‘A tour-de-force of imagination and literary craft from a young author whose star is rising. The setting is ancient, yet its conflicts, fears – and its hopes – are our own.‘
– Augury (Publisher)
[ About the Book ]
The people of an ancient city awaken one night to find the earth beneath them trembling. But only the Augur, a fearless prophetess who was once the power behind the throne, sees the fate that awaits them.
As the skies darken and portents threaten, a handful of people are drawn to do the Augur’s bidding. Fierce Saba and pale-haired Aemilia, her young acolytes, stolen from their homes long ago. Myloxenes, gentle son of the savage High Priest; and crippled Antonus, the man who should have been Emperor. In the city’s last days, each will be tested.
Their dearest hopes may not survive the fire that is to come.
[ My Review ]
‘Can those who see the future also change it?’
Augury by S.E. Lister is published by Old Street Publishing. It is currently available in digital format, with paperback publication expected September 7th. Augury has been described as ‘literary fiction with strong female protagonists driving a plot with powerful contemporary relevance’ and is a book that is recommended for fans of Neil Gaiman, Natasha Pulley and Claire Evans.
Augury is a book that I would not normally gravitate toward but I decided to try something a little different and with S.E. Lister’s writing described as ‘literary fiction with a magical twist‘ I was intrigued.
I was not familiar with the term ‘Augury’ so a little research had to be done and here is what I discovered….
‘Prophetic divining of the future by observation of natural phenomena—particularly the behaviour of birds and animals and the examination of their entrails and other parts, but also by scrutiny of man-made objects and situations. The term derives from the official Roman augurs, whose constitutional function was not to foretell the future but to discover whether or not the gods approved of a proposed course of action, especially political or military‘
Source – Britannica
Augury is set in ancient times, very strongly conjuring up images from a period in history when societies believed in many gods and were heavily influenced by prophetic messages and multiple signs.
In an ancient city there lives an old priestess, an Augur, who has watched over the city for many years. But she has enemies. She used to have the ear of the Emperor but he is now more affected by the words of the High Priest, a menacing individual who sees the Augur as dangerous and a bad influence. When the earth literally moves, the Augur foresees danger for the people of the city but her words are now only listened to by a few. Far from the Palace walls lives a man, Antonus, who once knew a different life. Born inside the Palace, tragedy redirected his path and he now resides outside the walls away from the feasting, the gluttony and the depravity of the royal lifestyle. Antonus feels the earth tremors, he believes that trouble is nigh and when a court official publicly recalls a devastating prophesy, Antonus knows that his world is about to be upended.
Meanwhile the Augur and her young priestesses work together to raise awareness of what lies ahead but the backlash is fierce. The city lives an excessive lifestyle and there are those who have no wish to change their ways. This is a society that has a lavish and excessive hedonistic way of life. There are very few who wish to give up the feasting, and treat both the Augur, and Antonus, with disrespect and malevolence.
Augury, although set in ancient times, carries many themes that are still relevant today. Humanity’s greed, and ability to be blindsided by corruption and money, is always a struggle to overcome. The signs are there, whether through nature or otherwise and it is how we choose to interpret them determines our behaviour. The High Priest believed that a few gold coins and a sacrifice was all that was needed but as the city began it’s descent into chaos, life was to change forever……
I must admit I did struggle a little with the initial chapters of Augury. The language used and some of the descriptions were new to me but as I read on I began to have a better understanding of what this mystical read was about.
Augury is unlike any book I have ever read before. It is quite prophetic in it’s message and, although set in ancient times, the sense of doom is palpable today. It is a fascinating and intriguing read with quite frightening consequences of what happens when the signs are ignored. Augury itself may be an ancient practice but perhaps we, as a society today, could learn something from these old ways and pay more heed to what nature is telling us. The underlying message is very strong in this book, this contemporary work of fiction.
Augury is a provocative and, at times, challenging read. It is an incredibly imaginative and well-researched work of fiction, a book that will most definitely earn many rave reviews for this young and extremely talented author.
[ Bio ]
S. E. Lister grew up in Gloucestershire, and studied Creative Writing at Warwick University. She has been reading stories since she was old enough to pick up a book,, and writing them almost as long.
She is the author of Hideous Creatures (2014) and The Immortals (2015), published by Old Street.
Augury, also published by Old Street, is her latest novel.
Her work is literary fiction with a magical twist.
Twitter ~ @SEListerAuthor