By Gaslight

By Gaslight Book Cover By Gaslight
Steven Price
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By Gaslight by Steven Price is a big book, over 700 pages, but don’t let that put you off. I’ve read lots of big books, and maybe you have, too, so you know what it’s like to pick one up and open its cover for the first time. There’s nothing in the world like opening a BIG book, reading those first few pages, and having that delicious tingling feeling that this is going to be a good one, and maybe it’s time to cancel those dinners and movie nights for the next week or two. You’re going to be somewhere else.

In this case, the book is set around the world – Chicago, South Africa, the battlefields of the Civil War, on board passenger ships – but mostly in London. This is Victorian London, Dickens’ London of murky taverns and fog-enshrouded walkways leading to sketchy rendezvous. It is so well described that you’ll feel you’ve lived it, complete with horrible smells and endless meals of nothing but meat.

The setting is a character in the book, but the real characters and their stories are the reason to keep reading. By Gaslight tells a fictional tale of William Pinkerton, son of the man who started the Pinkerton detective agency, and Edward Shade, a man who haunts William’s father. William has decided to follow a lead and go to London to find Shade and discover the secret to his father’s life-long torment. First, he has to find Charlotte, who sent him the lead, but when he finally comes close to her, she jumps off a bridge into the Thames. Why would she do that? Who is she, anyway, and what is her relationship with Shade? And who are these strange people who keep popping up: this Adam Foole, his alleged daughter, and his friend, a giant?

This is Victorian London, Dickens’ London of murky taverns and fog-enshrouded walkways leading to sketchy rendezvous.

Read on! It’s a big story that goes back and forth in time, between continents, between characters, between love and hate and everything in between. Price is an award-winning poet. He knows how to write a sentence, and now we know that he can also write a story.

steven price authorSteve Price is the author of two award-winning poetry books, Anatomy of Keys (2006), winner of the Gerald Lampert Award, and Omens in the Year of the Ox (2012), winner of the ReLit Award. His first novel, Into That Darkness, was published by Thomas Allen to acclaim in 2011. He lives in Victoria, B.C.

Lynn Thomson
Lynn reads mostly fiction: a mix of new and older books; a lot of Canadian; books for teens; classics. In non-fiction, she enjoys travel memoirs and natural history, but has been known to read the occasional history or science book just for fun.