Michael Cox has been planning and drafting 'The Meaning of Night' for thirty years. He is a former editor at Oxford University Press and biographer of the ghost story writer M. R. James. His lifelong passion for Victorian literature led him to edit a number of collections of short fiction from the period, including 'The Oxford Book of Victorian Detective Stories'. He lives in rural Northamptonshire - where 'The Meaning of Night' is partly set - with his wife. This is his first novel.
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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
'A novel of fate and free will, forensic detection and blind love, crime and its justifications. The Atmosphere crackles, but beneath al;l is a sly sense of humour. The plotting is second to non -- a finely tuned yet extravagantly complex piece of clockwork' -- Evening Standard 'An unadulterated pleasure! In prose as flamboyant as a bespoke smoking jacket, Cox's metropolis comes to life, teeming with hearty whores and weasily clerks! Cox skilfully brings a modern sensibility to his 19th-century opus!Cox's epic is as thrilling as a Hansom cab chase and as guilty a pleasure as a nocturnal turn at a gentleman's "introducing house"' -- Independent on Sunday 'Impressively fluent first novel' -- Sunday Telegraph 'Like Charles Palliser, Michel Faber and Sarah Waters, Cox is making the Victorian era a switchback ride for the reader's mind! a rich and complicated tale ! a journey into darkness' -- Independent 'Unusual and remarkable! Key to the convincing nature of this confession is Cox's grasp of the minutiae of the times and the language of the period, so that the reader at times forgets this isn't a contemporary of Dickens' -- South China Sunday Morning Post 'A brooding, sinister work. Bedecked in all the literary adornments of the period, it seeps with questions about the nature of good and evil, fate, inheritance, love and, above all, faith' -- Fiona Atherton, Scotsman
In Victorian England, impoverished young Edward Glyver turns murderous when he is shut out of a Cambridge education-and, it transpires, a whole lot more-by smarmy Phoebus Rainsford Daunt. On the author's mind for three decades, this work was completed in a rush after Cox (editor, The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories) was treated for a brain tumor. With a ten-city tour and the sale of multiple foreign rights, South Korea and Serbia included. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.