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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Erik Larson comes his first venture into fiction, an otherworldly tale of intrigue and the impossible that marshals his trademark approach to nonfiction to create something new: a ghost story thoroughly grounded in history.

Pioneering psychologist William James leads an expedition to a remote isle in search of answers after a family inexplicably vanishes. Was the cause rooted in the physical world...or were there forces more paranormal and sinister at work? Available only on audio, because as Larson says, ghost stories are best told aloud.

A group of researchers sets sail for the Isle of Dorn in the North Atlantic in 1905 to explore the cause of several mysterious disappearances, most notably a family of four who vanished without a trace after a weeklong holiday on the island. Led by Professor James, a prominent member of the Society for Psychical Research, they begin to explore the island’s sole cottage and surrounding landscape in search of a logical explanation. 

The idyllic setting belies an undercurrent of danger and treachery, with raging storms and unnerving discoveries adding to the sense of menace. As increasingly unexplainable events unfold, the now-stranded investigators are unsure whether they can trust their own eyes, their instincts, one another - or even themselves. 

Erik Larson has written a terrifying tale of suspense, underpinned with actual people and events. Created specifically to entertain audio listeners, this eerie blend of the ghostly and the real will keep listeners captivated till the blood-chilling end. 

Featuring Erik Larson reading his Notes for a Narrator.

©2021 Penguin Random House Audio (P)2021 Random House Audio

Dear Listener,

What inspired me to use a new approach—my first novel!—to tell this story?
"I love a good ghost story, and decided one day, pretty much on a whim, to write one myself—the kind of story I’d like to read on a dark night with a glass of brandy in hand and a fire in the hearth. But something else also apparated, ghostlike, in my mind. I decided this story would have an underlayment of historical fact, because history after all is what I do. Specifically, I wanted to use some of the spooky real-life people and events I discovered during my research for my nonfiction book Thunderstruck, which dealt in part with the Victorian era’s obsession with ghosts and the afterlife. What especially intrigued me was the deadly serious Society for Psychical Research, especially its Committee on Haunted Houses. I like to think of the result as a ghost story with footnotes. But don’t let that scare you; there’s plenty else that will." –- Erik Larson, writer of No One Goes Alone

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