Synopses & Reviews
In second-century Britain, Macey, a former soldier prone to bouts of frenzied violence, wanders the countryside with a group of deserters from the Roman army, contending with the threat of deadly local tribesmen. Fifteen centuries later, during the English Civil War, Thomas Rowley is holed up in a safe house, hiding from the ruthless Royalist troops besieging his village. In the present day, Tom, a precocious, love-struck, mentally unstable teenager, is struggling to cope with the imminent departure for London of his girlfriend Jan. These are the three stories woven together in Red Shift, Alan Garner’s masterpiece of virtuosic counterpoint and brisk historical evocation. Vastly remote in time, each narrative takes place around the mysterious hill of Mow Cop in Southern Cheshire, a region Garner brings vividly and enchantingly to life. By turns riveting, meditative, and deeply moving, Red Shift is a unique piece of storytelling about chance and fate, freedom and predestination, visionary awakening and destructive madness.
In second-century Britain, Macey and a gang of fellow deserters from the Roman army hunt and are hunted by deadly local tribes. Fifteen centuries later, during the English Civil War, Thomas Rowley hides from the ruthless troops who have encircled his village. And in contemporary Britain, Tom, a precocious, love-struck, mentally unstable teenager, struggles to cope with the imminent departure for London of his girlfriend, Jan.
Three separate stories, three utterly different lives, distant in time and yet strangely linked to a single place, the mysterious, looming outcrop known as Mow Cop, and a single object, the blunt head of a stone axe: all these come together in Alan Garner’s extraordinary Red Shift, a pyrotechnical and deeply moving elaboration on themes of chance and fate, time and eternity, visionary awakening and destructive madness.
About the Author
Alan Garner (b. 1934) has lived for most of his life in Cheshire, England. His first book, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen came out in 1960 and since then he has published eight novels for children and adults, as well as opera libretti, plays, and collections of folktales. Among his books are The Owl Service (winner of the Carnegie Medal; 1967), The Stone Book Quartet (comprising The Stone Book, Granny Reardun, Tom Fobble’s Day, and The Aimer Gate; 1983), Strandloper (1996), and Thursbitch (2003). In 2001 Garner was appointed to the Order of the British Empire for services to literature.