King of the City
By Michael Moorcock
(William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780380975891, 432pp.)
Publication Date: August 2001
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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.