THE WHISPERING SWARM by Michael Moorcock


From the "Sanctuary of the White Friars" series, volume 1
Email this review


A semiautobiographical, semifantastical adventure by a legendary author, set in both real and imagined Londons.

In Moorcock’s (Phoenix in Obsidian, 2014, etc.) latest book, a young man named Michael Moorcock lives and works in post–World War II London, making a name for himself as a writer and editor of gradually more and more radical fantasy and science fiction—and slipping in and out of an alternate London known as Alsacia, or the Sanctuary. In this hidden section of the city, time seems to flow differently, death is almost unknown, and folk heroes like Dick Turpin can often be found drinking down at The Swan With Two Necks. Oh, and there’s a girl, Moll Midnight, who seems to have stepped right out of Michael’s dreams. Alsacia—and Molly—becomes a kind of tempting retreat from real life, a place where Michael can participate in grand adventures and rescue romance from the clutches of modernity. Moorcock’s many fans will relish the complicated blurring of autobiographical fact and fantastical fiction, but more casual readers may find themselves impatient for Michael to stop editing groundbreaking magazines and get back to the swashbuckling. There’s a complex and beautiful book in here, with an unusually adult perspective on fantasy as nostalgia for what never was and cannot be again. But many readers will find their impatience at the initially slow-moving plot keeps them from fully enjoying it.

This first book in a planned trilogy requires, but also rewards, patient readers and holds out plenty of promise for its sequels.

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2477-1
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2015


Sci-FiTHE WHITE WOLF’S SON by Michael Moorcock
by Michael Moorcock
Sci-FiNEW WORLDS by Michael Moorcock
by Michael Moorcock
FictionKING OF THE CITY by Michael Moorcock
by Michael Moorcock


IndieReactor Agenda by Michael A. Sales
by Michael A. Sales
FictionNEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman
by Neil Gaiman
Sci-FiLONDON FALLING by Paul Cornell
by Paul Cornell