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The Accursed (Hardcover)
A major historical novel from "one of the great artistic forces of our time" (The Nation)--an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power, and loss in early-twentieth-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned
Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man-a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.
When the bride's brother sets out against all odds to find her, his path will cross those of Princeton's most formidable people, from Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House and retired to town for a quieter life, to soon-to-be commander in chief Woodrow Wilson, president of the university and a complex individual obsessed to the point of madness with his need to retain power; from the young Socialist idealist Upton Sinclair to his charismatic comrade Jack London, and the most famous writer of the era, Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain-all plagued by "accursed" visions.
An utterly fresh work from Oates, The Accursed marks new territory for the masterful writer. Narrated with her unmistakable psychological insight, it combines beautifully transporting historical detail with chilling supernatural elements to stunning effect.
“[The Accursed] is in addition to being a thrilling tale in the best gothic tradition, a lesson in master craftsmanship...The story sprawls, reaches, demands, tears, and shrieks in homage to the traditional gothic, yet with fresh, surprising twists and turns... Oates has given us a brilliantly crafted work .”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
For anyone wanting to try a steam punk or for steam-punk aficionados this book is ideal. Set in two distinct steam-punk worlds that have turned 19th Century European life on its head: the world of the Clankers, advanced and powerful steam-powered machines in Austral-Hungary, and that of the Beasties, genetically fabricated Darwinian creatures in Britain. The story follows Daryn, a girl disguised as a boy to enter the British Air Service so she can fly. It also follows Alek, the prince of Austral-Hungary who must flee his royal after his parents are assassinated. From two separate opposing worlds, Alek and Daryn are thrown together by extreme circumstances aboard the mighty airship, the giant hydrogen-breathing modified whale of the air the Leviathan. A roller-coaster of action and intrigue, this book is also an incredibly well thought out politically and historically.