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Publisher's Summary

England, 1819. Two enigmatic Americans arrive in London and soon after, a bank collapses. A man is found dead on a building site; another goes missing in the teeming stews of Seven Dials. A deathbed vigil ends in an act of theft and a beautiful heiress flirts with her inferiors. A strange destiny links each of these events to the American boy Edgar Allen Poe, brought to England by his foster father and sent to the leafy village of Stoke Newington to be educated. Soon the intrigue enmeshes a poor schoolmaster, Thomas Shield, who struggles to understand what is happening before it destroys him and those he loves.
©2003 Andrew Taylor; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Jennings reads with such enormous variety that we are consumed by his characterizations....The listener becomes completely absorbed with the persona of the novel." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jayne on 09-06-08

Engrossing,historical mystery

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing is incredibly vivid and totally enthralling. It is a mystery, with many threads. It is not fast paced, but clues and details are gradually revealed until finally it all comes together at the end.
Much of the pleasure of the listen comes from the historical backdrop for the story. I love the details of life in the early 19th century. The author draws a fabulous picture of society, the social conventions, the dress and acceptable etiquette observed by the affluent through to the extreme poverty, filth and violence endured by the poor. Life in a boys school and the acceptability of thrashing and the apparent inevitability of bullying are also fascinating to hear about.
The narrator is quite wonderful too. He does a great job with portraying the various English, American and Irish accents of the characters and he really added to my enjoyment of the book.
I have to admit that the involvement of the schoolmaster throughout the story is at at times a little contrived but this did not detract from my enjoyment. The child Edgar Allen Poe does appear throughout the story and although he is integral to the tale, any child would have served to play the part just as well. So don't read this just because you are a fan of Poe, that may result in disappointment.
All in all a rich and vivid picture of early 19th century London, with a cleverly woven mystery to keep you guessing.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful


By Vivian on 07-12-05

Repeat of

Not word for word at first but the same plot and people. And finally the same words. So if you have bought "An Unpardonable Crime" dont get this.

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12 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By The Fool on 04-23-06

An absolute must

An exceptional book and recording. The reader is the best I have heard - and I'm a keen Audible fan! - and the plot very well constructed. What's the audio equivilent of 'un-put-downable'? This would be a great gift to someone not too sure if they wanted to go the audible route. It displays, so well, what a blast a well read audio book can be. So, I guess you can see I liked it!!

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21 of 22 people found this review helpful


By blueskythinker on 08-07-08

Excellent!!

This is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. The narrator does a great job and keeps the listener engrossed.
The plot weaves its way with many twists and turns. Although Edgar Allen Poe is a relatively minor character in the story, I have been inspired to find out more about his life as a result of listening to this.
This is a highly recommended book. It successfully combines a gripping crime story with a fascinating historical perspective.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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