Synopses & Reviews
For fans of Anne Rice, The Historian,
and The Night Circus,
an astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London.
1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England.
In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. The Quick will establish her as one of fiction’s most dazzling talents.
Named One of the Top 10 Literary Fiction Books of the Season by Publishers Weekly
"Though currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity, vampires as we know them are a Victorian invention: Dracula came out in 1897. Debut author Owen sets her seductive book in 1892, in a late-Victorian London with a serious vampire problem. And like her Victorian counterparts, Owen depicts a host of characters: there's shy, provincial poet James Norbury and his intrepid sister Charlotte; vampire hunters Adeline Swift and Shadwell; a rich American in danger; and Augustus Mould, who researches vampire myth and fact on behalf of the vampires, and who's as warm and friendly as his name suggests. The vampire world is divided: the elite men of the Aegolius club coexist, not happily, with a ragged band of underclass undead. The book's pleasures include frequent viewpoint shifts that require readers to figure out how each character fits into the story, new riffs on vampire rituals and language, plus several love affairs, most of which are doomed. And there's plenty of action Mould's research, the clubmen's recruitment efforts, escalating battles between vampires and vampire hunters and among the vampires, and Charlotte's efforts to save James. Though the book has an old-fashioned, leisurely pace, which might cause some reader impatience, Owen's sentence-by-sentence prose is extraordinarily polished a noteworthy feat for a 500-page debut and she packs many surprises into her tale, making it a book for readers to lose themselves in. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“[A] creepy debut...a thrilling tale....This book will give you chills even on a hot day.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
“An intricate, sinister epic...an impressive fea....Owen proves a master at anticipating readers’ thoughts about future happenings and then crumbling them into dust. Her world building is exceptional, and readers will simultaneously embrace and shrink from the atmosphere’s elegant ghastliness.” Booklist
“An elegantly written gothic epic...Owen’s soaring imagination and her light-handed take on magic save this story from being either obvious or boring....The journey from one genre to another is satisfying and surprisingly fresh.” Kirkus Reviews
“An intriguing blend of historical, gothic, and supernatural fiction....[The Quick features] wonderful atmospheric writing.” Library Journal
“Owen has created an intricate world in which the reader feels a part. Take the trip, if you dare, into a luscious Victorian London rendered by a gifted young British writer who seems weaned on equal parts Sherlock Holmes, Buffy Summers and Harry Potter.” Shelf Awareness
About the Author
Lauren Owen studied English Literature at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, before completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she received the 2009 Curtis Brown prize for the best fiction dissertation. The Quick is her first novel. She lives in Durham, England.