31 Mar 2013
Miloš Urban: Lord Mord
Habsburg Prague at the end of the 19th century, seething with a tension between Czechs seeking independence and the German-speaking population who wield the power, is the setting of Milos Urban’s thriller Lord Mord. Urban, dubbed ‘the dark knight of Czech literature’ and the author of the international bestseller The Seven Churches, presents in Lord Mord a dizzying cocktail of mystery, murder and Gothic romance.
by MILOŠ URBAN
Gerald Turner, Peter Owen Publishers, March 2013
Hapsburg Prague at the end of the nineteenth century seethes with tension between Czechs seeking independence and the German-speaking population who wield the power. Caught between both are the Jews. Josefov, the Jewish Quarter, is being modernized, causing large-scale destruction of the medieval city. Moving through this maelstrom is the drug-addicted, absinthe-drinking, tubercular Adi, Count Arco, aka Lord Mord, a Bohemian throwback who dotes on the ancient buildings and courtyards of the old town. Buying a house in Josefov, he refuses to move, going into battle with the faceless bureaucrats at the Town Hall who want the residents evicted. Meanwhile, the nighttime alleyways are haunted by a mythological monster nicknamed Kleinfleisch. Prostitutes are being murdered, and when Lord Mord’s mistress becomes a victim, he finds himself sucked into wider events that wrench him out of his Bohemian idyll.
Miloš Urban (b. 1967) grew up in Bohemia, lived for a time in London and now resides in Prague where he makes his living writing and translating literature – having translated authors such as Isaac Bashevis Singer and Julian Barnes from English into Czech – as well as working as an editor in a publishing house. Dubbed the ‘dark knight of Czech literature’, Urban is a writer of power and imagination whose acclaimed Gothic mysteries (ten novels – including The Seven Churches, the international bestseller published in English by Peter Owen – and one collection of short stories to date) are set primarily against the backdrop of the city of Prague.
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31 Mar 2013