Swords and solar cells
Release Date: 23 April 400 pages | Hardback/ ebook Author: Peter Newman Publisher: Harper Voyager
This isn’t an easy read.
Words don’t flow smoothly; staccato sentences stop/ start like a juddering car. Peter Newman’s novel of a demon- infested world is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road – dark and desolate, relentlessly bleak, with the odds stacked sky- high against the nameless wandering hero.
The protagonist in The Vagrant is also a man with no name. Travelling with a baby, a chatty sidekick ( named Harm) and a stubborn goat, he trudges across a land horribly mutated and broken by a demonic invasion. His task? Survive. Deliver a Seraph Knight’s sentient sword to the Shining City in the north.
Newman writes economically, short and sharp, spattering his post- apocalyptic world with wonderfully dark imaginings: messages carried in blood; cults of biologically augmented survivors; a young girl remade into an armoured horror, her humanity still flickering beneath metal and mechanics. It’s deeply dark. Different. Even somewhat risky. The main character never speaks and so the author uses the various supporting characters ( and a slow- burning backstory) to shape and define him.
Questions and open loops urge you forward. Who is the vagrant? Is the baby his? How can the travellers outrun a hellish invasion that kills, corrupts and reanimates everything it defeats? Come visit this brilliantly imaginative land of winged swords and broken solar cells. Find out for yourself. Dean Evans Peter Newman is married to another writer: Emma Newman, author of the Split Worlds series, set in a secret “mirror city” of Bath.