The Skull and the Nightingale: Book summary and reviews of The Skull and the Nightingale by Michael Irwin

The Skull and the Nightingale

A Novel

By Michael Irwin

The Skull and the Nightingale
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Jul 2013,
    416 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Michael Irwin's The Skull and the Nightingale is a chilling and deliciously dark, literary novel of manipulation and sex, intrigue and seduction, set in 18th-century England.
 
When Richard Fenwick returns to London, his wealthy godfather, James Gilbert, has an unexpected proposition. Gilbert has led a sedate life in Worcestershire, but feels the urge to experience, even vicariously, the extremes of human feeling: love, passion, and something much more sinister.
 
It becomes apparent that Gilbert desires news filled with tales of carousing, flirtation, excess, and London's more salacious side. But Gilbert's elaborate and manipulative "experiments" into the workings of human behavior soon drag Richard into a Faustian vortex of betrayal and danger where lives are ruined and tragedy is only a step away.
 
With echoes of Dangerous Liaisons, Michael Irwin's The Skull and the Nightingale is an urgent period drama that seduces the senses.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Using language that resonates with the music and manners of the time, Irwin, a Fielding scholar, contrasts pastoral and graphic scenes, proper and pornographic passages, and high-minded theory and base practice." - Publishers Weekly

"This novel of manipulation and seduction evokes Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses... [and] vividly renders the darker side of the Age of Enlightenment. Readers who like their history served up with conquest and betrayal will enjoy this page-turner." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Amid Irwin's spot-on descriptions of 18-century England's squalor and splendor, the masquerades and dinner parties, this passion play mostly rests between the sheets where Lust lies... Irwin's secondary characters also fascinate... A tale of morals, intriguingly told." - Kirkus Reviews

"I really admired and enjoyed it. The atmosphere, idiom and characters are great. The plotting is terrific. And I had a genuine shock at the end." - Jenny Uglow, author of The Lunar Men

"Richard Fenwick is a dashing, good-looking rake in the tradition of Boswell, William Hickey, Tom Jones and Roderick Random, and his fast-moving adventures among the pubs and petticoats have a twist in the tail that is startling and well worth waiting for." - Jeremy Lewis, author of Shades of Greene: One Generation of an English Family

"A dark, compelling tale of an eighteenth-century Faustus and his Mephistopheles, which troubles the reader with a growing unease from the start and never slackens pace right up to its disturbing conclusion." - Maria McCann, author of As Meat Loves Salt and The Wilding

The information about The Skull and the Nightingale shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Michael Irwin is an emeritus professor of English literature at the University of Kent in Canterbury, where he specialized in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature. His published work includes a full-length study of Fielding and essays on Defoe, Richardson, Sterne, Smollett, Johnson, and Pope. He lives in Kent, England.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  131Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.