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Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black

Written by Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedgwick

Illustrated by Alexis Deacon

Key Stage 4 Historical Fiction

LoveReading View on Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black

A triumvirate of exceptional talent bring us an unusual but compelling tale which weaves together the Orpheus myth and a moving story of sibling love, loyalty and conflict in the devastated London of WW2

Brothers Marcus and Julian Sedgewick last worked together on the Kate Greenaway shortlisted graphic novel Dark Satanic Mills and here they are blessed by the artistic talents of the award winning Alexis Deacon to co-create a story wonderfully told through the interplay of poetry, prose and pictures. Set in London as the V2 rocket bombs wreak havoc and destruction where the intense childhood relationship of the poet and older brother Ellis and the younger artist brother Harry has foundered on Harry’s anti-war and anti- family stance since their father runs a munitions firm. Ellis is home from the front and Harry is desperate for a reconciliation and to share his masterwork Warriors in the Machine- inspired by his nights fighting fires and his nightmarish visions of future wars. After Harry leaves the pub the bomb falls, Harry wakes in hospital with a serious head wound and Ellis  apparently lost in the blast. In a state of semi delirium, the lines between reality, his vision of the future and the myth of Orpheus blur. His quest to find and rescue his brother, accompanied by a Jewish refugee girl desperate to be reunited with the parents she has lost, mirrors Orpheus’ journey to the Underworld. This is a powerful, lyrical anti-war fable inspired and given depth and authenticity by the fact that Marcus and Julian’s own father was a Quaker and a Conscientious Objector in WW2. While a fascinating reworking of the myth this depiction of war will speak to young people concerned about the times in which we live and humanities seemingly eternal warmongering.

Joy Court

Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black Synopsis

A lyrical and dreamlike story of two brothers in conflict amidst the devastation of WWII London. Harry Black wakes in hospital to learn that his brother Ellis has almost certainly been killed by a V2 rocket falling during a German air raid on London. In a state of wounded delirium, Harry's mind begins to blur the distinctions between the reality of the war-torn city, the fiction of his unpublished sci-fi novel and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Driven by visions of Ellis still alive and a sense of poetic inevitability, Harry discharges himself from hospital and begins a search for his brother that will lead him deep into the city's Underworld...

Book Information

ISBN: 9781406357929
Publication date: 2nd May 2019
Author: Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedgwick
Illustrator: Alexis Deacon
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 320 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 4
Topics: Historical Fiction

About Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedgwick

Created by the award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick and his brother Julian Sedgwick, Dark Satanic Mills is rich with the influences of visionary thinker, writer and artist William Blake and illustrated to exceptional and dramatic effect by John Higgins, colourist for Alan Moore's iconic Watchmen.

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