Release Date: 17/03/11
A shared quest and a mysterious cabal, four centuries apart . . .
When Henry Cavendish attends the funeral of an old friend, the last thing he expects is to be given a business proposition. A handsome sum to retrieve a document that was in his friend's possession when he died - a letter from Sir Walter Ralegh. Henry accepts the challenge, despite severe misgivings about his sinister new employer.
Four centuries earlier, in Elizabethan England, another quest is playing out. Thomas Harriot, once a member of the mysterious School of Night, a group whose members included the toast of Elizabethan society, has shut himself off from the world. Working day and night, he devotes himself secretly to his experiments.
As both searches deepen, the two men realise that there are forces at work against them. Harriot's work is threatened by discovery and Henry's search becomes a deadly one, when someone close to him dies in mysterious circumstances. The School of Night is the story of a quest that spans centuries, of alliances forged in unexpected circumstances and of men who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
To be honest I had a hard time getting into this novel but when I did, it was pretty hard to put down. Whilst a number of titles now follow a similar formula, the author Louis Bayard, does a great job for situating the title in modern times with some wonderful Elizabethan throwbacks that allowed him enough freedom to convince the reader of the stories authenticity as well as presenting himself with enough freedom to create a well written piece.
Add to this some wonderful twists and turns, a host of characters that will appeal to the reader alongside a love interest for the principle player and you know that once you get past the initially difficult opening that a real treat is in store. Finally add a pretty unique authorly voice with a great understanding of pace which also allows the reader to mull over presented clues and you have a title that will befuddle and confuse in an almost Doylesque mystery.