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"There are few living writers who can take us back in time so assuredly, with such sensual density, through such gorgeous sentences. Joseph O’Connor is a wonder, and Shadowplay is a triumph." (Peter Carey, twice winner of the Booker Prize)
"Joseph O’Connor is a very great artist and storyteller. The quotient of enjoyment in his extraordinary new novel is stupendous" (Sebastian Barry)
"Wonderful. The writing is beautiful." (Derek Jacobi)
"A hugely entertaining and atmospheric novel, one can almost smell the greasepaint" (Deborah Moggach)
"A thrilling novel, exquisitely contrived to show the characters whose loves and lives inspired Dracula. A great tribute, and a work of art. Deeply affecting." (Essie Fox)
From the Inside Flap
1878: The Lyceum Theatre, London. Three extraordinary people begin their life together, a life that will be full of drama, transformation, passionate and painful devotion to art and to one another. Henry Irving, the Chief, is the volcanic leading man and impresario; Ellen Terry is the most lauded and desired actress of her generation, outspoken and generous of heart; and ever following along behind them in the shadows is the unremarkable theatre manager, Bram Stoker.
Fresh from life in Dublin as a clerk, Bram may seem the least colourful of the trio but he is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the London streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. But the Chief is determined that nothing will get in the way of his manager's devotion to the Lyceum and to himself. And both men are enchanted by the beauty and boldness of the elusive Ellen.
This exceptional novel explores the complexities of love that stands dangerously outside social convention, the restlessness of creativity, and the experiences that led to Dracula, the most iconic supernatural tale of all time.
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