Cover image for Monument
Graham, Ian, 1971-
Personal Author:
Ace trade paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ace Books, 2004.

Physical Description:
373 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Orbit, 2002.
Format :


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A drunken vagrant, consumed by greed, steals an artifact of unimaginable power-and finds the fate of the world thrust onto his shoulders...

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this anticlassic quest tale, a young priest rescues a drunken, down-on-his-luck vagrant from a beating. The vagrant repays his Good Samaritan by stealing from him. But one of the items he steals provokes a frenzied manhunt that involves ever higher authorities, until at last the bum faces a final battle high in the mountains. The world Graham creates is original in detail, if not conception, and very well constructed, though grim. Plotting, pacing, and characterization are competently managed, too, though the book's vicious and hypocritical church leaders approach stereotypicality, and the story's continual squalor and viciousness makes one wonder whether they arise from Graham's wish to grind axes more than out of the characters and situation. Perhaps fantasy fans of the literary-realistic bent that Graham pursues will most appreciate his first novel. --Frieda Murray Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Eschewing the predictably chivalrous caricatures of much mainstream fantasy, British author Graham's fiercely energetic debut novel of dark destinies, treachery and tragic self-awareness focuses on morally corrupt characters in a bleak, amoral world of oppressive religious systems and explosive violence. Ballas, a drunk whose soul is as deformed as his busted face, repays a priest's act of kindness by stealing from his religious order a black iron disk with magical properties. Visited by the vision of a Lectivin, a member of the legendary "Pale Race," Ballas forcefully enlists the aid of Lugen Crask, a cowardly eel hunter, and his likable daughter, Heresh, to help locate the fabled "Land Beyond the Mountains," to which Ballas is drawn. Sentenced to death by church Wardens and pursued by a deadly Lectivin, Ballas is a nasty character study of degraded self-interest and anguish. A lack of sentimentality lends this intelligent story an authentic, subversive air of philosophical harshness. Minds and hearts are battered just as often as flesh, and the antihero commands the reader's reluctant respect for his steadfastness. While this existential epic probably won't please fans of C.S. Lewis or Tolkien, those seeking gritty realism in imaginative fiction will welcome it as a bitter feast. Agents, Howard Morhaim and Abner Stein. (Mar. 30) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Large, unkempt, and unemployed, Ballas runs afoul of a group of stonemasons. He thanks the young priest who rescues him by stealing the most valuable item he can find from his rescuer's house-a gem with magical powers. As Ballas becomes the object of a search by those who want the item for themselves, he is forced to flee, though his journey leads him closer to a past he would rather forget. In gritty, realistic prose, Graham pulls no punches as he depicts a fantasy world both brutal and unforgiving and lacking in heroes. Fans of noir fantasy should enjoy this grim but uplifting debut, first published in England; for large fantasy collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.