Published 1992. Canongate Books
Fallen Angels is twenty-two short stories about the lives of the street children of South America. We see it from the viewpoint of the children themselves and what it is like to prefer life on the street to the miseries of violence, abuse and poverty in the home. We meet Angel and his sister and many others who, at one and the same time, are streetwise beyond their years and children bereft of love and security. And we meet the adults who impinge upon their world, like the brutal overseer of the sweat shop where pop-up picture books of fairy tales are assembled under appalling conditions; Busca the legless puppeteer with his clandestine and satirical street shows; the poor little rich student, Carmen Helena, out to impress with her thesis on urban deprivation. Exploited by the police, by drug pushers and makers of ‘snuff movies’ and the dealers in human spare parts, tidied away when they might be a political embarrassment, these children have learnt to survive, like the stray dogs on the garbage dump, by the law of the pack.
“This is an extremely interesting collection of horrifying stories about Los Gamines, the destitute and homeless children who roam and sleep in the streets of a great South American city ... The stories in ‘Fallen Angels’ are terse and economical and well-written. A lot of would-be short story writers could study them to their advantage.” (Scottish Book Collector).
“His commitment and empathy shows.... The stories are well-paced, well-patterned, too: cutting from child view to adult, from character to character, yet interweaving a black tapestry…. until the final point comes home that the frontier is never somewhere else. This is us.” (Scottish Books).
“If you want to know what poverty and injustice are really like only fiction can give you the truth,” says Robin Lloyd-Jones. In Fallen Angels he proves this with unsurpassed mastery.... A compassionate, deeply moving rendition of some disturbing tales based upon reality.” (Resurgence Magazine).
“Robin Lloyd-Jones writes with grim authenticity …. It is compelling reading.” (The Northern Times)
Published 1985. Hutchinson
The setting is Ophir, a remote gold-mining town on the North West coast of Alaska, where it is ‘night all night in the daytime’ and logic hangs by its heels. Here, where men made and parted with money faster than any place on earth, Artemis Dodd (under the assumed name of Wall), actor, conman and gambler, has come to seek his fortune. Patent medicines are his specialty and Lady Luck his dream. He falls in love with Lamentations, daughter of the puritanical and religiously fanatical captain of the steamship which brings the stampeders to Ophir. But the captain, like Wall, has dark secrets. In this claustrophobic town, cut off from the norms of society, a town that is a refuge for eccentrics, the desperate and the last-chancers, anything can happen, and events take strange twists and turns.
“Fantastic, funny inventive, a tonic to read.” (Guardian)
“Robin Lloyd-Jones has written an excellent successor to his prize-winning novel.” (Evening Times)
LORD OF THE DANCE
Published 1982. Gollancz hardback, Arena paperback
Winner of BBC Bookshelf Best First Novel Award
Two Englishmen are travelling the dusty roads of sixteenth-century India. Thomas Coryat, a physician and a man of science, who has come to India partly to escape the horror’s of his wife’s leprosy and partly to find a cure for it in the famed medical library at Agra; and Brother Peter, known as Frog, who, unable to practise his religion in Elizabeth’s Protestant England, has come to convert the heathen to the True Faith.
India is in turmoil for there are uprisings within Akbar’s Mogul Empire. Thomas and Frog are caught up in the army’s trail, together with a troupe of dancers, amongst whom is Bamian, a wickedly endearing dwarf. Thomas compounds the guilt he feels by falling in love with the beautiful dancer, Mohini, while Frog preaches to a band of wild, thieving children. The friendship between the doubting Thomas and the zealous Frog, who yearns for martyrdom, is full of strife, but not quite as bizarre as the friendship which Bamian strikes up with Dadu, a gigantic Muslim soldier who has long conversations with his tapeworm, Ali. There is danger not only on the battlefield, but also amidst the splendours of the Akbar’s court, where capricious Moguls will take a man’s life on a whim and where Thomas finds himself in a game of chess in which the pieces are human and those who are captured are thrown over a cliff. Trapped within the besieged city of Chambal, the irresistible truth, that he too has leprosy, pounds on the walls of Thomas’s mind as he finally faces his destiny.
“A marvellously readable, richly coloured adventure … written with style, character and deft touches of philosophy, humour and irony.” (Sunday Express).
“Once every four or five years there comes along a novel which is just not well written, worthy or entertaining, but one which bears the stamp of greatness … Lord of the Dance is going to become a modern classic.” (Telegraph & Argus).
“Astonishing imaginative brilliance.” (The Times).
“The setting of the novel in the 16th century Mogul Empire of northern India is realised with a brilliance of imagination which is sustained throughout… This book is not just a winner, it is a significant literary discovery.” (The Glasgow Herald).
“Lord of the Dance is funny, tragic, tender and bloody. One is moved to laugh and cry at almost every turn of the vividly embellished plot… Although set in the 16th century, a great deal of it is valid today.” (Evening Times).