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The American Boy
 
 

The American Boy [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Taylor
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description

Review

‘Hugely entertaining, beguiling and atmospheric’ Observer (Books of the Year)

'A wonderful book, richly composed and beautifully written, an enthralling read from start to finish' The Times (Top Ten Crime Novels of the Decade)

'Creates an atmosphere close to Sarah Waters' Fingersmith … Deeply absorbing and beautifully written' Independent

'A most artful and delightful book, that will both amuse and chill, and it will have you desperate to search out a quiet corner to continue your acquaintance with it' Daily Telegraph (Books of the Year)

Product Description

The No.1 bestseller and award-winning Richard & Judy Book Club pick. An atmospheric and deeply absorbing literary historical crime classic - available for the first time as an ebook.

England 1819: Thomas Shield, a new master at a school just outside London, is tutor to a young American boy and the child’s sensitive best friend, Charles Frant. Helplessly drawn to Frant’s beautiful, unhappy mother, Thomas becomes entwined in their family’s affairs.

When a brutal murder takes place in London’s seedy backstreets, it is not certain who either the victim or the killer is. But all clues seem to lead back to the Frant household, and Shield is tangled in a web of lies, money, sex and death that threatens to tear his new life apart.

And what of the strange American boy at the heart of these macabre events – what is the dark secret of young Edgar Allan Poe?


Product details


More About the Author

Andrew Taylor is a British crime and historical novelist, winner of the Cartier Diamond Dagger (for lifelong excellence in the genre) and many other awards. His books include the international bestseller, The American Boy (a Richard and Judy selection); the Roth Trilogy (filmed for TV as Fallen Angel); The Anatomy of Ghosts, shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year; and The Scent of Death, winner of the CWA Historical Dagger.

He is the author of two Kindle Singles, both ghost stories - Broken Voices; and, most recently, The Leper House.

He lives on the borders of England and Wales. He is the Spectator's crime fiction reviewer.

For more information about Andrew Taylor and his books, see: www.andrew-taylor.co.uk

Follow on twitter: @andrewjrtaylor

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The American Boy is an enthralling tale that takes place in 19th century London. Thomas Shield is a schoolmaster, who, in the course of his duties, meets two young boys: Charles Frant and Edgar Allan. Through these boys, Mr. Shields is introduced to London's high society and in particular, two wealthy banking families: the Frants and Carswells. Shield is immediately attracted to the striking Mrs. Frant and Miss Carswell. But two murders propel the story forward to its unexpected, terrifying conclusion.

The author's fluid prose and authentic 19th century language is totally captivating. One gets immediately transported to the past unlike other historical novels. Don't get fooled: the story is about Thomas Shield's narrative account of the Wavenhoe banking family and the murder or disappearance of Mr. Henry Frant, not Edgar Allan Poe. The boy, who later becomes the famous mystery writer, is only peripheral character, and yet his actions, subtle as they are, actually affect the course of events. Taylor uses this technique brilliantly. Furthermore, the author's deft use of other historical events, such as the Banking crisis and the War of 1812, as well as an authentic portrayal of the notorious London slums make for a satisfying and gritty novel.
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148 of 152 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 500 pages of escapism bliss ! Buy it ! 20 April 2005
Format:Paperback
Here's another book I only read because it was on the list of 10 books nominated for a Best Read Award on Richard and Judy. The author was new to me and I was also not in the habit of reading historical fiction. So this book was a wonderful surprise and having read it I could fully understand all the praise heaped upon it.
Once I began it was hard to put the book down.This is almost 500 pages of escapism bliss as Taylor's beautifully told tale slowly unfolds. It's a hybrid of historical and crime fiction that is incredibly atmospheric of nineteenth century London. The novel it most reminds me of,if you want a pointer, is Wilkie Collins' "Woman in White" and the fact that I compare it to that great classic shows how highly I think of this book.If you like Wilkie Collins or maybe even Charles Dickens you will love this book.
I see no point in revealing any details of the intricate plot as I'm sure any literate reader will be quickly gripped by Thomas Shield's quest.I will,however,say that I was pleased with the conclusion of the book, which is not one of those banal denouements where all the loose ends are miraculously tidied up and everyone lives happily ever after.
If you are looking for an engrossing and pleasurable read you cannot possibly go wrong with this book. I can guarantee that you will be enthralled and perhaps a bit sad that it isn't even longer !
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars almost riveting enough to pull a sickie for 26 Jan 2006
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I hadn't seen any hype or reviews or indeed the blessed R&Judy when I bought this book - it just looked intriguing. I was utterly swept away by it and couldn't put it down. I found myself reading until 3am, and was glad of a day off as otherwise I would have been tempted to pull a sickie to finish it. The atmosphere, the story-telling, the landscapes, the descriptions: all were wonderful, and definitely reminiscent of the brilliant Wilkie Collins. Rarely has a book grabbed my attention and caught me up so dramatically as this one did.
BUT - and this is a big but - it all fell apart at the end. The unravelling of the plot was needlessly confusing and over-involved, and I felt deeply disappointed. I also felt not enough was made of Edgar Allan Poe - I was really expecting a final Poe-esque twist involving burials alive, or ravens, or something similar.
So - almost brilliant, but too complicated by half at the end. I wondered if he'd actually plotted the book, or whether after writing most of it he suddenly found himself having to come up with a solution to the mystery and couldn't find his way out.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hugely entertaining.... 8 Dec 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a real page turner. I was hooked straight away! Sometimes I had to turn back a few pages and double check what had happened, not because the book was confusing but because I was so eager to discover the next part of the tale that I was not really concentrating on detail, which turns out to be important. The characters were easy to connect with and Thomas Shields quest was so intruiging that I could not put this book down.
Definitely recommended reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Enjoyable 28 Sep 2007
By Fiona
Format:Paperback
After reading the Roth trilogy by the same author, I felt suddenly bereft of a good book - so I turned to this book to fill a hole. The problem is that I have now finished it and there is yet another hole for me to fill.

The American Boy is superbly written. The style of writing matches that of someone from the early 19th Century which makes the whole thing even more compelling. You will be sucked back in time by Thomas Shield - the first person narrator of this book. I think that is part of the beauty of it.

Andrew Taylor has a wonderful ability to take you to unfamiliar territory but in the most subtle and elegant way make it seem familiar and intimate.

It is not a very fast paced novel, or a very slow one. The beginning could be seen as a slow one but I am not the kind of person who needs to enter a book running, so it doesn't bother me very much. I found the style and narration beautiful and also curious. I enjoyed the characters and the setting.

A brilliant book that begins slowly and then quickly snowballs into a completely satisfying climax. I would recommend.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Edgar Alan Poe
An atmospheric novel set in London of 1819 .
A strange mystery featuring a young man by the name of Thomas Shield and an adventure commencing in London of 1819. Read more
Published 17 days ago by David Ford
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
Read this before as a paperback fantastic book highly recommend. Once you pick it up try to put it down your draw in from the first page.
Published 5 months ago by Sylvia Markham
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Brilliantly written, well plotted tale of love, intrigue, deception and murder. At times I thought I was reading a dickens novel. My first Taylor novel and I'll be reading more.
Published 6 months ago by euge
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow to get going.
For the first three quarters of the book you are treated to an interesting yet rather humdrum view of late Georgian life in London and the the book simply takes off. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Adrian
4.0 out of 5 stars American boy
Loved it so much detail . Made you think it was all going on around you , the smells on the street , the weather , the clothes , all in all a great read
Published 8 months ago by linda chung
2.0 out of 5 stars The American Boy
I found that I didn't care what happened to any of the characters. I started reading this book when it came out at first, but never finished it. This was my second attempt. Read more
Published 10 months ago by jimmcsheffrey
5.0 out of 5 stars murder mystery
This is much more than a 19th century murder mystery. I thought initially that the book was about Edgar Alan Poe but he is a small but integral part of the whole. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs Lofts
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best
The term 'page-turner' is a grossly over-used term, but not in this case. I was able to put it down to eat and sleep, but certainly didn't find it easy. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Spanish Flyer
5.0 out of 5 stars The American Boy
The book was a present for my husband. He had already read it from the library but wanted a copy to keep. He is rereading it and thoroughly enjoying it again. Read more
Published 17 months ago by M. Gunnell
3.0 out of 5 stars Contrived
Although the book was well written, it did not hit the spot for me. The plot was too influenced by the historical link.
Published on 8 Feb 2012 by Bedtime reader
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