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The Book of Air and Shadows: A Novel

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The Book of Air and Shadows: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780060874469
ISBN10: 0060874465
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A distinguished Shakespearean scholar found tortured to death...

A lost manuscript and its secrets buried for centuries...

An encrypted map that leads to incalculable wealth...

The Washington Post called Michael Gruber's previous work "a miracle of intelligent fiction and among the essential novels of recent years." Now comes his most intellectually provocative and compulsively readable novel yet.

Tap-tapping the keys and out come the words on this little screen, and who will read them I hardly know. I could be dead by the time anyone actually gets to read them, as dead as, say, Tolstoy. Or Shakespeare. Does it matter, when you read, if the person who wrote still lives?

These are the words of Jake Mishkin, whose seemingly innocent job as an intellectual property lawyer has put him at the center of a deadly conspiracy and a chase to find a priceless treasure involving William Shakespeare. As he awaits a killer — or killers — unknown, Jake writes an account of the events that led to this deadly endgame, a frantic chase that began when a fire in an antiquarian bookstore revealed the hiding place of letters containing a shocking secret, concealed for four hundred years. In a frantic race from New York to England and Switzerland, Jake finds himself matching wits with a shadowy figure who seems to anticipate his every move. What at first seems like a thrilling puzzle waiting to be deciphered soon turns into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, where no one — not family, not friends, not lovers — is to be trusted.

Moving between twenty-first-century America and seventeenth-century England, The Book of Air and Shadows is a modern thriller that brilliantly re-creates William Shakespeare's life at the turn of the seventeenth century and combines an ingenious and intricately layered plot with a devastating portrait of a contemporary man on the brink of self-discovery...or self-destruction.

Review:

"In this ingenious literary thriller from Gruber (The Witch's Boy), the lives of two men are changed forever by William Shakespeare and the letters of Richard Bracegirdle, a 16th-century English spy and soldier. Jake Mishkin, a Manhattan intellectual property attorney and a bit of a rake, goes on the run from Russian gangsters. Albert Crosetti, an aspiring filmmaker working for an antiquarian bookstore, finds that life is more exciting than movies — perhaps too exciting. Together, Mishkin and Crosetti travel to England in search of a previously unknown Shakespeare manuscript mentioned by Bracegirdle. Though the pace sometimes slows to allow Mishkin, Crosetti and Bracegirdle to divulge interesting aspects of their personal lives, these digressions only make the story more engaging. The suspense created around the double-crosses and triple-crosses works because of the close connection readers forge with Crosetti in particular. The mysterious murder of a Shakespearean scholar, shootouts in the streets of Queens and an unlikely romance all combine to make for a gripping, satisfying read." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"The plot summary...might seem like yet another rubbing of the grail were it not for Gruber's intelligence and engaging style....Gruber deftly raises the thriller stakes and accelerates the plot while still creating convincing personal journeys for his characters." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"[A] fast-moving and often hilarious tale about the usually torpid worlds of rare books and academia....A wonderful story with absolutely superb casting." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[F]ew [thrillers] will surpass The Book of Air and Shadows when it comes to energetic writing, compellingly flawed characters, literary scholarship, mathematical conundrums and that oh-so-necessary dose of comic relief." USA Today

Review:

"The end result is more ambitious and thoughtful than most potboilers....But The Book of Air and Shadows can't quite shake off its own cleverness....[E]ven a sliver of true emotion would have elevated this novel from good to great." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"[F]earless, intricate and intelligent....So what does Gruber's book have that something like The Da Vinci Code lacks? Well, stylish and confident prose, for starters....Gruber keeps the various juggling balls of his provocative tale high in the air." Seattle Times

Review:

"Gruber is a master of his material. He sidesteps the obvious risks with disparate plot lines, and his remain unmuddied and ultimately join together naturally." Denver Post

Review:

"Michael Gruber pulls out all the stops as an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse ensues....Keeping track of the convolutions gets maddening, but the payoff just about makes the effort worth it." Newsday

Review:

"[R]eaders will be fascinated by the book's 16th-century subplot, full of 'weighty matteres of faith & politicks,' bawdy pun-fests and other glimpses of the man Shakespeare may have been." Dallas Morning News

Synopsis:

Hidden in the binding of a charred and ruined book is a cache of letters. They are encrypted and the key to unlocking the mysterious code has been lost for 400 years. If the letters are read, they will lead to one of the most valuable items in the history of the world.

About the Author

Michael Gruber has been a marine biologist, a restaurant cook, a federal government official, and a political speechwriter. He lives in Seattle, Washington, and is currently at work on another novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Izabelle, July 5, 2007 (view all comments by Izabelle)
For anyone who is interested in the debate on Shakespeare's identity, this book is an entertaining ride. The best part of Gruber's writing is the totally odd, and in some cases, strangely endearing cast of characters that he has created.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Marie, June 20, 2007 (view all comments by Marie)
"The Book of Air and Shadows" is certainly in the Top 5 of books I've read in the last few years.

Gruber does a masterful job of tying together an intriguing plot which certainly took a fair amount of research. He is good with contemporary idiom, lacking the self-consciousness so many authors have about using cultural references.

The book moves along briskly and ties up pretty nicely without undue rush.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(14 of 24 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060874469
Author:
Gruber, Michael
Publisher:
William Morrow
Author:
by Michael Gruber
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Shakespeare, William
Subject:
Lost literature.
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Contemporary Thrillers
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
April 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.45 in 24.32 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Sale Books
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers

The Book of Air and Shadows: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 480 pages William Morrow & Company - English 9780060874469 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this ingenious literary thriller from Gruber (The Witch's Boy), the lives of two men are changed forever by William Shakespeare and the letters of Richard Bracegirdle, a 16th-century English spy and soldier. Jake Mishkin, a Manhattan intellectual property attorney and a bit of a rake, goes on the run from Russian gangsters. Albert Crosetti, an aspiring filmmaker working for an antiquarian bookstore, finds that life is more exciting than movies — perhaps too exciting. Together, Mishkin and Crosetti travel to England in search of a previously unknown Shakespeare manuscript mentioned by Bracegirdle. Though the pace sometimes slows to allow Mishkin, Crosetti and Bracegirdle to divulge interesting aspects of their personal lives, these digressions only make the story more engaging. The suspense created around the double-crosses and triple-crosses works because of the close connection readers forge with Crosetti in particular. The mysterious murder of a Shakespearean scholar, shootouts in the streets of Queens and an unlikely romance all combine to make for a gripping, satisfying read." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The plot summary...might seem like yet another rubbing of the grail were it not for Gruber's intelligence and engaging style....Gruber deftly raises the thriller stakes and accelerates the plot while still creating convincing personal journeys for his characters."
"Review" by , "[A] fast-moving and often hilarious tale about the usually torpid worlds of rare books and academia....A wonderful story with absolutely superb casting."
"Review" by , "[F]ew [thrillers] will surpass The Book of Air and Shadows when it comes to energetic writing, compellingly flawed characters, literary scholarship, mathematical conundrums and that oh-so-necessary dose of comic relief."
"Review" by , "The end result is more ambitious and thoughtful than most potboilers....But The Book of Air and Shadows can't quite shake off its own cleverness....[E]ven a sliver of true emotion would have elevated this novel from good to great."
"Review" by , "[F]earless, intricate and intelligent....So what does Gruber's book have that something like The Da Vinci Code lacks? Well, stylish and confident prose, for starters....Gruber keeps the various juggling balls of his provocative tale high in the air."
"Review" by , "Gruber is a master of his material. He sidesteps the obvious risks with disparate plot lines, and his remain unmuddied and ultimately join together naturally."
"Review" by , "Michael Gruber pulls out all the stops as an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse ensues....Keeping track of the convolutions gets maddening, but the payoff just about makes the effort worth it."
"Review" by , "[R]eaders will be fascinated by the book's 16th-century subplot, full of 'weighty matteres of faith & politicks,' bawdy pun-fests and other glimpses of the man Shakespeare may have been."
"Synopsis" by , Hidden in the binding of a charred and ruined book is a cache of letters. They are encrypted and the key to unlocking the mysterious code has been lost for 400 years. If the letters are read, they will lead to one of the most valuable items in the history of the world.
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