King David sings his psalms. A world away, King Henry plots. And courtier Thomas Wyatt sees them both, his beloved falcon Lukkes on his arm.
David wants Bathsheba. Henry too must have what he wants. He wants Ann, a divorce, a son. He looks up at his tapestry of David and sees a mighty predecessor who defended his faith and took what he liked. But he leaves it to others to count the costs.
Among those counting is the poet Wyatt, who sees a different David, a man who repented before God, in song as in life. This is the version of the biblical king which Wyatt must give voice to as he translates David's psalms.
As David pursues Bathsheba, Henry courts Ann, and Wyatt interweaves the past and present.
Lux is a story of love and its reach, fidelity and faith, power and its abuses.
‘Almost two decades in the making, Lux is well worth the wait. Like its predecessor Achilles, it’s an ambitious and compelling novel, equally vivid in its conjuring of myth and history, particularly striking in its portrayal of religious belief under pressure, the nature of holiness and the sacred. It’s a remarkable book.’
Michael Symmons Roberts, author of Drysalter
View all reviews
‘Cook's quietly masterful prose builds a huge world, unsentimental, numinous and deeply moving. Longing, appetite, love, grief, regret and their consequences: Lux, Wyatt's falcon, is named for the luxury of courts and concupiscence but also the light of the desert, of song, of David's Yahweh. This novel is a joy to read.’
‘A well-told thinker of a read.’
‘Lux emerges as an unusual and accomplished page turner. It’s ambitious, incredibly detailed … the clarity and beauty of the prose is a joy. An overwhelming sense of destiny is palpable and defining.’
‘A vivid retelling … balanced very meticulously.’
Tom Sutcliffe, BBC Radio 4’s ‘Saturday Review’
‘[Cook’s] account of an Old Testament repentance is a full-throated one.’
Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail
‘In her second novel, Elizabeth Cook has followed her own passions … to good effect. Her command of language, and of her material, makes this an extremely satisfying read.’