Mervyn Peake's gothic masterpiece, the Gormenghast trilogy, begins with the superlative Titus Groan, a darkly humorous, stunningly complex tale of the first two years in the life of the heir to an ancient, rambling castle. The trilogy continues with the novels Gormenghast and Titus Alone, and all three books are bound together in this single-volume edition.
The Gormenghast royal family, the castle's decidedly eccentric staff, and the peasant artisans living around the dreary, crumbling structure make up the cast of characters in these engrossing stories. Peake's command of language and unique style set the tone and shape of an intricate, slow-moving world of ritual and stasis:
"The walls of the vast room which were streaming with calid moisture, were built with gray slabs of stone and were the personal concern of a company of eighteen men known as the 'Grey Scrubbers'.... On every day of the year from three hours before daybreak until about eleven o'clock, when the scaffolding and ladders became a hindrance to the cooks, the Grey Scrubbers fulfilled their hereditary calling."
Peake has been compared to Dickens, Tolkien, and Peacock, but the Gormenghast trilogy is truly unique. Unforgettable characters with names like Steerpike and Prunesquallor make their way through an architecturally stifling world, with lots of dark corners around to dampen any whimsy that might arise. This true classic is a feast of words unlike anything else in the world of fantasy. Those who explore Gormenghast castle will be richly rewarded. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"His novels, said Burgess, are 'aggressively three-dimensional... showing the poet as well as the draughtsman. It is difficult in post-war English fiction to get away with big rhetorical gestures. Peake manages it because, with him, grandiloquence never means diffuseness' there is no musical emptiness in the most romantic of his descriptions. He is always exact. . [Titus Groan] remains essentially a work of the closed imagination, in which a world parallel to our own is presented in almost paranoiac denseness of detail. But the madness is illusory, and control never falters. It is, if you like, a rich wine of fancy chilled by the intellect to just the right temperature. There is no really close relative to it in all our prose literature. It is uniquely brilliant.'" Anthony Burgess "Dark, dense, baroque and hauntingly beautiful. Peake's lush prose and imagery are a pleasure to any lover of the beauty of the written word. A word of warning, however: this one takes its time. Most readers are used to more watery offerings - this is thick, creamy and extra-rich" -- Carlos Ruiz-Zafron Guardian "A master of the macabre and a traveller through the deeper and darker chasms of the imagination" The Times "I discovered it at 15 and have been rediscovering it ever since. It's a profoundly enchanting world, but there are no elves or spells the magic is purely in the writing" Joanne Harris "I started reading it and did not stop.The images conjured up the most weird visions. Images that I had not encountered since absorbing my first introduction to the world of William Blake. It is a fantastic, almost surrealistic flow of vision" -- Ronald Searle --This text refers to the Digital edition.See all Editorial Reviews
Perhaps the most intricately drawn and mesmerizing gothic fantasy ever written, set in a Middle Ages of the mind, and left tantalizingly unfinished.Published 13 days ago by Murrayhill
A great collection edition of some really wonderful pieces of literature.Published 17 days ago by Josh F
This isn't actually Gormenghast, but the second book, Titus' Groan.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This book is virtually unreadable. I have never been more annoyed or bored in my life as I have been through the first 100 pages of this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by fortrock
Peake's Gormenghast novels start out drawing me keeping into the characters. Unfortunately, Peake's dementia is visible in the quality of his writing as he progresses further into... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Connie
My thirty-year-old memories of this book were not as clear as those of "Titus Groan." I remembered, vaguely, that it was about the growing-up of Titus, seventy-seventh Earl... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
The writing is very dense, and yet, doesn't come across that way. There's nothing I can say about this great series that hasn't been said across the net, but it's definitely... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ethan
I had heard all the hype over the years about it being on par with Tolkien or even better, but it's just okay at best. Peake suffers from an extreme case of verbosity. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Robert Henderson
All I can say , this is some of the most breathtaking Englishs language I have ever read. The man was a poet in prose. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Doug Reedy