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The American Boy by Andrew Taylor

The American Boy (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Andrew Taylor

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7582512,240 (3.46)23
Title:The American Boy
Authors:Andrew Taylor
Info:Harper (2004), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, crime, historical fiction

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The American Boy by Andrew Taylor (2003)



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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
1819 England: young Edgar Allen Poe is a minor character in this mystery set among the dark corners of London and the lonely English countryside. Red herrings enough to fill Lake Michian abound. Strange incidents which eventually tie together as the reader figures out just what the crime really is: murder, fraud or treason? Well strung together but the ending just did not have enough surprise for all the secrecy which built it up. ( )
  literaryrunner | Apr 25, 2013 |
A really long book but I really enjoyed it. The story was set in 1890 and I love the descriptiveness and politeness of the language used in that era. I would have given it 4/5 but, I think the last few pages were unnecessary and spoilt it somewhat. ( )
  Carolinejyoung | Jan 1, 2013 |
The American Boy is a pre-Victorian murder mystery set in 1819-20 but, amazingly, was written in the twenty-first century. It was inspired by the author's interest in the brief period that Edgar Allan Poe spent in England while still a young boy. Building on this real event and some of the real characters, such as Edgar's foster father John Allan and his natural father David Poe, Andrew Taylor spins a mystery out of this moment in the famous author's life. The result is a very satisfying mystery with a central character, Thomas Shields, who is a school teacher but becomes quite by accident an amateur sleuth as the mystery of several intertwined families, two murders, a banking scandal, and the identity of the victim of one of the crimes draws Shields gradually deeper into its depths. As a school teacher in a small school he has two students, Edgar Allan and Charles Frant, who become mutual friends and in whom he takes an interest as they are bullied by some bigger boys. Shields is somewhat impoverished and thus dependent on his "betters" with certain consequences for the story. He inhabits a sort of never-land somewhere in between the Parents of his students and their servants. Since he is living in their households for much of the story as tutor to Edgar and his friend Charles Frant this existence becomes somewhat oppressive for Shields. It is further complicated by his attraction to the mother of Charles. Murder, unacceptable love, questions of identity and missing money -- just the stuff of great mysteries. The best part of this novel is the pre-Victorian setting as Andrew Taylor effectively recreates the world of England in the last days of the reign of King George III. Told in the first person by Thomas Shield through his journal the story covers only nine months time but there is what becomes a tidal wave of events and plot twists before Shields' narrative is complete.
I was unfamiliar with Andrew Taylor when I discovered this book, intrigued by the connection with Poe. What I found was a master of mystery whose ability to create a believable labyrinthine plot keeps the reader guessing almost until the last page. ( )
  jwhenderson | Nov 5, 2012 |
Great story. ( )
  wbwilburn5 | Jun 14, 2012 |
Andrew Taylor is a first class author, I re-read all his works, his writing never gets boring. ( )
  wbwilburn5 | Jun 14, 2012 |
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We owe respect to the living, Voltaire tells us in his Premiere Lettre sur Oedipe, but to the dead we owe only truth.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007109601, Paperback)

Interweaving real and fictional elements, The American Boy is a major new literary historical crime novel in the tradition of An Instance of the Fingerpost and Possession. England 1819: Thomas Shield, a new master at a school just outside London, is tutor to a young American boy and the boy's sensitive best friend, Charles Frant. Drawn to Frant's beautiful, unhappy mother, Thomas becomes caught up in her family's twisted intrigues. Then a brutal crime is committed, with consequences that threaten to destroy Thomas and all that he has come to hold dear. Despite his efforts, Shield is caught up in a deadly tangle of sex, money, murder and lies - a tangle that grips him tighter even as he tries to escape from it. And what of the strange American child, at the heart of these macabre events, yet mysterious - what is the secret of the boy named Edgar Allen Poe?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:51 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Edgar Allan Poe is the American boy, a child standing on the edge of mysteries. In 1819 two Americans arrive in London, and soon afterwards a bank collapses, a man is found dead and mutilated, a heiress flirts with her inferiors, and a schoolmaster struggles to understand what is happening.… (more)

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Average: (3.46)
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