Set in a marvelous multiverse, this fantasy adventure-plus-memoir grapples with questions of identity, creativity, heroism, and the very structure of storytelling.
Postwar London, Swinging Sixties London--a time and place of creativity and social change. Young Michael Moorcock embarks upon adulthood as both editor and writer of science fiction and fantasy, helping shape the genre into its modern form through his work and his friendships with other writers. His marriage is new and fresh; his children are young and raising them, an adventure.
But no adventure lasts forever, and Moorcock begins to chafe under the grind of work and family. What seems a chance encounter with a monk--one of the White Friars--leads to a secret at the heart of London. Massive yet phantasmal doors lead to the Alsacia, a hidden world inhabited by great heroes of both history and fiction. Captivated, Moorcock rides as a highwayman and finds himself drinking in the company of all four Musketeers, though he misses his children and his increasingly-estranged wife.
The Alsacia's dangerous politics come to a head just as Moorcock's wife divorces him, each catastrophe feeding on the other as two realities pull on the emotionally struggling writer.
Part memoir, part adventure novel, The Whispering Swarm--the first book in The Sanctuary of the White Friars series--is both an evocation of a now-vanished London and the beginning of a new journey through the multiverse, created by a master of science fiction and fantasy.
“I owe a lot to Moorcock, as does fantasy at large. If you haven’t read his books, you’re missing something grand.”—Brandon Sanderson
“The greatest writer of post-Tolkien British fantasy.”—MICHAEL CHABON, New York Times bestselling author of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union
“Astonishing…”—Alan Moore, author of Watchmen, in The New York Times Book Review
"If you are at all interested in fantastic fiction, you must read Michael Moorcock. He changed the field single-handedly: He is a giant."—Tad Williams, bestselling author of The Dragonbone Chair trilogy
“[Moorcock] has essentially written the other style guide for modern fantasy. . . His vision of a speculative fiction genre that can be psychologically complex is evident in how very sophisticated some of it has become—from 'True Detective' to Jeff VanderMeer, from David Mitchell to ''Under the Skin.' But Moorcock also embraces the joy of pulp, and, like Tolkien, his creations are namedropped and sourced high and low.”—The New Yorker
“Brilliant. Moorcock interweaves his two strands into a cat's cradle of wonder, with each narrative illuminating and heightening its counterpart.”—Locus
“A cross between Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and Moorcock's own life.”—SFRevu
“A fascinating Moorcock-esque romp, where the rules are never quite revealed, to the reader or the characters.”—SF Signal
“Moorcock mixes an account of his early life with a swashbuckling tale of idealism and romance wherein the author rubs shoulders with figures from history and popular fiction such as Claude Duval, Dick Turpin, and the Three Musketeers. It’s a suitable bit of genre-mixing from a figure who was instrumental in blurring the lines between popular and literary fiction.”—The Irish Times
“Michael Moorcock never saw a boundary he didn’t want to cross, blur or dispense with altogether. The reality in The Whispering Swarm is the life and career of one Michael Moorcock, writer, guitarist, Londoner and working-class hero, plus the magnificent city in which he grew up. The fictional elements of the book are, confusingly enough, about exactly the same subjects. It’s fitting indeed that Michael Moorcock should become his own unreliable narrator.”—The Guardian
“A heady blend of memoir, fantasy, history, and self-referential fiction. A vivid evocation of post-war Britain and the artistic bohemia of 1960s London. It’s full of outrageous stories about the writers in Michael’s circle and Michael’s own occasionally fraught relations with the women in his life. The fictional side of the story is full of further Moorcockian references as well.”—Tor.com
“Strongly autobiographical and a hall of mirrors reflecting Moorcock's own life and literary circles, it is also the tale of an apocryphal area of London where time runs differently. Highwaymen, musketeers, roundheads, swordsmen and women, the cosmic balance between chaos and equilibrium: all Moorcock's idiosyncratic obsessions merge in a thrilling stew which blends pure adventure, myth and existential questioning.”—Maxim Jakubowski on LoveReading