25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
PART ENGLISH HISTORY...PART ENGLISH HISTORY...,
This review is from: The Meaning of Night (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful, highly stylized work of historical fiction. Those with a penchant for Victorian literature will appreciate this book, as it is written in the style of the period with a great deal of thought given to detail. The book begins as a presentation to the reader by a University of Cambridge Professor of a manuscript discovered in the Cambridge library among some papers. As such, the professor has added many footnotes that serve to illuminate some of the historical and literary allusions and references interspersed throughout the book. This was a literary contrivance that I very much enjoyed, both as a history buff and avid bibliophile. The overall concept is really that of a book within a book.
The manuscript purports to be a confession of sorts, as it tells a story of friendship, betrayal, and revenge, revealing a secret that had a profound impact on those whose lives it touched. After reading just the first sentence, I was hooked, as the story begins with a cold-blooded murder. Set in Victorian England, the story is told by an Edward Glyver, who is seeking to avenge himself on Phoebus Rainsford Daunt, a childhood friend whom he met while they were students at Eton. While at Eton, a wrong was done to Edward that would mark him forevermore.
The book offers a myriad of interesting characters and relationships that shaped Edward Glyver. The book is also rife with intrigues, coincidences, and secrets that deliciously unfold bit by bit, drawing the reader into the spider web of deceit that surrounds Edward Glyver, deceits that he is discovering and trying to unravel. The forces of good and evil are at work here, but who is good and who is evil is left for the discerning reader to determine, although such a determination is not always so black and white.
Peppered with memorable characters, as well as a gripping plot, this is a well-written book that will keep the reader riveted to its pages as the plot thickens. While some of the plot is predictable, despite its many twists and turns, I still found myself barely able to put the book down, so I can do nothing less than to highly recommend this immensely readable book.
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Initial post: 21 Mar 2010 11:49:13 GMT
T. Jones says:
Michael Cox clearly knows his Victorian fiction - aside from the sexuality this book could almost have been written by Wilkie Collins. I have just bought his second novel "The Glass uf Time" and have high hopes for that too. Reading "The Meaning of Night" sent me back to my old Wilkie Collins books which I have been re-reading with pleasure. I was very sorry to read that Michael Cox died in 2009, my sympathy to his family and my regret that there won't be any more of these excellent novels. Another novelist with a similar style is Warwick Collins, I can recommend his novels "The Rationalist" and "The Marriage of Souls"
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