"The Daily Legion is the worst kind of rag - a tabloid that peddles celebrity gossip, denounces asylum seekers, and aims to please the lowest common denominator. But the secret to its survival rests on the support of a brutal African regime thousands of miles away from its London offices. Recklessly defending the corrupt dictatorship, the newspaper finds itself in a face-off with Father Vivyan Chell, an Anglican monk and missionary who is working to overthrow the regime. As the paper wages a smear campaign against the priest, freedom fighters ...
"The Daily Legion is the worst kind of rag - a tabloid that peddles celebrity gossip, denounces asylum seekers, and aims to please the lowest common denominator. But the secret to its survival rests on the support of a brutal African regime thousands of miles away from its London offices. Recklessly defending the corrupt dictatorship, the newspaper finds itself in a face-off with Father Vivyan Chell, an Anglican monk and missionary who is working to overthrow the regime. As the paper wages a smear campaign against the priest, freedom fighters join the battle and violence escalates." My Name Is Legion satirizes the morality of contemporary Britain - its press, its politics, its church, its rich, its underclass.
Wilson's latest novel is like a medieval gargoyle set on an outhouse the elegance and elaboration of its malignancy is in dramatic disproportion to the value of the object it graces. Said object is the Daily Legion, a British tabloid run by a magnate of exemplary wickedness, Lennox Mark, who hails from a former African colony now run by a General Bindiga. Mark's wealth derives from his silent partnership with Bindiga in slave-labor copper mines and cocoa plantations. If Mark is the Mark of the Beast in this novel, goodness is represented by Father Vivyan Chell, a Thomas Merton ish character whose mission in Bindiga's Zinariya acquainted him with Bindiga's grievous misrule. Now back in London, Chell is planning some possibly violent protest upon Bindiga's upcoming visit to England. To disable Chell, Mark employs a boy named Peter d'Abo to accuse him of pederasty. Unbeknownst to Chell and Mark is that Peter is a link between the two of them: both had flings with his mother, and either could be his father. Peter's mind is a cacophony of voices, a parody of English pop culture: he is literally possessed. Wilson triangulates between the poisonous office politics of the Legion, the trail of Peter's madness and Chell's frustration with an England that has become a pointless, amoral cauldron of putrescence. The dreadful, scheming vitality of Wilson's characters richly rewards the persistent reader. Agent, Gillon Aitken. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
When an Anglican priest decries the actions of a repressive African regime, a London tabloid that gets its funding from the regime goes after him in a big way. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Readers who treasure Evelyn Waugh's nasty 1938 comic masterpiece Scoop (and we are legion) will rejoice to find it reborn in the tireless British author's saber-toothed 18th novel. A superbly sleazy Fleet Street rag, The Legion-surely inspired by Waugh's Daily Beast-wages war on truth, justice and its publisher Lennox "Lennie" Mark's many, many enemies. Chief among them is former army officer turned radical Anglican priest Vivyan Chell, from whose deathbed the tale of The Legion'scrimes and its minions' messily intertwined lives begins to unfold. Father Vivyan's adventures in political sabotage have undermined the misrule of moribund African nation Zariya's thuggish General Bindinga-the ill-gotten gains from whose atrocities provide The Legion's primary financial support. Variously involved co-conspirators and observers include failed poet and all-purpose columnist L.P. Watson (certainly we may be forgiven for detecting just a hint of A.N. Wilson in him); his gossipy confidante, Mary Mulch, editor of the superslick Gloss; still-idealistic arts editor Rachel Pearl and the several males (including L.P.) who admire her journalistic and other chops; Lennie Mark's bisexual Euro-trash wife Martina (a wonderful caricature: too bad the middle-aged Lotte Lenya isn't around to portray her); West Indian beauty Mercy d'Abo, and her emotionally disturbed biracial bastard teenaged son Peter, whose schizophrenic outbursts have much to do with this busy story's precipitous pitch forward into hell. My Name is Legion (whose wry title nicely suggests its satanic content) is an all-out, take-no-prisoners encyclopedic satire, which may push rather more buttons than it needs to (even the Queen takes her lumps,in a memorably snotty aside). But it plays fair, finding genuine heroism in those (notably Father Chell) who oppose The Legion's reductive trashings and otherwise subtly celebrating the political, religious and artistic standards from which it has so egregiously fallen. Malicious fun, with a very keen edge. Wilson's most abrasively entertaining yet.
A.N. Wilson was born in 1950. His novels include The Healing Art (Somerset Maugham Award), Wise Virgin (WH Smith Award). His study of the Victorian age, The Victorians, was published by Hutchinson in 2002 to massive critical acclaim.