WINNER: NOVEL OF THE YEAR, An Irish Post Book AwardsShadowplay by New York Times best-selling author, Joseph O'Connor, is set during the golden age of West End theater in a London shaken by the crimes of Jack the Ripper.
A Five Books Best Historical Fiction Book of 2020
Henry Irving is Victorian London's most celebrated actor and theater impresario. He has introduced groundbreaking ideas to the theater, bringing to the stage performances that are spectacular, shocking, and always entertaining. When Irving decides to open his own London theater with the goal of making it the greatest playhouse on earth, he hires a young Dublin clerk harboring literary ambitions by the name of Bram Stoker to manage it. As Irving's theater grows in reputation and financial solvency, he lures to his company of mummers the century's most beloved actress, the dazzlingly talented leading lady Ellen Terry, who nightly casts a spell not only on her audiences but also on Stoker and Irving both. Bram Stoker's extraordinary experiences at the Lyceum Theatre,
his early morning walks on the streets of a London terrorized by a serial killer, his long, tempestuous relationship with Irving, and the closeness he finds with Ellen Terry, inspire him to write DRACULA
, the most iconic and best-selling supernatural tale ever published.
A magnificent portrait both of lamp-lit London and of lives and loves enacted on the stage, Shadowplay
's rich prose, incomparable storytelling, and vivid characters will linger in readers' hearts and minds for many years.
"Funny, smart, tender, wise."--Colum McCann, author of Apeirogon
"Joseph O'Connor's magnificent novel does even more than fly, it soars."--Michael Dirda, The Washington Post FINALIST 2019 COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR, FINALIST 2020 DALKEY LITERARY AWARD, 2020 WALTER SCOTT PRIZE