A Cambridge historian, Elizabeth Vogelsang, is found drowned, clutching a
glass prism in her hand. The book she was writing about Isaac Newtons
involvement with alchemythe culmination of her lifelong obsession with the
seventeenth centuryremains unfinished. When her son, Cameron, asks his former
lover, Lydia Brooke, to ghostwrite the missing final chapters of his mothers
book, Lydia agrees and moves into Elizabeths housea studio in an orchard where
the light moves restlessly across the walls. Soon Lydia discovers that the
shadow of violence that has fallen across present-day Cambridge, which escalates
to a series of murders, may have its origins in the troubling evidence that
Elizabeths research has unearthed. As Lydia becomes ensnared in a dangerous
conspiracy that reawakens ghosts of the past, the seventeenth century slowly
seeps into the twenty-first, with the city of Cambridge the bridge between them.
Filled with evocative descriptions of Cambridge, past and present, of
seventeenth-century glassmaking, alchemy, the Great Plague, and Newtons
scientific innovations, Ghostwalk centers around a real historical
mystery that Rebecca Stott has uncovered involving Newtons alchemy. In it, time
and relationships are entangledthe present with the seventeenth century, and
figures from the past with the love-torn twenty-first century woman who is
trying to discover their secrets. A stunningly original display of scholarship
and imagination, and a gripping story of desire and obsession, Ghostwalk
is a rare debut that will change the way most of us think about scientific
innovation, the force of history, and time itself.
Stott, a historian of science, deploys her research effortlessly and demonstrates great attention to detail, but the proliferation of themes means that none are explored in much depth.
New York Times Book Review
Mesmerizing . . . Ghostwalk has an all-too-rare scholarly authority and imaginative sparkle. . . . . Rebecca Stott has accomplished something distinctively fresh with what she calls ‘a grubby little set of murders in Cambridge.’ Along the way, she manages to invoke both the non-causal entanglements of quantum physics and the paranoid conspiracies of Pynchon and DeLillo. Her home terrain, however is the river-riven landscape of the human heart.
Los Angeles Times - Janice P. Nimura
Fiercely intelligent… You won’t have time to reflect on Stott’s metaphysics, at least not on the first read–you’ll be too eager to solve the murders. Ghostwalk works beautifully on both levels, leaving a lingering impression of a world richer, and more precarious, than we imagine.
New York Daily News Ghostwalk is a strange and improbable book that seduces you into the unbelievable….Rebecca Stott’s debut thriller weaves science and the supernatural into an eerie narrative. . . . a truly haunting literary thriller.
Washington Post Book World
A hypnotic brew of speculation, intrigue and murder…It’s outlandish and devilishly plausible….You’ll be enthralled… By the final chapter, Stott’s elegant subtlety has been transmuted into a violent swirl of reversals and revelations that would defy Newton’s calculus. You can’t help but feel swept away.
[A] posh romantic thriller. If you liked cracking the Da Vinci Code, you’ll love uncovering a secret 17th-century brotherhood that includes the young Isaac Newton.
Starred Review. Stott makes a stunning debut with this hypnotic and intelligent thriller. . . Much more than a clever whodunit, this taut, atmospheric novel with its twisty interconnections between past and present will leave readers hoping Stott has many more stories in her future.
Mesmerizing, intellectually challenging . . . Stott jumps dexterously between present and past, bringing the world of Newton and his alchemical colleagues to vivid life and offering tantalizingly believable explanations for the cojoining of time and space. No novel since Iain Pears’s Instance of the Fingerpost (1998) has so vigorously stirred the cauldron of conflict that was seventeenth-century England.
Starred Review. Spellbinding . . . Stott’s compelling style acts as a counterpoint to the scientific and historical components of this haunting literary mystery thriller. Stott skillfully binds fact with fiction in an insightful story that surprises and intrigues.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by PDXReader Good, but not great. The author started with an obvious passion for the 17th century, and her extensive research into the period is evident. There are parts of this novel that seem like they could have been the kernel of the author’s Ph.D. thesis. She layers a rather... Read More
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