Longlisted for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize
No. 1 National Bestseller
Globe and Mail's "20 Books to Read in 2016," Maclean's bestseller, Toronto Star bestseller, Ottawa Citizen's "Best on the Shelf," Huffington Post's "Best Fall 2016 Books," Publishers Weekly "Books of the Week," National Post bestseller, Vanity Fair 2016 "Must Read Books of the Fall"
"A dark tale of love, betrayal and murder that reaches from the slums of Victorian London to the diamond mines in South Africa, to the American Civil War and back. Superb storytelling." --Kurt Palka, author of The Piano Maker
A magnificent literary historical-suspense novel in the tradition of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries, Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers, and Michael Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White, By Gaslight is destined to be one of the most acclaimed and talked-about books of the year.
London, 1885. In a city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Shade exists only as a ghost, a fabled con, a thief of other men's futures -- a man of smoke. William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of a brutal detective, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead. His father died without ever tracing Shade; William, still reeling from his loss, is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows. Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London in search of her; what he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried. What follows is a fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and seance halls. Above all, it is the story of the most unlikely of bonds: between William Pinkerton, the greatest detective of his age, and Adam Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.
Epic in scope, brilliantly conceived, and stunningly written, Steven Price's By Gaslight is a riveting, atmospheric portrait of two men on the brink. Moving from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, the novel is a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.
STEVEN PRICE is the author of two award-winning poetry books, Anatomy of Keys (2006), winner of the Gerald Lampert Award, and Omens in the Year of the Ox (2012), winner of the ReLit Award. His first novel, Into That Darkness, was published by Thomas Allen to acclaim in 2011. He lives in Victoria, B.C.
Praise for By Gaslight:
• "With its intricate cat-and-mouse game, array of idiosyncratic characters, and brooding atmosphere, By Gaslight has much to please fans of both classic suspense and Victorian fiction.” --Publishers Weekly
• "By Gaslight is an engrossing read. The twists and turns deepen our understanding of the characters even as they advance multiple plot strands, and Price immerses us in a world of sights and smells so precisely rendered they are nearly tangible." --Quill & Quire
• "The story is utterly Sherlock-ian—read Moriarty for Shade and Irene Adler for Reckitt—and postmodernly so, full of sly nods and winks and allusions. Price's yarn is a lot of fun." --Kirkus
• "The novel’s climax, the big reveal, is a hard-won discovery, rooted not in detection but in the characters themselves, skillfully drawn and pushed to their limits." --National Post
• "The vastness of [By Gaslight], its temporal and physical setting, and its cast of characters are reminiscent of Dickens, but Price's structure is more complex in its movement back and forth through time and place, and the violence is much more graphic." --Windsor Star
• "By Gaslight is Canadian writer Steven Price's copious second novel, a mystery. At its best, it will remind you of the work of Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Conan Doyle. It exudes an abundance of atmospherics mixed with indirection and subtle plot lines. . . . By Gaslight is a novel bordering on exceptional." --NSC2 News
• "Readers who enjoy a page-turner steeped in period language, compelling images and set-piece scenes of robberies and underworld exploration will delight in By Gaslight." --Winnipeg Free Press
• "Spinning fiction out of fact, Price creates an evocative world, cast not in shades of stark black and white, but rather in morally complex herringbone. Violence forever stalks the margins of the story, and we are privy to situations that that are both raw and beautiful, though always expressing the complexities of the human heart." --NPR
• "With its intricate cat-and-mouse game, array of idiosyncratic characters, and brooding atmosphere, By Gaslight has much to please fans of both classic suspense and Victorian fiction. Yet Price's novel is entirely contemporary, and assuredly his own: a sweeping tale of hunter and hunted in which the most-dangerous pursuer is always the human heart." --Publishers Weekly
• "By Gaslight draws in and magically transports the reader, as if by time machine, to another world. . . . [it] will make you feel as if you really had explored London in 1885. It's a deeply unsettling, fascinating place to visit. You probably wouldn't want to live there." --Dallas News
• "Price is a poet—someone who is able to write about the familiar and every day and make readers see it as if for the first time. His invocations of light and shadow in stinking, decaying London are reason enough to pick up this book." --Penticton Western News
Advance Praise for By Gaslight:
• "Steven Price has done a daring thing: taken a long look at a complex, utterly fascinating 19th-century crime. Price's gift for unraveling a terrific yarn shines through. Give this book a try." --Caleb Carr, author of The Alienist
• "A dark tale of love, betrayal and murder that reaches from the slums of Victorian London to the diamond mines in South Africa, to the American Civil War and back. Superb storytelling." --Kurt Palka, author of The Piano Maker
• "This sweeping tale of the unforgettable William Pinkerton and Adam Foole thrusts the reader into smoky Victorian London with all its grit and glitter. Uniting the literary graceand depth of William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy with the intrigue and momentum of a Sherlock Holmes story, By Gaslight is completely absorbing -- an epic, brilliantly written novel to rank with the world's best." --Jacqueline Baker, author of The Broken Hours
• "This darkly mesmerizing tale is worthy of the great Victorian thriller writers, but Steven Price brings to his prose a sensibility and dazzling skill all his own. The gruesome, eerie events that unfold during the search for Charlotte Reckitt are given enthralling life in abook that is perfectly grounded in period and rich in incident and image. Haunting and deeply satisfying." --Marina Endicott, author of Close to Hugh
• "A poetic, persuasive pea-souper. Think Dickens with Maigret's whiskers." --Anakana Schofield, author of Martin John
• "By Gaslight is Steven Price's extraordinary historical novel, finely written, and deeply researched, about the period just following America’s Civil War, the son of America's most famous detective (Allan Pinkerton), and a cast of truly powerful characters, half-mad and all dangerous." --Alan Furst, author of the "Night Soldiers" novels
Praise for Steven Price's debut novel Into That Darkness:
• "Brilliant. . . . Compulsive. . . . Evocative and haunting." -- National Post
• "Unerring in its language, fearless in its vision . . ." -- Joan Thomas, author of The Opening Sky