Blog

2023 Preview: Two new Darkland Tales

  12 Jan '23   |  Posted by: Birlinn

In 2023, we are delighted to be publishing two new books in our highly esteemed Darkland Tales series. On 6th April, the anticipated Nothing Left to Fear From Hell by Alan Warner will be published, and in October comes Columba’s Bones by David Greig.

Polygon’s Darkland Tales see Scotland’s best writers re-imagining stories from the country’s history, myth and legend. This series reclaims history for a modern audience, with Scotland’s greatest contemporary novelists and storytellers taking on the challenge of producing Scottish history 2.0 – a redux of landmark moments from the past, viewed through a modern lens and alive to modern sensibilities. While each book has a unique voice and distinctive individual identity, the Darkland Tales are united by their punky, anarchic and deliberately in-your-face aesthetic. These books are sharp, provocative and darkly comic, mining that seam of sedition and psychological drama that has always featured in the best of Scottish literature.

Praise for Darkland Tales

‘Just two books in [the Darkland Tales] have already made their mark as essential reading’ – The Skinny

‘A literary series published under the collective title of Darkland Tales by Polygon, looks to combine cutting edge writers with substantial moments in deep Scottish history.’ – The National

‘I love the idea – drinking in historical fiction as a series of shots’ – Katherine Faulkner, author of Greenwich Park

‘This series has already produced two works of note and distinction. It raises the question – if a country cannot re-tell its history, will it be stuck forever in aspic and condemned to be nothing more than a shortbread tin illustration?’ – The Scotsman

Nothing Left to Fear From Hell by Alan Warner

Nothing Left To Fear From Hell is a visceral depiction of the traumatic and darkly humorous misadventures of a man collapsing beneath the weight of history, from one of Scotland’s most celebrated literary figures.

A battle lost. A daring escape. A long walk into obscurity. The ultimate failure….

In the aftermath of the disastrous Battle of Culloden, a lonely figure takes flight with a small band of companions through the islands and mountains of the Hebrides. His name is Charles Edward Stuart: better known today as Bonnie Prince Charlie. He had come to the country to take the throne. Now he is leaving in exile and abject defeat.

In prose that is by turns poetic, comic, macabre, haunting and humane, multi- award-winning author Alan Warner traces the frantic last journey through Scotland of a man who history will come to define for his failure.

Alan Warner is one of Scotland’s best-loved literary figures. His notable novels include Morvern Callar and The Sopranos – the latter being the inspiration for the play Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour and its subsequent film adaptation, Our Ladies. He has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and is the recipient of both the Somerset Maugham Prize and James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

We are also incredibly excited to be publishing the first ever novel by award-winning Scottish playwright David Greig this October. Columba’s Bones recasts ninth-century Scotland as the setting for a Scandi noir-style thriller. Vikings,
Christian missionaries, and magical relics all combine with a filmic, contemporary edge in a remarkable debut.

These two 2023 titles follow on from the success of the two previous Darkland Tales, Rizzio by Denise Mina and Hex by Jenni Fagan. The Scotsman said of these two books ‘This series has already produced two works of note and distinction. It raises the question – if a country cannot re-tell its history, will it be stuck forever in aspic and condemned to be nothing more than a shortbread tin illustration? Hex and Rizzio are showing the way towards a reckoning, and about time too.’ Rizzio was listed as a New York Times best historical novel of 2021, and called a ‘tour de force work of art’ by the Wall Street Journal, while the Times said ‘Mina’s vivid style and the fast-moving plot are a pleasure.’ Hex described as ‘wild and exciting’ by the Herald and was showered with praise by Irvine Welsh, Kamila Shamsie, Kirstin Innes and many more.

Hex and Rizzio are both available to purchase in paperback, and the hardback edition of Nothing Left to Fear from Hell is available to pre-order now.

  • Share:

Related