Information about James Treadwell:
James Treadwell was born in West London and is still living there more than forty years on. Formerly an academic specialising in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature, he is now, and hopes always to be, a writer of fantasy novels.
His current vocation can probably be blamed on reading Roger Lancelyn Green's Myths of the Norsemen and Barbara Leonie Picard's retellings of the Iliad and Odyssey at a formative age. Once exposed to such lethal doses of the faraway and the solemn and the strange, he inevitably found his way to Narnia and Middle Earth and Gormenghast and Earthsea and Pern and Britain (but it was Susan Cooper's Britain). He played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons at school and read a lot of serious fantasy at university; despite that, he still managed to make a start on a scholarly career before the chance to become a full-time writer presented itself.
He has lived in London, Oxford and Montréal, but really always in London, where he's now settled with his wife and two children.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
Information about Anarchy:
The second novel in an astonishingly imaginative fantasy trilogy that began with the critically acclaimed Advent.
If there's one thing Gavin Stokes knows, it's that something unimaginably dangerous has returned to the world. A mad dog runs amok, a mermaid floats in the bay, and a wild beast stalks the countryside. He and others make the same strange claim: magic has returned. All signs point to it.
Now, Gavin's aunt has disappeared. A young girl who's been accused of murder vanishes from a locked cell. She is at large somewhere in a vast wilderness. Meanwhile, a desolate child leaves the home that has kept her safe all her life and strikes out into the unknown. And a mother, half mad with grief for her lost son, sets off to find him.
There is a place where all their journeys meet. But someone is watching the roads...
A REVIEW OF JAMES TREADWELL'S ANARCHY
Because I recently read James Treadwell's Advent and loved it, I was eager to read Anarchy. I was delightfully surprised when I noticed that Anarchy is an even better and darker novel than Advent. It's a spellbinding and beautifully written sequel that is worth praising.
It's a bit difficult to categorize Anarchy properly, because it contains elements of classic urban fantasy, mythic fantasy and literary fantasy. I think that the best way to categorize this novel is to say that it's a literary fantasy novel that contains mythical and mysterious elements.
Below is a bit of information about the story.
Anarchy tells three different stories that are all connected together:
- The first story tells about Marie-Archange Séverine Gaucelin-Maculloh (aka Goose) who is an officer of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) in Alice, B.C. A girl, Jennifer Knox, disappears mysteriously from a locked cell. Jennifer is a mystery to everybody, because she is accused of murder, but she doesn't talk to anybody about what has happened (nobody knows what happened at Jennifer's home and who killed her brother, but Jennifer's mother blames Jennifer for the murder). Goose tries to find the girl and tries to think how she could do to find her and what could happen to her. Goose can't forget the girl, because she haunts her mind.
- The second story tells about Marina who isn't happy with the truth about herself and quarrels with Owen. She is desolate and decides to leave her home. She travels through new places and landscapes, because she hasn't ventured beyond the Pendurra estate.
- The third story tells about Gavin's mother who is desperately trying to find him. She travels to Cornwall to look for him. She's doing everything she can to find her son and feels guilty about what has happened.
- At the same time something weird is happening in the internet and in different places around the world. People blame a virus called The Plague for the internet problems.
When I began to read Anarchy, I noticed that it's a better and more balanced novel than its predecessor. It's also a dark and complex novel, and that's wonderful, because complex and dark literary novels are very entertaining and spellbinding novels. This kind of dark literary novels have a tendency to charm their readers with strong storylines and happenings. I personally found myself captivated by the characters and the happenings in this novel.
In this novel James Treadwell masterfully weaves three different stories together and gradually reveals what's going on. He balances perfectly between the stories and develops the happenings bit by bit. Because the happenings develop bit by bit, this novel is not for hasty readers who want instant action. It's a novel for readers who love the written word and want to immerse themselves in a good story.
James Treadwell writes well about how the world is slowly changing as the ancient magic affects modern technology and causes problems. He writes fluently about how the society is slowly breaking down because of mysterious and severe problems with the internet, radio, TV and transport networks etc. This adds an interesting touch of apocalypse to the storyline.
The author has a fantastic way of writing believably about how the lives of the characters change when they meet something strange (he writes beautifully what happens to the characters when they have to deal with extraordinary and magical happenings that can't be explained by normal means). The author takes his time to develop the characters and makes sure that each character feels as realistic and three-dimensional as possible.
The author has created believable and vivid Canadian characters that come to life as the story progresses. Goose's partner, Jonas Paul, is interesting minor character, because he has his own way of looking at things. He's one of the best minor characters ever created in fantasy novels. I liked the way the author wrote the relationship between Goose and Jonas.
I think that several readers will notice how effortlessly and easily James Treadwell writes about Goose and Gavin's mother. Both characters are portrayed perfectly and the reader gets to know them. I admired the author's ability to write about their lives and feelings. The reader really cares about what happens to them, because their stories have an emotional impact on the reader.
One of the best things about Anarchy is the amount of details the author has woven into the story. The scenes are full of small details that spice up the story. For example, the author writes captivatingly about the surroundings and landscapes. I'm sure that everybody who reads this novel will want to visit British Columbia and Vancouver Island.
Another thing worth mentioning is the emotionality of the story. It's simply amazing how much emotional depth this novel has in it. It's almost heartbreaking to read about Gavin's mother and her desperate struggle to find her son. It's also touching to read about Marina and her life, because her whole life has changed and she's lonely.
There's a mysteriously menacing and dark atmosphere in this novel. The apocalyptic feel is perfectly ominous, because the world is gradually changing and weird things happen everywhere. Magic is returning to the world and the consequences of its return are terrifying and make people behave in different ways. Magic in this novel is dark, gritty and menacing. It was refreshing to read about this kind of dark magic, because several authors tend to write about other kind of magic.
Certain scenes in this novel are not for those faint of heart, because they're scary scenes. These scenes reminded me a bit of dark fantasy novels and stories, because the atmosphere in them is creepy and unsettling. As a long time fan of dark stories, I was impressed by the author's way of writing about these scenes (I loved it that Anarchy wasn't an easy novel and bad things happened in it). It was great how easily he created feelings of dread and was capable of shocking the reader. I have to congratulate the author for writing a novel that will linger on the reader's mind for a long time after the last page.
I liked the way the author wrote about life in a remote community (it was interesting read about Alice, B.C. and its surroundings). He handled nicely all the things connected to Canadian people, First Nations and how people felt about outsiders etc, because everything felt believable and realistic.
I have to confess that I love James Treadwell's prose. His prose is as rich, beautiful, excellent and nuanced as it was in Advent. He's one of the best authors of literary fantasy I've had a pleasure to read during the last decade. I honestly wish there were more authors like him out there.
James Treadwell combines realism with myth, magic and fantasy in a seducingly dark way. In my opinion he manages to combine all these elements perfectly, because he knows how to keep the story interesting by revealing bits and pieces of the mysterious and mythic events as the story develops (it's good that he doesn't reveal everything at once).
What James Treadwell has created here is amazing and outstanding. It's something that will stand the test of time and probably be given the status of a modern classic in the near future. Anarchy is head and shoulders above most of the novels that are out there on the market at this moment, because it has plenty of depth, good characters and a fascinating and complex story. It's difficult to find similar kind of menacing and beautifully written novels.
If James Treadwell's forthcoming third novel is as good and compelling as Advent and Anarchy, I dare say that he's on his way to become one of the most respected authors of literary fantasy. I have to confess that I can hardly wait to get my hands on the third novel, because I loved Advent and Anarchy. It'll be difficult to wait for the third novel.
Anarchy can be recommended to both adult readers and mature young adult readers, because it will appeal to both readerships. Anarchy is mostly a novel for adult and mature readers, because it's a dark novel and has adult content in it. If there are experienced and mature young adult readers out there who love good and gradually developing stories, Anarchy is a must read novel for these readers, because it's difficult to find better and more original novels.
Before I write the final words of this review, I'll mention that I noticed that it may be possible to read Anarchy as a standalone novel, but I recommend reading Advent first, because it'll be a lot easier to understand certain things after reading it, because the author continues the story in a compelling way.
It's also good to mention that if you haven't discovered James Treadwell yet, you're in for a real treat, because he's a talented author who writes excellent prose. I honestly hope that as many readers as possible will read his novels, because they're charmingly original and captivating fantasy novels (they remind me a bit of the fantasy novels by Charles de Lint, Susan Cooper, Susanna Clarke, Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker).
The cover art image of the Atria/Emily Bestler Books edition looks gorgeous. It's a fantastic cover image for this novel.
If you're looking for a story that's been written well, is complex and has interesting characters, you have just found what you've been looking for. Anarchy is all of these things and more - it's a genuine masterpiece of literary fantasy. This novel will both charm and terrify you with its strong story and happenings. I have nothing bad to say about Anarchy, because it's a perfect literary fantasy novel for readers who want depth and quality from their novels.
Anarchy is an extraordinary achievement in terms of storytelling, prose and atmosphere. It's an unputdownable fantasy novel that will keep you turning pages as fast as you can read them. Anarchy is one of those novels that will you keep up all night, because you simply can't stop reading it. I highly recommend this novel to everybody who loves good stories and beautifully written literary fantasy.