First Light

Overview

In Hawksmoor, novelist and biographer Peter Ackroyd created one of the eeriest neo-gothic novels yet written. Now in FIRST LIGHT, he takes a different approach with this macabre but humorous suspense story involving ancient beings and underground tunnels.

Excavators come across a neolithic grave under the hills of Dorset, England. When the crew discovers that the site is astronomically aligned, they note that their discovery coincides with the startling reappearance of ancient ...

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Overview

In Hawksmoor, novelist and biographer Peter Ackroyd created one of the eeriest neo-gothic novels yet written. Now in FIRST LIGHT, he takes a different approach with this macabre but humorous suspense story involving ancient beings and underground tunnels.

Excavators come across a neolithic grave under the hills of Dorset, England. When the crew discovers that the site is astronomically aligned, they note that their discovery coincides with the startling reappearance of ancient stars in the night sky. A cast of engaging eccentrics, from archaeologists and stuffy civil servants to stand-up comics, converge on the site. They kick up a commotion that will stir a few laughs -- and raise a few hackles. In the end, FIRST LIGHT is as humorous and cleverly paced as a Hitchcock thriller.

"Ackroyd is . . . a master of mood, of tension, angst, foreboding, frisson, but also of tenderness and exultation." (London Sunday Telegraph)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
T. S. Eliot biographer and novelist Ackroyd (Chatterton ) again delivers a fascinatingly ambiguous tale. The discovery of a neolithic grave site on the Devon-Dorset border attracts an assortment of archeologists, astronomers and indigenous characters. Each has his own agenda, from archeologist Mark Clare, hoping to prove a maverick theory, to Joey Hanover, a show-biz character who happens along in search of his roots. Astronomer Damien Fall may have discovered something astonishing, and the exceedingly peculiar Farmer Mint and his idiot savant son, Boy Mint, may hold more cards in this game than anyone knows.

The novel is carefully imbued with several ominous portents that lead nowhere, but the tone is so deliciously creepy that it doesn't matter. Ackroyd's sly humor is beguiling; he has given some of the best lines to a lesbian couple and Joey's malaprop wife. Silliness and illumination fit together perfectly in this amusing, eccentric and provocative novel.

Library Journal
Take a neolithic tomb in Hardy's rural, brooding Dorset. Add a cast of oddball characters that includes a hilariously hypocritical lesbian bureaucrat, an ex-Music Hall comic, his malapropism-spouting wife, a gin-swilling dealer in old clocks, and a sly farmer and his son, the keepers of dark secrets. Stir in a generous helping of mystery and of metaphysical speculation on the nature of Time and Space. The result: a tasty, expertly crafted novel that challenges as it entertains. With this book Ackroyd, author of a notable biography of T.S. Eliot as well as Chatterton, a critically acclaimed novel, establishes his reputation as a leading voice in British letters, one willing to confront difficult questions. His most satisfying book to date.-- Vincent D. Balitas, Allentown College, Center Valley, PA
Library Journal
Take a neolithic tomb in Hardy's rural, brooding Dorset. Add a cast of oddball characters that includes a hilariously hypocritical lesbian bureaucrat, an ex-Music Hall comic, his malapropism-spouting wife, a gin-swilling dealer in old clocks, and a sly farmer and his son, the keepers of dark secrets. Stir in a generous helping of mystery and of metaphysical speculation on the nature of Time and Space. The result: a tasty, expertly crafted novel that challenges as it entertains. With this book Ackroyd, author of a notable biography of T.S. Eliot as well as Chatterton, a critically acclaimed novel, establishes his reputation as a leading voice in British letters, one willing to confront difficult questions. His most satisfying book to date.-- Vincent D. Balitas, Allentown College, Center Valley, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802134813
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 0.94 (d)

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