Good morning everyone!
I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley by Ian Thornton as part of a Random Things blog tour hosted by Anne Carter.
Aleister Crowley, also known as the Great Beast, is one of the most reviled men in history. Satanist, cult leader, debauched novelist and poet, his legacy has been harshly contested for decades.
Crowley supposedly died in 1947, but in Ian Thornton’s new novel, set in the present day, the Great Beast is alive and well and living in Shangri-la. Now over 130 years old, thanks to the magical air of his mystical location, he looks back on his life and decides it is time to set the record straight.
For Crowley was not the evil man he is often portrayed as. This was just a cover to hide his real mission, to save the twentieth century from destroying itself and to set humanity on the road to freedom and liberty.
The Death and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley is an epic novel that will make you see this notorious figure in a completely new light, as he encounters an impressive cast of real-life characters including Timothy Leary, The Beatles, Princess Margaret, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock.
The thing about this book that intrigued me was the spin on historical fiction. I had actually never heard of this figure before, and having no background knowledge gave me a clean slate to work with as a reader.
Crowley isn’t exactly the most likable character, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t interesting. Thornton takes what was historically accurate of Crowley and gives him a persona that is both inventive and imaginative whilst at the same time, remaining within the threshold of historical fact.
The narrative style is interesting and engages the reader to continue through the story. Who is the real Aleister Crowley? We’re about to find out.
The concept of taking a figure from history and reimagining their life, purpose, and moral compass is no easy task, and for such an infamous historical celebrity, Thornton dazes us with his unique story-telling ability and take on metafiction.
Crowley himself is an anti-hero. Especially for those who knew who he was, the reader’s perception of Crowley is going to be slightly reserved. Yet this, I believe, encourages the reader to view him as a dark protagonist. Up to this book, Aleister Crowley was just a guy in history, albeit an interesting one. Now, he is the interesting and misunderstood character in a novel where the reader has to make up their own mind on him.
This book is an inventive and interesting take on one of history’s most unusual person. Thornton pushes the reader’s imagination to the limits in this exciting and creative book. Fans of occult fiction may enjoy this book in addition to people who like historical fiction with a twist.
How to get your hands on a copy
Thank you to the author, publishing company, and Anne Carter for my copy and spot on the tour (check out the other stops below!)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Ian Thornton
Ian Thornton’s debut novel, The Great and Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms (How One Man Scorched the Twentieth Century, but Didn’t Mean to) was published by Simon & Schuster Canada in September 2013. Harper Collins published worldwide on June 28th 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the pivot of the novel. It was translated across Europe and taught at the Sorbonne.
Prior to becoming a novelist, Ian worked for Broadcast magazine in London and also for Variety. He is a co-founder of the global television industry publisher, C21 Media and http://www.c21media.net.
He covered the Royal wedding in London for CTV, Canada’s premier independent broadcaster, and has recently written for Wisden Cricketer, The Guardian, The Hindu and for the Soho House magazine, House. He also wrote on the football World Cup in South Africa for the Canadian sports channel, The Score, and has worked for Queen’s University in Ontario, where his project was presented at the White House as part of President Obama’s new media initiative.
Ian is the official biographer of the Compton cricket club in California and has been a judge on the largest Latin American film festival, Expresion en Corto. He is currently producing a feature documentary.
Originally from Leeds, Ian currently resides in Toronto with his wife Heather Gordon and their children, Laszlo and Clementine.
Images and ‘about the author’ courtesy of Anne Carter
Happy reading! Lx