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Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land
by John Crowley

Category: Fiction / General
352 pages; ISBN: 0060556587

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land
John Crowley
Morrow, Jun 2005, $25.95, 352 pp.
ISBN: 0060556587

Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, and Percy Bysche Shelley were enjoying each other’s company in Byron's Swiss villa while it stormed outside. Pondering the writing talent and the gloomy weather, Mary challenges her host and her spouse to “compete” with her in writing a ghost story. Everyone knows that Mary wrote Frankenstein while assuming that Byron, feeling out of his “romantic” lane, gave up the ghost.

Instead Byron's cryptographic genius daughter Ada finds her father’s manuscript and re-scribes it in code so her mother who loathes her father does not destroy it. Over a century later, working on a web site that focuses on women in the sciences, Alexandra Novak conducts research into Ada, who worked with renowned nineteenth century mathematician Charles Babbage, when she finds the code book of Byron’s novel, The Evening Land. Knowing her estrange father, a Byron expert, would delight in her find, Alexandra breaks the code to read the tale of Ali, illegitimate offspring of Lord "Satan" Sane and a wife of a Bey whose father found him as a preteen and took him back to England where the kid’s adventures in a gothic environs begin.

John Crowley provides a brilliant tale told in two major parts in the nineteenth century and today. The genius of the novel is the novel within, The Evening Land in which Mr. Crowley uses Byron's writing style to create the work that the late author most likely never completed in spite of the myth of lost manuscripts. Unique, refreshing and entertaining, readers will appreciate this fabulous fictionalized account to include the inner novel that many will believe is the genuine article.

Harriet Klausner


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