Format Hardcover
Publication Date 05/02/23
ISBN 9781639364398
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 272

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A Novel

Melvin Burgess

With the trickster, Loki, as your guide, journey to the ancient forests of Scandinavia and bear witness to the legends of Norse mythology.

Starting with the Norse creation myths, the trickster god Loki takes the reader on a wild ride through Norse mythology, from the era when the gods—the founders of Asgard—defeated a race of monsters, and then hurtles through legendary stories, including Odin hanging himself on the World Tree, the theft of the corrupting gold ring, and the murder of Baldr, the god of love and the sun.

Born within the heart of a fire in the hollow of a tree-trunk, Loki arrives in Asgard as an outsider. He is a trickster, an unreliable narrator, the god of intelligence and politics. In spite of his cleverness and sparkling wit (or, perhaps, because of this), Loki struggles to find his place among the old patriarchal gods of supernatural power and is constantly at odds with the god of thunder—Thor.

Alongside the politics of Asgard, the novel charts the course of Loki's many loves and families, from his mothering of Odin's famous horse to his intense, turbulent, and, eventually fatal relationship with Baldr the Beautiful—a tender and moving story of a love that goes wrong.

This is a retelling that is contemporary in tone, at once amusing and relatable. It is a heartfelt plea to overthrow the old gods of power and authority and instigate a new era ruled by love and intelligence.

Melvin Burgess’s first novel, The Cry of the Wolf, was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, which he then won for his cult novel Smack, along with the Guardian's Children's Fiction Prize. He won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature for Doing It.  Melvin lives in Britain.

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Endorsements & Reviews

"Longstanding children’s author Burgess returns with Loki, his first adult novel. Readers are given a fresh look at Norse mythology through Loki’s eyes, starting with the stories chronicling the world’s creation. The novel functions almost as an autobiography, as readers are taken through Loki’s struggles finding belonging and relationships—both familial and romantic—that don’t always end well for him. Burgess paints Asgard with rich imagery, and the contemporary writing style is easily accessible. Though Loki is at best an unreliable narrator, the overarching message here is to challenge the old ways and initiate new ways of the world. He has unexpectedly become a sympathetic character who is relatable for readers, mortals they may be. The ending is unexpected as well. Burgess' spin on Norse mythology will delight fans of different genres." Booklist
"Burgess frames his gleeful adult debut as Loki, Norse god of mischief, attempting to set his story straight. With a reputation and history to rewrite, the wily, defiant, and prideful Loki chronicles his many contributions to Asgard, home of the gods. Burgess's Loki turns classic Norse legend on its head and doles out heavy doses of sarcasm and contempt at not getting enough recognition for all he has done for Asgard. This will be a treat for any fan of remixed mythology." Publishers Weekly
“Burgess is capable of chapters that brim with numinous light…infusing the gods with humanity.” The Guardian (UK)
"Compelling and funny – truly hilarious – at times. His Loki doesn’t feel like a powerful god, but rather like a flawed being trying to make the most out of the situations and life he has in front of him. Burgess leans into the queer elements present in the traditional stories and expands on them, makes them a focus of his retelling. Loki charms his way into readers’ hearts again and again, whether they want him to or not." Grimdark Magazine
“Burgess recounts Loki’s genius with great gusto, pulling together many tales into one beautifully lyrical masterwork.” SFX (UK)
Praise for Melvin Burgess:
"Grim and cautionary novel." New York Times Book Review
“The book is powerful and calculated, intent on affecting readers and shattering pat illusions. Brutally honest.” Library Journal, starred
"This is one novel that will leave an indelible impression on all who read it." Kirkus Reviews, starred