Bloodtide (2004)

The child was bred to kill…he has a gun visible…even in the ultra scan…

“Bloodtide was the project I began after Junk had won the Carnegie Medal. I learned a few lessons from that time. One was, that there was a real shortage of exciting, difficult, dangerous books for young people – the sort of thing your parents wouldn’t care to recommend to you. There’s a market for this sort of thing in music, computer games, film and so on, but books tend to be a bit goody-goody. I hope Bloodtide will fill that gap. I wanted it to shock, stir you up, lift you up and bring you down.

My son and stepson were playing a lot of computer games at the time, which were very violent in their imagery, and watching films of the same kind of thing. I thought, well, it’s exciting, and no one actually gets hurt,. Why are there no books like this? When writing the book, I had these kind of games in mind, plus magazines, like 20001 AD; also films, like Bladerunner, Alien and so on.

Although the imagery is futuristic, the story is taken from an ancient tale, a saga from the Icelandic Vikings known as the Volsunga Saga, which I read when I was a child and remembered all my life. I was always very keen on myths and legends, and Norse mythology in particular, because of the power of the stories and the dark elements in them – you always feel that the abyss is opening up at your feet. But I didn’t want to write about blokes with beards in iron helmets – I wanted to write about modern people. Up dating the myth, making the imagery real for today was a real struggle. Some of it was easy. for instance, exchanging swords and battle axes for automatic weapons made the warfare and violence much more real; but the people were very hard. One character, Signy, took me several rewrites. Right at the heart of the story, she is a person of incredible will power and determination, but her life is so passive … I just couldn’t hack it, until I realized that as a female character from centuries past, she had no avenues to act in. It is impossible to imagine a modern woman behaving in the same way. So I gave her an active role to play, and then she sprang into life.”

Education Resource

The production was accompanied by an educational resource for teachers band students studying Bloodtide.

Bloodtide Education Pack PDF

By Melvin Burgess

Adapted and directed by Marcus Romer

Designed by Ali Allen

Lighting by James Farncombe

Original Soundtrack by Sandy Nuttgens and Howie Taffs

Movement direction by Faroque Khan