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  • Published: 3 August 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760898700
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $32.99

Empires




Empires rise and fall, human lives are lived, collisions occur more than we will ever know, and yet the unexpected can still happen.

Alaska, 2018, and Mike is a long way from home, nursing a wrecked knee and an unspoken grief, striking out into real estate and parenting his partner’s son. London, 1978, and Simon is an Australian fish out of water navigating adolescence during the Winter of Discontent, and drawn to an eccentric impresario next door. Washington, DC, 1928, and a retired US senator is interviewed about his time in Russia in 1916, and his mission to save a young heir to an empire. Vienna, 1809, and an Irish teenager on the run from the law takes refuge among composers as Napoleon besieges and shells the city. Hong Kong, 2019, and estranged brothers Mike and Simon reunite in midlife to face the secrets of the past, and reconnect in more ways than one.

Empires rise and fall, human lives play out, encounters, collisions and connections occur more than we can ever know – and yet, the unexpected can still happen.

Endlessly compelling and inventive, Empires is a masterful novel in five parts with boys and men at its heart. Spanning centuries and crossing continents, it explores the empires we build, the way we see ourselves, the narratives we construct and the interconnectedness of all things. This is Nick Earls at his finest.

  • Published: 3 August 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760898700
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Nick Earls

Nick Earls is the author of twenty-eight books, including the bestselling novels Zigzag Street, Bachelor Kisses and Perfect Skin, and the award-winning novella series Wisdom Tree. His work has been published internationally in English and in translation, and has won awards in the UK, Australia and the US. Five of his novels have been adapted into plays and two into feature films.

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Praise for Empires

With his latest novel, Nick Earls again proves his talent for compelling and convincing storytelling. A novel in five parts, Empires tracks backwards through history from 2018 to 1809 before returning to the present. It explores the tenuous but tenacious connections between the lives that people live and the objects they acquire throughout those lives. One of the pleasures of Empires is the subtle treasure hunt that Earls sets before his audience, seeding each section with certain recurring objects, elaborating on these objects’ own histories. The astute reader might identify all of these objects on first reading, but there is also pleasure for those who reread this book to trace these objects’ paths through the lives of Empire’s protagonists.

Adam Ford, Bookseller + Publisher

I hadn’t been convinced by all the talk of connection and coincidence, and I couldn’t help comparing Empires with Anthony Powell and the synchronicities of happenstance that flow through his work. But I had been standing too far back, because in their modest, almost school-boyish way, it turns out that Simon and Mike do indeed dance to the music of time.

Peter Kenneally, The Sydney Morning Herald

The pace of the novel may seem frenetic. Actually it is quite domestic and it is beautifully written. Surprisingly, readers will care for the characters, perhaps none more so than the delightfully drawn, generous and engaging London theatrical impresario, George. Nick Earls is particularly good at giving readers precise settings for his characters to operate in. No more so than his depiction of Vienna in the crisis of war and invasion. Readers may feel they are actually in the scene. Yet there is a point in the book when some may be inclined to sigh, yes it is thoroughly interesting and engaging, but what is the point? Keep reading, for the last pages reveal all that we need to know. I did not see coming what I would soon know. Other readers may bring greater insight to their reading. But readers will always know in this book there is something there to be explained. Empires certainly repays the effort.

Michael McKernan, Illawarra Mercury

Earls pulls off its interconnected storylines with a deft hand.

Frances Whiting, Q Weekend

The novel explores the themes of the passage of time, the past reaching forward into the future, and the relative impermanence and transience of human lives when compared with historical objects or indeed the story of history itself. The themes of families, connection, grief and loss, ambition and fervour are also examined. As the title suggests, empires are at the heart of this book – the smaller empires of families, the larger empires of countries and the all-encompassing empires of eras and epochs. By writing these five small samples of completely different lives and times, Earls has managed to create a much bigger picture of the interconnectedness of all things in the world. The reader is left with the impression that although there is nothing ever truly new in this life, it is nevertheless endlessly full of surprising coincidences.

Cass Moriarty

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