- Sep 2017
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Paperback | Sep 2017 | XOUM | 9781925143775 | 416pp | 210x135mm | Forthcoming | GEN | AUD$24.99, NZD$29.99
In misty nineteenth-century Edinburgh a headstrong orphan girl is swept off to a hunting lodge and sacrificed to a mysterious figure – the lamplighter. Twenty years later four men – a religious academic, a colonel, a shady entrepreneur and a retired lighthouse keeper – are brutally murdered.
What monster is responsible? Is there a connection between the victims? And what of the anguished young woman who claims to have dreamed the murders in great detail, and repeatedly blames ‘the lamplighter’?
Leading the official investigation is Carus Groves, an ageing police inspector desperate to crack a sensational case. Leading the unofficial investigation are Thomas McKnight, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, and his young assistant, the Irish cemetery attendant Joseph Canavan.
Using reason, intuition, philosophy, and luck, these men race to solve the murders and unveil the source of Evelyn’s torment, and in so doing penetrate the very gates of Hell.
Praise for The Lamplighter by Anthony O'Neill
‘An awesome thriller. In terms of style alone, O’Neill’s book is in a class of its own. This is many books in one: a metaphysical exercise about the nature of dreams and the power of the mind; a Gothic horror story; and a brilliant description of the threadbare nature of middle-class Victorian Scotland.’ Glasgow Herald
‘[A] spellbinding tale of a soul divided. O’Neill is a masterful storyteller and has created characters embodying questions about good and evil, faith and fanaticism. But readers won’t pause too long to admire his erudition – the thrilling story will have them turning pages compulsively.’ Publishers Weekly
‘A disturbing novel that proves both timeless and timely, at once a chilling page-turner and a thought-provoking inquiry into the true nature of evil and the dangers of suppressing the imagination. O’Neill has a rare talent for at once frightening and enlightening readers. The Lamplighter comes to serve as a testament to the power of the imagination. Not least of which, his own.’ San Francisco Chronicle
‘Altogether brilliant. O’Neill’s novel is no mere whodunit. Lyrically written, it is a nuanced exploration of the power of imagination, and of the birth of evil out of the violation of innocence. In spots genuinely terrifying, it is throughout deeply, though quite unconventionally, religious.’ Philadelphia Inquirer
‘As terrifying as a child’s nightmares – and as wonderful as waking from them.’ Kirkus Reviews
‘A superior example of the craft.’ The Guardian
‘O’Neill’s verve never slackens. His narrative panache carries us nonchalantly over tests of our credulity. It is hard to think of another recent Australian novelist whose career has begun so flamboyantly and yet with such assurance.’ The Bulletin
‘Fractured and multi-layered. Gloriously unabashed about character. [The] research is witty and dynamic. O’Neill is a grand storyteller, adept at evoking evil and playing with ambivalence.’ The Age