Thursday 13 October 2022

BLOG TOUR: The Empire - Michael Ball

Welcome to The Empire theatre

1922. When Jack Treadwell arrives at The Empire, in the middle of a rehearsal, he is instantly mesmerised. But amid the glitz and glamour, he soon learns that the true magic of the theatre lies in its cast of characters - both on stage and behind the scenes.

There's stunning starlet Stella Stanmore and Hollywood heartthrob Lancelot Drake; and Ruby Rowntree, who keeps the music playing, while Lady Lillian Lassiter, theatre owner and former showgirl, is determined to take on a bigger role. And then there's cool, competent Grace Hawkins, without whom the show would never go on . . . could she be the leading lady Jack is looking for?

When long-held rivalries threaten The Empire's future, tensions rise along with the curtain. There is treachery at the heart of the company and a shocking secret waiting in the wings. Can Jack discover the truth before it's too late, and the theatre he loves goes dark?

Musical theatre legend Michael Ball brings his trademark warmth, wit and glamour to this, his debut novel.

Enjoy the show!

What did I think?

I've admired Michael Ball for many years, and I've been lucky enough to see him sing live, so I was both excited and nervous when I discovered that he had written a novel.  Excited as it's THE Michael Ball and nervous as just because he's a successful singer and actor doesn't mean he'll be a good author. I needn't have been nervous at all though as there really is no end to Michael Ball's talent; we all know that he can sing but he sure can write too!

The Empire is set in 1922 when going to the theatre is perfect escapism following the horror of the Great War.  Jack Treadwell returns from the war to find that his parents have both passed away and he needs to find himself a job.  Jack turns up at The Empire theatre at just the right time as they have a vacancy for a stage doorman and he is given the job on the spot.  

Jack fits in so well and he quickly comes to love The Empire theatre as much as the other longstanding employees.  So, when rival theatre owner Joe Allerdyce makes it known that he wants to add The Empire to his collection (by fair means or foul), Jack and his colleagues set out to save the theatre.  They come up with the most brilliant and ingenious ideas that had me laughing out loud and giving virtual rounds of applause.

It's quite a busy plot with a large cast of colourful characters but it never gets confusing and there's a handy character list at the start of the book if you do need to refer back to it.  I am so impressed by the writing; every scene is so vividly portrayed that I felt as if I was there, front and centre watching the wonderful productions.  

Filled with skulduggery and glamour, The Empire is incredibly entertaining from start to finish and I absolutely LOVED it.  It’s so good that I almost forgot to drink my cup of tea, I was so engrossed in the story; that’s definitely the mark of a good book in my case as I love a cuppa!

It's a fantastic debut novel and I hope it's the first of many, if Michael Ball can find time in his busy schedule to write them.  I think the film rights will immediately get snapped up and if The Empire isn't made into a film, I really will eat my hat.  Bravo, Mr Ball.

I received a digital ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Puchase links:

About the author:
Michael Ball OBE is a singer, actor, presenter and now author. He's been a star of musical theatre for over three decades, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical twice, he's also won two BRIT awards and been nominated for a Grammy. Michael regularly sells out both his solo tours and his Ball & Boe shows with Alfie Boe and has multiple platinum albums. The Empire is his first novel.

Social Media Links
Twitter: @mrmichaelball   //  @ZaffreBooks

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