Summary and Info
Voice of the Fire is the first novel from Alan Moore, acclaimed comic book writer. The twelve-chapter book was initially published in the United Kingdom c. 1996. The narratives take place around Moore's hometown of Northampton, England during the month of November, and span several millennia — from 4000 B.C. to the present day. The 2004 edition from Top Shelf Productions features an introduction from Neil Gaiman and colour plates by artist José Villarrubia. A new paperback edition, retaining all of these features, was published by Top Shelf in July 2009.Plot summaryThe story follows the lives of twelve people who lived in the same area of England over a period of 6000 years, and how their lives link to one another's. The opening chapter, "Hob's Hog", proves challenging for many readers, as the first-person narrative voice is used as Moore attempts to render the language and thoughts of a character from around 4000 BC (similar in fashion, though used in a more immersive manner than Russell Hoban's post-apocalyptic characters in Riddley Walker). Each chapter carries the reader forward in time, but circles around the centre of Northampton, drawing in historical events and touchstones, before finally segueing into metafictional narrative in the closing chapter, as the author himself comments directly upon the previous chapter's ambiguous closing line, before relating a personal (possibly fictional) anecdote about Northampton which relates a personal experience of local myth, and features an appearance by his daughter and son-in-law, the writers Leah Moore and John Reppion. Throughout, the image of the fire sparks resonates between the tales, while Moore finds a different voice for each character - though most are inherently duplicitous in some manner, leading to a further commentary on the disparity between myth and reality, and which is more likely to endure over time.