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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Iron Chamber of Memory by John C. Wright

The small island of Sark in the English Channel is the last feudal government in Europe. By law, no motor vehicles run on the road, and no lights burn at night. Only the lord of the island may keep hounds.Into the strange, high house of Wrongerwood wanders Hal Landfall, penniless graduate student at Magdalen College, looking for his missing friend Manfred Hathaway, who has just inherited the lordship, the house, and the island. What he finds instead is the lovely, green-eyed Laurel, a beautiful girl from Cornwall who is Manfred's wife-to-be. 

There is said to be a haunted chamber in the house, erected by Merlin in ancient days, where a man who enters remembers his true and forgotten self. When Hal and Laurel step in, they remember, with fear and wonder, a terrible truth they must forget again when they step outside.

From the reviews:
  • "A wonderfully creepy, profound, sad and yet uplifting story. Wright's latest is another fantastic and inventive piece from an author whose imaginative faculties boggle the mind."
  • "There are few authors who can maintain extremely high 5-star quality in every single piece of work they produce. JCW is one of the very few grand-masters who manages to pull this off consistently."
  • "It was a roller coaster ride, and I mean that in a great way. Few works have affected me like this novel.  I quit reading it twice in order to think about things."
Iron Chamber of Memory, John C. Wright's latest novel, is now available exclusively on Amazon. It is 242 pages, retails for $4.99, and is DRM-free.

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39 Comments:

Blogger Ahazuerus March 17, 2016 5:17 AM  

Bought it. Reading it.

Will add review later today.

Blogger Rantor March 17, 2016 5:46 AM  

Looking forward to this....

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2016 March 17, 2016 5:50 AM  

at the tower of Babel, God said anything they imagine they'll be capable of. Eric Blair's memory hole might be in places of ultimate debriefing like Diego Garcia. Disappeared peoples of the world might not all be dead. We all "speak" binary code now. One language unites in the most perverse way. That's a concern.
I bought the book. As off topic this ramble may seem, I suggest truth is always stranger than fiction, because it challenges everything we think we know, not just our imagination's spare time. We've all forgotten out past.

Anonymous Mr. Rational March 17, 2016 5:54 AM  

Humbug.  No time even if I had a Kindle; reading "Monster Hunter Nemesis" next in my stack.

Anonymous 5343 March 17, 2016 6:23 AM  

Bought it. Can't wait to get to it. Thanks, gents.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 17, 2016 6:45 AM  

The small island of Sark in the English Channel is the last feudal government in Europe. By law, no motor vehicles run on the road, and no lights burn at night. Only the lord of the island may keep hounds.

Sounds like Mackinaw Island.

I'm sold!

Blogger Manach March 17, 2016 6:58 AM  

Bought it. Happy St. Patrick's day.

Anonymous Heh March 17, 2016 7:24 AM  

Shouldn't Elvira be dressed in black, not white?

Blogger #7139 March 17, 2016 8:01 AM  

Bought it.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr March 17, 2016 8:21 AM  

Bought! Huzzah!

Blogger L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright March 17, 2016 8:34 AM  

Sark is a real place.

Anonymous Skillet March 17, 2016 8:41 AM  

Hey I thought Spacebunny was blonde!

Blogger Big Bob March 17, 2016 8:50 AM  

Purchased this morning, now just have to try and carve out some time to read it...

Blogger Durandel Almiras March 17, 2016 9:36 AM  

@Jagi - Have you and your husband ever been? I've always been curious about visiting some of the Channel Islands. Such odd little places.

Anonymous karsten March 17, 2016 9:41 AM  

I'm tempted to buy it for the cover alone. Seriously.

Anonymous karsten March 17, 2016 9:43 AM  

I'm not crazy about the cover typeface (or typeface color), but my word, that cover image is phenomenal. Who is the artist?

Blogger pdwalker March 17, 2016 9:52 AM  

Hmmm. Study, or read the new novel?

Yeah right. Like there is really a choice.

Blogger L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright March 17, 2016 9:56 AM  

We have, alas, not been there. The version in the novel is an augmented version... i would love to go!

Blogger VD March 17, 2016 10:00 AM  

Who is the artist?

RGUS. You can find more of his work on DeviantArt.

OpenID lostsailor32 March 17, 2016 10:21 AM  

Just purchased. Will post a review as soon as I finish. And will also chime in on the really great cover art. Well done.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream March 17, 2016 10:31 AM  

Purchased.

I like Castalia's business model, where they take a great writer and have him write a lot of books, and then just, you know, sell them, instead of making everyone wait two years between publications.

Hopefully this crazy new business model of selling books to readers catches on.

Blogger John Wright March 17, 2016 11:06 AM  

Sark Island is a real place, also called Sercq in French. In the native language, Sercquiais, it is called Sèr or Cerq (but no one knows how it is spelled, because the native language has no written version)

But in our world the feudal government was reworked in 2008 to make it more 'modern' at the conniving of two newspaper owning millionaires living on an island nearby, who were annoyed by the ancient medieval law forbidden them from keeping their dog on the island.

The elements in the book that sound the most fantastic, such as the fact that it is a 'Dark Sky' island, the attempt by the French nuclear scientist to conquer the island by himself (thwarted by the local volunteer constable), or the ancient 'Clamor de Haro' where one must recite the Lord's prayer and call on the Prince for help, or the fact that the language of the island is not written down, and so on ... all those odd things are real.

The house called Le Seigneurie is real, and has some of the architectural features described, but in our reality it is not surrounded by a vast wall and vast lawns, located on the site of a vast and ancient Mythago Wood style forest, and the house itself is not a giant Gormenghast style Lovecraftian witch-house with wings and casements opening up on perilous seas of faerie.

The real island would probably fit inside my make-believe version of that house.

But the thousand foot tall three-foot wide causeway connecting the north and south island which children have to crawl across on hands and knees to avoid being pitched into the sea by the wind, that is real.

Anonymous WaterBoy March 17, 2016 1:06 PM  

John Wright: "But the thousand foot tall three-foot wide causeway connecting the north and south island which children have to crawl across on hands and knees to avoid being pitched into the sea by the wind, that is real."

And quite spectacular.

Cataline Sergius: "Sounds like Mackinaw Island."

Lying in the Strait of Mackinaw, itself spanned by the spectacular Mackinaw Bridge -- which is also vulnerable at times to extremely high winds and has pitched at least one smaller vehicle over its side.

Beautiful places, the both of them.

Blogger bob k. mando March 17, 2016 1:07 PM  

11. L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright March 17, 2016 8:34 AM
Sark is a real place.



so are Mackinac Island and Diego Garcia.


check and mate?



12. Skillet March 17, 2016 8:41 AM
Hey I thought Spacebunny was blonde!



way, WAY too hippy and curvaceous to be Spacebunny.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr March 17, 2016 1:39 PM  

If a film version is done, Enya is definitely doing the score. :-)

Anonymous BGKB March 17, 2016 1:56 PM  

"But the thousand foot tall three-foot wide causeway connecting the north and south island which children have to crawl across on hands and knees to avoid being pitched into the sea by the wind, that is real."...And quite spectacular.

I was thinking of making it to Capri again but was worried about the 3rd world invasion. Sark might be a good place to visit in its stead.

Anonymous WaterBoy March 17, 2016 2:12 PM  

Interesting...the comment script apparently traps and interprets all embedded @ symbols? Or just those followed by digits?

Blogger pdwalker March 17, 2016 2:21 PM  

Wow.

Just finished.

The cover is perfect for the story.

Powerful, poignant, bittersweet, hopeful, comforting.

Blogger SciVo March 17, 2016 3:38 PM  

PhillipGeorge©2016 wrote:We all "speak" binary code now. One language unites in the most perverse way. That's a concern.

The English language was the lingua franca, until Machine Language was.

Blogger borderwalker March 17, 2016 3:41 PM  

Bought.

Looking forward to it.

Blogger astrodominant March 17, 2016 5:40 PM  

Bought this morning but it has to wait until I finish the Golden Age trilogy which is stunning. Automatically next in the queue. And given the number of releases this year of books I need to read my list for this year is filling up fast. Next Somewither, next Count to a Trillion, next Three Body Problem, next MHI and the Larry book catch up, the next Peter Hamilton, etc. just a ton of excellence to look forward to.

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 17, 2016 9:58 PM  

Whoever writes CH's ad copy deserves a Hugo nom.

Anonymous ivvenalis March 18, 2016 10:29 AM  

Any chance of a print version?

Anonymous Dave March 18, 2016 11:19 AM  

Any chance of a print version?

I wouldn't expect it seeing as Somewhither doesn't have a print version at this time (released July 2015 first part of trilogy; eventually there will probably be a print version of the trilogy)

Of course CH will reassess if sales merit.

Anonymous Dave March 18, 2016 11:28 AM  

Vox, please consider another brainstorm with JCW in the future. If not yourself perhaps Jeffro etc. The fans are hungry for interviews of their favorite authors.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr March 18, 2016 11:39 AM  

Read, reviewed. A brilliant work. Easy Hugo nominee, or would be in a sane world.

BTW, Vox did an outstanding job editing this. Given a novel's worth of space, Wright is prone to getting verbose, his stories tend to meander. Unlike his short stories and novellas, which keep moving. The editing job keeps this book moving at a good pace, and brings it up to the standard of Wright's shorter works.

Blogger John Wright March 18, 2016 12:46 PM  

"Whoever writes CH's ad copy deserves a Hugo nom."

In this case, it was Vox, with some suggestions from me.

Blogger weka March 18, 2016 4:09 PM  

Halfway through. Enjoying the conceit. And the cover does fit the book, for Wright brings back an old moral issue.

You love your betrothed. (She is smokin' hot: the heroine is beautiful and smart and with courage. What is not to like?) She loves you. And would cheerfully give all to you. But you have higher standards: the two virgins in Oxford talking about how the Saxons regretted giving up the pagan habits of pederasty, polygamy, (I cannot keep up an alliteration as Wright can) is brilliant.

I am enjoying the scenes apart from Sark more than Sark, and the scenes in Sark are very good.

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 20, 2016 5:53 AM  

VD wrote:Who is the artist?

RGUS. You can find more of his work on DeviantArt.


NSFW

John Wright wrote:"Whoever writes CH's ad copy deserves a Hugo nom."

In this case, it was Vox, with some suggestions from me.


Thanks. I daresay he has a gift.

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