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The Meaning of Night (2006)

by Michael Cox

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Duport Inheritance (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,3001085,105 (3.74)1 / 168
After slaying a random victim, Edward Glyver--scholar, booklover, and now murderer--drops his bloody blade down a London sewer grate. Now he knows he can take his revenge on the former friend whose duplicity dashed his dreams of Cambridge 20 years ago. But how far will he go to win the beautiful yet mysterious Emily Carteret and to seize the wealth and influence that are rightfully his?… (more)
  1. 50
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (Anonymous user)
  2. 61
    The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (starfishian, tina1969)
  3. 40
    The Glass of Time by Michael Cox (historycycles)
    historycycles: "The Meaning of Night" is required reading in order to enjoy "The Glass of Time," which is the sequel.
  4. 41
    Great Expectations [adapted - Puffin Classics] by Charles Dickens (SandSing7)
  5. 30
    The Quincunx by Charles Palliser (chilirlw)
  6. 20
    The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (katylit)
  7. 20
    Drood by Dan Simmons (ExVivre)
    ExVivre: Another vision of the gritty back alleys of London set against the well-heeled upper classes.
  8. 00
    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père (citygirl)
    citygirl: Another detailed, intricately plotted revenge tale.
  9. 00
    The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: Victorian pastiche novel written with a unique perspective.
  10. 01
    Mutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne (Booksloth)

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» See also 168 mentions

English (104)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (108)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
After his mother's death, Edward Glyver discovers some secrets from her past which lead him to believe he is the true heir to the wealthy Lord Tansor. The problem is, his old school nemesis, Phoebus Daunt, has inserted himself into Lord Tansor's life, becoming his adopted son, thereby positioning himself to inherit the Tansor fortune. Of course, Edward cannot simply lie back and allow this to happen, and murder seems to be the only answer.

This is a Victorian novel, set in 19th century Britain. I'd added it to my wishlist quite a few years ago after seeing it recommended somewhere and have had the audio sitting on my shelf for quite a while as well. It's long and somewhat daunting, and so I'd put off reading it until now. As many Victorian novels tend to be, it's long, rather depressing, and includes a lot of overly descriptive qualities. I appreciate the writing that goes into such novels, but I can only read one every so often. This had a good basic storyline: some mystery and intrigue, murder, love, etc. The main character of Edward was someone that I was just never sure whether or not to trust or whether or not he was reliable. He wasn't necessarily very likeable and was a bit full of himself, yet as a reader I felt I had to root for him. I liked this story, but the sheer length of it, with all the bogged down details, made it somewhat of a slog for me to get through. But then again, that's often what you get with a Victorian novel. For me, had it been half its length, I would've liked it more. ( )
  indygo88 | May 29, 2021 |
An excellent period novel with a killer first line. ( )
  illmunkeys | Apr 22, 2021 |
I just can't get into this book, so I'm leaving off on p. 86. Maybe I'll get back to it sometime in the future...
  bookhookgeek | Sep 7, 2018 |
The Meaning of Night: A Confession was every bit the Victorian mystery that it proclaimed itself to be on the book cover. Chock full of suspense, romance, intrigue, and heartbreak! The only complaint that I can give is that it was a slooooow workup to the main "meat" of the story. For a book that's 695 pages long, it didn't get really interesting until around the 300 page mark. The first few pages started out with a BANG and then there was a lot of background information. A LOT. If you're looking for an epic length story that will provide you with enough detail to build your own model of Victorian England, then this book is most definitely for you. ( )
  AliceaP | Dec 18, 2017 |
I think readers who love Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White or Michel Faber’s Crimson Petal and the White will also love this one. Cox skillfully provides readers with a revenge mystery not only set in Victorian England – and filled with characters with Dickensian names – but also accurately reproduces the style of a Victorian-era sensation novel. The “gimmick” to this one is that the story is presented in the format of a genuine 19th century manuscript, complete with footnotes. The story has all of the atmospheric experience of the seedier underside of 1850’s London, juxtaposed against the pristine and awe inspiring Evenwood country estate. If the Victorian atmosphere doesn’t draw you in, then maybe the ”complicated web of happenstance, circumstance and conspiracy” will. If not that, there is always the suspense as Cox sends his characters on an intricate waltz of secrets, deceits and greed. Whether our narrator Glyver is a reliable character deserving of a reader’s sympathy or just a madman ranting, you will have to read this one to reach your own conclusions.

Overall, a richly complex and engrossing Victorian-styled read. ( )
1 vote lkernagh | Sep 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
"But The Meaning of Night is by no means a sensational Victorian pastiche. It is substandard, ersatz hokum. The only way to stay the course of its 600 pages is to treat the over-egged writing as tenaciously tongue-in-cheek."

added by ExVivre | editThe Telegraph, Alastair Sooke (Sep 24, 2006)
"It works on many different levels, being satisfyingly thrilling without the "deadly nullification" of thought and language so attendant on most thrillers (especially Da Vinci Code imitators) ...."
added by ExVivre | editThe Guardian, Giles Foden (Sep 23, 2006)
"Although a weighty 700 pages, the story is unfailingly suspenseful."
added by ExVivre | editUSA Today, Susan Kelly (Sep 20, 2006)
"The Meaning of Night is a gripping adventure story about a man’s thirst for revenge on the nemesis who has stolen his birthright. It is extraordinary because its literary influences are not only obvious, but integral."
Instead he is eager to use words like vouchsafe as liberally as possible, so that “The Meaning of Night” has the ornate, curlicued linguistic niceties of a Dickensian period piece. Such affectations have the potential to be either voluptuously pleasing (as they were in Michel Faber’s “Crimson Petal and the White” and Sarah Dunant’s “In the Company of the Courtesan”) or arduously contrived (Elizabeth Kostova’s “Historian”). But in Mr. Cox’s version they are oddly colorless.

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Coxprimary authorall editionscalculated
Timson, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wenlock, NevilleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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The words of his mouth were smoother than butter,
but war was in his heart:
his words were softer than oil,
yet were they drawn swords.
—Psalm 55:21
I find, to him that the tale is told,
belief only makes the difference betwixt a truth, and a lie.
—Owen Felltham, Resolves or, Excogitations.
A Second Centurie (1629),
iv ('Of Lies and Untruths')
For Death is the meaning of night;
The eternal shadow
Into which all lives must fall,
All hopes expire.
—P. Rainsford Daunt, 'From the Persian', Rosa Mundi; and Other Poems (1854)
What a skein of ruffled silk
is the uncomposed man.

Owen Felltham, Resolves (1623),
ii, 'Of Resolution'
For Dizzy. For everything.

Ask not Pilate's question.
For I have sought, not truth, but meaning.

First words
The following work, printed here for the first time, is one of the lost curiosities of nineteenth-century literature.
After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn's for an oyster supper.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
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Wikipedia in English (1)

After slaying a random victim, Edward Glyver--scholar, booklover, and now murderer--drops his bloody blade down a London sewer grate. Now he knows he can take his revenge on the former friend whose duplicity dashed his dreams of Cambridge 20 years ago. But how far will he go to win the beautiful yet mysterious Emily Carteret and to seize the wealth and influence that are rightfully his?

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Book description
"After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn's for an oyster supper."

So begins the story of Edward Glyver, booklover, scholar, and murderer. A chance discovery convinces Glyver that greatness awaits him. His path to win what is rightfully his leads him to Evenwood, one of England's most enchanting country houses, and a woman who will become his obsession.
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Average: (3.74)
0.5 1
1 13
1.5 1
2 39
2.5 12
3 110
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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393062031, 0393330346

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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