'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
Like the love child of Dickens and Conan Doyle, but funnier than both — Liz Nugent, author of LYING IN WAIT
Rarely does a writer stop you so fully in your tracks — Sunday Independent on THE MAKER OF SWANS
The prose in O'Donnell's first novel is glorious, combining an ear for deep cadences of language with a phenomenal acuity of vision ... O'Donnell is clearly a major talent — GUARDIAN on THE MAKER OF SWANS
Truly bewitching — David Mitchell on THE MAKER OF SWANS
A page-turner in the very best sense of the term ... a deeply pleasurable gothic fantasy — Financial Times on THE MAKER OF SWANS
Lavishly entertaining, strange and captivating — INDEPENDENT on THE MAKER OF SWANS
Enthralling ... a literary feast — Stylist on THE MAKER OF SWANS
Compulsive reading . . . rich, strange, beautiful — Helen Macdonald, author of H IS FOR HAWK on THE MAKER OF SWANS
I devoured this book ... Line by line, Paraic's writing contains some of the most beautifully turned phrasing I've read in a long while — Laura Barnett, author of VERSIONS OF US, on THE MAKER OF SWANS
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