Saturday 27 August 2011

DEATH SINGER by Katherine Roberts. Reviewed by Susan Price

Death Singer by Katherine Roberts
          Susan Price is the Carnegie Medal winning author of The Ghost Drum, and The Sterkarm Handshake.

          ‘On my one hundredth birthday, Papa made me a present of a mortal man…’  So we’re told by Kryssa, the heroine of ‘Rubies’, one of seven fantasy stories in ‘DEATH SINGER.’
          ‘Rubies’ reminded me of Bradbury’s tales of supernatural families, not only in its subject, but in its sensuality: ‘Her hair, black as mine, glittered with diamonds that outshone the early stars…’  And later, as Kryssa, her hair threaded with rubies, looks at her reflection in a lake: ‘Yes, I could see myself. Or…I could see moon-pale flesh shimmering with gold, and the pinpricks of red stars surrounding me: Grandpa’s rubies blurred with the millions of worlds above…’
          ‘Rubies’ is romantic, lush, Gothic, and its theme, like the other stories, is that of rebelling against the rules your society insists you live by. And, in these stories, at least, the rebels mostly gain a kind of victory.
          Roberts imagines other worlds and other ways: her characters spirit-travel and meet singers whose voices can heal or kill, savage unicorns and soul-leaders. There is horror, and humour, and beauty.
          ‘Mars Take Seed Make Man’ is the closest to science-fiction, set in a Martian colony where soldiers are grown to supply Earth with fodder for its wars.  But the peaceful women farmers of Mars have found a use other than killing for their 'man-roots'! - and the roots themselves are not quite the vegetables Earth's Generals took them for.
I Am The Great Horse by Katherine Roberts
          The final story, and perhaps my favourite, ‘Empire of the Hare’ is historical-fantasy, featuring the most audacious take on Boudicca I’ve read in a long time: and possibly closer to the truth than the usual druid-hugging, noble freedom-fighter. As in her wonderful book, I Am The Great Horse, Roberts demonstrates that although she mingles fantasy with history, she is sharply aware of the machinations of politics, both ancient and modern, giving her stories a cynical edge.
          These seven stories are available for download from Amazon kindle for £1-71 – seven thoughtful, beautifully written stories for less than half the price of a glossy magazine filled with adverts.
          And the cover was designed by Roberts herself, using her own photograph. This is hand-crafted, designer fiction at a give-away price!
          Title: DEATH SINGER
           Author: Katherine Roberts
           Kindle e-book, Price £1-71 or $2-99.  Download it here.

          Both Katherine Roberts and Susan Price can be found at Kindle Authors UK


1 comment:

Ann Turnbull said...

I really enjoyed these stories too, Susan, especially the ones you mentioned. I'm not usually a fan of Gothic stories (that's an under-statement!) but 'Rubies' is brilliant.

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