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Edgar Allan Poe and the Empire of the Dead

Pegasus Books (5 May 2020 HB)

OneWorld Publications (31 October 2019)

"The ominous prologue of the terrific concluding volume of Street’s Poe trilogy (after 2018’s Edgar Allan Poe and the Jewel of Peru) takes place in Baltimore in October 1849, just days before the real Poe died. Poe has a vision of his dead wife and an apothecary dispensing poison, which reveals the truth about how he “had finally been murdered and by whom.”" "Street fulfills the promise of the tantalizing opening with a twisty and nail-biting plot. Fans of other superior fictional treatments of Poe will be enthralled." (Publishers Weekly,  starred review)

"In a brisk, vivid narrative that includes magic, alchemy, metempsychosis (the transfer of souls between bodies), and the pain of loss, Street details new life for Dupin, and for Poe, a reunion with his beloved. Superlative historical mystery, capturing the tone of the time and Poe’s lasting literary legacy." (Michele Leber, Booklist ⭐ starred review) 

"Edgar Allan Poe essentially invented the detective story in 1841, with the first of his tales involving the French investigator C. Auguste Dupin. The premise of Karen Lee Street’s series of Poe-narrated novels—the latest being Edgar Allan Poe and the Empire of the Dead—is that Dupin was a real person and a close friend of Poe’s, and that the two shared several adventures. Ms. Street evokes Poe’s unique sensibility through passages of inspired prose, in a narrative that preserves the spooky penumbra surrounding Poe’s enduring legend.”(Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal)

Edgar Allan Poe and the Empire of the Dead is a brilliant historical whodunit. The prose is perfectly Poe—at once drenched with wonder and dread. Poe’s presentation as a wounded, sorrowful, intelligent, and complicated man is believable and alluring. The story’s opening is a cataclysm of promise. It’s a promise that is kept by the twisty, surprising, and suspense-filled plot, not to mention the perfect climax that answers every question with style. Empire of the Dead is everything a reader of traditional mysteries or an admirer of Edgar Allan Poe could possibly want. (Benjamin Boulden, Mystery Scene Magazine

Imagine that you are looking at Poe’s world through a Victorian stereoscope, aka viewfinder. Historical happenings, places, and events are brought to life…” “It is a feast for all the senses; Karen Lee Street is a painter with a palette of exciting, unusual, and provocative words.” “It is noteworthy that C. Auguste Dupin is Poe’s fictional creation and “the original model for the detective in literature. Edgar Allan Poe and the Empire of the Dead is a historical mystery that will entice readers into exploring Paris’s magical, mysterious past and will no doubt eventually lead them to revisit Poe’s literary masterpieces.” (Janet Webb, Criminal Element)

"The reader is taken on a dark and dangerous journey through 19th century Paris, experiencing the less salubrious parts of Paris populated by villains and cutpurses aplenty, the catacombs that run beneath the City of Light, as well as gatherings of high society and the literati of Paris. The twists and turns of the plot are cunningly weaved, and Street’s expertly crafted prose and dialogue could easily have come from the pen of Poe himself. I really enjoyed this novel, found it very easy to get into (I do sometimes find period-style writing to be difficult to warm to), and genuinely didn’t want to put it down. I found myself emotionally invested into Poe and Dupin’s battle against their respective nemeses and even though I’d not read the previous books in this series, I was able to get straight into the story. Whether you’re a fan of Poe himself, or just detective stories, this is one series to get onto your book shelf (or e-book reader of choice)." (Matthew Johns, British Fantasy Society 

“We are in the realm of magical realism, where the fictional Dupin is made flesh and blood, and where, through the transmigration of souls, or metempsychosis, both the good and the evil are able to cheat death – though a weaker or needier person always pays." "Just as in Poe’s own story “Valdemar”, which he published without immediately enlightening those who read it as a factual account, the author plays with the reader in the most intriguing ways. Who really is Dupin’s enigmatic housekeeper Mme. Morel, and is the Great Berith simply a showman, an accomplished magician or someone much more sinister? A gripping read, and a worthy homage to Poe’s genius.” (Katherine Mezzacappa, Historical Novel Society)

"This is a wonderful and imaginative climax to Karen Lee Street’s trilogy featuring Edgar Allan Poe, novelist, poet, editor and critic, a central figure of American literature and regarded by many as the inventor of detective fiction.In an exciting and wonderfully atmospheric read." "Street’s superb evocation of 19th century Paris and a clever, twisty and positively Gothic plot takes Poe to some very dark places, both in the literal and psychological sense.  It is beautifully constructed with some positively lush prose and all the suspense, unease, darkness, violence and treachery one would expect of Poe himself. Not only a good read, but also incredibly poignant as well." (John Cleal, Crime Review)

"This is, like the author’s two earlier books, extremely clever in the writing and the plotting. With its postmodern ironic playfulness and the intertextual weaving of Poe’s own life and Poe’s fiction, it is a highly intellectual contribution to crime fiction. And a great read as well. Recommended." (Radmila May, Mystery People)

"The most important thing about a whodunnit, in whatever sub-genre, is that it should be a page-turner, which this is. But it also helps to have engaging characters and a fluent writing style, as this does. Our narrator’s voice is not pastiche Poe but does sound a completely credible voice for someone of his time and place." (Sheenagh Pugh, Poet, novelist, blogger)

"The plot unfolds in a series of juicy set pieces." "The duo’s search takes them to the catacombs, the Grand Guignol, and a bizarre puppet theater. The third co-starring vehicle for Poe and the detective he created is a juicy gothic potboiler." (Kirkus

"A heady mix of the macabre and enigmatic." (History Revealed Magazine)


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