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Moon Witch, Spider King

Par / By Marlon James

Book #2 de/of The Dark Star trilogy


[FR] Marlon James, auteur du best-seller Black Leopard, Red Wolf, finaliste du National Book Award, nous offre le deuxième livre de la trilogie Dark Star.


[EN] From Marlon James, author of the bestselling National Book Award finalist Black Leopard, Red Wolf, comes the second book in the Dark Star trilogy.

Effacer / Clear

Dans Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Sogolon la sorcière de la lune s’est révélée être un adversaire de taille pour Tracker alors qu’ils s’affrontaient dans un paysage africain mythique à la recherche d’un mystérieux garçon disparu. Dans Moon Witch, Spider King, Sogolon occupe le devant de la scène et raconte ce qui est arrivé au garçon, comment elle a comploté et combattu, triomphé et échoué dans sa recherche. C’est aussi l’histoire d’une querelle de plus d’un siècle – vue à travers les yeux d’une sorcière de 177 ans – entre Sogolon et Aesi, chancelier du roi. On dit qu’Aesi travaille si étroitement avec le roi qu’ensemble ils sont comme les huit membres d’une araignée. Le pouvoir d’Aesi est considérable – et mortel. Il faut de l’intelligence et du courage pour le défier, ce que fait Sogolon pour des raisons qui lui sont propres.

À la fois un brillant dispositif narratif – voir l’histoire racontée dans Black Leopard, Red Wolf du point de vue d’un adversaire et d’une femme – et une bataille fascinante entre différentes versions de l’empire, Moon Witch, Spider King plonge dans le monde de Sogolon, qui se bat pour raconter sa propre histoire. À la fois récit d’aventure et chronique d’une femme indomptable qui ne s’incline devant aucun homme, ce roman fascinant explore le pouvoir, la personnalité et les endroits où ils se chevauchent.


In Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Sogolon the Moon Witch proved a worthy adversary to Tracker as they clashed across a mythical African landscape in search of a mysterious boy who disappeared. In Moon Witch, Spider King, Sogolon takes centre stage and gives her own account of what happened to the boy, and how she plotted and fought, triumphed and failed as she looked for him. It’s also the story of a century-long feud—seen through the eyes of a 177-year-old witch—that Sogolon had with the Aesi, chancellor to the king. It is said that Aesi works so closely with the king that together they are like the eight limbs of one spider. Aesi’s power is considerable—and deadly. It takes brains and courage to challenge him, which Sogolon does for reasons of her own.

Both a brilliant narrative device—seeing the story told in Black Leopard, Red Wolf from the perspective of an adversary and a woman—as well as a fascinating battle between different versions of empire, Moon Witch, Spider King delves into Sogolon’s world as she fights to tell her own story. Part adventure tale, part chronicle of an indomitable woman who bows to no man, it is a fascinating novel that explores power, personality, and the places where they overlap.

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Auteur.rice / Author

Marlon James est né en Jamaïque en 1970. Il est l’auteur du best-seller du New York Times Black Leopard, Red Wolf, qui a été finaliste du National Book Award de la fiction en 2019. Son roman A Brief History of Seven Killings a remporté le prix Man Booker 2015. Il a également été finaliste du National Book Critics Circle Award et a remporté le prix OCM Bocas de littérature caribéenne pour la fiction, le Anisfield-Wolf Book Award pour la fiction et le Minnesota Book Award. Il a également figuré dans la liste des ” Notable Book ” du New York Times. James est également l’auteur de The Book of Night Women, qui a remporté le Dayton Literary Peace Prize 2010 et le Minnesota Book Award, et a été finaliste du National Book Critics Circle Award 2010 pour la fiction et du NAACP Image Award. Son premier roman, John Crow’s Devil, a été finaliste du Los Angeles Times Book Prize pour la première fiction et du Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, et a été un choix de la rédaction du New York Times. James partage son temps entre le Minnesota et New York.


Marlon James was born in Jamaica in 1970. He is the author of the New York Times-bestseller Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction in 2019. His novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, and the Minnesota Book Award. It was also a New York Times Notable Book. James is also the author of The Book of Night Women, which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction and an NAACP Image Award. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. James divides his time between Minnesota and New York.


An instant New York Times bestseller

“The bildungsroman of a character scrappier than Arya Stark, cleverer than Jane Eyre, as foulmouthed as any gangster, with the world-weary humor of a noir private eye and the inscrutable morals of an antihero. . . . James’s imagination is vast and fiery, and his numerous fight scenes are heart-pumping and vivid. But what has stayed with me are his more subtle observations on the human condition.” —Eoywn Ivey, The New York Times

“Breathtaking. . . . James is one of the finest writers at work today, and Moon Witch, Spider King is a complex, enthralling novel. It is also utterly uncompromising, a book which the reader must meet on its own terms.” —Toronto Star

“Moving, vivid and thought-provoking, this second book is, if anything, even more brilliant than the first.” BuzzFeed

“James makes the mythic tantalizingly real.” Esquire

Moon Witch, Spider King is a rare sequel that is better than its predecessor. . . . James once again shattered my expectations. . . . Told in a mesmerizing dialect that scoffs at the very notion of Standard American English grammatical rules, Moon Witch, Spider King is a breathtaking book, one that functions as well as a standalone as it does a sequel. . . . Like its predecessor, this is a novel that begs to be read in one sitting. . . . This series is absolutely a must-read.” —NPR

“James . . . has crafted an imaginative story that advances the trilogy in a satisfying way, deepening and expanding an already epic world.” TIME

“If Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a penciled comic panel, Moon Witch, Spider King is the version rendered by James the inker: the geography, myth, magic and people of this epic setting are revisited to add shading and detail in a recursive procedure that results in a vibrant tapestry begging for infinite return trips.” Booklist

“James choreographs fight scenes that make Quentin Tarantino’s movies feel comparatively tranquil. And there’s a catalogue of diabolically ingenious creatures creeping along the ceilings, jumping from behind trees and even reaching through fourth-dimension portals to keep the pages simmering with terror. . . . Sogolon is a thrilling, haunting heroine.” —The Washington Post

“Outstanding. . . . Moon Witch, Spider King is an impressive amalgamation of folklore, magic and mythology that weaves together several narratives, but the element that makes it memorable is James’s prose. . . . Simple, rhythmic, and strangely elegant. . . . An epic fable drenched in African mythology. This is work that both meets the immersive worldbuilding standard in books by Tolkien and Martin and brings to the genre a voice unlike anything seen before.” —The Boston Globe

Moon Witch, Spider King is the second volume in James’s outstanding Dark Star Trilogy. . . . In this ambitious new installment, James masterfully flips the first’s plot on its head, probing the distance between two versions of the same events to ask powerful questions about truth, history and storytelling.” —Esquire

“The ‘African Game of Thrones’ just keeps getting better. . . . This novel’s prose style, inspired by the grammar of African languages, has an intoxicating swagger and energy.” —Slate

“If Black Leopard, Red Wolf was an exploration of masculinity, this companion volume examines the more restricted lives of women in the same violent, male-dominated world. Booker winner James’s African-inspired imaginary kingdoms mark the series out from the usual run of epic fantasies, but his uniquely supple, powerful style is even more distinctive.” —The Guardian

“A medieval feast of dazzling fantasy. It’s vulgar and vivacious, big and brutal  . . . extraordinarily imagined. . . . Sogolon’s voice is so engaging that it invites readers into this novel with more ease and generosity. . . . When I read the first book, I knew I was reading a genre-altering trilogy. . . . After reading Moon Witch, Spider King, I remain convinced that James is rebuilding the [fantasy] genre.” —StarTribune

“In the second book of his Dark Star trilogy, James coaxes beauty from dark thoughts, leaving readers with a concaved, mystical and African-inspired world. . . . Full figured and richly drawn, Moon Witch, Spider King is the bridge of a trilogy and also a creation that, like James’ talent, stands alone.” —Los Angeles Times

Moon Witch, Spider King is even better than Black Leopard, Red Wolf. . . . [The books] are wildly inventive, genre-defining works of fiction on the level of The Lord Of The Rings and the Broken Earth trilogy that deserve to be studied, dissected and argued over.” —AV Club

“The world created in these pages is wonderful, well-imagined and in some ways very close to reality. . . . A beautiful novel with well-developed characters enmeshed in a very real and terrifying fight, not only for their lives but also against a cycle of life that repeats from generation to generation. . . . It’s impressive how much world-building and character development James manages in these pages.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Part adventure tale, part chronicle of an indomitable woman who bows to no man, it is a fascinating novel that explores power, personality and the places where they overlap.” —LGBTQ Read

“James cements his status as a wildly inventive and lyrical storyteller. . . . Gripping. . . . A dense, sprawling phantasmagoria.”Financial Times

“An exhilarating tour de force that permits its reader voyage into a story world that utterly transcends the ‘one truth’ version of reality that a reductive, contrivedly ‘objective’ culture imposes on itself. . . . The magisterial sweep of Moon Witch, Spider King, combined with its nuanced characterisations, raise even more expectations of the final volume in this superb opus.” —The Spectator

“This second volume in a projected trilogy set in a boldly imagined, opulently apportioned ancient Africa shows that the Man Booker Prize–winning novelist is building something deeper and more profoundly innovative within the swords-and-sorcery genre. . . . Witty, richly textured and musically captivating. . . . Beautifully orchestrated (and ferociously violent) set pieces and language both vivid and poetic. The second part of this trilogy is darker and, in many ways, more moving than its predecessor.” —Kirkus Reviews(starred review)

“Brilliant. . . . If book one centers on the nature of storytelling, this volume turns its focus to memory, archiving and history as Sogolon works to correct the record. The two stories run parallel to and contradict each other, and James mines the distance between them to raise powerful questions about whether truth is possible when the power of storytelling is available only to a few. A tour de force.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


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