Friday 6 December 2013

The Masters Book by Philip Coleman Blog Tour, Guest Post and Giveaway!

Title : The Masters Book
Author : Philip Coleman

About The Master’s Book:

Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene...

In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 25. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels.

The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once.

Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it?

Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.

Book can be found at: GoodReads | Amazon

Author bio 

Philip Coleman has worked as a biologist for most of his life—in Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland. Having been an avid reader all his life, he took up writing only in 2006. This is his first published novel. He drew his inspiration for the story from the period he spent working for the EU in Brussels. He has a grown-up son and daughter (who were roughly the same ages as Sean and Maeve during the time in Brussels but otherwise aren’t a bit like them at all!). He now lives in France.

Author Sites:
WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Guest Post :

A book that inspired me by Philip Coleman

His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman

Recently I decided to order a selection of favourite books from The Folio Society, the British publishers who specialise in high end illustrated hardback editions of well-known books. I hesitated over buying their edition of Philip Pullman’s trilogy on account of the expense. But when I saw the lavishness of their edition, and samples of the beautiful illustrations by Peter Bailey, I decided that I had to have this set. The three volumes, Northern Lights (called The Golden Compass in the US), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass now sit in a slip-case on my shelves and I am looking forward to re-reading the story in this new edition.
One of the ways I justified the expense was that this trilogy was what prompted me to take up writing. I wrote stories as a teenager but when I realised how derivative they were I lost my confidence. Then work and family obligations took over. Nevertheless, I often felt when reading a book that really struck a chord that it was time I took up writing again.
Years went by but then my daughter, who was about 11 at the time, read the trilogy, which she discovered through aschool friend in Brussels. In the meantime, I learned independently that it was controversial because it promoted atheism and implicitly criticised religion. I didn’t realise just how much a phenomenon it was until I overheard her talking to my brother’s wife about it, the latter having read it as well. So my curiosity was piqued.
I have to say that I was hooked almost instantly. In terms of genre, the trilogy is normally classified as fantasy but that instantly provokes connotation of swords and sandals, wizards and witches (actually, there are witches), without a firearm or a mechanically propelled device in sight. In fact, the story opens with a quasi-steampunk feel, the setting being a re-imagining of Oxford in something like Edwardian times. We soon realise that the Oxford of the first book – indeed the entire world of the book - is a parallel one to our own, with some similarities but with many differences. Chief among these is the fact that all humans have daemons (pronounced “demons”) that are, in effect, animal incarnations of their souls. The setting moves to London, then East Anglia and then the frozen north, where the polar bears talk, wear armour and fight. The young Lyra is the principal character and I think she must reckon as one of the most lovable girls in all literature, with her blend of feistiness, courage, cunning and compassion. In order for the story to work, the reader has to believe that good people must love her and bad people fear her. It is not easy to carry this off but Pullman manages it and this is the greatest achievement of the trilogy.
The second book opens in the real modern-day Oxford, and is told from the perspective of a boy named Will, whose mother is in poor health and whose father, having vanished, is being sought by men who obviously mean him harm. The story shifts to another parallel world, where Lyra and Will meet. The third volume is the most ambitious; the forces of enlightenment struggle with those of religion and, in order for them to win, Lyra and Will have to go down among the dead and find a way to change their destiny.
By the time I finished the third book, it was like losing a friend. I wanted to keep the magic alive somehow. Before I got to the end, I saw that the last chapter was entitled “The Botanic Garden”. It  takes place in the Oxford Botanic Garden (a real garden which is actually the oldest botanic garden in Britain), where Lyra sits under the huge Corsican pine treeand declares the “Republic of Heaven” (there is a famous photo of Tolkien sitting under that tree in real life). Since I am a botanist and have visited many botanic gardens, and since I was still caught up in the make-belief of the story, it occurred to me that I could write a fantasy set in a fictional one. That became my first book and, even though it was not a success, the dam had burst. I haven’t stopped writing since and that was seven years ago.
I may come back to the idea of a botanic garden as the setting for a story; in the meantime, I will certainly re-read His Dark Materials.

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  1. I've recently heard that His Dark Materials trilogy was incredibly inspiring for a lot of authors. I have had another that said it inspired him to write as well. I listened to the very beginning on audio but the CD was scratched and I never got to hear the entire thing. I do have the omnibus and I look forward to reading it.
    Thanks for hosting a tour stop!

    1. You are welcome Candace! Ive read His Dark Materials and its really good. So different but gripping.