'Ladies and gentlemen, the darkness is complete.' It is the winter of 1893, and in London the snow is falling.
It is falling as Gideon Bliss seeks shelter in a Soho church, where he finds Angie Tatton lying before the altar. His one-time love is at death's door, murmuring about brightness and black air, and about those she calls the Spiriters. In the morning she is gone.
The snow is falling as a seamstress climbs onto a ledge above Mayfair, a mysterious message stitched into her own skin. It is falling as she steadies herself and closes her eyes. It is falling, too, as her employer, Lord Strythe, vanishes into the night, watched by Octavia Hillingdon, a restless society columnist who longs to uncover a story of real importance.
She and Gideon will soon be drawn into the same mystery, each desperate to save Angie and find out the truth about Lord Strythe. Their paths will cross as the darkness gathers, and will lead them at last to what lies hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.
Read by Charles Armstrong
(p) Orion Publishing Group 2018
Paraic O'Donnell is a writer of fiction, poetry and criticism. His essays and reviews have appeared in the Guardian, The Spectator, the Irish Times and elsewhere. His first novel, THE MAKER OF SWANS, was named the Amazon Rising Stars Debut of the Month for February 2016 and was shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards in the Newcomer of the Year category. He lives in Wicklow, Ireland with his wife and two children.
The most vivid and compelling portrait of late Victorian London since The Crimson Petal and the White — Sarah Perry, author of THE ESSEX SERPENT
Clever and funny and exquisitely disturbing, an utter joy — Joanna Cannon
I'm not completely sure what the word 'rollicking' means, but I can personally guarantee that The House on Vesper Sands is a rollicking good read. For a novel about grief, estrangement, and the literal stealing of vulnerable young women's souls, this book is a lot more fun than it has any right to be. Paraic O'Donnell's sheer love of his characters is exuberant and infectious; the dialogue crackles with verve and wit, and the plotting is as intricately satisfying as a heavy pocket watch. The setting may be Victorian , but in modern parlance this novel is an absolute banger — Jon McGregor, author of RESERVOIR 13
The House on Vesper Sands is tremendously good - and tremendously good fun" — THE OBSERVER
A mash-up of Victoria Gothic and fantasy, this is huge fun. — DAILY MAIL
A compelling, darkly funny portrait of late Victorian London, and focuses on crimes with a supernatural flavour — Observer, '50 Biggest Books of Autumn 2018'
An immersive and darkly entertaining story of love, loss and lies set in a vividly realised Victorian London — iNews, 'Best 19 Books for Autumn 2018'
Witty, immersive, chock full of atmosphere and setting (hello Victorian London), three-dimensional characters, an addictive plot and snappy dialogue, The House On Vesper Sands has everything you want it in a novel. If you're stuck for a book to buy this Christmas, then this could well be it. — Stylist
A rollocking romp through the dark alleys and gaslit streets of Victorian London ... Spine-tinglingly spooky with a touch of Dickens and also properly funny, this is the perfect Halloween read — Red magazine
Like the love child of Dickens and Conan Doyle, but funnier than both — Liz Nugent, author of LYING IN WAIT
Mysterious, unsettling and eerily lovely ... Perfect for fans of The Wicked Cometh and The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock. I adored it — Melinda Salisbury, author of THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER
An atmospheric, moving, creepy and very funny story with one of the great fictional detectives — Linda Grant, author of THE DARK CIRCLE
Reading this terrific Victorian-set mystery was the most fun I've had in ages. It unfolds so thrillingly and cleverly. Do not miss — The Bookseller, Editor’s Choice
I am giddy with love for The House on Vesper Sands. It is spooky and atmospheric and superbly drawn, absolutely jammed with brilliant characters and so funny — Jenny Landreth, author of SWELL