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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In his first year at Trinity College, a new life beckons Niall Lenihan, a life brimming with unimaginable promise and excitement, a world away from his parents' drafty Victorian house and his childhood adventures. But as Niall begins to navigate the Dublin streets and Trinity's hallowed halls, he finds himself drawn to two fellow students. Reclusive, mysterious, and maddeningly unapproachable, John and Sarah have little interest in befriending Niall. Niall persists, however, and quickly discovers that the pair belongs to a secret literary cult. In bizarre, séance-like episodes, they consult texts from Joyce to The Irish Times, Walt Whitman to Agatha Christie, asking questions and believing with absolute certainty that the answers can be found in randomly chosen passages.
Reluctantly, John and Sarah allow Niall to join their sessions, and what began as an amusing diversion quickly turns sinister and threatening. Eventually, Niall's involvement in the cult uncovers a world -- from books to email to text messages -- that leads to madness and obsession, a world he is disinclined to leave. With Dublin as a vivid and lively backdrop, McCrea has crafted a debut novel of elegant dexterity and psychological acuity. Smart, enthralling, and darkly humorous, The First Verse is a thrilling page-turner that subverts our notions of literary parlor games and serves as a reminder of the power and magic of the written word. (Fall 2005 Selection)