Summary and book reviews of Empire of Light by David Czuchlewski

Empire of Light

by David Czuchlewski

Empire of Light by David Czuchlewski
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2003, 236 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2005, 240 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Matt's ex-girlfriend is caught up in a cult. Trapped in the murky uncertainty of good and evil where even his own feelings are suspect, Matt must race to find her, and to uncover the true nature and power of the Empire of Light.

Matt Kelly is shocked when his ex-girlfriend Anna Barrett joins a shadowy organization known as Imperium Luminis--and disappears. As Matt researches Imperium Luminis, he finds himself both strangely attracted to the group's aspirations, and suspicious about their intentions. But when he begins to uncover some questionable practices, and becomes convinced that Imperium Luminis is actually a cult, Matt decides to persuade Anna that she has been deceived--even going so far as to pretend to join Imperium Luminis himself. But how can one pretend to join? Trapped in this murky uncertainty of good and evil, where truth twists into lies, where even his own feelings are suspect, Matt must race to find Anna, and to uncover the true nature, and the true power, of the Empire of Light.

CHAPTER ONE

WHEN I RECEIVED word that Anna Damiani Barrett was officially lost--lost, that is, for the first time--I was home for dinner with my parents. It was toward the end of the meal, my father already pushed back slightly from the table so that his large, tired body could unfurl in a slouch, my mother stacking plates and prodding the remains of the roast with the serving fork.

I drained the last of my beer and watched my father reach for his yellow legal pad. He ran his hand through his thick gray hair and considered the pad, on which he recorded, in the order of their occurring to him, matters that he needed to discuss with us. This was the phase of dinner in which plans were made, consensus reached. Anna had often remarked on the military atmosphere of the proceedings.

"He might as well have unfolded a map of Normandy on the table," Anna said to me once. "Your father is still the perfect soldier."

In many ways, she was right. My father maintained a humorless...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Critique Matt's relationship with Anna. Though Matt comes across as the stronger and more independent of the two for much of the story, his need for Anna is evident. Which of the two seems to rely on their relationship more?

  2. When Anna leaves Matt's apartment after staying there for the night, Matt realizes that he is more than just lonely. "Sitting in my messy apartment, awash in the television's purple light, I knew for sure that something was missing--certainly Anna, but also something larger that her presence and renewed absence had simply alerted me to." Matt continues to allude to something being missing throughout the novel. What is missing from Matt's life?

  3. From the start of Anna's involvement with ...
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

Kirkus Reviews

A major speed bump in an otherwise promising career. Is this actually Czuchlewski's first novel? It's tempting to think so.

Publishers Weekly

Czuchlewski is still a writer to watch, but this sophomore effort, with its winding narrative and passable prose, will likely disappoint fans of his debut.

Booklist - Brendan Dowling

Part psychological thriller and part meditation on the nature of faith, this smartly written novel should attract the interest of readers.

Library Journal

...a compelling, mystical mystery in which conspiracies intertwine like double helices...highly recommended.

Author Blurb Harriet Klausner
... a powerful, compelling and illuminating tale about real people searching for answers in an indifferent, at times, dangerous world.

Reader Reviews

Witch_book

I'm sure u'll enjoy reading this book.
The plot is excellent with artistic description.
that's really compelling.

Norman Ershler

I love David Czuchlewski's first book, The Muse Asylum, and looked forward to reading Empire of Light with much anticipation. Although interesting and readable, overall and in the end, it was disappointing and unsatisfying. For me to say exactly why...   Read More

Write your own review!

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!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Empire of Light, try these:

  • The 19th Wife jacket

    The 19th Wife

    by David Ebershoff

    Published 2009

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Sweeping and lyrical, spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with a modern murder mystery to create a novel of literary suspense.

  • Rumspringa jacket

    Rumspringa

    by Tom Shachtman

    Published 2007

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Rumspringa is a fascinating look at a little-known Amish coming-of-age ritual, the rumspringa - a period when Amish youth are allowed to live outside the bounds of their faith, experimenting with alcohol, premarital sex, trendy clothes, telephones, drugs, and wild parties. By allowing them such freedom, their parents hope they will learn enough to...

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Tender
    by Belinda McKeon
    Most of us have heard the slightly trite saying: "If you love something, set it free." But one can ...
  • Book Jacket
    All Tomorrow's Parties
    by Rob Spillman
    In this absorbing memoir, co-founder of Tin House magazine, Rob Spillman, recalls his artistic ...
  • Book Jacket: Strangers in Their Own Land
    Strangers in Their Own Land
    by Arlie Russell Hochschild
    Arlie Russell Hochschild's dive into the heart of Tea Party America is as good a glimpse of ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Sellout
by Paul Beatty

The first book by an American author to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Fifth Petal
    by Brunonia Barry

    Beloved author Brunonia Barry returns to the world of The Lace Reader with this spellbinding new thriller.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport

    A masterful retelling of the Russian Revolution from the author of The Romanov Sisters.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

The worst thing about reading new books...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.