A cold October night, 1854. In a dark passageway, an innocent man is stabbed to death. So begins the extraordinary story of Edward Glyver, book lover, scholar and murderer. As a young boy, Glyver always believed he was destined for greatness. This seems the stuff of dreams, until a chance discovery convinces Glyver that he was right: greatness ...
A cold October night, 1854. In a dark passageway, an innocent man is stabbed to death. So begins the extraordinary story of Edward Glyver, book lover, scholar and murderer. As a young boy, Glyver always believed he was destined for greatness. This seems the stuff of dreams, until a chance discovery convinces Glyver that he was right: greatness does await him, along with immense wealth and influence. And he will stop at nothing to win back a prize that he now knows is rightfully his. Glyver's path leads him from the depths of Victorian London, with its foggy streets, brothels and opium dens, to Evenwood, one of England's most enchanting country houses. His is a story of betrayal and treachery, of death and delusion, of ruthless obsession and ambition. And at every turn, driving Glyver irresistibly onwards, is his deadly rival: the poet-criminal Phoebus Rainsford Daunt. Thirty years in the writing, THE MEANING OF NIGHT is a stunning achievement. Full of drama and passion, it is an enthralling novel that will captivate readers right up to its final thrilling revelation.
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If you like Victorian London mysteries and history and intriguing plots, this is the book for you. It thickens with every chapter and keeps you wanting to read it in one gulp.......but don't, savor and enjoy this like a mini series. I read there is a sequel and I have not yet looked into that but I guarantee it will be my next purchase. Michael Cox knows how to weave excitement in a slow deliberate way. Many footnotes regarding all manner of historical facts, places, languages and so on. This is a literary mystery and not a monthly punched out pulp fiction.
Jul 30, 2009
well written intrigue
Erudite faultless writing. Long slog loving nod to the 19th c genre
perfected by Mary Braddon. Dive in if you are a distance swimmer.
Not for the literary feeble, you need to know your classic references
to appreciate it.
Apr 4, 2007
"After killing the red-haired man I took myself off to Quinn's for an oyster supper." From the first sentence, The Meaning of Night grabs you and doesn't let go. Reminiscent of Wilkie Collins and the Brontes, Michael Cox's novel paints a detailed portrait of Victorian England. The tone is classic Victorian potboiler, with an intricate plot hinging on a dispossessed heir, a long-buried secret, and obsessive retribution. Think The Count of Monte Cristo, Bleak House, and Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But this is contemporary in that there is no moral center to the book. Edward Glyver is an unlikely hero: not only a cold-blooded killer, he is also an unreliable narrator. The reader is kept unsure -- is Edward deluding himself in his obsession with Phoebus Daunt? All the characters here know more than they're saying. Edward is advised to "trust no one", and the reader should keep this in mind as well. The problem is that none of the characters is truly likeable. The book is also somewhat slow-moving, with every plot twist set up well in advance. It is interesting enough - and the reader is kept off balance enough - that the pages keep turning, but it does make the book slightly unsatisfying. A well-researched, convincing, and richly imaginative novel, I recommend it with slight reservations.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-07-17 Resonant with echoes of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, Cox's richly imagined thriller features an unreliable narrator, Edward Glyver, who opens his chilling "confession" with a cold-blooded account of an anonymous murder that he commits one night on the streets of 1854 London. That killing is mere training for his planned assassination of Phoebus Daunt, an acquaintance Glyver blames for virtually every downturn in his life. Glyver feels Daunt's insidious influence in everything from his humiliating expulsion from school to his dismal career as a law firm factotum. The narrative ultimately centers on the monomaniacal Glyver's discovery of a usurped inheritance that should have been his birthright, the byzantine particulars of which are drawing him into a final, fatal confrontation with Daunt. Cox's tale abounds with startling surprises that are made credible by its scrupulously researched background and details of everyday Victorian life. Its exemplary blend of intrigue, history and romance mark a stand-out literary debut. Cox is also the author of M.R. James, a biography of the classic ghost-story writer. 10-city author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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