Alan Moore's Jerusalem, weighing in at more than 600,000 words, will be published next year by Knockabout Comics.
The writer, best known for his graphic novels such as Watchmen (Titan) and V for Vendetta (DC), has been working on the epic novel for 20 years. It is now set for release in autumn 2016 by Knockabout, with William Menaker of Liveright, an imprint of WW Norton, publishing in the US after signing US and Canadian rights from the Lora Fountain Literary Agency.
In previous interviews, Moore has revealed that Jerusalem focuses around a small area of his hometown, Northampton, and combines historical fiction and fantasy. He told the New Statesman in 2011: "Any editor worth their salt would tell me to cut two-thirds of this book but that’s not going to happen. I doubt that Herman Melville had an editor – if he had, that editor would have told him to get rid of all that boring stuff about whaling: ‘Cut to the chase, Herman’."
He has also said that one section will concern his brother's adventures in the fourth dimension, while the central section is "a savage, hallucinating Enid Blyton". Other parts include a chapter "which is completely incomprehensible … all written in a completely invented sub-Joycean text," a "a noir crime narrative based upon the Northampton pastor James Hervey, whom I believe was the father of the entire Gothic movement", and "a combination of the ghost story and the drug narrative", as well as a chapter in the form of a Samuel Beckett play.
Knockabout said: "It looks at the stark ramifications of ideas on love, tragedy and morality in a work of space-time bending historical fiction centred in his hometown of Northampton, England, the destitute half-a-square-mile in which Moore’s family lived for several generations. It hosts a rich cast of characters from the living, the dead, the celestial and the infernal. Personages as diverse as branded Tennessee slave Henry George or the monstrous Oliver Cromwell rub shoulders with drunks, prostitutes and brawlers, with the composer Sir Malcolm Arnold, with playwright Samuel Beckett or James Joyce’s daughter Lucia, with the saint and martyr Thomas á Becket, John Bunyan, John Clare, Buffalo Bill and a host of derelict ghosts, Biblical demons, family members and neighbourhood legends."
Moore's graphic novel Watchmen is the bestselling graphic novel on record, selling 194,383 copies through Nielsen BookScan to date.