“The Truants” by Lee Markham is available in paperback, hardback and eBook, published by Duckworth OverLook.
In a fresh twist on the traditional vampire narrative, The Truants is a startling, noirish tale of immortality, bloodlust and rage.
Following his lover’s suicide, the last of the ‘old-ones’– ancient immortal beings as clever as they are ruthless, and unable to withstand the light of the sun – has had enough of this world gone to ruin and decides to end his existence. Yet as he waits for the burning dawn on a bench near a council estate, he is held up at knifepoint by a youth and stabbed. While the old-one’s body turns to ash as the sun rises, his assailant scurries back into the estate’s feral underbelly with the knife in his pocket. The old-one’s blood is still seared into its sharpened blade, and as the knife does its menacing rounds his consciousness is awakened in the city’s children from the depths of the afterlife. Determined to die, he must find and destroy the knife to regain control of his soul. But someone is out to stop him…
A sharp and powerful new voice, Lee Markham has written an intelligent, visceral novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass – and the horror of their everyday lives.
The “Old One” is the last of an ancient immortal race, he is centuries old and is awaiting death with the rise of the sun. Following in the footsteps of his lover, who has already taken this route. But things go awry when he is stabbed, his blood carried like a plague ready to infect others in the inner city estates. When his blood infects another, his consciousness is transferred across to it’s new host.
Now this is a hard to read at times book, there are mentions of cruelty to a dog and neglect of a child, be warned! This story has a “hive” aspect to it, with a controlling leader over it’s workers, but it then delves a lot further than that. As the consciousness awakens, it takes in the the way some people live their lives in a poverty, drink and drug ridden section of society. The vampire aspect of this story is actually a “Trojan Horse” concealing a much darker, grim and depraved story. It explores the filth, stench and grim ridden slums and the desperate people who inhabit them. Now this is bleak reading, but I found also quite addictive and compelling as there is a hint of hope.
The story is told from several perspectives, giving a “both sides of the fence” viewpoint, as well as giving first hand accounts of those living in the estates and the how they struggle to live. This also has mentions of riots and I was reminded of the London Riots, and the child neglect, again putting me in mind of the case that was in the news headlines regarding Baby P a few years ago.
When I started this book I thought i was going to race through it, but that really was not the case, and it was not what I was expecting, I took my time over it. I am annoyed that it has been sat on my shelf since I bought it back in May and it has taken me until now (December) to read it.
Now this is a little difficult to recommend to readers, I liked a hell of a lot, but I am also aware that there are things that will not sit right with some readers, and this I get. Yes it has a horror / fantasy factor to it. But also an Dark Urban Fiction ( if there is such a thing), but it is very dark, real, gritty and truthful about what happens in the world, just look at the news, (not the vampire bit though) !
About the Author:
Lee Markham is author of the acclaimed novel The Truants, published by Duckworth Overlook. Inspired by the murders of Baby P, Jamie Bulger and Damilola Taylor, and by the London riots during the summer of 2011, The Truants is a visceral, intelligent, gripping novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass – and the horror of their everyday lives.
With a background in branding and marketing, Lee also writes copy and develops content and narrative architecture for agencies and businesses across all sectors. With an instinctive knowledge for what needs saying and – equally importantly – what can be left unsaid, he is happy to work either as a lone wolf, or to integrate into creative teams to build compelling stories that can be told across campaigns, media and platforms.
Lee is also founder and storyteller-in-chief of Chestnut Tree Tales. Chestnut Tree Tales is a captivating series of children’s stories that generates awareness and revenue for the children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House. The first Chestnut Tree Tale, The Rainbow Snowstorm, is available now, with the next tale, The Flappity Happening, coming soon.
More recently Lee has also started working with schools on a term-long programme that allows Lower School age children to develop and launch their own children’s storybooks. The first book in this project is called The Way Through Gildredge Wood and was created with the Lower School children of Gildredge House School in Eastbourne.
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Duckworth Overlook (20 April 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0715651765
- ISBN-13: 978-0715651766
- Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US
Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked give a share. Better still go buy a copy of this book xx
3 thoughts on “#BookReview : The Truants by Lee Markham”
Totally get where you are coming from about it being hard to recommend due to the content.
I didn’t enjoy it due to that! It has some interesting ideas but the dog cruelty was a hell no for me and the child abuse aspects too. I read dark fantasy with blood, gore, killing, everything yet this unsettled me and those things happen near the beginning and then through the course of reading the book I just couldn’t shake the dog and child abuse that had occurred.
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Oh completely, those elements will very definitely divide readers. I know it is often said that content included in books is an important part of a story, but at times I do question this. This is why I always mention things that make uncomfortable reading, it doesn’t always go down well with other people, but forewarned is something important. I have read your review in Goodreads and you make very valid points. Thank you for your comments Drew. Xx
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