Something Red by Douglas Nicholas
"They are creatures of blood and dream." During the thirteenth century, in the northwest of England, in one of the coldest winters in living memory, a formidable middle-aged Irishwoman and her little troupe are trying to drive their three wagons across the Pennines before the heavy snows set in. Molly, her powerful and enigmatic lover Jack, her fey granddaughter Nemain, and the young apprentice Hob soon find that something terrible prowls the woods through which they must make their way. As they travel from refuge to refuge, it becomes apparent that the evil must be faced, and it is then that Hob learns how much more there is to his adopted family than he had ever imagined.
*Something Red* has an elegant prose style, shapeshifters, Irish battle queens, young love, middle-aged love, Norman knights, wild cattle, sorcery both good and evil, a cameo appearance by the Templars, pilgrims, Saracens, a chess tournament, bandits, harpers, snowy mountain passes and forest twilight, a party of wandering Lithuanians, a sweet-tempered ox, warrior monks, strong-even dangerous-women, ten murderous mastiffs, a central mystery, and a snowstorm that an early reader described as "one of the coldest scenes since *Snow Falling on Cedars*."
Note: This book has achieved some wonderful success and it is now being marketed by Emily Bestler Books. You can Pre-order it at Simon and Schuster right here The release date is September 18, 2012 and yo can also pre-order your copy on amazon.com here: Something Red: A Novel
“I loved Something Red . Douglas Nicholas conjures up the distant thirteenth century with prose as magical as that practiced by his sorceress-queen. This is a stunning debut novel of lyrical power and suspenseful drama. The hair-raising finale will keep you reading far into the night.” -- Carol Goodman, national bestselling author of The Lake of Dead Languages
" Something Red is a sublime, can't-put-it-down read."
-- Kingston Daily Freeman
Be sure to check out the authors website here: Douglas Nicholas
Here's a link to the novel's page on Goodreads (20 reviews).
Here's a link to the Simon and Schuster page:
And here it is on Amazon:
Here are some reader reviews:
-"As good tales well told go, this one is V.S.O.P cognac. You want to read it quickly, it's a page-turner, but you want to linger at the same time. For the smells, touch, taste, sounds, linguistic mastery of it. You are in isolated rural thirteenth-century England, but you might as well be in Homer's Odyssey, with pile-on of scene after scene of trials of strength and of craftiness. The plot is age-old in appeal: a carnivorous monster roams at large not only outside, in forest and wintery deserted country road, but also, very scarily, inside--inside inn, monastery, castle, caravan wagon. Who or what could it be? And who can put an end to its slaughter? The characters, each and every one, are charmers, and any one of them could turn out to be the monster. Strong, too. Not because they live in mythland but because they live in a realistically conveyed medieval world so tough that only the strong make it past age ten. (Nicholas builds this world using a sort of jewelled precise terminology that is catnip for scholars and for crossword puzzle freaks, and that made me wish Nabokov were still alive to read it.) The main character, the caravan-leader Molly, is unforgettable. She enters an inn saying, "A blessing on your house and all within. It is my delight entirely to enter here." It was my delight entirely to read this book. It's a beauty."
-"Short of acquiring a magic time machine, Something Red is the most delightful (and safer) way to experience adventure, romance, and chilling murder mystery in the almost-mythical middle ages of Northern England. The vivid characters come to life on the page and soon feel like old friends. Only more interesting. The author is honest and fair with his clues, but the ending was a total surprise to this reader and kept me up far too late into the night. Highly recommended (By Susan Holt)."
-"That Douglas Nicholas, the author of Something Red, is a poet will come as no surprise to any reader who has passed page six of this gorgeous, lyrical narrative. His words and sentences are so precise and evocative; I found myself drawn to read, re-read, and read a third time entire passages so I could I revel in their beauty. Nicholas has a command of language that reminds me of authors such as Humberto Eco, Toni Morrison, and D. H. Lawrence. However, it isn't just the prose that attracted me as a reader - it is the story itself.
I love all things fairy, creepy, and ethereal. Throw in shape-shifters and sorceresses, and I just might disappear on a book bender for twelve hours or more. This happened to me while reading Something Red. The novel starts slow, its pace matching the slow march of its central characters as they cross rivers and passes. Tensions build, danger lurks, a castle appears: the force and tempo of the writing quickens in a manner that is almost sneaky. I loved this aspect of this book! I was seduced into feeling mounting tensions, sharing them with characters of the thirteenth century.
In fact, that element of the book, its meticulous description of its time period, was one of its greatest successes. That I could smell the scent of rock, urine, and snow through its pages indicated not just Douglas Nicholas' mastery of language but the author's excellent historical knowledge. Passages describing the texture of stone or the arrangement of a keep were exacting, reminding me of my recent adventures in Europe visiting actual monasteries from the thirteenth century.
Something Red is something to be read. If you love language and "creatures of blood and dream," Douglas Nicholas' novel is sure to please."
About the Author
Douglas Nicholas is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in numerous publications, among them Atlanta Review, Southern Poetry Review, Sonora Review, Circumference, A Different Drummer, and Cumberland Review, as well as the South Coast Poetry Journal, where he won a prize in that publication's Fifth Annual Poetry Contest.
Other awards include Honorable Mention in the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation 2003 Prize For Poetry Awards, second place in the 2002 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards from PCCC, International Merit Award in Atlanta Review's Poetry 2002 competition, finalist in the 1996 Emily Dickinson Award in Poetry competition, honorable mention in the 1992 Scottish International Open Poetry Competition, first prize in the journal Lake Effect's Sixth Annual Poetry Contest, first prize in poetry in the 1990 Roberts Writing Awards, and finalist in the Roberts short fiction division.
He was also recipient of an award in the 1990 International Poetry Contest sponsored by the Arvon Foundation in Lancashire, England, and a Cecil B. Hackney Literary Award for poetry from Birmingham-Southern College. He lives in New York City and the Hudson Valley with his wife Theresa and Yorkshire terrier Tristan.
Be sure to check out his website here: Douglas Nicholas
Here is a look at the back cover of the book: