The Liberators by Philip Womack
  

The Liberators

Written by Philip Womack

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

This is a compelling modern fantasy that sees modern-day London threatened by sinister ancient forces. A brutal death, a mysterious object and the Capital sliding into anarchy is what greets Ivo Moncrieff as he arrives in London. Ivo faces a race against time to break the ancient power of the Liberators, a power that has lain dormant for centuries but now threatens to destroy society itself. Philip Womack has written a gripping and thought-provoking tale that entertains at the same time as it explores what it is to be human.

Womack's debut novel, The Other Book, was hugely original and this novel confirms Philip Womack as a fresh and original voice in teen fiction.

Synopsis

The Liberators by Philip Womack

On his first trip to London to stay with his glamorous aunt and uncle for Christmas, Ivo Moncrieff steps off the train and stumbles into a nightmare. As he is waiting on the tube platform, a stranger thrusts a mysterious object into his hand, desperately muttering some unfamiliar words to him. On-board the tube moments later, the carriage next to Ivo's is overcome with panic and when they enter the next station the passengers disembark to find that the stranger's body has been brutally dismembered. Ivo guesses that perpetrators must want the object, and if they find out he has it, he will be their next target. But the attack on the tube is part of a larger scheme to bring chaos to the heart of London. As the capital seems in danger of sliding into anarchy, Ivo faces a race against time to break the ancient power of the Liberators, a power that has lain dormant for centuries but now threatens to destroy society itself. Philip Womack has written a gripping and thought-provoking tale that entertains at the same time as it explores what it means to be human and to be free.

Reviews

Review of ‘The Liberators’ by Books for Keeps [3 stars]

‘He felt in a choking way that a net was being drawn around him, that the dim, vague future was forming into a clearly defined and dangerous path.’ This is the realisation that strikes 13-year-old Ivo Moncrieff soon after he has experienced something very unexpected and sinister on his way to stay with his London aunt and uncle. It is the London of our own time and by no means the least of Womack’s achievements in this ambitious and intelligent novel is to sketch in, as background, the political and economic ethos of contemporary Britain. The foreground, however, will probably be of more immediate interest to young readers, many of whom should be kept on the edge of their seats by a narrative which, early on, is dominated by a dismembered corpse and soon develops into a fascinating exploration of the type of society endorsed by the ‘liberators’ of the title, ‘untrammelled by restraints’ where we could ‘act on every impulse, every desire, without fear, without consequence’. The characterisation is rich and entertainingly varied, with some individuals who would not be out of place in an Iris Murdoch novel: the arty pretensions of Ivo’s aunt and uncle are tellingly skewered. This, in spite of a few patches of over-writing, is the sort of young adult novel that gives the genre a good name.

About the Author

Philip Womack

Philip Womack was born in Chichester in the middle of a thunderstorm in 1981.
He was educated at Lancing, and Oriel College, Oxford, where he read Classics and English. He lives in London.

He is currently a Contributing Editor at Literary Review and writes for The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, among other papers; he is also a Fellow at First Story, currently being Writer in Residence at St Augustine's in Kilburn. He has led workshops on Greek Tragedy and How to Write Children's Fiction for the How To: Academy.

A Q&A with Philip Womack on The Broken King

How would you describe The Broken King to someone who hasn’t read it?
It’s a fast-moving, dark fantasy about searching for a lost sibling, featuring a knight that can turn into a swan, mysterious golden messengers, car chases, demi-gods and a giant snake made out of shadows. And lots of other things.

What’s your favourite scene in the book?
The second chapter, where the hero, Simon, meets a golden woman on a deer with irridescent, peacock-like wings, for the first time. I wanted to create a sense of warmth and mystery and excitement.

What was the most fun to write? What was the hardest chapter or scene to write?
It was all very enjoyable to write: the pain comes in the editing. The first chapter, in which Simon wishes his sister away, went through several edits; so much so that I began to think I might never finish it. So definitely that one.

What were your favourite books when you were young? Have any of them influenced The Broken King?
I loved T H White’s The Once and Future King, a cycle of Arthurian stories, and I think some of that has definitely found its way into The Broken King: the Knight of the Swan, for instance. In the second book we’ll see more of these knights, about which I am very excited.

Can you tell us about the poem that inspired the book? What other poems would you really recommend to young readers?
Robert Browning’s “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” is a rather extraordinary piece of work: it takes its inspiration from a line in William Shakespeare’s King Lear, spoken by Edgar when he’s disguised as the madman Poor Tom. It’s a poem about a quest for the Dark Tower – only we don’t know why the knight is doing it, simply that many have tried and failed before (including Giles and Cuthbert – hence Giles Cuthbertson in The Broken King.) It’s a hugely atmospheric poem which manages to create tension out of stasis; and I have always been fascinated by the idea of the Dark Tower, as many writers before me have. It looms in the collective mind, frightening yet enthralling.

With Browning, I would recommend “My Last Duchess” to young readers, a poem about a very sinister Duke.

Do you have any tips for anyone who wants to be a writer? Read, observe, listen, practise. I think, especially today, what with the proliferation of writing courses and even degrees, that people view “writing” as something that can be not only taught, but learned and then used professionally. Some of these things may be true, but it’s more complicated than that.

If you have an urge to write, or find it easy to write, then now is no better time than to hone your skills: look at what people say and what they do; think about how people behave and why they behave in those ways. Stories can be found anywhere and everywhere: look around your classroom and there will be hundreds of stories. The writer’s job is to find them, tease them out and make them accessible and interesting to the reader. Remember that: writers have readers.

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Book Info

Format

Paperback
320 pages

Author

Philip Womack
More books by Philip Womack

Author's Website

www.bloomsbury.com/Authors/...

Publisher

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Publication date

1st February 2010

ISBN

9780747595526

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