Death of an Ancient King

By Laurent Gaudé

The international prize–winning bestseller, from a hugely popular writer dubbed ‘the darling of the booksellers’ by the French press.

King Tsongor is getting old. Having governed his immense empire peacefully for many years, he prepares to give his lovely daughter Samilia away to her official suitor, the prince of the Lands of Salt. The streets outside the palace are filled with rose petals, and gold cloth hangs from every window. But on the eve of the wedding, a lone, mysterious rider appears instead to claim Samilia’s hand. Within days, two great nations prepare for a senseless conflict over a beautiful woman; and an old, sad king looks on as his world and his family fall apart…

Bursting with colour and raw emotion, and embracing grand themes of loyalty, family, honour and war, ‘Death of an Ancient’ King is like a lost fragment of a Greek tragedy. Told in a simple, hypnotic prose that gathers beauty with every page, this small, prize-winning jewel of a book is impossible to classify, but the richness of its achievement announces the arrival of a major literary talent.

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 02 Aug 2004
Pages: 256
ISBN: 978-0-00-717029-6
Laurent Gaudé is a French novelist and playwright. Born in 1972, he has written five plays and two novels, achieving great success and acclaim throughout Europe. ‘Death of an Ancient King’, his first work to be published in English, was a massive bestseller in his native France, and won two major prizes: the Prix de Goncourt des Lycéens and the Prix des Libraires – voted for by hundreds of French-speaking booksellers from across France, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada. He lives in Paris.

”'Like a magician, Gaude boils down to a magic potion the raw emotion of our most deeply-rooted fears and desires.” - Le Monde

”'As in the works of Homer, passion ignites a war without end. This tour de force gives vital new life to an ancient form: the tragic epic.” - Le Nouvel Observateur

”'A magnificent fable about the blindness of war…Gaude's pen transforms battles into ballets, at once monstrous and sublime; you can almost taste the earth and the blood.” - Elle

”'Gaude writes in a courtly language with an elegiac, almost hypnotic rhythm.” - Sunday Telegraph

”'Gaude writes in an elegiac, lyrical style, the simplicity of the prose matching the timelessness of his message.” - Sunday Business Post