by Adam McOmber
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 11th 2012
Genre: Mystery / Paranormal
In the bestselling tradition of The Night Circus and Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger, Adam McOmber’s hauntingly original debut novel follows a young woman in Victorian England whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society.
Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father at a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of manmade objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London's elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation, with the goal of discovering a new virtual reality, a place he calls the Empyrean.
A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.
Adam McOmber, whose short story collection This New and Poisonous Air earned glowing praise for its evocative prose, here reveals a gift for fantastical twists and dark turns that literary fans will relish.
So many pieces, but what was the puzzle? If Nathan was at my side, I'd have asked him what to do. What research could be done? But without him, I was adrift. Walking toward Stoke Morrow, I tried to imagine Nathan alone on the Heath, sure of himself in his dark suit and high jackboots, winding his way through the grass. His hair parted in a careful line, and the rest of his seemed equally well made. I wanted to put myself inside his thoughts - to know what he knew. I saw him pause at the women's bathing pond in the southern clearing. The copper tip of his cane did not touch the ground. His own image was reflected in the water, and he was reminded of something his mother once told him. When she was a girl there was a popular technique of divination known as "hydromancy" or "reading of the water." The future could be seen on the surface of a still pool. Nathan looked carefully at his own angular reflection. A breeze stirred the water, and his face was pulled apart, becoming something new and monstrous.
Adam McOmber on White Forest
About the Author
Adam McOmber’s novel, The White Forest, will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, in September 2012. He is also the author of a book of short stories, This New & Poisonous Air(BOA Editions, 2011). His work has appeared in Conjunctions, StoryQuarterly, The Fairy Tale Review, Third Coast, Quarterly West, The Greensboro Review and Arts and Letters. He has been nominated for two 2012 Pushcart Awards and received an AWP Intro Award. He lives in Chicago and teaches at Columbia College where he is also the associate editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika.