Tuesday 9 October 2012

Crowing about a 5* review - shameful

I'm more than a little pleased with this 5 star review of The Whole Rotten Edifice. It's written by my newest best friend, Geoffrey D West (@GeoffreyDWest or http://www.geoffreydavidwest.com).

Here's the review:

"Grim, grizzly but utterly compelling. The Whole Rotten Edifice is extremely well-written, fast paced and gripping. It tells stories about the Russian military experience in World War Two from the viewpoint of two very interesting protagonists. Sevastian is a high ranking military officer, basically decent, but betrayed by the system, so that he suffers torture, indignity and betrayal, yet he never wavers from his commitment to do his best against the odds. Concurrently we see his daughter Marta, a sniper on the front line, experiencing the true horrors of war at first hand, meeting brave partisans and treacherous officers, the majority of whom pay the ultimate price. Images of wartime atrocities stay in your mind long afterwards, such as the sharp-toothed traitor who ate his comrades to stay alive, or the horrific torture methods of the secret police. As one of the characters says, words to the effect of: wartime is an inversion of the human soul, so that evil deeds are deemed good, while good deeds, such as acts of kindness and mercy, are classified as weaknesses. The book leaves us with some hope for the future, but also the chilling insight that this corrupt, inept, divisive and completely directionless empire has a gargantuan power that probably continues to this day. This is a novel about brave, basically well-intentioned people doing their very best, but shackled into obsequious servitude under the searchlight of an all-powerful evil madness that cannot be resisted. It adds to your knowledge of the depths of cruelty people are capable of, as well as the bravery of the human spirit to resist just about any hardship on earth. Read this book and you will never forget the nuggets of insight into the nature of a cruel vicious system that is fatally flawed. Before reading this I thought that Hitler was World War Two's ultimate monster, whereas now I'm not so sure."

Many thanks to Geoffrey, who is obviously a very discerning fellow.

Monday 30 April 2012

Parole Parlate 3rd May

I'm really looking forward to performing at this event on Thursday 3rd May, and more than a little flattered that the organiser, Lisa Ventura, has asked me to headline the evening.


I'll be reading a couple of stories from my spoof parish mag for the benighted village of Little Hope, plus giving an airing to some of my new stand-up material. Better get practising...

Thursday 19 January 2012

Self-publishing - a US agent's perspective

Here's an interesting article on the new wave of interest in self-publishing, from US agent Jenny Bent, cocking a snook at the East Coast literary establishment.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Review for The Whole Rotten Edifice

Authonomy user Jeff Shear (aka wordgopher) has posted this generous review for the first part of my historical novel, The Whole Rotten Edifice. Many thanks to Jeff.

"In the first moments of his historical fiction, The Whole Rotten Edifice, author Tony Judge neatly laces one of World War Two's enduring mysteries to a certain truth, the fact that momentous times are invisible to those whom they engulf. In this case, the book opens on the grand question of Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, which asks – to borrow a phrase from American history -- what did Stalin know about Hitler's plans to invade the Soviet Union and when did he know it? 

Rendering a historical challenge of that magnitude through the incongruities of the human spirit signals not just a good read but an intelligent one, and necessarily fictional. 

The book's opening is inked with the strokes of a calvary saber. Great plains roll from Berlin to Moscow, soon to be plowed by artillerymen; a dirt road is as potholed as Stalin's collectives; and a Russian commander is less trusted by the Soviet peasants of Belorussia than the Nazi formations grinding toward their dry fields.

Judge signals his control of events – and specifically those particularly difficult to describe events of movement, shock and chaos – through tight close-ups and acute characterization: the brief clip of a weary chestnut plow horse's “great hind muscles” glossy and rippling with effort; an unintended phrase swollen with portent -- the request by a peasant for a doctor who will be “busy very soon” -- snatched instantly for its significance by a Russian general, a man we will come to admire for his patience and doomed initiative.

“At 4am as he trudged across the compound to his quarters... a low hum in the West resolved into a solid wave of aircraft engine noise.” Yes, our general realizes, doctors will be necessary. 

Then instantly, the scope of the Nazi onslaught is instantly upon us. “...the pause between each flash and its accompanying explosion grew briefer and briefer until it disappeared.” Those are the doors of death slamming shut, and our hero dives through them into a crowded shelter, as if body surfing their blast waves.

Can Judge keep this up? I don't know. But I feel I am in grasp of tour de force that promises to join the ranks of literature through the microcosm of the archetypal Russian general, who may well have saved the world; and his daughter, one of the daring women snipers who picked apart the advancing Nazi infantry, and who may well have saved those archetypal Russian Generals . 

I've been over this battlefield several times now, and recognize a writer in command of his characters, their predicaments and antagonists, as well as the human factor, the very close but always impossible human distance that exists between father and daughter."

More reviews here:

Thursday 3 November 2011

Nice review for The Whole Rotten Edifice

The Harper Collins Authonomy blog has just posted this very positive review for The Whole Rotten Edifice, my historical novel about the Russian Front during WWII.

Here is the link: http://blog.authonomy.com/2011/11/one-to-watch-wednesday.html?spref=tw

And a quote from the review below:


One to Watch Wednesday

After discussing dystopian futures last week, I thought it would be fitting to look in the other direction and have a peek at some of the best stories on authonomy set in the past. 

Historical fiction is a particularly difficult genre to get right. It requires impeccable research, strong characterisation, and that certain je ne sais quoi that hooks the reader into this era, over all others. This week's one to watch, I think, looks to have the makings of that special something:                             

The Whole Rotten Edifice opens in 1941. We're on the cusp of the Nazi German invasion of Soviet Russia. The opening chapter sets up a quick-paced narrative, but, just as the rest of the novel appears to be, the action is driven by the characters. At the novel's heart is the strong bond between a father and his daughter. The dialogue is brilliant, and very convincing. The content is heavy going - but what novel of the Second World War isn't? It's an era that never gets tired, and the particular focus of this novel, the defense of Moscow, is an especially fresh angle. 

The first 10 chapters are available to read on authonomy. 

Friday 7 October 2011

Advice for writers from writers
Check out this link to a Guardian article where famous writers give advice on writing.
Two of my favourites:
Roddy Doyle: Do not place a photograph of your ­favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.
PD James: Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.

Thursday 21 January 2010

Sirocco Express reviewed by Gap-Year.com

www.gap-year.com, the website for people taking a travelling break from education or their career, has been kind enough to review my first novel, Sirocco Express. Here is what the Gap-Year.com reviewer had to say:

"Here’s an unusual travel tale. A young Nigerian student sets out from Lagos to travel by truck across the desert towards Europe.

Initially na├»ve, Adebayo soon realises that his “escorts” Odion and Dele are not quite what they seemed.
He has paid a fortune for a ride in a truck operated as a business by people smugglers transporting people desperate to escape the poverty of their various homelands. Adebayo is plunged into a brutal, callous and selfish world as the truck makes its way from Lagos through Benin, Mali and on northwards till, two days away from Marrakech Adebayo is attacked and abandoned by Dele and left for dead.

He is rescued and cared for by an elderly couple then, walking through forest for a week and sleeping rough, finally he makes it to the Spanish enclave of Ceuto, Morocco, - and the high, double security fence designed to prevent would-be migrants into Europe from reaching their destination.

We won’t spoil the ending – you’ll have to read it for yourselves if you want to find out whether Adebayo reaches his goal.

This is a vivid account of the extreme ordeal many migrants undergo in their search for a better, more secure life."