King of the City by Michael Moorcock

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Synopsis

More than a decade ago, Michael Moorcock's extraordinary Mother London gave stunning new breath and style to contemporary literature. With Bruce Chatwin's Utz and Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, the novel was short-listed for Britain's prestigious Whitbread Prize. Now, with scathing wit and enthralling vision, the author whom the Washington Post has praised as "one of the most exciting discoveries in the contemporary English novel [in] 40 or so years" returns to a city transformed and transforming, and in peril of its life.

These are the times and trials of Dennis Dover, former rock guitarist, photojournalist, and paparazzo. Denny inhabits a world of vibrant color, smell, and sound, where novel experience and unpredictability are anchored by steadfast tradition and history. Mother London's many vagaries give Denny Dover joy and succor, always seducing him home from the Earth's terrible places, where the face of death is as common as the blood that stains the local dirt. And London is where Rosie Beck is, when she isn't off elsewhere combating the planet's great ills.

Denny's brilliant, beautiful, socially conscious cousin has always been an indispensable part of his being -- his soul mate and his soul. Since childhood they have been inseparable, delighting in the daily discoveries of a life with no limits. But now the metropolis that nurtured them is threatened by a powerful, unstoppable force that consumes the past indiscriminately and leaves nothing of substance in its wake.

The terminator is named John Barbican Begg. A hanger-on from Denny and Rosie's youth, he has become the morally corrupt center of their London and the richest, most rapacious creature in the Western Hemisphere. Now, as their cherished landmarks tumble, conspiracy, secrets, lies, and betrayal become the centerpieces of Rosie and Dennis's days. For Barbican has but one goal: to devour the entire world. And the only choice left is to join in, drop out ... or plot to destroy.

A sprawling work of incomparable invention, King of the City is eccentric and remarkable, a unique urban love story with a pit-bull bite that confirms the unparalleled literary genius of the amazing Michael Moorcock.

 

About Michael Moorcock

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Michael Moorcock, 1939 - Writer Michael Moorcock was born December 18, 1939 in Mitcham, Surrey, England to Arthur and June (Taylor) Moorcock. He was married to writer Hilary Bailey from 1962-1978 and had three children with her. He also married Jill Riches, in 1978, and Linda Mullens Steele, in 1983. Moorcock was the editor of the juvenile magazine Tarzan Adventures from 1956-58, an editor and writer for the Sexton Blake Library and for comic strips and children's annuals from 1959-61, an editor and pamphleteer for Liberal Party in 1962, and became editor and publisher for the science fiction magazine New Worlds in 1964. He has worked as a singer-guitarist, has worked with the rock bands Hawkwind and Blue Oyster Cult and is a member of the rock band Michael Moorcock and the Deep Fix. Moorcock's writing covers a wide range of science fiction and fantasy genres. "The Chronicles of Castle Brass" was a sword and sorcery novel, and "Breakfast in the Ruins: A Novel of Inhumanity" uses the character Karl Glogauer as a different person in different times. Karl participates in the political violence of the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, and a Nazi concentration camp. Moorcock also wrote books and stories that featured the character Jerry Cornelius, who had no consistent character or appearance. "The Condition of Muzak" completed the initial Jerry Cornelius tetralogy and won Guardian Literary Prize in 1977. "Byzantium Endures" and "The Laughter of Carthage" are two autobiographical novels of the Russian emigre Colonel Pyat and were the closest Moorcock came to conventional literary fiction. "Byzantium Endures" focuses on the first twenty years of Pyat's life and tells of his role in the Russian revolution. Pyat survives the revolution and the subsequent civil war by working first for one side and then another. "The Laughter of Carthage" covers Pyat's life from 1920-1924 telling of his escape from Communist Russia and his travels in Europe and America. It's a sweeping picture of the world during the 1920's because it takes the character from living in Constantinople to Hollywood. Moorcock returned to the New Wave style in "Blood: A Southern Fantasy" (1994) and combined mainstream fiction with fantasy in "The Brothel of Rosenstrasse," which is set in the imaginary city of Mirenburg. Steve Ellis was sportswriter who covered the Florida Seminoles for over twenty seasons. He won numerous awards, both at the state and national level, for his coverage. Prior to joining the "Tallahassee Democrat", Ellis was a founding writer and editor for the "Osceola", a weekly publication dedicated to Seminoles athletics. He passed away in 2009.
 
Published August 2, 2011 by William Morrow. 432 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for King of the City

Kirkus Reviews

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As these three move through the pop-riddled ’60s, through the years of drugs, assassinations, and social upheavals and on to Thatcherite England and the present day, Moorcock fills the tale with real characters and situations, made-up characters and situations, and those somewhere in between.

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London Review of Books

Rushdie, seduced by the high-definition celebrity culture of New York, new smells, brighter lights, has denounced his old midden for its failure to fire his imagination, but Moorcock, in whatever exile he finds himself, returns obsessively to his dream-source, the city of his birth.

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