Random Things Book Tour – Anthracite by Matt Thomas


Book Synopsis:

Deadbeat Kevin Jones finds himself kidnapped to an alternative reality where Wales is the single global superpower. Abducted from his mundane existence by the mysterious Gwen, she tells him there are forces seeking his destruction – he has to run or die. It turns out Kevin’s story holds the key to why all worlds but ours turn out the way they do – Pax Cambria.

Featuring a host of mysterious characters, cheese-on-toast based fast food, alt-right druids and the deadly all-knowing Taffia, Anthracite begins the battle to address the woeful lack of Welsh themed comedy cyberpunk. The fearsome Jones-Corporation might run the world but they have a dirty little secret they don’t want to get out. Swansea has never looked more like near-future LA. It’s already got the rain.

Book Links for info and purchase options:

The Review:

Welcome to the almost last day of this very special book tour, organized by Random Things Tours. Thanks for stopping by to check out my quick review for Anthracite, a very new book written by Matt Thomas. Finally, Thank you to Anne, from Random Things Tours, as well as the author, for the awesome read!

I feel like the universe had to align just right (write, that’s a pun, right?) for a story with a galactic sized surplus of fun, science, imagination, boldness, and humility to be packed into a very fast, hits you with a blast ,rolling tongue in cheek funny stuff, and unexpectedly touching, 320 or so pages.

I feel confident that I could leave my review there, as it took a while to put that last sentence together, but it is also very true and captured for me a bit of the enjoyment I experienced while reading it. The book started in a somewhat normal fashion, as we get to know Kevin, the main character. But quickly takes off, as the woman of his dreams barges in and escorts him from one, the dangers he is oblivious to in this world, but also into a new world, physically and intellectually. Right from his favorite library into an alternate reality, that is only the beginning of a strange and exciting adventure.

I thought Kevin was great, and it was somewhat refreshing to have a character who was not the town’s outcast, because of some eccentricity or other. Kevin is confident, i felt like he considered himself magnificently unique, that he is a catch above catches, and a human being that will without a doubt, change the world. That is, he will once he’s decided on what direction in life he will go. It was like he knew he hasn’t lived up to his potential, but he also was not ashamed of it. I don’t know if I’m expressing this that well, which is ok, because there is so much more to the story than dissecting the main character’s self image in a book review.

I loved the amount of acceptance this character has for himself. I am and have always been packed full of insecurities, and although Kevin is a loner, he is in touch with his place in life, and honestly anything can be possible. My point here is that, so often, we have a story that revolves around the kid, or person who has lived a very tough, sad, and lonely life that they have endured until some gift is bestowed, or whatever, that gives them redemption. In Anthrocite, our main dude is overly confident, but because he doesn’t take himself seriously, he is supremely relatable.

The series of events that unfold, page by page, were pure fun. I love to experience the idea of parallel universes’ or the multiverse, from another person’s perspective. If there were differing future timelines resulting from the choices we make, and if it became possible to travel between them, what would it really be like? Okay, now I’m just thinking of the show Sliders. What Anthracite did well, was get the story easily from “this” world, into an alternate timeline and really bring it to life.

There are so many pop cultural mentions throughout, and as I said earlier, surprises galore. I agree with the descriptions I’ve seen that put cyberpunk, scifi, humor, as well as the relation to writers like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. My wife probably wouldn’t get all the humor, but she doesn’t even think I’m funny, so If you see humor slightly differently than the straight forward, “badda boom badda bing” kinda thing, I think you will enjoy this.

About the Author

(I’m very suspicious if the arch behind the author, I mean, it probably just leads to the pool, or a secret garden, right? There’s no way there is a portal that could lead to an alternate/parallel time where I am the one in the photo, and Matt is the one writing this, thinking, “I swear this book sounds familiar somehow??”)

Matt Thomas grew up in Port Talbot, South Wales. He worked for 15 years in the computer games industry all of the UK and now runs a successful computer graphics business. He’s one of the top all-time sellers on 3D data stock-site Turbosquid.com. If you ever need to digitally simulate the Chinese Navy, he’s your man.

He’s the author of two previous books, Before and After (1999) and Terror Firma (2001), both published by Harper Collins/Voyager. His work has been compared to the likes of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Anthracite is his first new fiction in 18 years. Just where that time went is anyone’s guess. He now lives in Berkshire with his wife and three sons, a cat and a dog. No sheep.


2 thoughts on “Random Things Book Tour – Anthracite by Matt Thomas

  1. Hello Ollie, glad you enjoyed the book! It was a lot of fun to write – which I think comes across in the finished text.

    As for the photo of my (slightly overgrown) garden – down the steps used to be a rather ramshackle old shed, which my kids dubbed ‘The Murder Shed’. It was like something out of a Stephen King novel, as likely to be a portal to another dimension as anywhere. To be on the safe side it’s now been replaced by a smart new one, along with the arch. I am still a bit wary of getting into lifts, though.

    Thanks for the support!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.