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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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The bestselling mystery of murder, love and obsession

About the Author

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.

Reviews

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.

Atale of obsession, love and revenge, played out amid London's swirling smog ! Glyver is an outstanding creation ! Cox lovingly recreates the atmosphere of the period, from grand dinner parties to assignation with ladies of the night ! Yet he never allows period detail to swamp the human drama at the novel's heart' -- Daily Mail 'Spellbinding Victorian mystery ...Dark atmospheric storytelling with wicked twists and turns' -- Good Housekeeping 'A handsome slice of Victoriana! a rewarding, sinister yarn wrapped around an austere meditation on fate, faith and privilege' -- Observer 'A novel of fate and free will, forensic detection and blind love, crime and its justifications. The atmosphere crackles, but beneath all 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 ! 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 '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 'A brooding, sinister work ...seeps with questions about good and evil, fate, inheritance, love and, above all, faith' -- Scotsman 'The pages teem with wit and erudition and the plot thickens like a good minestrone soup ... Thrilling' -- Courier Mail 20060722 'An enthralling journey into the depths of Victorian London and the psyche of a man obsessed, Michael Cox's The Meaning of Night will have you hooked from [the] stunning opening line to the thrilling final revelation' -- InStyle 20060722 '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 l854 London...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' -- Publishers Weekly 20060801 'Impressively fluent first novel' -- Sunday Telegraph 20060801 'Cox creates a strong sense of place, a complex narrative full of unexpectedly wicked twists, and a well-drawn cast of supporting characters. His language is mesmerizing, and his themes of betrayal, revenge, social stratification, sexual repression, and moral hypocrisy echo those of the great 19th-century novelists. Written in the tradition of Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White and Sarah Waters's Fingersmith, Cox's masterpiece is highly recommended for all fiction collections' -- Library Journal 20060701 'A remarkably entertaining treat which begs comparison with the world of Patricia Highsmith' -- Kirkus 20061001 '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 20061001

This stunning first novel by Cox (editor, The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories) opens with a murder on a misty night in 1854 London. The perpetrator, Edward Glyver, is an erudite bibliophile and resourceful detective who assumes different names and personas with disquieting ease. He stabs a total stranger as a precursor to murdering his cunning adversary, Phoebus Daunt, a literary genius who expects to be adopted as heir by the wealthy Lord Tansor. When Glyver discovers that Daunt has destroyed the only evidence that Glyver, in fact, is Tansor's real son, he becomes obsessed with seeking revenge and claiming his rightful inheritance. From the whorehouses, pubs, and opium dens of Victorian London to the ancient beauty of Tansor's ancestral estate, Cox creates a strong sense of place, a complex narrative full of unexpectedly wicked twists, and a well-drawn cast of supporting characters. His language is mesmerizing, and his themes of betrayal, revenge, social stratification, sexual repression, and moral hypocrisy echo those of the great 19th-century novelists. Written in the tradition of Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White and Sarah Waters's Fingersmith, Cox's masterpiece is highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/06.]-Joseph M. Eagan, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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