Rupert Degas reads Titus Groan
Peake is tougher going than Tolkien. Just because something is more difficult does not, of course, mean it is better. It is more difficult to capture a squirrel with a paper clip, a toilet roll and a lifetime subscription to the New York Times than using, say, a purpose-built squirrel trap. But in literature there has always been a tendency to dismiss books that are both off the beaten track and demanding as 'cult' fiction. The word is a killer - it implies the fanatical, unreasoning support of a few noisy cranks, while us sensible lads and lasses stick to our EM Forsters.
Anyway, for anyone who is daunted by Peake's prose - which is that of an artist and a poet, and is therefore intensely visual and lyrical - you could try to listening to an abridged reading. Naxos Audiobooks, a firm with an excellent track record on classic fiction, are producing the Titus trilogy during the course of this year. The first book is out now, or very nearly. Follow the link for a sample of Mr Degas' reading. And below, if I've got it right, is Peake's sketch of the Lady Fuchsia, one of the best characters in fantasy fiction.