A tale that combines swashbuckling adventure, a big dose of science fiction and burgeoning romance.” —USA Today
“Rich…studded with treats…beautifully written.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Sweeping, highly original and absorbing…Defies categorization.” —Dallas Morning News
"Kinky, Atmospheric." —Washington Post
The Barnes & Noble Review
Acclaimed director and playwright Gordon Dahlquist's unique debut novel is a shelf-bending (almost 800 pages!) tour de force that skillfully blends elements of historical mystery, suspense, romance/erotica, dark fantasy, and even science fiction.
Set in a world vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century Europe, the novel begins with a naïve would-be socialite named Celeste Temple receiving a letter from her fiancé, who informs her that their engagement is over. With no explanation whatsoever, her beau -- an up-and-coming figure in the Foreign Ministry named Roger Bascombe -- has regretfully ended the relationship and asked Miss Temple to never contact him again. The irrepressibly inquisitive Temple, however, decides to follow Bascombe after-hours and tails him to a remote country mansion, where she sneaks into a masquerade ball and witnesses young women -- apparently under the influence of a mysterious mind control device -- being violently assaulted and sexually brutalized. After barely escaping with her life, Temple eventually joins forces with a philosophical assassin and a royal doctor to try and somehow make sense of it all…
If Dahlquist's wildly ambitious debut were fast food, it would undoubtedly be supersized. Everything about The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters is massive -- from the daunting cast of characters to the multitude of subplots. Adventursome readers who like challenging story lines (like Hal Duncan's Vellum, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, et al.) will surely enjoy this genre-transcendent novel; mystery and suspense fans looking for a quick read should look elsewhere for their literary kicks. Paul Goat Allen
Debut novelist Dahlquist aims for a blockbuster with a mishmash of Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre and Eyes Wide Shut that never quite comes together. Three months after 25-year-old Celeste Temple travels from "her island" (a Bermuda-like place) plantation home to Victorian London, fiancé Roger Bascombe breaks their engagement. Driven more by curiosity than desire, she follows him from his job at the foreign ministry to Harschmort House, where, with little prodding, she quickly finds herself in silk undergarments at a ritual involving masked guests and two-way mirrors. Making her escape, Miss Temple (as she's called throughout) kills a henchman. Ceremony organizers pursue her as she pursues their secrets. Poetry-quoting assassin Cardinal Chang and diplomat Dr. Abelard Svenson come to her aid. Chang tries to save a half-Chinese prostitute; Abelard tries to save a governess named Elöise; Miss Temple discovers she is not the woman she thought she was, nor Roger the man she hoped for. Meanwhile, through science and alchemy, evildoers capture erotic memories and personal will in blue crystals. Dahlquist introduces so many characters, props and plot twists, near-death experiences and narrow escapes that the novel has the feel of a frantic R-rated classic comic book—if comics were arch. (Aug. 29)
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After her fiance terminates their engagement-by letter, no less-Celeste dons a disguise and follows him to murky Harschmort Manor, where big surprises await. This Victorian thriller, playwright Dahlquist's fiction debut, has been sold to 26 countries. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A bloated, wildly fanciful Edgar Allan Poe-esque tale, seemingly set in Victorian London, follows a jilted young woman's plucky resolve to get to the bottom of her fiance's mysterious disappearance. Miss Celestial Temple, a young woman of respectable means, receives an incomprehensible letter at her hotel from her intended, Roger Bascombe, abruptly ending their engagement-and she decides to follow him. It proves quite an adventure, taking Miss Temple on a curious train ride and depositing her in a sumptuous house equipped with a theater in which she witnesses strangely erotic experiments on women, while Bascombe and others watch from the gallery. Giving her name as Isobel Hastings, she is coerced into a masked ball and nearly raped trying to escape before managing to make her way back to the city. Meanwhile, a certain shady Cardinal Chang, so-called because of his red topcoat and Asian appearance, is hired to knock off Colonel Arthur Trapping, commander of the 4th Dragoons, who is already dead and disfigured by the time Chang gets to him. Numerous characters become absorbed in Trapping's murder, such as Doctor Abelard Svenson, who acts as the ward of a young, profligate, weak-willed prince, Karl-Horst van Maasmarck, engaged to be married, for political reasons, to Lord Vandaariff's daughter, Lydia. The prince vanishes inexplicably, and the doctor finds in his rooms two glass cards, the size of calling cards, through which several notable characters, namely Bascombe, can be viewed in revealing and intimate moving images. The plot travels perilously tortuous paths, as together Doctor Svenson, Miss Temple and Chang track missing characters whose names keep changing to confound thedefenseless reader. They are lured back to the theater, where a cabal of dangerous men possesses glass books into which people drain their minds. Way, way over the top.