The Lost Boys of Prometheus City

Lost Boys Cover Frontplate AJKFrom self-styled Leeds-based punk publishers Armley Press: The Lost Boys of Prometheus City by A.J. Kirby. Follow this link to buy your paperback copy. And this link to buy your Kindle version.


The Lost Boys of Prometheus City is the story of the city of Leeds, brash and bold, living out the boom times before the bust; over-reaching like Prometheus to be bigger, taller, higher than other northern powerhouse cities. It is the story of Leeds’ fall after the financial crash in 2008. All those tall towers empty and sad, testament to the Ozymandian folly of the city. But ultimately ‘The Lost Boys of Prometheus City’ is a Tubthumper of a book. Leeds gets knocked down, but it gets back up again, and just as the protagonists achieve redemption, so does the city.

The book will appeal to readers who love twists and turns in their fiction; readers who love their characters flawed, but determined to be better; readers who want to be immersed in location, location, location; readers who want to be taken on a journey, just as I have, living in Leeds. It is at once a love song, sung to the city in which I’ve lived for longer than I’ve lived anywhere else; and a ballad, mourning what once could have been. It’s by turn comic, tragic, and the reader will plumb the depths as well as soar to heights in which her wings will be warmed by the sun.
NEAL GRACE, CARL SHARP, and ADAM WARSHAWSKI are A-list. They’re young, handsome, and rich. They go to all the best parties. Women want to bed them;men want their phone numbers. They are the face of brash, post-millennium Leeds, a city which is itself on its uppers.
But one false move is all it takes for these three ‘young princes’ of Leeds to tumbleoff their pedestal. After they instigate an incident of shocking violence against two definite Z-listers, life spins into a terrifying downward spiral for them.
The once-charmed, whiter-than-white lives of our princely trio soon become stained as they are sucked into a murky underworld of criminals. Their rap-sheet gets ever longer: assault, possession, false-accounting, money-laundering, as, caught between a rock and a hard place, they only dig themselves deeper into trouble. Squeezed by both sides – they are blackmailed by the family of one of the victims of the violent attack they ordered, and at the same time they are forced to launder money for a shady client who ordered the attack on the victims – something has to give, and the three ‘young princes’ become increasingly desperate in their attempts to ‘get out’.

The Lost Boys of Prometheus City is at once a literary-fiction/ white-collar crime thriller which is full of twists and turns, but it is also a moral fable which shows the perils of over-reaching. Set against the backdrop of a changing world; the boom and the bust; the Enron scandal; the financial meltdown of 2008, this novel tells the wider

story of our rotten financial systems through close focus on the lives of our three heroes, examining themes of personal responsibility, morality and how lost boys like Neal, Carl and Adam are, in the absence of decent role-models, left to be nurtured by greed and vanity.
It’s a story of self-discovery too: the main protagonist Neal Grace has never really known who he is. He’s a Lost Boy, constantly getting confused for other people and he doesn’t know which way he wants his life to lead. But when the chips are down, he comes to understand himself in a way which would have been impossible earlier.
Ironically, when taking on an assumed identity and a new name, he discovers the real Neal Grace.
Mr. L., Amazon Reader: “I really, really enjoyed this book. Haven’t read any of Mr Kirby’s work before, and this was a highly enjoyable introduction to it. For me, his writing style was right up my street. There’s a kind of Jack Kerouac fluidity to it, and a Hunter S Thompson quirkiness, too. This is the story of a group of friends living an almost celebrity-style high-life as wealthy city accountants, whose own self-created status becomes, ultimately, their downfall. There’s a hint of Bret Easton Ellis’ ‘American Psycho’ – not that the characters are psychotic murderers, but the name-dropping fixations with material possessions, as these characters build a world around themselves that is indulgent and superficial, and how this has affected their moral attitudes. There’s also a hint of “The Wolf of Wall Street” as things effectively spiral out of control. There are insightful and witty observations in Kirby’s stream-of-consciousness style narrative; a tale of morality, too, as the narrator comes to terms with the consequences of his actions. A recommended read, indeed.”
Al Devey, Amazon Reader: After “a bravura first chapter” , the “prose always has a certain energy, a spontaneity, and, at its best, a tendency to barrel along in a way that’s thoroughly engrossing.”

“We meet Neal as an over-privileged hedonist within his three-man gang of Northern England Gordon Gekkos, but their story quickly becomes tense then rapidly unspools from there, with Kirby telling his tale in the first person as he draws us into the fraught, dissatisfied, changeable mental landscape of his easily led protagonist. An atmosphere of regret, amorality and emptiness pervades this fast-paced thriller with its tumbling, freewheeling sentences, full of stream of consciousness left-turns, pop culture references from the time and bracketed asides.”

“The other great character evoked here is the city of Leeds itself, caught in a boom that will prove to be built on sand, and with the penthouse futureplexes of these masters of the universe no more than a stone’s throw from degradation, poverty, filth and the tightening grip of crime networks who often overreach themselves. Perhaps Kirby too, has been guilty of aiming too big in the past, most notably with his controversial Not The Booker nominated ‘Paint This Town Red’ a few years back, but TLBoPC is a very different work, being a novel that is full of real people, not over-plotted, and has something relevant to say about our times. You don’t have to be familiar with that Yorkshire city in which it’s set to enjoy this compelling, fast-read odyssey across its landscape, but if you do know Leeds inside-out the way this author does, that can only add to your reading enjoyment. Recommended.

Steph Bryant, Amazon Reader:

“This was a great read! AJ Kirby’s narrative style imitates detective work which investigates the inevitable downfall of the ‘lost boys’. As the tension grows, the narrative cleverly skits around from past to present tense, echoing the paranoia and despair of the protagonist, Neal Grace. Kirby uses the stream of consciousness narrative style to capture Neal’s emotions and this also gradually unveils the plot, as you rely on Neal to work out the details.

‘The Lost Boys of Prometheus City’ offers a nostalgia for Leeds and you see this through the characters’ passion for the city, and also the way Kirby weaves Yorkshire dialect and sayings into the text. The precise description of the streets of Leeds draws a parallel to the geographical accuracy of Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ in Dublin, where the character’s journey is mapped out by the author. This detail allows Kirby to build on the crime themes of the novel, which effectively stalks his characters around Leeds.”