Michael Irwin’s The Skull and the Nightingale is a chilling and deliciously dark, literary novel of manipulation and sex, intrigue and seduction, set in 18th-century England.
When Richard Fenwick returns to London, his wealthy godfather, James Gilbert, has an unexpected proposition. Gilbert has led a sedate life in Worcestershire, but feels the urge to experience, even vicariously, the extremes of human feeling: love, passion, and something much more sinister.
It becomes apparent that Gilbert desires news filled with tales of carousing, flirtation, excess, and London’s more salacious side. But Gilbert’s elaborate and manipulative “experiments” into the workings of human behavior soon drag Richard into a Faustian vortex of betrayal and danger where lives are ruined and tragedy is only a step away.
With echoes of Dangerous Liaisons, Michael Irwin’s The Skull and the Nightingale is an urgent period drama that seduces the senses.
|Product dimensions:||6.44(w) x 9.12(h) x 1.32(d)|
About the Author
Michael Irwin is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Kent in Canterbury, where he specialized in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature. His published work includes a full-length study of Fielding and essays on Defoe, Richardson, Sterne, Smollett, Johnson, and Pope. He lives in Kent, England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
AS FOR THE TITLE __ ?? I’m still not sure why the book is titled THE SKULL AND THE NIGHTINGALE. I was enticed into reading it by its ballyhooed press that promised a chilling, deliciously-dark, exciting look at filthy eighteenth-century London, along the lines of TOM JONES and LIAISONS DANGEREUSES; both of the latter I’d read and enjoyed. Certainly the author, Michael Irwin, seems qualified to come through with those promises, being an emeritus professor of English literature at the University of Kent in Canterbury, specializing in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature. At the outset, though, I found Irwin’s methodology of using letters as a means of forwarding the plot, with a lot of duplication in the text, more than a little disconcerting (whereas in the case in Bram Stoker’s DRACULA I’d enjoyed the letter inclusions). What’s more, rather than finding what I was reading in the least chilling or deliciously dark, I found it all rather mundane, rather like having picked up a book, thinking it was a gritty hard-nails detective novel, only to find I’d come across a cozy mystery. Granted, the book did pick up some steam toward the end. And, by the end, I found that I’d pleasantly enjoyed what I’d read, even if it hadn’t been what I’d expected, or was anything I’d have picked up had I known what I was going to get. It’s a book full of interesting things presented in far less interesting ways than live up to its potential.