By Gaslight

A Novel
Narrated by: John Lee
Length: 23 hrs and 40 mins
4 out of 5 stars (231 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A literary tour de force of a detective's ceaseless hunt for an elusive criminal.

By Gaslight is a deeply atmospheric, haunting audiobook about the unending quest that has shaped a man's life.

William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of the most notorious detective of all time, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead on the fabled con Edward Shade. William's father died without ever finding Shade, but William is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows.

Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair 10 years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London to find her. What he learns of her fate - and its connection to the man known as Shade - will force him to confront a grief he thought long buried.

A fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and séance halls ensues, creating the most unlikely of bonds: between Pinkerton, the great detective; and Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.

Steven Price's dazzling, riveting By Gaslight moves from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War on a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.

©2016 Steven Price (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about By Gaslight

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Dissatisfied

Not sure what i am thinking about that book, i like criminal and i do enjoy long books. But this one felt like could easily finished half way. I did struggle, narrator not to emotional with different roles. Story nothing that i will remember.

3 people found this helpful

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Great story hurt by weak plot twist.

Loved the story and it's plot lines. Some plot twist did not really work well.

3 people found this helpful

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Lackluster

I had the book for book club, the poetic language of Mr. Price was a bit too much for me to sit down and read on my spare time, so I thought I would try the audio book. All went well, I thought Mr. Lee's vocals nice though sometimes monotonous at times when listening for extended periods like I did. The story was interesting if not predictable, if you like purple prose and reading about putrid late 1800s London smells, then this is for you. Mr. Price, does very well in research around the time period, every detail articulated perfectly if not repetitive. With a few mildly disappointing bits, the story is interesting; Mr. Pinkerton, set on unfolding the history of his late father and the mysterious Mr. Shade, the man his father obsessed over until his last breath. Overall, I would give it a seven out of ten, ten being a joy to listen to.

2 people found this helpful

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Much ado about nothing.

John Lee always does a wonderful narration. The story reminds me of The Name of the Rose. When it ended, all I thought was ...What???

8 people found this helpful

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The Best Book I've Come Across in Years

I really love this book. Everything about it --the plot, the characters, the prose--is excellent. And the reader is superb. Aside from his intense and compelling narration, his rendering of every character--male and female, young and old--is utterly believable; moreover, he switches accents and dialects--including Australian, Cockney, and various British and American--with ease. I am so impressed with this writer too; he transports us into the world inhabited by his characters with ease, and takes his readers/listeners effortlessly from one continent to another. The story is set primarily in the 19th century, in many places with which I'm familiar (I was born and grew up in London, and have lived in Port Elizabeth, and the American West, for instance). It's interesting to imagine what those places that I know so well were like in the past. Since I'm a retired university professor, who taught Humanities, including history and literature, it's been delightful to discover this literary treasure.

1 person found this helpful

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Good luck slogging through all 24 hours

Any additional comments?

The only thing more ponderous than Price's writing is the narration by John Lee. The author has clearly done his research and there is a compelling story here. Sadly, it is buried so far beneath the overwrought prose and pompous narration that it is simply impossible for any sane reader to find.

1 person found this helpful

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Heavy damp reading

What made the experience of listening to By Gaslight the most enjoyable?

Setting in time and place and the believable way the charters were drawn.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

By the end I did not care I just wanted it to end.

Any additional comments?

This book drags on and on. Well written enough to keep me plugging away at the book but I would not recommend it to any of my friends. I felt that the author needed to go on Prozac and do a rewrite.

15 people found this helpful

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Empurpled and Histrionic Prose to No Effect

Steven Price would have benefited greatly from an exacting editor, one who might have shorn this huge, lengthy and ultimately unrewarding novel of its unnecessary length and made it into something of interest. That Price has done a great deal of reading and research as to the Civil War and late Victorian England is readily apparent, though like so many novelists writing historical novels, he goes to great lengths to rub our noses in the milieu, unnecessarily and ultimately, tediously.

The great weakness of this novel, however, is the author's deep dive into the emotions and sentiments of its characters which becomes uninteresting and suffocating all too soon. Price is interested in impressing us with the titanic emotions of his characters, their gigantic suffering, their endurance in the face of unremitting adversity, etc. The men are all manly men who walk the streets with clenched teeth and murder in their eyes! Tiresome. Would that the author have paid greater attention to his plot and its development!

It would take too long to detail all of the non sequiturs of the novel, though the main one, a detective's hunt for a thief his father had never been able to find is resolved by the disclosure at the end of the novel that the father had known of the thief's whereabouts all along and had really been protecting him out of his fatherly love for the younger man. If so, then why would the father have advertised his search for the man over the decades following the Civil War? The answer is that the author didn't bother to think it through. Other examples of this kind of non sequitur abound in the novel.

Making everything far worse in the audiobook edition of this novel is the pompous and sententious narration provided by John Lee. No line is spared a dramatic flourish, no word an unnecessary emphasis. This book would not have been half so tiresome as it was had the narrator simply dialled his empurpled narration style down to something more normal.

3 people found this helpful

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Marvelous escape

This was a wonderful escape from coronavirus! Wonderful plot and beautifully written. The narrator did a marvelous job in re-creating a sense of gloom, mystery, and suspense in Victorian England

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  • KZ
  • 12-07-18

a worthwhile listen

the narrator did a highly entertaining job of encompassing each characters character. the story itself was fabulous. I will listen to this again and again! it was so fun to immerse myself in Victorian London with a shot of post-civil War America.

1 person found this helpful