Welcome to a world where every desire is visible, rising from the body as a plume of Smoke. A world where bodies speak to one another and infect each other with desire, anger, greed. It is 1909 and this world stands on a precipice – some celebrate this constant whisper of skin to skin, and some seek to silence it forever.
Enter Eleanor, a young woman with a strange power over Smoke and niece of the Lord Protector of England. Running from her uncle and home, she finds shelter in a New York theatre troupe.
Then Nil, a thief hiding behind a self-effacing name. He’s an orphan snatched from a jungle-home and suspects that a clue to his origins may lie hidden in the vaults of the mighty, newly-risen East India Company.
And finally Thomas, one of the three people to release Smoke into the world. On a clandestine mission to India, he hopes to uncover the origins of Smoke and lay to rest his doubts about what he helped to unleash.
In a story that crosses continents – from India to England’s Minetowns – these three seek to control the power of Smoke. As their destinies entwine, a cataclysmic confrontation looms: the Smoke will either bind them together or forever rend the world.
Imagine a world in which every bad thought you had was made visible. Where anger, hatred and envy appeared as a thick, infectious smoke pouring from your body, leaving soot on your skin. A society controlled by an elite who have learned to master their darkest desires.
Thomas and Charlie are friends at a boarding school near Oxford, where the children of the rich and powerful are trained to be future leaders. Charlie is naturally good, but Thomas’s father was accused of a terrible crime, and Thomas fears that the same evil lies coiled inside him. Then, on a trip to London – a forbidden city shrouded in darkness – they learn all is not as it appears. So begins a quest to understand the truth about this world of smoke, soot and ash – and perhaps to change it.
‘Mesmerising and imaginative … a novel that tackles the most fundamental question of good versus evil’ Hannah Beckerman, Observer
‘Like an adult version of the Harry Potter books with a touch of Dickensian dystopia …a sheer delight‘ Maxim Jakubowski, Lovereading
‘A novel that stays in the imagination long after it is read‘ Adam Roberts, Guardian
Award-winning author Simon Morden joins Gollancz with a stunning SF quest across a vast world that mirrors every London ever built.
Instead of fire, there was water.
A wave slapped through the open doorway, and a gust of wind blew into the smoke-filled corridor, dragging a spiral of soot outwards and away.
MARY. One slip away from prison, fighting to build herself a future from nothing.
DALIP. The gentle son of a warrior tradition. A young man who must fight for independence from his family.
STANISLAV. A fierce and capable man carrying the wounds of a brutal war.
They left London in flames for a place where everything was different. A place that can uncover your secrets.
A place haunted by a man called Crows . . .
For fans of Val McDermid, Elly Griffiths and Peter May, prepare to delve into the dark world of The Craftsman with Alive, the ghostly short story thriller by Sunday Times bestseller Sharon Bolton.
A dark moon is rising. A perfect black circle, barely visible in the night sky, the dark moon casts its void over the wind-scorched moor, over the soaring mass of a great limestone hill, and over the town that cowers in its shadow. The dark moon is the absence of moon before the slender silver crescent of the new moon appears again and people can breath a little easier.
The month is March and the night is clear and cold, black as pitch. The full moon in March is known as the Worm Moon, welcome despite its ominous name, marking as it does the end of winter and the emergence of earthworms from the thawing ground. Dark moons have never been named, although they are sometimes called the dead moons. The dark moons reign over nights when people stoke up their fires, draw their curtains tighter and try to think happy thoughts. In the town of Sabden at the foot of Pendle Hill in Lancashire they usually fail.
In Sabden’s soot-blackened terraced houses, the sleepers’ dreams darken when the moon leaves the sky. Infants wake up cold, mothers tremble with elusive fears for their children and old folks slip a little closer to death. Only the Craftsman welcomes the dark moon. Alone in the town, he is awake, and ready to start work.
Alive is a nail-biting, heart-racing, page-turning thriller that will have you up all night and includes an extract of Sharon’s upcoming novel The Craftsman.
Alive is the perfect appetiser to wet your appetite for Sharon’s crime-fiction reads – a gripping tale that will leave you terrified to turn the lights off!