The Monarch of the Glen
by Neil Gaiman (read by the author)
You can’t escape Neil Gaiman adaptations right now. A movie production of Sandman, his seminal if possibly unfilmable comic, sounds beset by problems, but his modern myth American Gods is due to arrive on television next year. Published in 2004, The Monarch of the Glen is part of the American Gods universe, transposed from America to Scotland. It stars Shadow Moon, a grieving, tough ex-con caught in a battle between Old Gods (personified by Shadow’s boss, Mr Wednesday, aka Odin) and New ones: (“personified” by newfangled, hi-tech inventions). Gaiman is one of the better narrators of his work – smooth, clear and blessed with an attractive voice. Undercutting this facility is an annoying tendency to overstress words, clauses and even syllables (mo-menT), as if too pleased with the grandeur of his prose. It’s short, too, a pleasant way station for American Gods 2.