Peter M Howard ::

The Unseen City

11Feb2012 [writing]

The Unseen City

The Story

In early 2011, finding myself drifting and in need of a break from the always-on always-chattering world, I took some time off work and rented an apartment in Paris. I wasn’t sure what I would do there, intending to immerse myself in the city and to find something new in its rhythms. The story the city revealed to me was startling, unbelievable, but inescapable.

It’s been a long ride, but today I completed Raphaël’s story, The Unseen City. It was written over 2011; the bulk of it, as hinted in its Introduction, completed while in Paris at the start of the year. But finishing it took much longer, with the first draft’s final words put to paper on New Years Eve in a last gasp effort to complete it within the year.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve given it a re-read, found myself pulled in and discovering the story all over again, proofed it, and rewritten and capped off its ending. So now it’s ready to find a publisher, to send it out into the world.

The Unseen City tells the story of a man who’s two centuries old, but who looks to be in his late twenties. It tells the story of his growing up in Paris two centuries ago, after the Revolution and under Napoleon; it tells of his medical and alchemical studies with his mentor, Saul, of fleeing the city after his mentor is killed, and of becoming immortal. Interwoven with and played against that is the story of his return to Paris in the present day. Raphaël returns to defend the quarter of Cœur-Denis, on the fringes of the city, under threat from unknown interests.

It’s a little difficult to place the genre of the novel, with a whole variety of influences. There’s the element of fantasy, obviously, but it’s also a pacey adventure, and/or a literary exploration of the nature and growth of cities.


The novel is now ready to be sent to publishers, but now the big question is, Who do I send it to? The genre confusion isn’t helping, in that it’s not necessarily an obvious fit for one particular publisher, but at the same time it leaves it open to see how different publishers could position it.

So I’m opening up for ideas, and assistance. I can cold contact places on my own, but if anyone knows people at publishers that might be able to take a look, or point me in the right direction, please share! Copies of the novel will happily be distributed to anyone that can help!

Extracts from an Interview with Raphaël Turenne

Does it get lonely?

“And no, it’s not lonely, because wherever I go there are people — mere mortals — striving to make their little part of the world a better place. Those are the people worth knowing, the ones I call family. And if they can make a change, with what little life they have to give, imagine how much more would be expected of me.”

Would you share your immortality?

“It’s a burden I took upon myself. It’s not something that came easily, certainly not something I would wish another to go through. And more than that, I’ve seen what it does to people, the offer of immortality, the lust for power, the manipulation of mortals.

“I would prefer to do what I can to ease the journey for people as they pass through this world. We do not belong here, we’re only travellers, far from home.”

« 11September-5November2011 :: These (Riding) Weeks :: On Writing, When I’m Not »

Related [writing]