Keal. This is how it looked then: And this is how it looks now: We had a lot of holidays like this, to Cornwall, Wales, the Lake District, and similar places - my parents had a thing for mountains and beaches, the more remo

Gwenevere on the English Riviera

Here’s a link to the interview I recently recorded with John Tomkins of the English Riviera Film Festival . We talked a bit about my books, and about the film adaptation of Mortal Engines . But mostly it’s about my own film, Gwenevere , which John will be screening in a special event at Torquay Museum on 4th November. Tickets are available here.   If you can’t make it, Gwenevere will be released online at some point later in the year, but this will be a rare chance to see it on the big screen. And Torquay Museum is well worth a visit, too.

From the Archives: Fury Road

I just discovered that some of the posts from my old blog are still, somehow, googleable. So I’m re-posting them here - apologies if you’ve read them before. First up: Mad Max: Fury Road. I wasn’t particularly interested when I first heard about   Mad Max - Fury Road . I’ve reached that age where every other movie out of Hollywood is a remake or a reboot of something that I remember from my formative years, and almost all of them seem inferior to the originals. But it turns out that   Fury Road   is the real deal: I don’t remember enjoying a sci-fi/action movie this much since   Aliens . The plot would fit comfortably on a post-it note. I’ve seen a few people on Twitter saying this as if it’s a bad thing. It’s not. Most films have far more plot than they know what to do with.  Fury Road  has exactly as much as it needs. Which isn’t very much at all, because it’s a demented punk hymn to speed and violence. Basically, post-apocalyptic warlord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) keeps a harem

Utterly Dark and the Tides of Time

Utterly Dark and the Tides of Time will be out soon. I linked in an earlier post to this review by Gordon Askew on his blog Magic Fiction Since Potter , who thinks, ‘ this concluding title of the trilogy   is the richest and most complex of the three. A thrilling triumph, it  lifts the whole story onto another level, into (literally) another dimension, and firmly into the realm of great children’s fantasies .’ If you haven’t yet dipped a toe into Utterly’s world, maybe this review from Veronica Price on her A View From The Bookshelves will help to persuade you to try Utterly Dark and Face of the Deep and the second book, Utterly Dark and the Heart of the Wild . I think the three Utterly books are among the best things I’ve done. But, whether because of the historical setting, or COVID, or the fact that the main character is younger than most of previous heroes and heroines, it’s been very hard to make people realise they exist - so if you have read and enjoyed them, please spread t


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