Apologies for the very long silence whilst in the throes of
writing, editing, proofreading, and participating in various stages of the production of...
Edgar Allan Poe and the Empire of the Dead !
The last novel in the Poe & Dupin sleuthing trilogy has just been published by Point Blank Books in the U.K., with a press date of 🎃💀 31 October 2019 💀🎃—
which is very appropriate given (a good deal of) the novel’s setting, and the notion in folklore that from 31 October to 2 November, the Dead can communicate with us when we are dreaming.
Here is the book blurb as it's a bit difficult to read in the photo:
“And I prayed that I would find a way to tell my most honourable friend, the Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin, the truth about how I had finally been murdered and by whom.”
Summer, 1849. When Edgar Allan Poe travels to Paris to help his dear friend hunt down the elusive criminal who brought the Dupin family to ruin during the French Revolution, the sleuthing duo are engaged by the prefect of police to recover the stolen letter of an infamous Parisian salonnière. Is the thief one of the French literary greats who attend her salons, or might it be Dupin’s own enemy who is scheming to become the Emperor of France? Poe and Dupin are quickly embroiled in a deadly cat and mouse game that takes them to the treacherous tunnels of the city’s necropolis, where few who venture into the notorious Empire of the Dead manage to return from the darkness…
The third in the author’s critically acclaimed Edgar Allan Poe series, Empire of the Dead is a thrilling historical mystery about alchemy, mesmerism and magic, the shadows of the past and the endurance of love.
Very pleased with the Pointblank book cover, a nice end to a lovely looking trilogy.
And Pegasus Books, who publish the series in the USA, have a May 2020 publication date slated and a very intriguing cover in development. Netgalley readers who enjoyed the first two novels, keep an eye peeled.
The other activity that has kept me overly busy this year is travel in the name of research and a bit of book promotion, including trips to Mintaro and Adelaide, Australia; Dublin; London; and Manchester for the Gothic festival. An interesting question was raised in each of those locations:
Does one need to know about Edgar Allan Poe’s life or his writing in order to ‘get’ the trilogy?
The answer is an emphatic NO!
While many reviews note that the books should appeal to fans of Poe-- and I very much hope they do-- I’ve found that readers who have particularly enjoyed the novels knew that Edgar Allan Poe was a writer of poetry (notably “The Raven”); a number of macabre tales; and a few detective stories featuring C. Auguste Dupin, but little more than that. Those who have particularly enjoyed the books include readers who favour genres such as literary fiction; historical fiction; Gothic tales; historical mysteries; folkloric and uncanny tales; literary crime and, of course, fans of Poe’s works.
Knowing Poe’s stories adds a bit of fun to the reading, particularly with the hidden references to his works in The London Monster, but getting those references is not at all necessary in order to understand the characters or to follow the plot.
I was delighted to have this notion confirmed during a wonderful chat with the ‘He-men Epicurian Book Club’, a group of “men who read” based in New Orleans who take turns hosting convivial evenings of fine food and wine as they discuss their monthly book club selection. Jewel of Peru (book II) was their September 2019 pick and knowledge of Poe and his works varied within the group, but happily all enjoyed the book. I had a terrific phone chat with the group and was particularly delighted by how much they liked the characterisation of Poe’s wife, Virginia. Some day I hope to get to New Orleans, perhaps to talk about Empire of the Dead with them.
The other thing I should mention as it's come up in with chats with readers - the books work as stand alone novels, or should as I tried very hard to make that the case (as did my copy editor!) But of course reading the entire trilogy will add another layer as the characters change through their adventures and as time passes...
That's all for now. More news very soon!