Thursday, 1 October 2009

Revelation and AT

I have discovered C J Sansom, and I'm loving his work. Somehow I assume the writer is male, though I have not checked.
I grabbed Revelation because it is set in 1543, the exact year in which I am working in my (as yet titleless) wip, and would have read it for that alone but it has become a fascinating read. A hunchback lawyer on the trail of a serial killer and a background of religious fanaticism. I am aware three or four titles from this author have been on the bookshop shelves for some time now, but the covers gave me the impression that they would be heavy, slow and slanted towards religion - not my usual fare!

However, my expectations were so very wrong. The story is lightly conveyed in modern dialogue so easy to read that it slides by without effort. The detail comes in the workings of the court and officials, the backgrounds, the lives lived by those who suffered under the dissolution of the monasteries - detail, yes, but in a way that fascinates rather than bores. 600 plus pages are whizzing by.
It makes me realise all over again how important covers are in attracting a reader to a book. I've seen a rough copy of my cover for TILL THE DAY GO DOWN and I like it ~ a sumptously gowned lady of the correct period, if a tad more richly attired than the heroine's status would have allowed. So difficult to get it exactly right without spending a fortune with graphic artists and design studios.

My latest work is going well, if slowly. I tend to write dialogue and then go back and build up the scene around it. Seems to work for me. I think I may have got some happenings out of sequence by a day or two, but then - it may well have happened like that.
Today we live in such a world of immediate and global announcements that we don't think how confusing it must have been back in the days of handwritten letters delivered by a man on a horse or a man on foot and then relayed by mouth to those who could not read for themselves. News would have taken days to filter down except in case of war, when it would be announced from the market cross or similar. I wonder if the gossip was more accurate then, or did the Chinese whispers effect have a hand in things then, too?


Anita Davison said...

I love Sansom too, Jen. I envy you the pleasures of reading Dissolution and Sovereign too. The author picked a unique hero in the hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake. His capacity to understand other men's weaknesses due to his own sufferings through his infirmity is beautifully drawn.

Jen Black said...

Yes indeed. I checked my library today for his titles and didn't find any, sadly. I must recommend him!