A Creature of the Twilight: His Memorials, Being some account of episodes in the career of His Excellency Manfred Arcane, Minister without Portfolio to the Hereditary President of the Commonwealth of Hamnegri, and de facto Field Commander...

Cykl: Manfred Arcane (tom 1)
Wydawnictwo: Fleet Publishing Corporation
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angielski

Set in an African land called Hamnegri, this story of strange characters and labyrinthine intrigues is comparable to nothing else in recent fiction. Styled by its author "a baroque romance," A Creature of the Twilight penetrates cuttingly into the troubled heart of modern Africa; more, it casts a fitful and sometimes eerie light upon a curious set of Europeans, Americans, and Africans who are...

Set in an African land called Hamnegri, this story of strange characters and labyrinthine intrigues is comparable to nothing else in recent fiction. Styled by its author "a baroque romance," A Creature of the Twilight penetrates cuttingly into the troubled heart of modern Africa; more, it casts a fitful and sometimes eerie light upon a curious set of Europeans, Americans, and Africans who are drawn into the vortex of Hamnegri's civil war.

"All my life have I done evil," says Manfred Arcane, about whose intricate charismatic personality this novel revolves. Minister without Portfolio, and de facto commander of the Sultan's armies, Arcane is all things to all men. No one knows with certitude—until the end—the origin and history of this dark adventurer.

Collecting human oddities, Manfred Arcane—whom the folk of Hamnegri call "The Father of Shadows"—has gathered round him such retainers as the homicidal Arpad Nemo, the Sicilian beauty Melchiora Caola, the formidable Lady Grizel Fergusson, the crippled Gus Randolph, the feral twins called Cleon and Brasidas, and the mercenary force known as the Interracial Peace Volunteers. He redeems from anarchy the city of Haggat—and aspires to be an African Wallenstein in the desert struggle between the Progressives and the Legitimists.

Into Arcane's net at Haggat come the "roving ambassador" of the United States; the young Sultan Achmet; Dr. Mary Jo Travers, of the Peace Corps; M'Rundu, black Postmaster-General and sorcerer; and a congeries of secret agents and ideologues from several great powers. Manipulating all these for purposes which even Arcane's intimates do not apprehend, the Minister without Portfolio proceeds to set his face against "the wave of the future."

In part, the twilight events are described by Arcane's adherents; in part, by his opponents; in part, by the subtle Manfred himself, in his peculiarly charming fashion. "Knowing godhood thrice," he says of himself, "no man can endure wholly sane."

To its last surprises, this narration of guerilla war, iron ambition, and vengeance displays a sardonic humor at work in the shadow of fatality. From its comic pages to its terrible passages, A Creature of the Twilight is radically different from either the naturalistic novel or the cloak-and-dagger fantasy of the twentieth century.

 

źródło opisu: Fleet, 1966 (obwoluta)

źródło okładki: goodreads.com

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