First Lightby Peter Ackroyd
An immensely engaging and entertaining novel – a suspenseful reflection on life, nature, and the cosmos, and above all an illuminating and enchanting story.
A major best-seller in Britain, First Light begins with an ominous coincidence: the reappearance of the ancient night sky during the excavation of an astronomically aligned Neolithic grave in Dorset. Add to this a group of wonderful eccentrics’archaeologists, astronomers, a civil servant, a stand-up comic, local rustics’who converge on the site to disturb the quiet seclusion of Pilgrin Valley.
Someone (or something) is trying to sabotage the best efforts of the excavators, headed by Mark Clare, to unearth the dormant secrets of the burial ground. Meanwhile, at the nearby observatory, astronomer Damien Fall, his telescope focused on the red star Aldebaran, is unnerved by the deeper significance he imputes to the celestial sophistication of the region’s ancient inhabitants. And Joey Hanover, a retired music-hall and TV entertainer searching for his own past, has learned secrets from Farmer Mint and his son, Boy, the weirdly cryptic guardians of their ancestral home in the valley. What do all these, among others, have in common?
All is masterfully woven into an immensely engaging and entertaining novel – a suspenseful reflection on life, nature, and the cosmos, and above all an illuminating and enchanting story.
“Peter Ackroyd possesses one of the most exotic and spooky imaginations to be found in print today. First Light ranges further in time than any of his other books. Hawksmoor seesawed only between today and the time of Christopher Wren. First Light brackets a neolithic grave (that of an astronomer?) with today’s archaeologists and astronomers who are excavating the grave and examining the night sky. Weird is one word to apply to Ackroyd; others might be exciting, stimulating, mind-extending. One word no one will ever use is commonplace or dull.” –Virginia Quarterly Review