Titus Groan: Volume 1 of the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake

I needed a break from the science fiction and action/spy books I had been listening to so I decided to through in something completely different and you can get much more different that Titus Groan.

Titus Groan is the first book in the Gromenghast series of book written by Mervyn Peake who was an amazing illustrator and writer. The Wikipedia article on Mr. Peake is full of really interesting information about his life and works.

The language in this book is absolutely astonishing. I have never heard anything else like it. I highly recommend reading or listening to this book to experience the use of the English language alone. So stop what you are doing and go do that now!

Robert Whitfield does an amazing job bringing all of the characters to life and making the language of the book the star.

From the publisher:

In Volume 1 of the classic Gormenghast Trilogy, a doomed lord, an emergent hero, and an array of bizarre creatures haunt the world of Gormenghast Castle. This trilogy, along with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, reigns as one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. At the center of everything is the 77th Earl, Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom.

In this first volume, the Gormenghast Castle, and the noble family who inhabits it, are introduced, along with the infant firstborn son of the Lord and Countess. Titus Groan is sent away to be raised by a wet nurse, with only a gold ring from his mother, and ordered to not be brought back until the age of six. By his christening, he learns from his much older sisters that epileptic fits are "common at his age." He also learns that they don’t like his mother. And then, he is crowned, and called, "Child-inheritor of the rivers, of the Tower of Flints and the dark recesses beneath cold stairways and the sunny summer lawns. Child-inheritor of the spring breeze that blow in from the jarl forests and of the autumn misery in petal, scale, and wing. Winter’s white brilliance on a thousand turrets and summer’s torpor among walls that crumble…"

In these extraordinary novels, Peake has created a world where all is like a dream – lush, fantastical, vivid; a symbol of dark struggle.

©1967 Mervyn Peake; (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks

I rate Titus Groan a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone fascinated by the English language.

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