The White Forest: A Novel

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The White Forest: A Novel

by Adam McOmber

Touchstone | September 11, 2012 | Hardcover

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In this hauntingly original debut novel about a young woman whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society, Adam McOmber uses fantastical twists and dark turns to create a fast-paced, unforgettable story.

Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation with the goal of discovering a strange hidden world, a place he calls the Empyrean.

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 3.64 × 2.46 × 0.39 in

Published: September 11, 2012

Publisher: Touchstone

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1451664257

ISBN - 13: 9781451664256

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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– More About This Product –

The White Forest: A Novel

by Adam McOmber

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 3.64 × 2.46 × 0.39 in

Published: September 11, 2012

Publisher: Touchstone

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1451664257

ISBN - 13: 9781451664256

About the Book

In the bestselling tradition of "The Night Circus" and Sarah Waters' "The Little Stranger," McOmber's hauntingly original debut novel follows a young woman in Victorian England whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society.

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 1 Hampstead Heath, 18— When Nathan Ashe disappeared from the ruined streets of Southwark, I couldn’t help but think the horror was, at least in part, my own design. I’d infected him, after all, filled him up with my so-called disease. The rank shadows and gaslight in the human warrens beyond Blackfriars Bridge did the rest. Madeline Lee, my dearest friend, would come to hate me for what I’d done. She said I ruined Nathan because of love, and that infecting him was my way of laying claim to his attentions. I couldn’t make her understand how he begged for it, begged me to touch him until he was changed. It wasn’t me—Jane Silverlake—he desired. He wanted the Empyrean, that improbable paradise, and I was its doorway. By the end, Nathan was no longer the boy we had adventures with on the Heath nor the young man who went to war in the Crimea. He grew to be half a human being and half some ancient and unnamed thing, and despite my warnings, we were all pulled into his hell, as if by the swift currents of an unseen river. I can see the three of us there in the Roman ruin of my father’s garden. It was a warm day in spring, two months before Nathan’s disappearance, and looking back, I realize he was already beginning to lose himself. The ruin was a folly, meant to resemble the baths of Emperor Diocletian, and the broken gods of Rome stared down at us from their high pedestals—regal Apollo with hands and forearms
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From the Publisher

In this hauntingly original debut novel about a young woman whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society, Adam McOmber uses fantastical twists and dark turns to create a fast-paced, unforgettable story.

Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation with the goal of discovering a strange hidden world, a place he calls the Empyrean.

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.

About the Author

Adam McOmber teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and is the associate editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika. Stories from his collection, This New and Poisonous Air, have been shortlisted for Best American Fantasy and nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in 2012. Visit AdamMcOmber.com.

Editorial Reviews

“What other novelist could take a Victorian gothic setting, the most obscure elements of medieval cosmology, a sinister secret society, and an old-fashioned love triangle to produce, in tautly elegant prose, something so delightful and utterly unique? The White Forest is much more than a novel: it is a magic lantern, casting dark and flickering pictures from other worlds. I wish I had written it myself.”
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