An astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London
London, 1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society, and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Unnerved, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine city that greets her, she uncovers a secret world at the margins populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling "Doctor Knife." But the answer to her brother's disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of one of the country's preeminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the most ambitious, and most dangerous, men in England.
In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. The Quick will establish her as one of fiction's most dazzling talents.
Named One of the Top 10 Literary Fiction Books of the Season by Publishers Weekly
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"Starred Review. Though the book has an old-fashioned, leisurely pace, which might cause some reader impatience, Owen's sentence-by-sentence prose is extraordinarily polished - a noteworthy feat for a 500-page debut - and she packs many surprises into her tale, making it a book for readers to lose themselves in." - Publishers Weekly
"Her world building is exceptional, and readers will simultaneously embrace and shrink from the atmosphere's elegant ghastliness, but the novel's structure is uneven - it feels overlong in places - and she devotes regrettably little time to her most intriguing characters. It's an impressive feat, nonetheless, one with the potential to attract a cult (and occult) following this summer." - Booklist
"Though abrupt transitions to a different point of view and time period detract from the flow of the story, this will appeal to devotees of the macabre and gothic set in the Victorian period, especially those who enjoy Charles Palliser's Rustication and David Morrell's Murder as a Fine Art." - Library Journal
"A book that seems to begin as a children's story ends in blood-soaked mayhem; the journey from one genre to another is satisfying and surprisingly fresh considering that it's set in a familiar version of gothic London among equally familiar monsters." - Kirkus
"A suspenseful, gloriously atmospheric first novel, and a feast of gothic storytelling that is impossible to resist." - Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life and Case Histories
"A sly and glittering addition to the literature of the macabre... As soon as you have breathed with relief, much worse horrors begin. It's a skilled, assured performance, and it's hard to believe it is a first novel." - Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
"Ambitious, elegant, atmospheric, and often deeply poignant, The Quick is a seamless blend of Victorian London and rich imagination. This is a book to savor." - Tana French, bestselling author of In the Woods and Broken Harbor
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