: Kingdom of bones, the (9780307382818) : Stephen Gallagher : Books
  Login | Register En  |  Fr
Antoine Online

Kingdom Of Bones, The

by Stephen Gallagher
Our price: LBP 22,450Unavailable
*Contact us to request a special order. Price may vary.
I Add to my wishlist

Product Details

  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press
  • Publishing date: 09/09/2008
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780307382818
  • ISBN: 0307382818


The Kingdom of Bones is the haunting story of Tom Sayers, a former boxing champion who must continue to fight--to clear his name after a series of gruesome murders, for the heart and soul of a leading lady, and to uncover the truth behind a legend as old as evil itself.

Wrongly accused of the slaughter of pauper children in the wake of the touring theater company he manages, Tom Sayers is forced to disappear into a twilight world of music halls and traveling boxing booths. Beginning with a chance encounter in a Philadelphia pleasure park one weekend in 1903, this brilliantly macabre mystery traces Sayers's journey from England's provincial playhouses through London's mighty Lyceum Theatre and on to the high society of a transforming American South--with many a secret to be uncovered in the dark alleyways, backstage areas, and houses of ill repute that lie along the way.

As Sayers seeks the truth behind the killings, he is pursued in turn by the tireless Detective Inspector Sebastian Becker. Desperate to ensure the safety of actress Louise Porter, Sayers calls on an old friend, Bram Stoker, for help. But Stoker's links with the world of the Victorian occult lead Sayers to discover a danger even greater than he could have imagined.

Thrown into a maelstrom of obsession, betrayal, and sacrifice--where even the pure may not escape damnation--Sayers must face the implications of an unthinkable bargain: the exchange of a soul for a chance at eternal life.

With action that spans continents, decades, and every level of society, The Kingdom of Bones follows the troubled lives of those touched by Tom Sayers, ultimately weaving their stories into a harrowing climax that stirs the mind--and the blood.

Questions for Stephen Gallagher

Jeff VanderMeer for Could you describe your surroundings as you answer these questions?

Gallagher: I'm in my study with a bare wood floor and a beamed ceiling that goes all the way up to the roofline. The lighting comes from a rack of spotlights on one of the beams. There are two desks back-to-back with a flatscreen monitor on each and a swivel chair so that I can spin from one to the other in your basic Evil Genius world domination setup. The house is a rural Victorian cottage about half an hour's drive from Lancaster, England, and until ten years ago this room was just space above the garage. Back then I rented an office in town, but it made more sense to spend the money creating a dedicated workspace while putting the house back to its period look. What provided the spark for The Kingdom of Bones?

Gallagher: Writing a short story called "Old, Red Shoes" for a Ripper-themed collection edited by Gardner Dozois. It was a contemporary tale but the work involved visiting all the Whitechapel locations and researching the period, and I came out hooked. Not so much on the Ripper stuff as on that whole rich and epic environment. I saw the prospect of attempting something utterly real and historically accurate, but with a genuine operatic sweep. I assume there was some research involved. Can you share a few interesting details that didn't make it into the novel?

Gallagher: It was fascinating to sort through Bram Stoker's working papers for Dracula in Philadelphia's Rosenbach museum and get a sense of another writer's process. The way he sketched out rough structures for each chapter and set a wordage target for each, striking each one out with a single pencil stroke when the chapter was done. Sudden flashes of insight scribbled on hotel stationery. None of this makes any direct appearance in The Kingdom of Bones, but it helped me get a real sense of Stoker's presence. As you probably know, he was Henry Irving's right-hand man and stood right at the heart of the theatrical and social scenes of the day. But no contemporary portrayal ever quite seems to nail him. Besides making sure the historical detail didn't overwhelm the story, what was the biggest writing challenge for you with this novel?

Gallagher: There were so many strands that it allowed me to pull together. The biggest challenge was in making them all work to a single end. I wanted to capture some of the energy of the old dime novels and story papers but also to be able to say something meaningful about love, death and obsession along the way. However you think I did, give me some credit for aiming high. There's no reason why popular fiction should be devoid of theme, and no reason why serious art shouldn't entertain. Do you have a favorite scene in The Kingdom of Bones?

Gallagher: That would have to be the scene where Tom Sayers climbs up into the ironwork of a railway bridge to take shelter and to hide from his pursuers on the day of his arrest. He's got nothing but the clothes he's wearing and the coat he just stole from a beerhouse, and no money for food other than some pennies he found in the coat's pocket. Steam trains are thundering over his head, and smoke and sparks are falling around him like fairy rain. It's the first time he's been able to stop and draw breath. He's been falsely accused, beaten by the police, and faces a hanging if they catch him. But all he can think about is the safety of the woman he loves. That's despite the fact that she doesn't love him back, and almost certainly never will. I suppose it's my favorite scene because it's one of those moments where we can see fate being determined by character. What has reader reaction been like to the book?

Gallagher: Unbelievable. I mean, genuinely. Complete strangers have been tracking me down just to tell me how they feel about it. It's only been out a few weeks and it's drawn the biggest reader reaction of anything I've ever done. People are doubling up copies to give them as Christmas presents. Which I'm entirely in favor of. What are you currently working on?

Gallagher: Another big period story. It's not a sequel, but a standalone novel of similar character. Some of the same people play a part, but you see them at a very different time and place in their lives. What I do next may depend on the progress of the WGA strike. The format rights of my last UK series have been picked up by Jerry Bruckheimer and that's opened some doors into American TV, but everything's on hold until the issues are resolved. But earlier this year I roughed out the key story points for a third book in The Kingdom of Bones vein, so there's no danger of me standing idle.

In just a few easy steps below, you can become an online reviewer.
You'll be able to make changes before you submit your review.

  • Slow But Worthwhile
    From Amazon

    "The Kingdom of Bones" is a mystery, and a book about the supernatural, but mostly it's a book about obsessive love. Tom Sayers, ex-boxer and manager of a small theatrical troupe, is in love with Louise Porter, the troupe's ingénue. Sadly for him, she is infatuated with the troupe's young lead, who is being groomed by the owner of the troupe. It's obvious he's being groomed to replace him on stage, but what most don't realize is that he's also set to take over a far darker role from his mentor. When a string of murders becomes connected to the movements of the troupe and the detective investigating it is killed, Sayers is implicated. He is forced to flee, but his own safety is not his prime worry- he's also concerned with Louise's well being, as it's obvious that the murderer is someone in the group of actors. Another detective, Sebastian Becker, takes the case personally, but the mystery ends up covering decades and a change of continents before he gets full satisfaction. It's not a simple serial killer, but an ancient evil that Becker and Sayers have found. In one way, the book was gripping. But I found myself unsatisfied; Sayers character is a bit flat, his only motivation being to preserve Louise, even when she makes it very, very clear she does not love him. In fact, all the characters are undeveloped although not horribly so. The plot is a bit slow at times, but the descriptions fill out the late Victorian/early Edwardian scenes wonderfully. The addition of Bram Stoker, who was historically involved in both the theater and the occult world, is a nice touch. A worthwhile, readable book but not a great one.

  • Interesting Historical Period Fugitive Piece
    From Amazon

    Initially set in 1903 then flashing back to the late 1800s, in simpler times, before the invention of the car, before World War I, before TV and movies would keep people entertained in their own homes, the travelling entertainment industry would bring the town's populations out to each small and sometimes larger theatres across the country. The nomadic lifestyle brings excitement, the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures and most importantly the ability in a non forensic database era to leave a trail of corpses in your wake and the police non the wiser that a serial killer operates. However when a young boy who is part of the travelling organisation's job is to monitor the media from towns just left, for reviews of the various acts it is possible to notice the tally of young victims coinciding with places worked. So after receiving a selection of these clippings Police Superintendent Clive Turner Smith takes it on himself to travel up to Manchester and investigate the travelling show. When he is murdered with his own cane, and the police informant's corpse is found in the luggage of former boxing champ Tom Sayers it seems to be a pretty clear cut indication of who is the serial killer to detective inspector Sebastian Becker. The local Manchester police force aren't the brightest lot and have plans for their own justice for Sayers. On the run, all Sayers should be thinking about is his own survival but all that his mind contains is love for work colleague Lousie Porter. Unfortunately she does not share these feelings but instead lusts Sayer's arch nemeses James Caspar who Sayers has no doubt set him up and is responsible for the serial killing that has made Sayers a wanted man. Spanning both England and the USA this book gives a great insight into life in the late 1800s/early 1900s of both. Kingdom of Bones is classified as a mystery (with for some reason an very old quote from Dean Koontz when he still used the R, prominently on the cover stating Gallagher a master of the thriller). This is not a thriller, it's not really a mystery either as you know from the initial murdering who is performing it. The only mystery the reader has to contemplate through the inclusion of Bram Stoker and other researcher characters who Sayers path crosses is, is there really a demon responsible for the bloodshed or is it all a state of the killer's mind.

  • No Bones About It!
    From Amazon

    Stephen Gallagher is a very talented Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror author and I eagerly anticipated reading this novel during the Halloween season - expecting thrills and chills. Unfortunately, this is another example of misrepresentation in both the title and book jacket description. Although the story begins with a horrific premise involving a Victorian-era serial killer with the possibility of supernatural ties - Gallagher quickly steers away from any and all thrills & chills and the novel becomes a crashing bore that goes nowhere and ultimately draws to a highly unsatisfying conclusion. The Book Jacket hammered home the presence of Bram Stoker as a principle character in this novel. Regretably, his involvement is very minimal and the reader learns nothing new about the infamous author of "Dracula". The only saving grace were the early depictions of the traveling theater troupe in Victorian London that was quite interesting. If you are in need of a solid Victorian Era thriller you can do a lot better with anything from Anne Perry or the recent novels by Michael Cox.

  • Review by Mirella Patzer - Historical Fiction Author
    From Amazon

    Bloodstone Castle Heinrich the Fowler: Father of the Ottonian Empire After a successful career as a boxer, Tom Sayers becomes the manager for a traveling theatre company. He becomes desperately besotted with Louise Porter, a beautiful young singer/actress in the group. Louise is conscious of Tom's esteem, but she is romantically interested in another performer. As the company tours about in England, they leave behind a string of suspicious murders that match the dates and locations of their appearances. When Pinkerton detective, Sebastian Becker, arrests Sayers for the serial murders, Sayers escapes, determined to find the true killer and prove his innocence. Because of his connections to the world of the occult, Sayers seeks the assistance of author Bram Stoker. Stoker believes that Sayer is innocent and offers to help him. But, the murders continue and Sayer soon learns the evil is much darker than anticipated. Tom follows Louise to America where he learns more disturbing information - the killer may be one of the theatre company's players. Like a faithful bloodhound, Pinkerton follows the trail of his nemesis in order to bring him to justice. Tom is desperate to protect Louise but must continue to seek the true murder and prove his innocence. Set in the late 19th century, Stephen Gallagher has crafted a wonderfully intense gothic psychological thriller that sweeps the reader from England to America. It is an incredible tale of corruption and human depravity, danger and betrayal, passion and evil.

  • Just Horrible
    From Amazon

    This novel had a pretty good start, with hints of a serial killer and demonic possession, but the more I read, the more the story fell apart. The killer/demon aspect became so watered down by the end it practically disappeared. At least three characters had absolutely no dialogue; they were just in the story to move the plot forward. The character of Bram Stoker was unremarkable, and the epilogue/ending has been done too many times before. By the last fifty pages, I had a headache! Not to mention the fact that the title of the book is meaningless. One of the worst books I have ever read. Really should be rated as no stars for sloppy, lazy writing.

Working on your request