This is a debut novel of rare and extraordinary talent. 'I was 12 years old when they blew up Paris...' A neutron bomb has ravaged Paris. All is intact except that every living thing within the radius of the Periferique has been turned to pink mud. Crack French forces and UN peace keepers are engaged in a pitched battle to wrest control of the city from the disenfranchised poor of Paris who were the first to return to the centre, and who are holed up on the Ile de la Cite. All but one bridge across the Seine has been destroyed. When a schoolboy prank to climb the Eiffel Tower is discovered by a Police patrol, Michael is in deep shit. But it is nothing compared with the ordeal that awaits him when the patrol is attacked leaving Michael the only survivor. Bruised and semi-conscious, he is taken to the Island.Left to fend for himself in an anarchic, violent society of looters and criminals, Michael has to grow up fast. His skill as a simulated war game player stands him in good stead as a fighter, but the one thing the sim games have failed to prepare him for is the reality of killing - this is no game.
He holds his own, but when ambushed by a murderous gang of street kids, he is forced into a desperate world of survival, where life is cheap and death is quick. Inexplicably, Michael's life is saved. The Bishop - crack shot, enforcer and guardian of Notre Dame, adopts Michael as his runner, and teaches him the politics of the Island, its tenuous power structure and how to survive. He learns also the reason that the French have not been able to take the Island. Deep in the crypt of Notre Dame, the greatest treasures of the Louvre are held hostage - among them, the most glittering prizes, the "Raft of the Medusa" and the "Mona Lisa". Time is running out for the Island. In desperation, the leader has decreed that a famous work of art will be burned on the bank of the Island in full view of the world's press if his demands are not met - he means business. Set amid the romance of the old city, in which power is held by a ragtag feudal band, dressed in the vestments of the cathedral, Michael's adventure is the stuff of legend. It is a coming of age story, of his transition for boy to man, but also of his quest to remain human in the face of consuming inhumanity and anarchy.
Orphaned, isolated by language and utterly alone, he must trust the Bishop, another loner. Together they battle to guard the most precious commodity on the island - art - the poetry of the human soul. Howard Hunt is an Australian journalist who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He has worked on the staff of "Rolling Stone" and "Sports Illustrated" magazines, and is the director of six award-winning short films. "The Bishop" is his first novel. "The Bishop" is an extraordinary novel. Extraordinary because it is Howard's first but also because it is simply unputdownable. Read the Prologue attached, and you will see why. It's humbling to read a work of such powerful and dramatic skill. "The Bishop" is also an extraordinary international publishing phenomenon. Random House will be the first to publish it in the world, and Australian readers will be the first to read it. It is a huge coup for us because even before we signed it up, and even as we speak, American publishers are competing for Howard and this novel - and will pay a huge amount of money for it ...and Howard is also negotiating with the film makers of "Independence Day"!
Please watch the trade press for further information regarding "The Bishop's" publication in the States and the publicity gained by Random House first publishing in Australia - this book has absolutely years and years of high sales mileage. Fathers Day will never be the same again! "The Bishop", with its tough and poignant rite of passage of a young boy into premature manhood will certainly hit the mark, but women alike will also recognise the human story of a young boy caught in the crossfire of violence.