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“The Meaning of Night” by Michael Cox

20 April 2010
Contributor: Haystack

The Meaning of Night

A cold October night, 1854. In a dark passageway, an innocent man is stabbed to death.

So begins the extraordinary story of Edward Glyver, book lover, scholar and murderer. As a young boy, Glyver always believed he was destined for greatness. This seems the stuff of dreams, until a chance discovery convinces Glyver that he was right: greatness does await him, along with immense wealth and influence. And he will stop at nothing to win back a prize that he now knows is rightfully his.

Glyver’s path leads him from the depths of Victorian London, with its foggy streets, brothels and opium dens, to Evenwood, one of England’s most enchanting country houses. His is a story of betrayal and treachery, of death and delusion, of ruthless obsession and ambition. And at every turn, driving Glyver irresistibly onwards, is his deadly rival: the poet-criminal Phoebus Rainsford Daunt.

Thirty years in the writing, The Meaning of Night is a stunning achievement. Full of drama and passion, it is an enthralling novel that will captivate readers right up to its final thrilling revelation.

The Meaning of Night


A Victorian noir thriller with a sinister protagonist who murders a stranger in the opening passages of the book. Edward Glyver is an erudite, calculating villain, much in the spirit Doyle’s Professor Moriarty. Adopted at birth under mysterious circumstances, he learns that his position as heir to a powerful baron is being usurped by his¬†nemesis, Phoebus Rainsford Daunt. The novel is narrated retrospectively by Glyver, who begins by informing the reader of his ultimate failure to regain his inheritance and win his true love. These early spoilers render the lengthy storyline somewhat laborious, but the seedy period setting and mentally deteriorating narrator were sufficient to keep me engaged through the entire book.

RATING: Three wicked stepmothers.

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