The Starless Sea: A Novel (Hardcover)
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world—a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians—it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose—in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
About the Author
ERIN MORGENSTERN is the author of The Night Circus, a number-one national best seller that has been sold around the world and translated into thirty-seven languages. She has a degree in theater from Smith College and lives in Massachusetts.
"A magnificent quest, a sense of unfolding adventure and danger, gold-wrought fantasy, and endless provocation on what storytelling really means." —Library Journal, starred review
"A high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do [and] a stunning array of linked fables, myths and origin stories. . . . It is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail. . . . This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call. An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Morgenstern's new fantasy epic is a puzzlebox of a book, full of meta-narratives and small folkloric tales that will delight readers. . . . Morgenstern uses poetic, honey-like prose to tell a story that plays with the very concept of what we expect and want from our stories. . . . She trusts her readers to follow along and speculate, wonder and make leaps themselves . . . giving the book a mythic quality that will stick with readers long after they put it down. The massive legion of readers who loved Morgenstern's debut will be clamoring to recapture the magic of that reading experience." —Booklist, starred review
"This love letter to bibliophiles is dreamlike and uncanny, grounded in deeply felt emotion, and absolutely thrilling." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A page-turner. . . . It's unlikely [The Night Circus fans] will be disappointed by this sweeping follow-up, which unfolds an epic romance within a secret underground world of lost cities, handsome pirates and endless puzzles to be solved." —Entertainment Weekly
"[A] gorgeously written epic love story, filled with magic and mystery." —Popsugar
"A spellbinding novel. . . . I could not put it down, and when I finished, I turned immediately back to the first page so I wouldn't have to leave this magical world. If you believe in the power of stories to transcend time and space, to marry love and fate, read this book!" —Angie Kim, author of Miracle Creek