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This book drew me in from the first paragraph. I have had a soft spot for starlings since I came to Glasgow and got to know their huge gatherings at dusk along Sauchiehall Street in the 1970's.
The book begins and ends with starlings and one in particular, called ironically, Raven.
As I said the book drew me in and pretty quickly my scepticism about the transformations was set to one side as I settled into a rollicking good tale. A tale with many twists and turns and sub-plots.
A good book for me is one that helps me to look at the world from new perspectives. This one took me into several unfamiliar landscapes as well as familiar ones seen through new eyes. The world of the megalomaniac politician manipulating his way to his ultimate and bizarrely creepy goal. The animals striving to unmask and disrupt the terrible scheme. The warm hearted and hospitable people along the way who selflessly support our heroes.
There was plenty to keep the reader enthralled.
by Mary Kennedy
A rollicking good read - hard to put down and full of action and intrigue. I loved the animal characters especially the sensitive 'Raven' who is in fact a starling - her insight and loneliness as she is separated from her flock is brilliantly portrayed. Tim makes this fantastical world totally believable (worryingly so).
There is a lot to think about it and to keep thinking about even after the novel is finished - we need a sequel!
by Vicki Fleck
This fast paced, captivating book grabbed me by the collar and wouldn't let me put it down! The characters are enchanting and so well described that you feel like you know them and the dark and imaginative plot made it an enjoyable read from start to finish. Tim Cowen's beautiful attention to detail makes me want to read more of his writing.
Banquet of the Beasts is a politico-eco thriller with more twists, turns and hidden agendas than the current Tory government's policies.
From the very beginning, clever writing techniques embrace you in a web of intrigue.
There's tragedy, there's romance, there's humour. It's all here. Helped along by sympathetic characters at its core.
The ending may appear to be inconclusive and leave the reader hanging (or demanding a sequel!) but ultimately the ending is up to us. All of us.
A page turning thriller from beginning to end, which took me on fantastical journey. I rooted for the protagonists and frowned at the bad guys. A brilliant tragic comedy set in a scary alternative reality.
by Abi Mordin
I am a 51 year old writer living in Wigtown, Scotland's Book Town (in Dumfries and Galloway). A creator of veggie feasts and friend of the beasts, he is longstanding campaigner on environment and social justice. Banquet of the Beasts is my debut novel.
ORIGINS OF THE BOOK
I first thought about writing a novel after the Scottish independence referendum of 2014. Prior to this I had dabbled in performance poetry and stand-up comedy. Over the years I'd grown frustrated at how much effort was involved in writing material that would be performed just once or twice. I wanted the challenge of writing a longer piece, something that would live on the page, rather than disappear into the ether.
The origins of this book come from a sketch that I wrote in 2013 for an evening class in stand-up comedy. This saw me combine the impacts of austerity, the badger cull and the imaginary death of George Osborne. With humans failing so miserably to stand up to the Tories, it was left to the beasts to resist.
In November 2015 I attended a course in Comic Novel Writing at Moniack Mhor (Scotland's creative writing centre). It was here that the ideas for Banquet of the Beasts began to emerge and I replaced Osborne with Margaret Thatcher; she is, after all, much more of a timeless baddie.
To the birds and beasts that are my friends and constant companions, I salute you all!
A special mention going to the starlings, badgers, weasels and foxes. For many years you've lived in my head, and it's great to see you at last on the page.
And finally to Maggie. Your comments, ideas, feedback and thoughts are a constant encouragement to me. Without you I would be lost and this novel would not exist. You remain my biggest love and inspiration.