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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed author of the Vorrh Trilogy comes an epic odyssey following a group of mercenaries hired to escort a divine oracle on a long journey amidst a war between the living and the dead.

Sheltering beneath Das Kagel, the cloud-scraping structure rumored to be the Tower of Babel, the sacred Monastery of the Eastern Gate descends into bedlam. Their ancient oracle, Quite Testiyont - whose prophesies helped protect the church - has died, leaving the monks vulnerable to the war raging between the living and the dead. Tasked by the High Church to deliver a new oracle, Barry Follett and his group of hired mercenaries are forced to confront wicked giants and dangerous sirens on their mission, keeping the divine creature alive by feeding it marrow and confessing their darkest sins. 

But as Follett and his men carve their way through the treacherous landscape, the world around them spirals deeper into chaos. Dominic, a young monk who has mysteriously lost his voice, makes a pilgrimage to see surreal paintings, believing they reveal the empire's fate; a local woman called Mad Meg hopes to free and vindicate her jailed son and becomes the leader of the most unexpected revolution; and the abbott of the monastery, influential as he is, seeks to gain even more power in this world and the next.

Rich with action and fantastic creatures, Hollow ushers the reader through a world of ruin where holy secrets are unearthed, art mirrors life through a glass darkly, and death looms over everything. It is B. Catling's most accomplished and gripping tale yet.

A Vintage Original

©2021 Brian Catling (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Peckinpah riders on a Breugel trail, things walled-up or things in reliquaries, and language as close to the splintering bone as it can get. In Hollow, yet again, B. Catlin retools the fantastic for beyond-fantastic times. Unmissable." (Alan Moore, author of Jerusalem)

“[Hollow] achieves an ungainly beauty and a crooked wisdom.... Each chapter offers the stunned reader a new marvel. But Hollow also offers reflections on the relationship between art and life, and, perhaps more pressingly, between death and art. It’s a tribute to long-dead geniuses that will also thrill readers entirely ignorant of European painting.... Hollow is the strangest, most original, and most satisfying fantasy I’ve read in ages.” (Matthew Keely, Tor) 

“A sheer, shuddering delight.... The whole novel is not just fun, but very clever fun.... Catling is a rare kind of writer.” (Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman

What listeners say about Hollow

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Excellent story, audio troubles

This is Brian Catlings best work to date in my opinion. The narrator was very talented and diverse with their voices, but I think they were too loud at times and it must have interfered with the microphone picking the sound up correctly. There were multiple times, especially near the end, where the sound cut out like this. Otherwise I would recommend this story if you read his trilogy and found there to be no solid conclusions. The Hollow has all of the great writing from the Vorrh, but has solid and enjoyable conclusions that I felt the trilogy lacked overall.

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Sure, it's weird but ...

Honestly, I could listen to Catling's writing forever. I listened to The Vorrh trilogy (and I swear it's not anything like my typical listens) and I didn't think I would love Catling without being read by Alan Corrunder (who is still my favorite narrator of all time). But now I think anything Catling writes I will love. He can bring to life the most bizarre, gross, unthinkable things and somehow make them beautiful, familiar, and funny.


This narrator also makes a perfect fit for the characters. I still miss Alan Corrunder, but that's my only complaint!