Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm working on - The Raven's Seal

The Raven's Seal is the novel I've been working on since late 2004. In fact, the first few lines were written in the winter quiet of Uris Library, at Cornell University.
What is The Raven's Seal? It's an historical mystery, but it's a mystery in the Dickensian sense, in that the characters find themselves thrown into the centre of a mystery that they must navigate and survive as much as investigate.
It's set in the late-eighteenth century city of Airenchester (my own invention, in the tradition of Cloisterham), and in particular, in the precincts and surrounds of the Bellstrom Gaol, where the protagonist, Thaddeus Grainger, is falsely imprisoned for the murder of his rival.
For me as a writer, the device of the mystery, with more than a nod to the Victorian novel of urban mysteries, gives The Raven's Seal a more open, flexible form, encompassing the prison narrative and the novel of society. The mystery (I hope) is an experience, an entertainment, not simply an exercise in detection and deduction.