The School of Night

The School of Night

[a Novel]

Large Print - 2011
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An ancient mystery, a lost letter, and a timeless love unleash a long-buried web of intrigue that spans four centuries, from 16th-century England to modern-day Washington, D.C.
Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Wheeler Pub., 2011, c2010
Edition: Large print ed
ISBN: 9781410438607
Branch Call Number: LPF BAY NVD
Characteristics: 597 p. (large print) ; 23 cm


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Mar 23, 2018

This book was an incredibly pleasant discovery and I definitely recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the Elizabethan period. The story is told by two narrators, one in first and one in third person. The narration alternates between 2009 and 1603, USA and England. One of the stories is a modern thriller: murders, thefts, chases, and even a treasure map with the consequent treasure hunt. But the kind of treasure indicated in the encrypted map is not what you might expect. The second story, set in the 17th century, is about Thomas Harriot (one of the most important Elizabethan scientists and intellectuals) and his love story with Margaret, a literate maid turned lab assistant. The tres d'union between these two levels of narration is the School of Night. Walter Ralegh - intellectual, soldier, courtier - falls in disgrace with Queen Elizabeth I when he secretly married one of her ladies. Exiled to his house in Dorset, he invites the most brilliant minds of his time (including Christopher Marlowe and Harriot) to create a sort of secret academy. They meet only at night and keep no records of their conversations - very dangerous conversations, about forbidden topics (paganism, atheism, dark arts, government...) - but they are free to speak their mind. They will all pay for this, all except Shakespeare, who gives the academy the name of "School of Night" in his "Love's Labour's Lost." I forgot, in the book Shakespeare is Marlowe's lover and attends some secret meetings of Ralegh's guests. Well, I enjoyed every page of this book. The historical details, the humor, the plot: everything had me hooked from the first sentence. I highly recommend this book, also as a starting point for some research into Elizabethan culture.

May 19, 2015

Based on the title and cover, I first thought I might be diving into a horror novel. But instead I found a fun read, in the vein of "The Da Vinci Code," only much better written. This book's focus is on the mysterious goings on of The School of the Night--a group of Shakespeare's contemporaries who dared to meet and explore ideas that could (and would) make them outcasts in society. There's a potential hidden treasure and codes to be broken. And lots of twists and turns along the way. So, overall, it's a pretty hard book to set down. I especially like how the author moves the story back and forth in time, allowing readers to put the pieces of the puzzle together by witnessing the actual events that the novel's protagonists are discovering on this end of history. I will definitely look for more of Louis Bayard's work.

Nov 05, 2011

Not as good as Bayard's best, but not a bad book by any means. Got a little irritated by the romance novel-ish flavor of the male/female relationships.
The twist wasn't as well tailored as others of Bayard's either. Felt a bit like Bayard has gotten used to writing twisty endings and felt obligated to do so in this book too.

Sep 29, 2011

I enjoyed reading this and joining in the adventure. Having just read Bill Bryson's "A short history of nearly everything", many of the historical figures in this were familiar to me. However, though my family comes to me as the family dictionary, I had to keep mine handy for the many words I was quite unfamiliar with!

debwalker Apr 11, 2011

"This swift, witty mystery moves between Tudor England and the present day as a group of bibliophile treasure-hunters sleuth out the lost discoveries of a secretive academy of Elizabethan intellectuals. Bayard is a master of historical texture and literary suspense!"--Mark David Bradshaw, Watermark Books, Wichita, Kan.


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dorothykeller Apr 25, 2012

Bayard (The Black Tower) shifts smoothly between present-day America and Elizabethan England in this superb intellectual thriller. At the Washington, D.C., funeral of document collector Alonzo Wax, who committed suicide, Bernard Styles, an elderly Englishman and rival collector, approaches Henry Cavendish, an Elizabethan scholar and the executor of Wax's estate, whose academic reputation suffered grievous harm after he authenticated a new Walter Ralegh poem that was later exposed as a hoax. Styles offers Cavendish $100,000 to locate a prize Wax had borrowed, a recently discovered Ralegh letter that may prove the existence of the School of Night, a secret debating club whose members included playwright Christopher Marlowe. Murder complicates the search for the letter. The author's persuasive portrayal of undeservedly obscure real-life scientist Thomas Harriot, a member of the school, enhances a plot with intelligence and depth.
Publishers Weekly

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