'My name is Raphael Ignatius Phoenix and I am a hundred years old - or will be in ten days' time, in the early hours of January 1st, 2000, when I kill myself...' Raphael Ignatius Phoenix has had enough. Born at the beginning of the 20th century, he is determined to take his own life as the old millennium ends and the new one begins. But before he ends it all, he wants to get his affairs in order and put the record straight. That includes making sense of his own long life - a life that spanned the century. He decides to write it all down and, eschewing the more usual method of pen and paper, begins to record his story on the walls of the isolated castle that is his final home. Beginning with a fateful first adventure with Emily, the childhood friend who would become his constant companion, Raphael remembers the multitude of experiences, the myriad encounters and, of course, the ten murders he committed along the way...And so begins one man's wholly unorthodox account of the twentieth century - or certainly his own riotous, often outrageous, somewhat unreliable and undoubtedly singular interpretation of it.
"More than lives up to its promise...It's the first novel Sussman ever wrote, yet the things that made him such a distinctive writer - his boundless imagination, his love of the bizarre, his ability to keep a complex plot bowling along - are already firmly in place. The book is as darkly funny as it is original." JOHN PRESTON, Mail on Sunday "Chaotic, surreal, tricksy and so alive... Sussman's first written and last published novel has shades of Vonnegut, Donleavy and Golding's Pincher Martin. Loved it" JONATHAN GRIMWOOD, author of The Last Banquet
Journalist and novelist Paul Sussman read history at Cambridge, where he was also a Boxing Blue. From an early age his abiding passion was archaeology and he worked in the field, in particular in Egypt where he was part of the first team to excavate new ground in the Valley of the Kings since the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922. He brought this interest to his bestselling novels - The Lost Army of Cambyses, The Last Secret of the Temple, The Hidden Oasis and The Labyrinth of Osiris - which have been translated into over 30 languages and sold over three million copies. His journalism appeared across the media, including in the Big Issue, Independent, Guardian and on CNN.com. Paul died suddenly in May 2012. He was just 45. He is survived by his wife, a television producer, and their two sons.