Troubled Blood  and Spenser–Part Four Thoughts

The Faerie Queene - WikipediaApologies for the late post today! With these hefty readings, I’m falling behind nearly as much as my students, but I dare say I’m having more fun with my reading than they are with theirs! I hope you’re enjoying the threads we’ve thus far discovered that tie Troubled Blood to its literary inspiration, Edmund Spenser’s epic Faerie Queene. If you have not been following along with our multi-faceted coverage of the new Cormoran Strike novel, I hope you’ll catch up, and then I hope you’ll come with me after the jump as we enter the next season, both literally and figuratively, in the latest installments of the adventures of our modern-day knights Artegall and Britomart, Strike and Robin.

As we are all racing toward what is sure to be a thrilling conclusion, it is sometimes hard to slow down long enough to process the artistry being exhibited by Rowling/Galbraith, but as we reach the end of Part 4, here are the four most interesting Spenser connections that both show the depth of our story’s connections to The Faerie Queene and may offer us clues for the journey ahead.

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Strike and Spenser Part 3-Names, Beasts, and Stars (and more!)

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know we are traveling on a day-by-day first-read-through journey of Troubled Blood, and I am your tour guide for the Spenserian bits of the trip, pointing out interesting Faerie Queene­-related scenery as we go past it. Of course, the weeks, months, and (likely) years to come will yield much more exciting discoveries, as our author, under whichever name she chooses, Alumnus Donates Rare 1611 Edition of “The Faerie Queene” | Bluff Stuffwrites book series that hold up under multiple reads, with new treasures revealed each time.

Join me today for thoughts on Part 3, the Winter section, with Discontent aplenty and some great Spenser connections! Spoilers after the jump, brave travelers, so if you’ve made it past page 344, keep reading below!

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Rowling’s New Twitter Header Means The Faerie Queene is a Strike 5 Theme?

As many of us are anxiously looking forward to the release of the fifth Cormoran Strike novel, Troubled Blood, this September, the latest change to J.K. Rowling’s Twitter account may have some clues. The novel’s title has several possible origins, including Edmund Spenser’s epic poem The Faerie Queene. With her recently changed Twitter header, which includes an image from a beautifully illustrated 1890s edition of The Faerie Queene, Rowling and her crime-writing alter-ego Robert Galbraith may be laying the groundwork for a Spenser-scaffolding installment in the adventures of the ever-fascinating Strike and Robin Ellacott. Some of us truly hope that is the case.

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Fantastic Reading Suggestions for the Harry Reader on Your Shopping List, or Yourself!

Image result for harry potter libraryWhether you are shopping for a family member or friend, or perhaps looking for something to read over a school break or a long flight, thoughtful Harry readers are often seeking a text that will be, on some level, as fulfilling, thought-provoking, or entertaining as the Hogwarts adventures we love. Of course, no book can really be “just like” Harry Potter’s adventures, and we would not want it to be, but, depending on the reader, there are some authors whose work you might want consider as you make your list, and check it twice, even if the person who’s been naughty or nice is yourself! But if you are shopping for your own family’s versions of Newt, Fred and George, or Mr. Weasley, we have the goods after the break… [Read more…]

Cormoran Strike: Silkworm Excerpts Available Online

J. K. Rowling’s detective series featuring private dick Cormoran Strike, a veteran of the Afghan waR and illegitimate son of aN aging rock star, has a new entry on 18 June, namely, The Silkworm. USA Today published an excerpt online this morning, what seems to be the first two chapters (expletives deleted), and I confess, it was good enough a tasting that I broke down and finally ordered an advance copy.

What’s it all about? From the book summary at Amazon:

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days-as he has done before-and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives-meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before… A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, THE SILKWORM is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.

Three quick notes:

(1) My advance copy was ordered at my local bricks-and-mortar bookstore. No, I haven’t suddenly become righteous about online purchases and, no, my favorite store won’t be having a Midnight Madness celebration to hand out copies to the Rowling Faithful at the strike of the hour opening the day of publication. It’s just that Amazon and the publisher are having a little disagreement. Who would have ever thought that Ms Rowling and her publisher, given their egregious history of copyright protection heavy-handedness, could play the role of David in a ‘versus Online Goliath’ story? Having been roughed up by Amazon myself as an independent publisher, I can only wish Hachete Group the best in this struggle.

(2) The Silkworm is the second of what Ms Rowling promises will be a seven book series. When do we begin to chart the ring composition echoes? Each book or in the parallel books of the series? Rhetorical question, of course.

(3) Insert obligatory observation that I wouldn’t be interested in this title almost certainly if it I didn’t know it was written by the “world’s best selling author” (c).  The voice is hers, however, and it is a delight.

Links to online stories mentioned above can be found after the jump. Hat tip to James! [Read more…]