Simon Mason compiles over thirty essays spanning twenty years of Philip Pullman’s career. In Daemon Voices, Pullman’s magnificent non-fiction writings approach the topics of stories and storytelling from a variety of angles.
Hiram has a gift. He can remember everything, everything he has ever seen and everything that has ever happened to him. The only thing he can’t remember is his mother. When she is sold into slavery, he is separated from her at just five years old. This experience bestows upon him a power that he is yet to understand the full greatness of. It’s not until he experiences a brush with death which urges him to seek freedom that he will learn the extent of his abilities.
The year is 1935 and Stephen, along with his brother, Kits, are part of a five-strong team of mountaineers that plan to tackle one of the world’s most dangerous peaks: Kangchenjunga. Kits quite literally wants to follow in the footsteps of his idols, those that attempted the mountain in 1907, known as the Lyell Expedition. Only two survived, with five men from the expedition dying on the mountain following terrible accidents and brutal weather. Though five died, only four of them were buried. As the plucky 1935 team begin their ascent, Stephen’s excitement ebbs away and is replaced with the haunting feeling that they’re not alone on the mountain.
Years after a tragic accident that claimed the life of their youngest son, the Hardcastles are throwing an extravagant party that reunites all of the guest that were present that fateful day at Blackheath, decades ago. This party will end in another tragedy; the death of their only daughter, Evelyn. But Evelyn won’t die just once. She’ll keep dying, until Aiden, a guest of the Hardcastles, can figure out who kills her. Every day Aiden wakes up in another body, frantically battling the mind of his hosts in order to solve the mystery and escape the hold that Blackheath has over him. If he lives a full day in his eighth and final host without delivering the murderer, he’ll start all over again with no memory of what he’s discovered so far. That’s if he can make it that long. There’s others hunting the killer in Blackheath, and some of them will kill to make sure they escape first.
Jeanne Marie Laskas gains unprecedented access to the mail room of the White House during the Obama Administration. What she finds is a hardworking group, made up mostly of volunteers, sorting through thousands upon thousands of letters from everyday Americans to the President of the United States. It’s the task of these mail room workers to sort, file, and pass on all of these letters. But ten letters a day find their way into the hands of Barack Obama. And some of those letters get a response.
As the Second World War brews across Europe, Jack Miller seizes an opportunity to escape London, where he lives in poverty and loneliness. He joins an Arctic expedition as a wireless operator, and whilst he’s conscious of the class differences between himself and his crewmates, they quickly warm to each other. So when Jack ends …
The nineteen year old protagonist of Elle Nash’s debut novel is destructive and reckless. When she’s not working at the Radio Shack, she’s snorting her mother’s prescription pills in the bedroom of their trailer or having meaningless sex with her boss. When Frankie and Matt initiate a sadistic three-way relationship with her, they christen her Lilith. Matt tries to educate her in the ways of Satanism while Lilith desperately tries to please them both, lest she lose their attention. Her feelings soon morph into obsession, but an obsession for Matt alone; an obsession that Frankie will not let stand.
The sea has encroached far into the United States, leaving pockets of people fighting for survival along the newly defined coastline. Mir lives with her parents and her baby brother, but something’s not quite right with her new sibling. Meanwhile, sightings of strange sea creatures on land have the coastal folk worried, almost driving a local school teacher to suicide. Jersey, Mir’s best friend urges her to join him in seeking a better life inland, but there’s no guarantee that things get better away from the ever-invading ocean.
When Jen and Hugh Maddox’s daughter, Lana, goes missing on an art retreat in the Peak District, they fear the worst. But four days later, Lana is found, bruised and bleeding but alive. When they ask her what happened, and where she had been, her only answers are ‘I got lost’ and ‘I can’t remember’. The family try to return to their normal lives, but Jen’s need to know what happened leaders to her constant surveillance of Lana’s life, driving them further and further apart, until Jen’s obsession steers her into dangerous territory.
Twin brothers Christophe and Joshua are about to graduate high school. Their feelings are mixed; joyful for the freedom they will finally have but apprehensive about how they will manage to make money to enjoy that freedom. Growing up in a poverty-ridden black community in rural Mississippi, the boys have few promising prospects. Gifted a car by their absent mother, they begin driving around the towns surrounding their home of Bois Sauvage, hunting for work. When Joshua gets a job working the docks on the Gulf Coast, Christophe becomes jealous and increasingly desperate to help contribute something to his ageing grandmother, who continues to care for the twins despite her blindness. He turns to his cousin Dunny and to drug-dealing, which widens the growing gulf between himself and his twin, who fears Christophe is veering down a path dangerously similar to that of their addict father, Sandman. Christophe’s choices set both the twins on course to a violent encounter with their father that could forever alter their lives.