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The Truants

Lee Markham

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ISBN 13: 978-1-4683-1387-1
Trim Size: 6" x 9"
Overlook Press

Product Description

A fresh twist on the vampire mythos, The Truants is a dystopian novel of startling intensity, narrated by immortal old-ones.

Contorting the conventional vampire narrative into a startling tale of immortality, blood lust, and rage contaminating London’s inner-city youth like a virus, The Truants tells the story of the last of the old-ones―creatures afflicted with a condition not unlike vampirism: ancient, bloodthirsty, and unable to withstand sunlight.

The last old-one has decided to end his life, but before he can act he is held up at knifepoint. His assailant disappears, the knife in his pocket, the blood of the old-one seared into its sharpened edge. The knife trades hands, drawing blood again, and the old-one is resurrected through his victims’ consciousness and divided, spreading through the infected. With his horde of infected youth, the old-one must reclaim the knife to regain control of his soul. But someone is out to stop him . . .

“Markham's take on the inside of an ancient vampire's head is as invigoratingly fresh as his story is, by turns, brutal and touching. Stripped of romance, paced like a crime novel, it engages a milieu which most of us, happily, will never need to see―the teen gangs on the cruel, poverty-stricken streets, the 'rats' in the gutters―and makes us give a damn. An extremely smart, talented first novel.” —Jack Ketchum, author of Off Season

“Markham takes the tiredest concept and re-clothes it in the rags of slumland addiction. You’ve never read a vampire story like this before . . . The Trainspotting of supernatural prose.” —Liam Sharp, author of God Killers

“An interesting twist on the vampire myth . . . genuinely innovative.” Publishers Weekly

“Vampires are an inspired vehicle . . . to present to the reader, in gruesome, shocking, humbling imagery and writing, a picture of everything that is wrong, broken, and callous about modern life. Bleakly stunning and doggedly thought-provoking . . . It hooks you instantly and holds you there, in its unrelenting claws until the final page, leaving you spent (in a good way) and its message lingering within you, like the vampires who possess their victims within the book.” —Tarn Richardson, author of The Darkest Hand trilogy

“A Jungian, neo-noir vampire saga juxtaposed against juvenile nihilism and flamboyant fatalism. Markham’s prose is proficient, purposeful and poetic. The words trill and tremble and taunt and tear. The metaphors, combined with Markham’s unsettling existentialism, creates a menagerie of moral choices that are both touching and abhorrent. The Truants is alive. You can feel the fear and fret and failure. You can hear the cacophonous discordance of strangers in the background. You can understand the metaphysical importance of each decision. You can become one of them, a truant, a juvenile drug addict, a visceral truth. Mark Markham, because he’s here to stay.” —Reiner Palland, Horror Novel Reviews

“The best vampire story since Let The Right One In and a bleak and bloody antidote to the romanticised prettification of the vampire myth. Markham takes the vampire mythology and twists it into fascinating new shapes . . . definitely one for your must-read list.” —Neil Martin, somethingyousaid.com

“By the end of chapter two my coffee was untouched and cold beside me. This wasn't about vampires at all. It was about the emerging social underclass in the UK. It was about knife crime. It was about the London riots. It was about the social neglect that led to the murders of Baby P., James Bulger and Damilola Taylor. And it stirred me. I think pathos is the most important ingredient for any writer of any genre to include in their work, and [The Truants] is dripping with it.” —Vanessa Austin Locke, The Latest

“An absolutely stonking good read . . . the Tarantino-esque timeline gripped from start to finish.” —Russ Williamson, smashwords.com

Lee Markham is the founder of the children’s publishing house Chestnut Tree Tales and No Man, an independent publishing house. He has previously worked as a brand content developer, and he has written articles for magazines including Admap and Brand Strategy. The Truants is his debut novel.

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