Marcus, who has died at the age of fifty-four, had, in his twenty year writing career, written more than 40 books for children and adults and in the process thrilled hundreds of thousands of readers young and old. (link) His work was shortlisted for more than 30 awards, including five nominations for the 'Carnegie Medal', two for the 'Edgar Allan Poe Award' and four for the 'Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize'. He also won the 'Branford Boase Award' for his debut novel, 'Floodland' and the 'Booktrust Teenage Prize' for 'My Swordhand Is Singing'. (link)
is no longer an island. The sense of place obviously imprinted itself on the young Marcus and he recalled : "My very first memory is that I was being wheeled in my push-chair by my nanny through the church yard in the village where I grew up, a 12th century church yard in Kent. I remember the conkers falling because it was that time of year and the gravestones and the sunlight, even though it was cold and I don’t know why but that memory always holds a fascination with me". Later, in his books there would be a lot of what Marcus called : 'Running around in graveyards'.
His father was fifty-two when he was born and had himself been born into a poor Lancashire family in 1916 and had effectively grown up an orphan, as his mother was an alcoholic. A Quaker by religion and entirely self-educated, he became a conscientious objector in the Second World War and worked on farms, possibly in Kent, during the War. Then, in the 1950s, the warden of the Friend's Meeting House in Brighton, where he would invite famous thinkers of the time to come and speak. In their rural isolation, Marcus and his brother Julian relied on their imaginations and each other, to entertain themselves – inspired by their father’s love and promotion of cinema, theatre and storytelling.
In 1984, when he was sixteen, his brother Julian, left home and took himself off the University of Cambridge University as an undergarduate reading Oriental Studies and Philosophy and would go on to work as a bookseller, painter, therapist and researcher for film and TV. His first book for children ‘Mysterium : The Black Dragon’ would be published in 2013 and win the 'Rotherham Children’s Book Award'. Marcus recalled that 1984 was also the year that he wrote his first story and said : "Every boy had to in the fifth form, that’s to say tenth grade, roughly. Mine was called 'Aaron’s Journey' and was sub-Moorcock, because that’s who I was mostly reading at the time". Michael Moorcroft was best-known for science fiction and fantasy,
during the Second World War, 'Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black'. He said : "It has a number of themes: the Orpheus legend of Ancient Greece; the dangers of futuristic, dehumanized, mechanized warfare; and the strained love between two brothers, one of whom has refused to fight in the Second World War". (link) It was to be his penultimate book and was followed by his last, 'Wrath', published this year. Cassie Cotton who could hear a noise that most people don't either notice or recognise and she believed was a sound that showed the Earth was in distress, damaged by human activity that was causing climate change. When her belief led to her being ridiculed and bullied at school, she disappeared. Her friend Fitz was determined to find her, but he had no idea where to start looking, or if he'd be in time to help her.