Listen then, and I’ll tell you again of the Battle of the Rock. But none of your usual wriggling, or I’ll stop before I’ve begun …Halli loves the old stories from when the valley was a wild and dangerous place – when the twelve legendary heroes, led by his ancestor Svein, stood together to defeat the ancient enemy, the bloodthirsty Trows. Halli longs for adventure but it seems these days the most dangerous thing in the valley is boredom. He tries to liven things up by taunting his siblings and playing practical jokes. But when one of his jokes goes too far reawakening an old blood feud, Halli finds himself on a hero’s quest after all. Along the way he meets a ruthless thief, a murderous rival, and a girl who may just be as fearless as he is. Halli may be about to make his own last stand and discover the truth about the legends, about his family, and about himself…Jonathan Stroud has created an epic saga with a funny, unique spin, and an unforgettable anti-hero.
The above description comes from the amazon.co.uk page (as, interestingly, there is none at the US site) for Jonathan Stroud’s new novel, due to be published in the US early next year. Since I was a very big fan of the Bartimaeus Trilogy (that got better as it went on — the final book being, in my opinion, amazing), I was happy to hear about this new book with a new anti-hero.
Curious to find out more I came across Stroud’s journal where he mentioned that he will be at BEA “… where Heroes (this seems to be the title again) will first see the light of day in the form of a teaser pamphlet with a couple of chapters in. A galley proof of the full text will be done later in the year, prior to publication in January.” He also (in the October 19th, 2007 post) wrote:
Q: Is the book fantasy?
A: Yep. Although not quite the same kind as the Bart books. Not so many imps, for one thing.
Q: Is it a series?
A: Nope. I think it’s a single volume.
Q: Is it a vast, shelf-breaking, back-straining sort of novel, or a pencil-thin novella that might blow out of your hand in a light breeze?
A: It’s sort of medium. I thought it would be on the short side when I began, but now it’s creeping up. I guess it’ll be a little slimmer than The Amulet of Samarkand.
Q: Has it got lots of action?
A: Ditto. At least, they make me laugh.
Q: When’s it going to be published?
A: Probably the very end of next year or first thing 2009 in the UK and US. Twelve months or more seems like a long time away, but I thought the exact same thing when I began writing this at the end of October 2006 with a deadline of about now. Suddenly, with a whizz of light, I’m here… and I STILL haven’t finished! Besides, once I get the approval of my editors, I’ll be able to talk about it properly here in the run-up to publication…
Q: Has it got a map in it?
A: Hmmm… Maybe.
Well, I for one, am very eager to see what this one is all about!