a novel

ISBN 978-0-9870103-5-3

Click on the image to read an excerpt from the final fight scene!

“South African Indie publishers P’kaboo can be very pleased to have secured the first edition rights to a first novel, Lupa, by the UK writer Marie Marshall, ahead of publishers in her own country. 

Marie Marshall has already established herself overseas as a writer of poetry and in other genres, but has only recently launched out as a novelist.

Lupa is a book which one hesitates to describe in any detail for fear of spoiling a unique experience for readers.  The realization of ‘what the book is about’ comes through in gradual and fascinating stages. Surprises abound, the first of which consists of a jump back in time from the life of a retired circus performer who fled from the conflict-torn Balkans and is now in Rome, to the life of a female gladiator in the days of the Roman Empire.  

The novel is exceptionally well crafted, and shows evidence of meticulous research on the periods and settings.  It is also most effectively presented on emotional as well as action levels. In fact, once started Lupa is difficult to put down.  Once it is finished, one finds oneself returning to it, whether by rereading or simply by dwelling on the issues raised both by the action and by interactions between the vividly-drawn characters.”

Lupa is available internationally in print and as an e-book via Amazon, and from Barnes & Noble. In the UK you can order it over the counter at Waterstones or from waterstones.com.


Reviews and comments

Lyz Russo from P’Kaboo says:
“Lupa is beyond intriguing. It’s the kind of powerful read you walk around with in your head for days after… very deep and thought-provoking.”

Nikki Mason from Bestchicklit.com says:
“It is no surprise to learn that Marshall was originally a poet. Her prose is full of passion and rhythm which carry you through the story. There is a dark atmosphere which runs throughout the novel, the feeling that something disturbing is just around the corner. Death and pain are written with such brutal honesty that at times it leaves you feeling raw and uncomfortable, but Lupa is the only balm you’ll find to heal it.”

From other readers and reviewers:
“… a beautifully written, fascinating story about one woman – or maybe two – living in Rome and plagued by demons of the past. Marie Marshall packs so much information and detail into expertly crafted sentences; it is a joy to read, and I think it will appeal to a wide age range and readership…”

“… an excellently written story about two women years apart… definitely not one to be missed… hoping to read more from Marie Marshall in the future… “

“… I am blown away in more ways than entertainment… there is visceral power in these pages, legendary and practical in a myth making way… anyone who reads Lupa will receive an injection of integrity…”

“… Lupa is the story of two fearless fighters, two She-Wolves, perhaps the avatars of the same wandering spirit, whose destinies become aligned through the mirror of time and dream. The set of the two plots, none other than the Eternal City, casts its many shadows and symbols on both stories… I came upon this book quite by accident, while perusing the poetry section of a blogging site. The author’s compelling poetry made me very curious about what her blog announced as her first novel and, indeed, I was not disappointed… Marie Marshall’s sharp writing has a wolfish brutality to it that masterfully shape-shifts to raw emotion in Lupa‘s fighting scenes… Unlike Hesse’s Harry Haller, the main characters not only accept but seek out the totemic wolf within…”

“… Unforgettable…”

“… This magnificent story of the young woman Jelena, a Serbian immigrant with post traumatic stress syndrome, who lives temporarily in Rome where she meets the mysterious Vittorio, will grab you from the moment you start reading. The story meanders from present to the days of the gladiators, and while we get to know Jelena better and what happened to her, we also learn about the harsh life of ancient Romans. This book is very well written, in a nice pace, and the end is amazing! It really was a very good read, from begin to end… “

“…  it was a book I read within twenty-four hours. The truth was, I just could not wait to get to the end. The novel is, I believe, the author’s first, and what a splendid read it is too. Well-written and balanced, she demonstrates that she has superior powers of imagination, and more than once established that she has the ability to take words and instil into them new meaning… a powerful new voice… Marie Marshall…”

“… Marie Marshall captures two historical periods with realistic detail. The Bosnian War is one that is often forgotten, but Jelena’s story ensures the raw emotion of war wounds goes down as something real and heartbreaking. In addition, Marshall’s portrayal of Ancient Rome is vivid with the sheer violence of the gladiator games. Both time periods display the darker side of humanity, while Jelena and Lupa exist to defy the odds. Lupa means “she-wolf,” which is a distinctive characteristic for both women. They share a connection that cannot be broken, for each lives within the other…”

“… Lupa is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year… Not many writers can successfully fuse two distinctive time periods into a seamless storyline, but Marshall pulls it off with both intelligence and finesse…”

“…Such an interesting book! Can’t wait to read more…”

“…The novel switches between two stories and two times, and you assume a link. But eventually the author starts to surprise you, seems to reveal something in one story that hasn’t happened yet in the other, and you think “Huh? Why did she do that?” And then the plot twists start to come thick and fast and you see why, and suddenly the book isn’t about what you thought it was. There’s a kind of humour or irony embedded here too, particularly in the opening chapter, in the light of what happens later. There’s a nod to the ‘sword and sandals’ genre and the fight sequences are very vivid, but it’s definitely NOT a genre novel. Somebody ought to get this on ‘Richard and Judy’!”

“… The two stories twine together increasingly tightly as the story progresses, Jelena believing more and more strongly that she is Lupa reborn. To say anything else about their true relationship would spoil it—everything comes together in a quiet and oddly moving ending. By then Lupa becomes (to circle around) just as much a musing on an individual’s personal relationship with history as it is a tale of an ass-kicking female gladiator and her modern-day counterpart. The writing is subdued, sparse, often mesmerizing. It’s a brisk read at only 130 pages, but I found myself thinking about it a long time after I read it. Let’s just say that there’s nary a wasted word here… Lupa is easily overlooked. But it shouldn’t be…”