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John Trevillian

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The A-Men Return
by John Trevillian   

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Books by John Trevillian
· The A-Men
· Forever A-Men
                >> View all


Science Fiction

Publisher:  Matador ISBN-10:  1848766198 Type: 


Copyright:  29 March 2011 ISBN-13:  9781848766198

Stunning sequel to The A-Men.

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Four years have passed since the destruction of the Phoenix Tower and with it the infamous A-Men. The once-great Dead City is now a no-go zone; abandoned and forgotten. Living in this nightmarish underworld Jack is a twisted shadow of his former self, a lone survivor in a world of warring ganglords and their crazed disciples.


Yet something is stirring in the sanctuary of the near-space starstations; a realisation that Heaven’s governing sentience is dying and the one thing that can save civilisation fell to earth a long, long time ago.


From unrelentingly visceral to outrageously comic, this is a harsh and poetic twenty-second century noir fable. Yet beneath the hardboiled action is a philosophical journey of one man’s rebirth in a harsh and unforgiving world.


It’s The A-Men. Only harder, faster: darker.


What they’re saying about The A-Men


“Wow… just wow!”


“Fantastic, dark... it grips and doesn’t let go. I’ve never read anything like this. A unique sci fi talent”


“Achieves what Gibson can only hint at. Complex, fascinating characters, excellent plot, tense action sequences... all set in a thoroughly credible dystopian wonderland”





Years of battling alone on the streets of Dead City have transformed Jack into a monster, his only dream that of escaping the hellish underworld he inhabits. A dream that may just come true when a showdown with some old enemies reveals a one-way ticket out of the desolate metropolis forever.

Having buried both her past and her feelings, Esther Alesha Rose now hides behind the high stone walls of the God-U-Like’s bayside convent. Beneath its electric blue neon cross, she has created a new set of gods to worship, unsuspecting that soon her fragile candlelit world is set to be torn asunder.

Abandoned by her beloved Jack, Susannah Jacqueline Saint-Clare has flown to the ArcAfrican continent for a fresh start and a new career; as assassin for hire. Unfortunately her activities have provoked the native Wolves of Owando clan, and also brought herself to the attention of those who can offer her a chance for her long-awaited revenge.

Since the death of his partner Benjamin Goode, the corporate genetic halfbreed Elliott (codename: Anima-626a) has found a home of sorts; waiting tables at the HQ of the Gonks ’R’ Us streetgang. No longer just a VTV-obsessed pup, Dingo is about to find out that he’s far from over needing the teachings of his hero, Phantom the Wonder Dog.

In the wake of the death of Thomas Bryce Lloyd, Nathaniel Raymond Glass has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the ice-bound reaches of the Kasikianu Imperial Detention Unit. Still searching for signs of the near-space infestation, he poses as the twilight gutterjock host of Radio God. With this fragile window to the outside world he yet hopes to resurrect the X-Isle project, increasingly aware that to save his creation he will have to reform The A-Men for one last mission. Because the virus remains deep in the XEs sentience’s core, and soon it will mature…

Professional Reviews

Future Fire
FutureFire review

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Trevillian, A-Men / A-Men Return (2010-11)
John Trevillian, The A-Men. Matador, 2010. Pp. 410. ISBN 978-1848763432. £18.99 / $24.95
and The A-Men Return. Matador, 2011. Pp. 400. ISBN 978-1848766198. £18.99 / $24.95.
Reviewed by Paul Wilks

The A-Men and The A-Men Return are the first two parts of an anti-utopian trilogy, written by John Trevillian and published by Matador. The final part of the trilogy, Forever A-Men, is not yet released. The first two parts of this stunning, visceral dystopia concern a hellish world set in a dark future where the mega-corporations have all but vacated a devastated Earth for neighbouring moons. The narrative is divided into numerous character perspectives and the reader is led through the alternating streams-of-consciousness of the principal A-Men members.

‘The A-Men’ are essentially one of many gangs within the troubled Dead City, who randomly come together under the leadership of amnesiac Jack, also known as The Nowhereman. While it could be argued that the novel is wrapped around the actions of Jack, we also glimpse the world-views of: ‘Sister Midnight’, a tough-yet-kind religious zealot; ‘Pure’, a beautiful street-smart junkie who becomes obsessed with Jack; ‘D’Alessandro’, a slightly unhinged scientist inventor; 23rdxenturyboy, a young comic-obsessed urchin and ‘Dingo The Wonder dog’ his genetically spliced dogman. The author cleverly blends these individual perspectives, and the chapters give a vibrant, continuative narrative to follow. The danger of this kind of text, similar for example in the way David Mitchell writes Cloud Atlas, is the possibility of overlap, where a character’s language spills over into other stories. This thankfully doesn’t happen in the A-Men novels, instead the stories are intelligently crafted apart.

As mentioned, the central focus of both books is Jack. The novels essentially tell of Jack’s induced amnesia and his journey to unravel the whys, the whos, the wherefores of his existence. His sections of the book dominate, which proves challenging at times because there is very little to like about the man. Jack comes across as an angry narcissistic hedonist who shows little or no compassion to his fellow characters, except for those he wants to have sex with. His behaviour is continually without any kind of moral code, and it strikes this reader as remarkable that his fellow A-Men feel inclined to do anything for him. This threatens the text at times, as it is difficult to understand where character motivations come from and the narratives struggle at times to justify character behaviours. However, the story is told at such a pace, this doesn’t detract enough to derail the novels.

Most startling about the novel is the sheer volume of swearing. I am in no way offended by bad language, and the inventive use of four-letter-words would probably impress the likes of Richard Curtis. This said, the overt use of certain word, in certain contexts, makes Jack especially appear highly misogynistic and perpetually angry towards the women in the novel. The language entwines the accounts of violence and sex throughout the books to the point where they occasionally blur. Sometimes this really works, sometimes it doesn’t. Lines like “Pull out my D&K (gun). Feels good in my hand. Feels like a dick when it’s hard. My metal cock. Ready for fucking” sound more like a line from an immature pubescent rap artist than a literary protagonist. Fortunately, this only occurs occasionally as Trevillian writes to a very high standard. The linguistics employed in the novel are innovative, refreshing and funny, the humour snakes through the book and I laughed out loud a number of times. The vocabulary is delicious throughout, and during the times where the novel slows, this keeps the narrative alive. There is a distinct William Gibson feel to the language. While in my opinion the story itself isn’t quite as good as, say, Neuromancer, the language is superior. At around 400 hundred pages each, there is a thoroughly entertaining story running throughout The A-Men and The A-Men Return, but there were times I felt it was diluted by the volume of the books. I must stress however that, even if the books have been padded, they remain incredibly entertaining.

Besides Jack, the characters themselves sometimes lack development and, as I have mentioned, a reader might sometimes wonder what their motivations are. Survival would be one, perhaps that the other options available to them render Jack the most viable, but it becomes difficult to distinguish for the reader. There are some quite elaborate yet indulgent passages that add little to the story. At great risk, Jack emancipates Sister Midnight from a religious commune and has sex with her, only to dump her completely, in addition to the other A-Men, when the pneumatic Pure comes along a few pages later. The A-men as a gang seem to impress quite a reputation upon other gangs within Dead City, and I couldn’t quite fathom how this reputation was manifest. There is kind of legendary reverence about them, and I would argue it isn’t really justified. Jack and Sister Midnight are the principal fighting antagonists for the A-Men and seem to have earned the group’s reputation more though luck than endeavour. This does not impinge upon the story one jot, but for a while I found this to be a curious assumption on behalf of the other gangs that served the A-Men well.

There is great depth in both novels; themes include family, religion, identity, fairy tales, sex, drugs, computer games and virtual reality. I would suggest that Jack’s misogyny sometimes becomes a little overbearing upon the narrative, and the continual referral to Sister Midnight as ‘black’ is a peculiar and disconcerting. This is unlike most dystopias I have read and there is little focus on the collapsing society, rather it concerns itself more with the journey of the protagonist Jack. If Jack was a little more likeable, for me the books would be even more engaging. But, as a reader might struggle to endear themselves to Jack’s narcissism, they must rely on the soaring language used in the novel for pure engagement. The language is utterly uncompromising and, while it occasionally slips horribly, Trevillian’s use of words is both fantastic and mesmerising in equal measure. I eagerly look forward to the conclusion of the trilogy.

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Posted by Djibril at 17:42
Labels: books, review, science fiction

Literary R & R
Literary R&R

Literary R&R

"A good novel tells us the truth about its hero, but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author." - G. K. Chesterton
Friday, November 25, 2011
Mandy Reviews: The A-Men Return by John Trevillian
ISBN #: 978-1848766-198
Page Count: 425
Copyright: 2011
Publisher: Matador Publishing

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Four years have passed since the destruction of the Phoenix Tower and with it the infamous A-Men. The once-great Dead City is now a no-go zone; abandoned and forgotten. Living in this nightmarish underworld Jack is a twisted shadow of his former self, a lone survivor in a world of warring ganglords and their crazed disciples.

Yet something is stirring in the sanctuary of the near-space starstations; a realisation that Heaven's governing sentience is dying and the one thing that can save civilisation fell to earth a long, long time ago.

From unrelentingly visceral to outrageously comic, this is a harsh and poetic twenty-second century noir fable. Yet beneath the hardboiled action is a philosophical journey of one man's rebirth in a harsh and unforgiving world.

It's The A-Men. Only harder, faster: darker.

*Side Note: This is the second book in the series. To read my review of the first book, The A-Men, please click here.*

Mandy's Review:


I love that this cover features Sister Midnight, one of the main characters in this novel, instead of Jack again (another main character).


We return to the world of a mad scientist, a group of misfits and an unrealistic world, based on a fairy tale, that is slowly dying. It is a futuristic world we enter in which sex, murder and territorial wars run rampant.

The scientist, now on death row, gather the A-Men back together for one last mission. Can they come together again one last time? Or, are the hard feelings they parted with going to hinder them from joining and, ultimately, result in the scientist's death?

Main Characters

Jack - aka The Nowhereman - The main leader of the A-Men. In this novel, Jack finally gets his memory back. He's still a kick-ass, shoot-first-ask-questions-later type which simultaneously gets him in and out of trouble ... depending upon the circumstances.

Susan - aka Pure - She's out for revenge against Jack for how easily he dismissed her the previous summer. She still loves him and ends up helping him ... at least, until her own life is at stake.

Esther - aka Sister Midnight - Although she's turned holy, that doesn't stop her from loving, and helping, Jack when he needs it. She can fight as well as any warrior and sticks with Jack until the end of the mission.

Nathaniel - aka D'Alessandro - Writer and creator of Forevermore, a fairytale (and amusement park) about a perfect world where death doesn't exist. He's a little mad-scientisty and is on death row for his actions against the company he previously worked for.


Another stellar novel from John Trevillian. I love, love, love the chapters being written in each of the main character's voice. It allows the reader to get to know each of the characters personally. This series of novels could easily be made into a movie (or movies) and/or a television series.

If you are a fan of sci-fi, futuristic events or just a mind-blowing, amazingly written story, then check out John Trevillian's A-Men trilogy: The A-Men, The A-Men Return and Forever A-Men (which I cannot wait to read!).

British Fantasy Society
The British Fantasy Society review

The A-Men Return by John Trevillian -- book review
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 15:40 Peter Coleborn

The A-Men Return by John Trevillian. Troubador £18.99

Reviewed by Ian Hunter

Continuity jingle here and voiceover; “Previously in A-Men: Jack woke up with no memory of who he was, only a book of folk tales to guide him, and he quickly found himself on the run with other renegades who formed the A-Men, and crossed paths with the mysterious Dr. Nathaniel Glass, and strange goings-on beneath Phoenix Tower in a world where the rich have left a decaying Earth behind and gone off into space.” End of voiceover.

The A-Men was a fast, furious, funny, read with many horribly memorable scenes and equally memorable characters which told the story in very distinctive voices from the viewpoint of Jack, or the Nowhereman as he is known, as well as Sister Midnight, Pure and Dingo The Wonder Dog and several others. So what of the sequel?

Well, Phoenix Tower is no more, and neither are the A-Men who have for better or worse all gone their separate ways. Dead City is in a poorer state than before. Take all the post-apocalyptical movies and books you have seen and read and cram them together until they reach critical mass and then pick at the deadly radioactive embers and it still won’t add up to the plot of The A-Men Return. And I should have added into that mix an unhealthy dose of computer games and graphic novels. Life in Dead City is barely worth living, but in some space stations not very far away things aren’t much better either as the super rich are succumbing to a virus, and their only hope may be something that is long-forgotten back on earth. Like it says on the tin, cue the return of the A-Men. As with the first book in the series we are treated to something that is vividly dark and savage which lashings of sex and violence and bad words that hurtles along to a climax or sorts that more than nicely sets up Forever A-Men, the final part of the trilogy. Can’t wait.

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