At West Point Academy in 1830, the calm of an October evening is shattered by the discovery of a young cadet's body swinging from a rope. The next morning, an even greater horror comes to light. Someone has removed the dead man's heart. Augustus Landorwho acquired some renown in his years as a New York City police detectiveis called in to discreetly investigate. It's a baffling case Landor must pursue in secret, for the scandal could do irreparable damage to the fledgling institution. But he finds help from an unexpected allya moody, young cadet with a penchant for drink, two volumes of poetry to his name, and a murky past that changes from telling to telling. The strange and haunted Southern poet for whom Landor develops a fatherly affection, is named Edgar Allan Poe.
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"Starred Review. This beautifully crafted thriller stands head and shoulders above other recent efforts to fictionalize Poe." - PW.
"Bayard reinvigorates historical fiction, rendering the 19th century as if he'd witnessed it firsthand. He employs words like "caoutchouc," "meerschaums" and "anapestic" as fluently as he uses Gothic tropes. Landor is attacked in the dark woods and in a dark closet. Messengers drive phaetons. There's black magic, phrenology, a profusion of ghosts, even a boat trip through torch-lit mist. But none of it seems musty. Bayard does what all those ads for historical tourist destinations promise: as Landor says at death's door, "the past comes on with all the force of the present." - The New York Times.
"Between the rigors of military life and the natural mysteries of the Hudson valley, this period mystery moves methodically to the suspects, the motives, and the clues that twist and turn like the Hudson itself." - Library Journal.
"The revelation in the mystery's denouement is so shocking and smart that the entire tale is turned upside down. At novel's end, the reader may want to start again from the beginning." - Kirkus.
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With his most recent novels, The School of Night, The Black Tower, The Pale Blue Eye, and Mr. Timothy, Louis Bayard, in the words of the Washington Post, has ascended to "the upper reaches of the historical-thriller league." A New York Times Notable author, he has been nominated for both the Edgar and Dagger awards and has been named one of People magazine's top authors of the year.
Bayard is also a nationally recognized essayist and critic whose articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Huffington Post. His other novels include Fool's Errand and Endangered Species. He is a contributor to the anthologies The Worst Noël and Maybe Baby (HarperCollins) as well as 101 Damnations (St. Martin's). He also teaches creative writing at ...
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