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Voice of the Fire [Kindle Edition]

Alan Moore , Neil Gaiman , José Villarrubia
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Historical Fiction
An epic historical military adventure, Constantinopolis plots out the future of civilization as shaped by a number of fascinating characters. Learn more

Book Description

In a story full of lust, madness, and ecstasy, we meet twelve distinctive characters that lived in the same region of central England over the span of six thousand years. Their narratives are woven together in patterns of recurring events, strange traditions, and uncanny visions. First, a cave-boy loses his mother, falls in love, and learns a deadly lesson. He is followed by an extraordinary cast of characters: a murderess who impersonates her victim, a fisherman who believes he has become a different species, a Roman emissary who realizes the bitter truth about the Empire, a crippled nun who is healed miraculously by a disturbing apparition, an old crusader whose faith is destroyed by witnessing the ultimate relic, two witches, lovers, who burn at the stake. Each interconnected tale traces a path in a journey of discovery of the secrets of the land. In the tradition of Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, Schwob's Imaginary Lives, and Borges' A Universal History of Infamy, Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell, Lost Girls) travels through history blending truth and conjecture, in a novel that is dazzling, moving, sometimes tragic, but always mesmerizing. Now available in paperback for the first time in America! With an Introduction by Neil Gaiman, a signature of full-color plates by Jose Villarrubia, and a cover design by Chip Kidd.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1990 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (February 21, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004OYT9IM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,148 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars England's burning December 27, 2001
This book's characters face down disappointments, corruptions, madness and dreams in a series of short stories - which all take place in a short radius in central England but are spaced over 6000 years (not 5000 as it says on the cover) until the present day. What can I say - one of the best books to travel through the history of England. Dark, bitter, loving, and embedded in the earth below and burning with the fire above. Passages of brilliant prose will linger - no, just stay - with you. Ideas bounce around the confines of the book, ignited by the fires it tells of. From inventing a language in the first chapter (in which Moore imagines an English language of 6000 years ago, using a vocabulary of few words) to passages that make you realise just how rich the language can be (and infrequently is) you get the sense that Moore is in control and really working at this book. Stand-outs: that first chapter, a Roman facing both the loss of Empire and the savagery of the locals, a Crusader facing his own madness and the madness of his faith - and, in one of the most beautiful descriptive texts I know, the burning at the stake of two "witches" in love.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a work of magic February 26, 2004
By A Customer
I think that Rebecca Scott explains the book best in her review. Here is an excerpt:
"If Voice of the Fire has a protagonist, it must be Northampton itself, because this is the story of the formation of the mythology of that place. It is a geological study of the strata of the collective unconscious of the area. Each of its twelve chapters is the first-person story of an individual who crystallized into the forming stones in the hill of tales, whose bodies fed its grass and trees. Their histories wind through that of the land, bringing us closer and closer to the present day.
Each of the chapters includes a full-color plate, a photographic character portrait by Jose Villarrubia (who contributed to the very fine graphic novel Veils). These glow softly, and have a painterly quality about them that makes even the grimmest a gem. Yet this is a text novel, not a graphic novel, and the words are the things. Very fine words they are, too: "Trust in the fictive process, in the occult interweaving of text and event must be unwavering and absolute. This is the magic place, the mad place at the spark gap between word and world." The language is vivid, graphic (sometimes too graphic for someone who reads while eating). Each chapter, each story, has a distinct voice, radically different from the others...
This book is a work of magic ... If you let it, it will work a change in your consciousness ... So come, climb this hill of tales in the night of myth, draw close to the flames, listen to the voice of the fire, and let it work its spell in you." -- Rebecca Scott,
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Novel of the 90s? March 8, 2004
Most comics readers have heard of Alan Moore, and EVERYONE working in comics has been influenced by him. So when he released his first prose novel several years ago (1995?) I bought a British import and read it in a few days. Devoured it. Savoured every concrescence manifesting through the man's words. Loved it.
And then the book went out of print...
Until Top Shelf brought it back! (yesh)
Watchmen? From Hell? Tom Strong? Swamp Thing? A Small Killing? Halo Jones? Naw, it's different from all of them. Here's a quote from a current Moore interview: "I'd like to think that if I've shown anything, it's that comics are the medium of almost inexhaustible possibilities, that there have been...there are great comics yet to be written. There are things to be done with this medium that have not been done, that people maybe haven't even dreamed about trying. And, if I've had any benign influence upon comics, I would hope that it would be along those lines; that anything is possible if you approach the material in the right way. You can do some extraordinary things with a mixture of words and pictures. It's just a matter of being diligent enough and perceptive enough and working hard enough, continually honing your talent until it's sharp enough to do the job that you require."
He does the same thing with prose, pushing the medium in surprising directions. The closest literary equivalent I know of is 'Ulysses' - but that takes place in one day. 'Voice of the Fire' covers a few thousand years. Both are equally dulcet and disquieting. It's a book worth owning. And rereading.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Novel concept June 30, 2006
Alan Moore's first prose novel, which combusted onto the scene some ten years ago now, still has yet to receive much attention. This occurrence is strange, but understandable. The book, to give a brief overview, is a collection of twelve short stories taking place in twelve different time periods (stretching from 4,000BC to AD1995), all sharing the same setting of the central area of England that eventually becomes Northampton.

Moore, who is so famous I can trust to odds that you know the top three or four works he's most famous for, as revolutionized the comics industry in terms of storytelling, style, and tone time and again. And yet Voice of the Fire remains low on's list of books sold, its decade in the 84,450s list include the English Teacher's Book of Instant Word Games and a certainly captivating Dictionary of Financial Terms.

This, inasmuch as concerns what the public is fed through the New York Times Best Seller List, is unsurprising. Moore's book begins with a 40+ paged chapter about a Neolithic cave-boy's exile from his hunter-gatherer tribe. An emotional and moving story to be sure...if you can make it to the end. The story is told in the first person, using what Moore estimates to be less than five hundred words--his creative attempt at mimicking Neolithic speech and thought.

If you're wondering what to expect from the story: expect fire. And blood. Horror. Nightmares. And more fire besides. Be it ancient, Roman, Norman, or modern, Northampton has never been a very safe place to live, an issue Moore addresses personally as the protagonist in the final chapter, written in a stream-of-consciousness style.

Expect a smorgasbord of writing styles.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Voice of the Fire
This is a great book for fans of Alan Moore. I would call the genre Horror. Extremely challenging but very engaging. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Mitch Laird
5.0 out of 5 stars This book deserves a lot more attention and praise than ...
This book deserves a lot more attention and praise than what it gathered so far in the ten years it has been in print. I believe that one day this will be considered a classic.
Published 3 months ago by Nick
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting First Novel
Interesting novel by Alan Moore. Very dense and difficult to get into, but definitely rewarding. Certain passages are absolutely beautiful and thought provoking in a way only Moore... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Daniel C Durbin
4.0 out of 5 stars it's rather good, for the most part
Alan Moore's first novel is a psychogeographic history of Northampton, England, tracing its bloody, magical roots from the late Neolithic to the modern. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ryan
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but very dense
Heavy book, it'll take you an age to finish it. A bit overdetailed at times, and the prehistoric and historic language is impressive, but challenging.
Published 17 months ago by David K. Stolowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars In-depth review: "raising the dead to tell us what they know"
Shamans, heads, magic, a bridge, crossroads, dogs, pigs, flame: elemental and elusive, this powerful novel recapitulates the evolution of English and the growth of Northampton,... Read more
Published 21 months ago by John L Murphy
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get into
I know most Alan Moore fans are die-hard but I just couldn't get into this one. I am still fighting through and have read three other books in the just drags on.
Published 24 months ago by Kristin M
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant prose!
The reviews written about this novel describe it perfectly. I can only add that I check Amazon every week looking for Alan Moore's new novel JERUSALEM to be released. Read more
Published on February 18, 2013 by Cheri
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly flawless work of experimental fiction
This text is an amazing accomplishment in writing which makes several bold experiments work well. The first chapter's reimagining of English grammar through the lens of a stone... Read more
Published on February 15, 2013 by Christopher Wise
4.0 out of 5 stars unique
I have never read a book like this. The changes in dialect from chapter to chapter really help you envision the characters' attitudes and moods. Read more
Published on February 10, 2013 by Marie Neu
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