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In second-century Britain, Macey, a former soldier prone to bouts of frenzied violence, wanders the countryside with a group of deserters from the Roman army, contending with the threat of deadly local tribesmen. Fifteen centuries later, during the English Civil War, Thomas Rowley is holed up in a safe house, hiding from the ruthless Royalist troops besieging his village. In the present day, Tom, a precocious, love-struck, mentally unstable teenager, is struggling to cope with the imminent departure for London of his girlfriend Jan. These are the three stories woven together in Red Shift, Alan Garner’s masterpiece of virtuosic counterpoint and brisk historical evocation. Vastly remote in time, each narrative takes place around the mysterious hill of Mow Cop in Southern Cheshire, a region Garner brings vividly and enchantingly to life. By turns riveting, meditative, and deeply moving, Red Shift is a unique piece of storytelling about chance and fate, freedom and predestination, visionary awakening and destructive madness.
“Long before Philip Pullman and J. K. Rowling there was Alan Garner, a children’s author who crossed the boundaries between real and imaginary worlds–and between a young and an adult readership.” –The Times (London) list of the 50 greatest British postwar writers
“A work of poetic imagination that will keep any adult mind at full stretch.” –Daily Mail (London)
“A magnificently multilayered novel . . . a superbly exciting piece of literature.” –The Sunday Times (London)
“A bitter, complex, brilliant book.” –Ursula K. Le Guin