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Publisher's Summary

"The laws of Smoke are complex. Not every lie will trigger it. A fleeting thought of evil may pass unseen; a fib, an excuse, a piece of flattery. Next thing you know, its smell is in your nose. There is no more hateful smell in the world than the smell of Smoke."

England. A century ago, give or take a few years.

An England where people who are wicked in thought or deed are marked by the Smoke that pours forth from their bodies, a sign of their fallen state. The aristocracy do not smoke, proof of their virtue and right to rule, while the lower classes are drenched in sin and soot. An England utterly strange and utterly real.

An elite boarding school where the sons of the wealthy are groomed to take power as their birthright. Teachers with mysterious ties to warring political factions at the highest levels of government. Three young people who learn everything they've been taught is a lie - knowledge that could cost them their lives. A grand estate where secrets lurk in attic rooms and hidden laboratories. A love triangle. A desperate chase. Revolutionaries and secret police. Religious fanatics and coldhearted scientists. Murder. A London filled with danger and wonder. A tortured relationship between a mother and a daughter and a mother and a son. Unexpected villains and unexpected heroes. Cool reason versus passion. Rich versus poor. Right versus wrong, though which is which isn't clear.

This is the world of Smoke, a narrative tour de force, a tale of Dickensian intricacy and ferocious imaginative power, richly atmospheric and intensely suspenseful.

©2016 Dan Vyleta (P)2016 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great concept terrible story.

This was difficult to get through. I was intrigued by the concept but was bored.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Good start but burns out fast.

Very intrigued at start, the plot draws you in but it becomes dull and boring. Just kept reading curious of how the story ties up. Disappointed. Great narrator though.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting concept. Requires your concentration

A book that addresses social consciousness and social order. Very interesting concept but requires your concentration. Not an easy, breezy beach summer read. The writing is excellent and the performance is first rate. You have to "tackle" this book but if you do, I think you will agree that it is well worth your time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant

I see some people mentioned the book "slows down." All I can imagine is they enjoy a fast paced spy novel. Although this is sometimes described as a mystery, I would describe it as fine literature with themes of good versus evil, social classes, passion versus safety and sterility. Vyleta has crafted a world you can fall into. His language is so rich it subtly coaxes me into one emotion after another. For those that enjoy a thoughtful, brilliant novel, you've found it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Yvonne
  • Southfield, mi, United States
  • 09-03-16

Not for me

After countless attempts, I still do not have an idea what was the deal with the smoke. Of course I did not finish the book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Listened to the end, but...

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not really "time well-spent." While I was intrigued at the beginning, the story began to lag seriously about half way through and then got really tedious by the last 25%. It was a chore to listen through to the end which I did because it took until the last 30 minutes to find out what the point had been, or was.

What could Dan Vyleta have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It would have been helpful to have had at least some sense of what was going on by the mid point.

Which scene was your favorite?

An interesting set of scenes occurs while the three young protagonists are underground in a coal mine. But this location and ancillary characters prove not to be central to the plot and the author deserts them entirely as he moves on.

Do you think Smoke needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No! The premise is too farfetched, confusing, and not particularly engaging though the characters are relatively well conceived and fleshed out. In a sense, this book felt like very a interesting group of characters in search of a REAL story...a compelling narrative. I kept thinking what J.K. Rowling could do with them!

Any additional comments?

Big time disappointment though the performance was quite good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Not Impressed

I really struggled with this novel. The whole smoke concept was too much and confusing to
me. The story was very drawn out and boring. This book was a book club selection, that is the only reason why I finished it. It simply was not what I prefer to read.

  • Overall
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Loved it

Much easier to listen to.Such imagination, excellent descriptive ability. Would love to see it made into a movie.

  • Overall
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Bravo! Bravo!

A fantastically crafted novel and a phenomenally designed performance. Couldn't stop listening the whole way through. This was truly a worthwhile read. Do it :)

  • Overall
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  • Story

Slow and repetitive

What would have made Smoke better?

In this novel, during the Industrial Revolution, people literally emit smoke when they are angry or feeling strong emotions. It must have started as a good idea, but it did not develop in to a story line of any interest. I don't know how this idea could have been developed into an interesting novel, but it is very slow and repetitive.