Prussia has been overrun by Napoleons forces, and the Emperors troops have discovered a new source of funds there: enough amber to finance Frances wars. But their plans stall when the girls who collect the stones begin to disappear, only to be found gruesomely disfigured by an unknown killer. The French call upon Prussian investigator Hanno Stiffeniis, who must seek out the culprit knowing that his own success may doom his country's future.
Dark, intelligent, and vividly written, A Visible Darkness continues a masterful series of historical mysteries that portray a past torn between nationalism and humanism, superstition and science.
Chief among the many gifts the husband and wife writing team of Michael G Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio bring to this atmospheric thriller is the ability to deliver the environment of Prussia's Baltic Coast in 1808 as a living, breathing, odiferous locale. Indeed, it is fair to say I spent a good deal of the time reading this novel with my nose wrinkled. But that is a good thing, since the effect not only enhances a sense of place but brings the summer of 1808 to the forefront to the extent that it becomes its own vibrant character. (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).
The third dose of Stiffeniis boasts the same strong evocation of history and, refreshingly, a looser and more confident narrative voice.
Philosophy and chemistry run amok in this intelligent, compelling, but definitely difficult-to-read thriller.
Starred Review. While some readers will anticipate the solution, the pitch-perfect evocation of the period and the compelling, gloomy atmosphere more than compensate for any lack of surprise.
Gregorio writes dense prose and detailed passages on living conditions of the time. But he excels in his depiction of an unusual sleuth who combines the wily psychology of a conquered people with the underlying philosophy of his former teacher, Emmanuel Kant.
Baltic Amber As I read 'A Visible Darkness' I was fascinated by the act of collecting
amber. Michael G Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio, who write under the pseudonym
Michael Gregorio, were kind enough to answer my questions plus give a
bonus teaser about the next Hanno Stiffeniis novel already in the works...
Q. There is, it seems, a rich history surrounding Baltic amber. How much did
you know about the amber trade before embarking on your novel? How did you
A. We were looking for an original setting for the third story in the
series, and the Baltic coast seemed the ideal place, given that amber has been
collected on the shore for many centuries. It was a dangerous job. You could be
swept off your feet, drowned or maimed. We were fascinated by the bravery and
the desperation of young girls working in the sea, searching for precious amber
deposits, sometimes stealing what they found, often being murdered for it. There
was plenty of scope for a novel based on the world of amber.
Vidocq. The name strikes terror in the Parisian underworld of 1818. As founder and chief of a newly created plainclothes police force, Vidocq has used his mastery of disguise and surveillance to capture some of Frances most notorious and elusive criminals. Now he is hot on the trail of a tantalizing mysterythe fate of the young...
These are 2 of the 5 readalike suggestions for A Visible Darkness. Members have full access to all readalikes. If you are a member, please login. To find out more about membership, click here.
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...