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The Book of Air and Shadows

by

The Book of Air and Shadows Cover

ISBN13: 9780061456572
ISBN10: 0061456578
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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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:

"Contrary to what you may have heard, the life of a book reviewer is not unending adventure. It's lots of speed-reading and sitting around in your bathrobe, trying to finish the next review while scouring the cupboard for more chocolate chips and wondering if that mole on your shoulder is looking weirder. Oh sure, 'There is no frigate like a book/ To take us lands away,' but give me a frigate break;... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

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:

"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]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:

"[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

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:

"[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:

"Smart and irreverent." Charlotte Observer

Review:

"Entertaining. A wild ride." Wichita Eagle

Review:

"Another one of [Gruber's] patently intricate thrillers." Entertainment Weekly

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.

Synopsis:

A fire destroys a New York City rare bookstore—and reveals clues to a treasure worth killing for. . . . A disgraced scholar is found tortured to death. . . . And those pursuing the most valuable literary find in history are about to cross from the harmless mundane into inescapable nightmare.

From the acclaimed, bestselling author of Tropic of Night comes a breathtaking thriller that twists, shocks, and surprises at every turn as it crisscrosses centuries, from the glaring violence of today into the dark shadows of truth and lies surrounding the greatest writer the world has ever known.

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:

Andrea McNally, February 6, 2011 (view all comments by Andrea McNally)
Every Shakespeare fan wishes the historical record were just a little more complete; so many questions, so few answers. Michael Gruber combines a compelling modern mystery story with just enough historical speculation [not too far out but certainly unexpected and thought-provoking; nothing about the second best bed] to appeal to both the Shakespeare fan and the Elizabethan history junkie. Very satisfying.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
redrockbookworm, July 22, 2008 (view all comments by redrockbookworm)
It appears that all writers are fascinated with the genre of "what if" fiction and Michael Gruber is no exception. In the Book of Air & Shadows he asks the reader "What if a couple of modern day antiquarian bookstore employees (Albert Crosetti and Carolyn Rolly)accidently discover letters and cyphers purportedly written by an intimate of William Shakespeare alluding to the existance of a hidden Shakespeare play written in the Bards own hand? Building on this first what if, he continues to tease us with more what if's. What if an Intellectual Property lawyer were to become involved in the question of potential ownership of the manuscript. (Is it really finders keepers). What if pursuit of the manuscript resulted in the brutal murder of a Shakespearan scholar? And so it goes.

In a chronicle liberally peppered with offbeat characters in unlikely situations, complex codes, and illuminating historical information, Gruber interweaves stories of detection, deception, and a few pithy observations, i.e. "We sometimes fall in love with unsuitable people, which is why Cupid carries a bow and arrows and not a clipboard with a stack of personality tests".

Suggestion: Before you begin this book, all prospective readers should get out their high school copy of the Canterbury Tales and read a couple of excerpts so that they are up to speed and prepared for the writing style put forth in the "Ciphered letters" and "The Bracegirdle Letters" chapters.

Air & Shadows would not be a contender for any literary awards, but in general, it is a satisfying read for a lazy afternoon.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061456572
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Gruber, Michael
Author:
by Michael Gruber
Publisher:
William Morrow Paperbacks
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Lost literature.
Subject:
Shakespeare, William
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
Personalityy
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Contemporary Thrillers
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
20080226
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.05 in 19.04 oz

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Sale Books
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

The Book of Air and Shadows Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 496 pages Harper Paperbacks - English 9780061456572 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 , "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]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 , "[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."
"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 , "[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 , "Smart and irreverent."
"Review" by , "Entertaining. A wild ride."
"Review" by , "Another one of [Gruber's] patently intricate thrillers."
"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.
"Synopsis" by , A fire destroys a New York City rare bookstore—and reveals clues to a treasure worth killing for. . . . A disgraced scholar is found tortured to death. . . . And those pursuing the most valuable literary find in history are about to cross from the harmless mundane into inescapable nightmare.

From the acclaimed, bestselling author of Tropic of Night comes a breathtaking thriller that twists, shocks, and surprises at every turn as it crisscrosses centuries, from the glaring violence of today into the dark shadows of truth and lies surrounding the greatest writer the world has ever known.

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