The Moon King

TMKfinalfrontIn an island city dominated by the influence of the moon and ruled by a benevolent king, nothing has changed for centuries. But now something is disturbing the long-established patterns of life in Glassholm. Luck monkeys, forgotten technology and mysterious, whispering children abound, and a rebel engineer is called upon to fix an ancient machine, a retired policeman feels duty-bound to investigate a series of brutal murders and an outsider artist is drawn into the social unrest now bubbling at the heart of the city under the moon.

The Moon King is published by Newcon Press in ebook, paperback and special edition hardback (signed copy, with a bonus short story) versions .

Available from NewCon PressAmazon, Book Depository, Waterstones and all good book stores.

BSFA award and British Fantasy award finalist in 2015


“A truly unique fantasy, The Moon King is a mysterious, luminous read, full of intriguing characters and featuring a twisty, page-turning plot. Beautifully written and thoughtful. Sure to be one of the best debuts of this or any other year.”   World Fantasy Award winning author, Jeff Vandermeer

“Part dream, part nightmare, part memory, Neil Williamson’s Glassholm is a city that hovers on the brink of violent change. Through the intertwined stories of a cop fleeing his dark past, a young artist in rebellion against the social order, and an engineer who would most certainly not be king, Williamson has woven a story that teems with ideas and imaginative power. There is beauty in it, and strangeness, and page-turning adventure. The marvellous conceit at The Moon King’s core also conveys a powerful message about man’s relationship with nature and with his environment. The commitment shown to the characters by their creator is intense, and palpable. An intricately constructed, heartfelt novel that does its author proud.”    Nina Allan, author of The Silver Wind

“A vivid evocation of a strange moon-ridden bipolar world that swings each month from delirium to despair, and the sort of book that creeps into your dreams.”   Chris Beckett, author of 2013 Arthur C Clarke Award winning novel Dark Eden.

It must be tough to write an effective fabulation like this as there are so few good ones (The Barron in the Trees by Calvino, The Four Wise Men by Tournier, The Woman in the Dunes by Abe), but Williamson manages to pull off the feat. The dangers of forcing the fiction into the stiffness of allegory or letting the fantastic run messily wild are ever present. The Moon King deftly skates the enchanting boundary between those two possibilities with its fully realized characters and the town of Glassholm, which is both our world and not at the same time. With its themes of art, politics and change, presided over and influenced by the waxing and waning of the moon, the reader is drawn into an engrossing mystery that reveals some dark truths about the ultimate nature of everyone’s perceived “fantasy” kingdoms. Beautifully written. I hope more people become aware of this book and give it a look.”   World Fantasy and Nebula Award winning author, Jeffrey Ford.


The Moon King embeds biting sociocultural observation in a narrative that fizzes with inventive energy, provocative wit and consummate artistry. Often dazzling but always imaginative, intensely serious yet enormously entertaining, it is a sparkling debut novel.”  Andrew Hedgecock, Interzone.

The Moon King belongs in the tradition of Mervyn Peake…an elegant, eloquent inquiry into the relationship between humankind and nature”  The Financial Times

The Moon King is literary fantasy at its best.” The Guardian

“Massively impressed.” “What sets this book apart from more tentative first novels is how seamlessly Williamson blends historic and genre elements into a setting that seems to skirt the more exotic bounds of Empire, leap to the borders of reality itself, and then go further.” Faren Miller, Locus 10/14

The Moon King is an engrossing tale, with well-sustained mystery, charm and a tangible sense of impending danger. In a word, magic.” **** The List.

The Moon King [places] in the top tier of fantasy debuts this year and makes Neil Williamson an author worth watching in the future.”  Strange Horizons

“It’s a real delight to find a full-length debut novel where character’s pop, the situations glisten with sheer wonder and you realise you were meant to have put the book down and gone to bed a good hour or more ago.” Vector

“This is stylish, quirky fantasy at its very best. Beautifully written, full of fabulous imagery and strikingly original.” Keith Brooke

The Moon King looks rather different from much of Williamson’s short fiction, but it has the same dextrous approach to the fantastic. […] There’s a vein of strangeness running through this novel that adds an extra dimension to an already intriguing story.”  David Hebblethwaite, Follow The Thread blog

“This is a very accomplished debut that deserves a wide readership. … Highly recommended” Bristol Book Blog

“One foot in literary fantasy, the other in pulp adventure…An exciting debut novel.” Amazing Stories

The Moon King has you hooked from the start…Once you are drawn into the world Williamson has created you really want to find out what makes it tickEdinburgh Book Review

The Moon King is a masterful work of science fiction…When I finished the last word of the last sentence I had to catch my breath.”   Mass Movement Magazine

The Moon King is the best first fantasy novel I have read and the setting is very unique, so if you are looking for an original fantasy with good writing, then this book is for you!”  Bull Spec Magazine

The Moon King is a deeply impressive work from a talented writer.” SF Crowsnest

“[The Moon King] is tinged with subtle touches of Scottishness and is a curious beast, a blend of Science Fiction and Fantasy – with equal facility in both aspects.” Jack Deighton

“All in all this a well thought piece of fiction, with a fresh perspective on the genre. If you are looking for a new challenge then this could be the book for you.”  Shores Of Night

“An impressive debut” Fantasy Literature