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Publisher's Summary

The acclaimed author of Finn “digs down to the bones of a classic and creates must-read modern literature” (Charles Frazier, New York Times best-selling author) with this “clever riff” (The Washington Post) on Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol that explores of the relationship between Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley.

“Marley was dead, to begin with,” Charles Dickens tells us at the beginning of A Christmas Carol. But in Jon Clinch’s “masterly” (The New York Times Book Review) novel, Jacob Marley, business partner to Ebenezer Scrooge, is very much alive: a rapacious and cunning boy who grows up to be a forger, a scoundrel, and the man who will be both the making and the undoing of Scrooge. 

They meet as youths in the gloomy confines of Professor Drabb’s Academy for Boys, where Marley begins their twisted friendship by initiating the innocent Scrooge into the art of extortion. Years later, in the dank heart of London, their shared ambition manifests itself in a fledgling shipping empire. Between Marley’s genius for deception and Scrooge’s brilliance with numbers, they amass a considerable fortune of dubious legality, all rooted in a pitiless commitment to the soon-to-be-outlawed slave trade. As Marley toys with the affections of Scrooge’s sister, Fan, Scrooge falls under the spell of Fan’s best friend, Belle Fairchild. Now, for the first time, Scrooge and Marley find themselves at odds. With their business interests inextricably bound together and instincts for secrecy and greed bred in their very bones, the two men engage in a shadowy war of deception, forged documents, theft, and cold-blooded murder. 

Marley and Scrooge are destined to clash in an unforgettable reckoning that will echo into the future and set the stage for Marley’s ghostly return. 

“Read through to the last page of this brilliant book, and I promise you that you will have a permanently changed view, not just of Dickens’s world, but of the world we live in today.” (Elizabeth Letts, New York Times best-selling author)

©2019 Jon Clinch (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Marley

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Marley earned those chains

Clinch's exposition of the man Jacob Marley fully fleshes out how someone could deserve the punishment we find him bound to in A Christmas Carol. The tale is finely crafted and it is a dark story. The narration is excellent and perfect for this book. I heartily recommend it.

4 people found this helpful

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Marley’s Background

After reading Charles Dickens’ book, “A Christmas Carol,” I watched the new TV movie version of it this past week. Then, I listened to “Marley.” Both the TV movie and this book, do a great job of filling in the blank of what was going on prior to the visitation of the three Christmas spirits. It’s all fiction, but it does enlighten the reader why Marley had such a long chain of links and cash boxes attached to him and why he comes back to warn Scrooge of the length of his own chain. If you’d like a clearer understanding of England at that time, via a fictional one, this is a great e-book to provide it.

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snooze

BORING NARRATIVE PERFORMANCE MADE ME SLEEPY IT WAS GLACIEL TORTURE WATCHING GOLF SEEMS DOABLE ONG!

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Absolutely brilliant in every way!!

What a brilliant construction of a prequel to A Christmas Carol! Clinch takes a short story with brief information about the characters, sometimes barely a mention, and fleshes them all out to a a totally plausible backstory to the characters as presented in Dickens’ book. If you have not read A Christmas Carol, read it (or listen to it - there are versions available to members in Audible Plus) before listening to this book, so that you know what is in the book (versus movies, TV programs, etc, which all take some liberties). The quality of the writing is superb. (Clinch also drops a few names from other Dickens books, like Inspector Bucket and Pecksniff, and that is fun for Dickens fans.) The narration is fabulous. I couldn’t wait to get a chance to listen more. (My usual dull kitchen tasks were made a pleasure because they were an excuse to listen more.) I loved this book!!

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THIS should become a classic tale...

Much like A Christmas Carol, this novel should become a known work— it should always be read before reading Dickens’ classic. Films, many, many versions of it should be made! THAT is how wonderful a novel it is! Everything about the story, and the performance was spot on. I want to start over and listen again! It was a remarkable imagining of the lives of characters thought known and written so incredibly well. I wish I could give even more stars and greater accolades... it was hard to stop listening to tend to other things. Even with knowing (of course) how it would end, I wanted to k ow HOW it would end! Great listen and I hope this author gives us the perspectives of other characters from many other notable stories. You will enjoy this book!

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Ponzi before Ponzi

It took me one chapter to be drawn in to Clinch’s prequel to A Christmas Carol, after which I was hooked. Clinch, a Dickensian name if ever there was one, beautifully captures the cadence of Victorian England, along with every trope of Dickens’s classic. As luck would have it, I had the chance to see the new Steve Knight version of the story right before beginning this Audible performance. It was like getting a double whammy dose of darkness added to an already cautionary tale. Business convolutions and shadows are given free reign in Clinch’s Marley, and although the book centers on the title character, Scrooge is not given short shrift. He becomes a more understandable figure under Clinch’s pen; I saw him as a boy to man dealing with a type of OCD and perhaps spectrum challenge that influences his emotional intelligence. We also are given compelling spins on Fan and Belle, welcomed additions to the tale. Davies gives an excellent read, imbuing Scrooge with an interesting humanity when the storm of numbers and sums finally settle and he can truly talk to Belle, but there is a tinge of undue malevolence in his speech for most of the novel. Still, it all works. A super read all around, and I will now be looking for more from the author.

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Tidy

This work does a tidy account of how Scrooge and Marley came to be the characters as we know in “The Christmas Carol”. If anyone ever felt bad for how Marley came to be in the original story, this story rightfully declares how very earned his immortal torment is. He almost becomes pitiable...until you realize what he did to get where he ended up.