Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Recommendation for 2009: 'Twelve' by Jasper Kent

Quite like the sound of this one:

On 12th June 1812, Napoleon's massive grande armee forded the River Niemen and so crossed the Rubicon - its invasion of Russia had begun. In the face of superior numbers and tactics, the imperial Russian army began its retreat. But a handful of Russian officers - veterans of Borodino - are charged with trying to slow the enemy's inexorable march on Moscow.

Indeed, one of their number has already set the wheels of resistance in motion, having summoned the help of a band of mercenaries from the outermost fringes of Christian Europe.Comparing them to the once-feared Russian secret police - the Oprichniki - the name sticks. As rumours of plague travelling west from the Black Sea reach the Russians, the Oprichniki - but twelve in number - arrive.

Preferring to work alone, and at night, the twelve prove brutally, shockingly effective against the French. But one amongst the Russians, Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, is unnerved by the Oprichniki's he comes to understand the true, horrific nature of these strangers, he wonders at the nightmare they've unleashed in their midst...

Always meant to try more historical fantasy after enjoying Novik's Temeraire novels, so might have to check this one out. Plus vampires are just cool. Even when they have slicked-back hair and wear bow ties. Fortunately these ones - based on the cover art - don't.

In the words of agent John Jarrold:

"Jasper was one of the first writers I took on as a client," said Jarrold, "and I was never in any doubt regarding his talent. His story-telling, characterisation and prose are all outstanding, and the sense of place, in a crumbling Russia being invaded by Napoleon’s Grande Armée, is palpable.
"Twelve was first submitted in 2004, when the market for the supernatural was much less positive than it is today. Having seen that recent change in the market, I still felt it was a book that should be published, and three London editors were willing to take a second look – as was a publisher in the US.

"I couldn’t be happier for Jasper, or for Simon, who is a wonderful publisher, working with one of the best publishing houses in London."

Jasper Kent lives on the Sussex coast, and works part-time as a software consultant. He has also co-written several musicals, one of which was produced as part of the celebrations for the 3,000th anniversary of the foundation of Jerusalem.

Twelve is published by Bantam Press on 1 January 2009.


Adam Whitehead said...

This sounds up my alley, as I have a huge interest in the Napoleonic Wars and the Russian campaign in particular. Not such a big fan of vampires - Matheson, Buffy and GRRM's Fevre Dream aside - but always willing to give them another go.

ediFanoB said...

Like Adam I'm not a fan of vampires - yesterday I ordered Fevre Dream :-) - but this is a compelling recommendation.

Dark Wolf said...

It looks pretty interesting, although I will go with the previous comments regarding vampires. I like a few stories of vampires, but not many ;)